It's been four long years since Ginny has seen Harry. Four very long years.
Today would have started out like any other day. Waiting to see if Harry might return today; waiting to only see that he was still out there fighting. But, today hadn't started like any other day. For one thing, Ginny was abruptly awoken by her mother at 4 in the morning. Being in a foul mood at first, Ginny tried to wake herself enough to understand what was going on, but it wasn't working too well. She could barely read the expression on her mother's face as she sat there on her bed.
"Ginny! Ginny, wake up!"
"Mum, what's going on-", Ginny said sleepily as Mrs. Weasley quickly continued.
"Voldemort-", Mrs. Weasley started, trying to catch her breath, "…Voldermort's been defeated. Harry's done it. We're all safe now." Mrs. Weasley pulled Ginny into a hug, so happy that it was all over and that they wouldn't have to worry about Voldemort again.
Ginny pulled back quickly, "What! It's over?" She stopped suddenly retreating into her own thoughts, No… she resolved… I'm just dreaming again. "Oh, mum. Leave me be with Harry. I'm just dreaming anyway."
Mrs. Weasley looked perplexed at Ginny for a moment and said, "You're not dreaming. He's coming home. It's over."
Ginny, still in a state of disbelief and desperately trying to get back to sleep, continued, "yeah, sure Mum. See, you're really dream Mum pretending to be real Mum pretending to wake me up from a dream that I'm still having about Harry, to tell me I'm not dreaming when I clearly still am at this moment." Ginny was confusing herself now.
As she started to lie down to go back to sleep, Mrs. Weasley reached over and pinched her on the arm, grabbing a lot of skin.
"OUCH!" Ginny exclaimed. "That hurt! What did you-"she said, but paused before continuing. "Hey! That hurt. I'm not dreaming? Harry's really done it! He's coming home?"
"Yes, dear, that's what I've been trying to tell you."
Ginny jumped out of bed and began pacing around her room, feeling very happy but also, suddenly, very nervous.
Mrs. Weasley watched her for a moment before interrupting her pace. "For Merlin's sake, Ginny, he's not here right this second. Actually, I'm not exactly sure where he is. I just received an owl from your father. He's had a late night at the Ministry with Voldemort finally being finished off and all. He expects to be home within the next 2 or 3 hours."
Mrs. Weasley stood up from Ginny's bed and walked over to her, placing her hands on her daughter's shoulders. "Well, I just wanted to let you know. You go back to sleep now, dear. I'm sure we'll see Harry later today." She hugged her daughter again and left the room.
Ginny stood there in a state of shock. Harry's finally free, she thought. The first thing in Ginny's mind was what would it be like between the two of them once he came back? But, she didn't know what to think about Harry and her, or if they would even have any kind of relationship again. There was no doubt that Ginny still loved him. And, yes, she had dated a couple different guys since Harry left those many years ago, thinking that she might be able to push him from her mind again. None of those relationships ever lasted more a few weeks, though. Admittedly, there hadn't been a day that she didn't think about Harry. Frankly, she still loved him with every fiber of her being and that was putting it simply.
She would see Harry soon. The more she thought about seeing him, the more butterflies filled her stomach, and she smiled at the thought of drowning in his beautiful green eyes. However, those butterflies quickly turned into knots, wondering if he still loved her, or if he'd even thought about her since he left.
No… she thought. I'm sure he's moved on. My name probably hasn't popped in his head since the last day I saw him. The day that I had to say goodbye to him.
She promptly shook these thoughts out of her head. She didn't want to think about it right now. She just wanted to go back to sleep, but she couldn't. His face just kept swimming through her head.
Ginny was in for a very long day.
Ginny had finally managed to drift back off to sleep around two hours later. Unfortunately, she only managed to get one more hour in before being woke up by the ruckus downstairs. Ginny knew that her father must have arrived a short time ago and by the sounds of it, Fred, George, and Ron decided to come over this morning so that they could get all of the details of Voldemort's demise.
Ginny took her time in getting dressed and going downstairs to join the noisy crowd of Weasleys around the kitchen table. She didn't know whether Harry would be down there with them or not.
Now standing in front of her closet, Ginny was having a hard time deciding what to wear. Knowing if Harry would be in her kitchen would help a great deal, but she wasn't going to risk questioning anyone, for fear of starting another conversation that she didn't want to delve into this early in the morning.
Deciding it was best to look normal and just wear something simple, Ginny pulled on her favorite pair of jeans and a white t-shirt. At least this way, she could still look like normal Ginny and not receive funny looks from the rest of her family. But, she could also manage to pull off a cute and sexy look if Harry did happen to be downstairs.
After Ginny was dressed, she sat down to brush out her long mane of beautiful red hair, and was a little startled to hear a knock at her door and Hermione's voice following it.
"Ginny, you decent?"
Frowning, Ginny replied, "Hermione? Yeah. Come on in."
As Hermione came in, Ginny immediately jumped in. "So, I guess you're here because of the news, yeah?"
"Well, yeah. I got an owl from your mum this morning letting me know that Harry had defeated Voldemort. Is something the matter?" Hermione finished, noting a particularly skittish look on Ginny's face.
"Wha-? No, I'm ok. Is Harry downstairs?" She squeaked out. Trying to sound as calm as possible.
"No" Hermione replied. "I just got here a few minutes ago and caught everyone in the kitchen, briefly. Since the guys were trying to wiggle every bit of information out of your father, I managed to ask your mum if we should expect Harry soon or if he was already here. She told me that he hadn't been by yet and didn't know exactly when he would be."
Listening to every word carefully, Ginny frowned at Hermione with a questioning look on her face. "I don't understand. Why hasn't he come over yet? You'd figure that this would be the first place that he'd want to come to. After all, it is like his home."
Understanding what the underlying meaning was of Ginny's last statement, Hermione tried to calm her down. "Ginny, you know that Harry has not forgotten you. I'm sure there is a good reason why he isn't here right now. Look, we don't even know when the whole war ended. It could have been in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe, he's just back at his flat getting a little needed rest before he gets interrogated by us all."
"Yeah, you're probably right. I think I'm just being a little selfish right now."
"No, you're not. If I were in your shoes, I'd react the same way. For Merlin's sake, he's been gone for four years. You can't help but want to see him at the very first moment that you have the chance. Honestly, if it was Ron who had been out there for that long, the second he was free, I'd want to snog him senseless."
"Hermione!" exclaimed Ginny.
"What? I've got nothing to hide. It's the honest truth."
With renewed spirits, Ginny and Hermione headed downstairs to join the rest of the Weasleys, to catch up on all the news and perhaps find out exactly what Harry was up to at the moment.
As they entered the kitchen, Ginny walked over and gave her father a big hug and forced Fred out of the chair he had been sitting in. She wanted to sit next to her father this morning and she wasn't about to take any guff from her older brothers.
Hermione followed Ginny into the room and caught Ron by surprise as she leaned down and kissed him gently on the cheek. She sat in the empty seat next to him and he gently took her hand in his, raising it to his lips and kissing it sweetly. Blushing furiously, she tried to turn her attention back to the conversation.
"So, dad, when did the Ministry receive word that it was finally over?" George asked.
Mr. Weasley continued his story, "Well, we found out shortly after 3 this morning. Tonks, Shackelbolt and Lupin brought Harry straight to the Ministry, once they were sure the war was over."
With a worried look now spreading all over Ginny's face, she hesitantly asked her father, "Dad, what do you mean they brought Harry to the Ministry? Was he not capable of getting there on his own?" Thoughts began racing through her head. Surely nothing happened to him… yes, he has to be ok. Dad would have told me if Harry had to have been taken to St. Mungo's, wouldn't he? Her nerves were really working in overdrive now and everyone could see it.
Quickly stepping in, Mr. Weasley explained. "They had to help Harry get back to the Ministry because he was too weak to stand on his own, much less Apparate. We had a few healers from St. Mungo's waiting there in case anything happened. We didn't want to cause a big fit if he, or anyone else for that matter, went straight to the hospital. He had a few cuts and bruises, but overall, he was just extremely weakened from his last battle with Voldemort. The healers cast a few healing charms on him and he seemed to be doing much better after a half an hour. But, he was still weak, and he needed his rest."
"Why didn't someone tell me that he'd come back injured? I should have been there with him. I should have been by his side. He should have known that I was there." Ginny was becoming frantic again.
"Ginny dear, we all would have wanted to be there with him, but he didn't want anyone to see him in that state, especially you. And it isn't that he didn't want us there, because he did, I just think that he didn't want everyone to worry over something that he felt wasn't that big of a deal," her father finished.
Not that big of a deal! she thought. I'll show Harry. He knows that I would've wanted to be there no matter what he looked like or what state he was in. He ought to choke on his pride. Forget being strong for one minute, Harry, and let someone take care of you. Let me take care of you.
Saddened by her own thoughts, Ginny finally sighed with relief, at least knowing that he was alright. Relaxing a little, and trying to gain some of her composure, she asked, "So, is he still at the Ministry right now, or is he back at his flat resting?"
"Well," continued Mr. Weasley, "the Ministry wanted to question him on everything that happened once he was pretty much taken care of by the healers. But, I told him just to go on home and get some rest, because he really needed it. He didn't want to go back to his flat first, he wanted to come here, to the Burrow, but I forced him to go back to his place and get some rest and told him that once he had plenty, he could come over here for a nice long visit."
Ginny and all of the other Weasleys quite agreed that once he got in a good rest, a long visit with Harry was overdue. However, Mrs. Weasley apparently had plans of her own.
"Well, I don't think he should come over right after he gets plenty of rest. I think it should be a special moment when we see him, for the first time, after these many years. I think we should throw a little welcome home party for him. You know us and a few of his other close friends. I think he'd quite like that." Mrs. Weasley stated.
Ginny promptly shot her mother a very disapproving look at the thought of a welcome home party to include anyone but just them and Harry.
Mrs. Weasley, ignoring the look she knew she was receiving from her daughter, turned back to speak to Mr. Weasley. "Arthur, would you mind sending a quick owl to Harry to let him know that he is to stay at his flat until 6 o'clock this evening. At that time, he can Apparate here, to the Burrow, to spend some time with us. But make sure that he understands that he shouldn't go anywhere between now and coming here tonight."
"Sure, dear", Mr. Weasley said as he stood up from the kitchen table. He walked over to Mrs. Weasley, gave her a kiss on the cheek and left the room so that he could owl Harry.
"Well, dears, finish up with your breakfast. I'll need everyone's help to get things ready for the party tonight."
"Mum," Ron piped in finally. "You said this was just going to be us, Harry, and a few of his close friends right?"
"Of course, Ron. Well, let's see, we have to invite Tonks, Lupin, Shacklebolt, and Hagrid. And we can't do without inviting Neville and Luna, Dean, Seamus…" Mrs. Weasley continued to name off people.
Everyone at the table exchanged looks, and they all knew that this would be no close intimate "welcome home" party. By the time Mrs. Weasley was through, they'd probably have at least 60 people there. Hermione glanced down the table at Ginny, who now looked absolutely crushed by her mother's plans. She flashed an apologetic smile across her face, but it didn't help.
Ginny decided to make herself busy with getting things ready for tonight. All she had wanted to do since her mother woke her up this morning was to see Harry. Right now, she really didn't care to share him with all of these people. She just had to bite her tongue and let her mother throw this party for him. But Ginny was sure of one thing, if she was going to have to tolerate a crowd of people that would be smothering Harry all night, she was determined that she'd make Harry very aware that she had walked into a room.
Harry woke to small tapping noise on the window in his bedroom. He lazily rubbed the sleep from his eyes and reached over to pick up his glasses from the night table next to his bed.
Stretching as he stood up, he yawned and walked over to his window. He then realized that it was Pig, the Weasley's little hyperactive owl. Harry took the letter from its leg and opened it, adjusting his eyes so that he could read properly.
It was a letter from Mr. Weasley saying that he should stay at his flat until 6 o'clock this evening, at which time he could apparate to the Burrow. And, under no circumstances, should he go anywhere else between now and then.
Harry rolled his eyes. This was Mrs. Weasley's doing. He just knew it. He bet that she was planning a welcome home party for him and when she throws a party, she really throws a party.
This certainly isn't what Harry wanted. But, he didn't want to break Mrs. Weasley's heart.
All he wanted to do was spend time with his best friend's family and Hermione. Actually, he really wouldn't mind spending some quality time with Ginny, but he still didn't know the status on their relationship. He was quite sure that after 4 years, she'd either be engaged or married by now. He was really hoping that he wasn't right on either of those thoughts.
Even though he was still quite tired, all he wanted to do was see Ginny's warm, smiling face. That's all he'd been dreaming about for the past 4 years. He'd actually been writing letters to Ginny, while he was away. Usually they were only a line or two. Enough to say that he was ok and that he missed her and to ask how she was doing. But he could never send them to her for fear of endangering her, and he swore that he would never let anything happen to her.
All he wanted was to be home. After many years, the Burrow was like his home. But he wanted to be home with her. That's all he'd wanted since the day that he realized he loved her. She was his home. She is and always will be.
Harry couldn't help but love her. She deserved so much more than someone who would stay away from her for 4 years without writing to her. She deserved someone so much better than him. But, he had to know if she still loved him or even if she could ever love him again.
Harry didn't quite think he'd be able to make until tonight to see her. As of matter of fact, he knew he wouldn't be able to wait until then. So, he decided that he'd just pop over quickly. Not long enough for anyone to notice that he was there. Just long enough to see her, without her seeing him.
Ginny had been helped her mother in the kitchen all morning. Even though she didn't like to cook, she definitely had her mother's talent. Considering that everyone else was busy taking care of other things around the house, she decided to help her mum, even though she was still quite upset at this party idea of hers.
After four hours in the kitchen, Ginny was getting quite tired of it all and she desperately needed a break. She told her mum that she was going to go down to the pond for a quick swim to relax and then she'd come back in to help finish things up.
Pulling on her two piece suit, Ginny headed down to the pond for a little peace and quiet. She laid her towel on the ground in a well lit area, knowing that she would enjoy sunbathing after her swim.
She took a cautious step into the cool water and then quickly submerged herself, hoping to avoid being cold for any longer than she had to be. She was quite enjoying this. It was so very relaxing. Her day had been far too stressful and it wasn't even half of the way over.
She continued her swim when she suddenly heard a noise. A snap, maybe, coming from behind the trees. She looked in the direction from where the noise had come from and a small bird walked out. Ginny sighed with relief. She had begun to feel a bit nervous because she had left her wand lying on her towel. Thankful it was only a bird, she silently cursed as she noticed that her hair had now gotten wet. She had desperately been trying to not get it wet. So much for that, she thought. She quickly ducked her head under the water and then popped back up, getting all of her hair wet now. She thought she might as well since a little bit was already wet.
Ginny decided to go on and get out of the pond so that she could enjoy the warm sun drying off her skin and hair. Besides, soon she would need to get back to the house to help finish getting everything ready and to get herself ready. After all, her goal was to make Harry notice every time she walked into a room. For that matter, she needed to make sure that he didn't take his eyes off of her. To Ginny, this was going to be a bit of a task. She didn't think she was much of anything to look at. But, if Harry had noticed me before, surely he would notice me again, she thought.
As she laid there on her towel, she was trying to think of exactly what she would wear tonight. She tried to remember every piece of clothing that she had, thinking, no… no… no… She was beginning to get a little annoyed. Do I have anything that will shock him so much that he'll forget to breathe? She tried to remember more of her wardrobe, no… no…ah! Bingo! Finally, she'd found exactly what she wanted to wear. Why wasn't it the first thing that had popped into her head? It was a new dress that she'd gotten a few weeks ago, but had never worn. When she and Hermione had eyed it in the store, she just had to get it. Plus, she didn't really feel that this dress was for anyone but him to see.
Realizing that she was getting a bit warm from being in the sun for a while, Ginny stood up, pulled on her jeans and shirt, and headed back for the house.
Harry pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Snatching up his wand quickly, he apparated to the Burrow. As he snuck around to the kitchen window, he heard humming. It was Mrs. Weasley working furiously to prepare a meal big enough for a kingdom. Harry didn't see Ginny anywhere. He thought she might be in the kitchen helping her mother, but to his surprise, she wasn't. Mrs. Weasley stopped humming and called to Hermione. She came walking into the kitchen, noticing the load of work that Mrs. Weasley had gotten herself into.
"Dear, would you be kind enough to help me finish getting a few more things ready?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
"Sure. I would've come in earlier if I'd realized that Ginny wasn't in here helping you."
"Well, she was, but she's been working in here since first thing this morning and she needed a bit of a break. So, she decided to go for a quick swim in the pond. She should be back shortly, but I only need a little more help to get things finished." Mrs. Weasley said, beginning to feel quite exhausted herself.
"It's not a problem, Mrs. Weasley. I'd be glad to help you." Hermione replied and she quickly began working her way around the kitchen.
Knowing, now, exactly where Ginny was, Harry apparated into the woods, near the pond. He walked cautiously, trying not to snap a twig or rustle too many leaves for fear of making his presence known to her.
He reached the pond and managed to stay hidden behind some of the trees that were skirting the area. And suddenly, there she was. She had just found a particularly well lit spot to lay her towel. He noticed, quickly, that she was slipping out of her jeans and shirt, revealing her swim suit. She folded her clothes and laid them next to her towel and then walked over to the pond.
She stepped in slowly, taking in the temperature of the water. Harry imagined that it was probably a bit cool because of the shiver that she gave. He suppressed a chuckle at the sight. She looked so cute as she stepped in the water the rest of the way.
He watched as she swam around a little, not fully submerging herself under the water. From the looks of it, he thought she was trying not to get her hair wet. So far, so good, he thought.
She continued swimming. He knew she must have been enjoying it, because he caught her closing her eyes and breathing in the fresh air around her. Her morning must have been very hard on her because Harry heard her continually taking deep breaths and letting out long, drawn out sighs. He longed to be near her, to hold her. To show her just how much he cared for her.
Without paying careful attention, he inched forward and stepped on a twig. Snap! Oh God!, he thought. I'm busted. He saw her turn her head in his direction. Oh, please…oh please…don't notice me…don't notice. Thinking quickly, he mumbled a spell, conjuring a bird. It walked out between the trees and Harry noticed her relax. But then, he suddenly heard her utter a quiet curse. She got her hair wet. He had to suppress another chuckle. After she probably thought, shove it, he saw her dive under the water completely and then come back to the surface. Her soft red hair now turned into a dark auburn color.
He continued watching her as she stepped out of the water and walked over to lie down on her towel. He was truly enjoying this moment. Watching her take in slow deep breaths and thoroughly enjoying the warmth of the sun on her skin, he saw her frown a little, but then suddenly, a sweet but very mischievous smile spread across her face.
Oh how he loved her. But, he was certain that she didn't feel the same way about him any longer. Not after all this time had passed. With the thought of that smile on her face, he apparated back to his flat, deciding to see if he might be able to get a little more rest this afternoon before heading back to the Burrow tonight.
Ginny was running a bit behind. Shortly after she had come back from her swim, she finished helping her mum and Hermione in the kitchen. Then, the girls took to decorating the house with floating candles and lanterns and bewitching the ceiling to look like the sky, just like at Hogwarts. Hermione told Ginny that she'd take care of making the back yard and garden look especially nice, in case anyone wanted to take a nice little walk around outside. Of course, Ginny knew exactly what Hermione was hinting at. Without a doubt, they were both hoping for the same thing to happen.
She had managed to rush upstairs to get a shower before all of the boys headed up with the same idea. She slipped on her dress and smoothed out any imperfections. Eying herself in the mirror, she thought, well, not half bad, Weasley. Now for the more daunting task, my hair.
She fussed while trying to manage some sort of style. She was having a bit of a hard time deciding. Up or down, she thought. From what I remember, and if it still holds some truth, Harry loved running his fingers through my hair. But, that was years ago, and I always look so very young when I wear my hair down. Hmm… well if I wear it up, I could show Harry that I'm not a little girl anymore and that I can make my own decisions about my life, regardless of what my nosy brothers always said. Plus, it shows off my long neck.
Deciding that an up-do was the way to go, she used her wand to charm her hair up into a French twist and then curled the ends of her hair, so that the curls would cascade down around the twist. She had decided to leave a few loose strands of hair around the nape of her neck and one longer strand in the front. She quickly curled the loose strands that were hanging.
Noticing the time, she sat down on her bed to slip on the beautiful strap heels that she'd bought the day they got the dress. A single strap across the toes with a gorgeous bejeweled design on it and then one strap that buckled around the ankle was all that her shoes consisted of. She thought to herself, simple but elegant.
She stood up, walking over to the mirror, and stumbled a little in her shoes, having not worn heels in quite some time. She looked at her image carefully, trying to make sure that everything looked as good as it possibly could. I hope I make him weak in the knees, she thought, that mischievous smile appearing on her face again.
There was a small knock on the door, and Hermione poked her head in Ginny's room.
"Hey, Ginny. You about rea-… Wow!" Hermione stopped in her tracks.
"Do I look ok?" Ginny said, becoming very fidgety and suddenly trying to straighten out each and every wrinkle that wasn't in the dress.
"Do you look ok?! Honey, you look bloody fantastic!"
Ginny blushed slightly. "I think Ron is rubbing off on you a bit much."
"I could have told you that ages ago."
"But, everything does look alright, right? Do you think Harry will like it?" Ginny asked.
"The only thing that you'll need to be concerned with about Harry is making sure that you know how to revive him, because he will definitely forget how to breathe."
On that note, Ginny giggled, finally feeling a bit of stress lifted from her shoulders. She took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
"Well, now that you're ready, we need to get you downstairs. All of the guests are here and Harry should be arriving in the next minute. Your mum sent me up to get you." Hermione said, turning to walk out the door.
"You go on ahead. I'll be right down. There's just one more thing that I need to do."
"Alright. See you in a bit." Hermione closed the door as she left Ginny's room.
Before she forgot, Ginny picked up her perfume bottle and lightly sprayed the scent, strategically placing it on her skin. She wanted Harry to long for the smell of her. And, this was sure to draw him in.
She didn't make it downstairs in enough time to welcome Harry home first. Her mother seemed to reach the door in one swift movement almost knocking him over with a forceful hug. Ginny had paused on the second floor before walking down the final flight of stairs.
There he was, after four long years. He still looked the same, but different at the same time, if that was even possible. Her heart skipped a beat as she took in the beautiful sight of him. His green eyes, his always messy, raven hair. Ok… here we go, Ginny thought. She took in a deep breath and walked down the stairs.
Mrs. Weasley had finally released Harry from her overwhelming hug and had managed to say, with great enthusiasm, "Welcome Home, Harry", when he suddenly caught a glimpse of something and looked up. His heart stopped. He couldn't breathe. There she was, gliding down the steps, and as she neared even closer to the bottom, Ginny spoke. "Yes, Harry. Welcome Home."
Harry only managed to knock on the front door twice, when Mrs. Weasley flung the door open. She pulled him into a tight hug, making it very hard for him to breathe. After a minute, he was able to pull away, giving her kind, appreciate smile and receiving a beaming smile in return.
She spoke quite loudly saying, "Welcome Home, Harry." And as he opened his mouth to say "thanks, it's good to be home," he spotted something out of the corner of his eye.
As if in extreme slow motion, he glanced up and watched Ginny slowly walking down the stairs. He moved his head, taking in the image of her completely. She was wearing dainty little heels with just enough material to keep them on her feet. His eyes traveled up her legs, making his way up her waist and torso to see the dress that she had chosen. It was a knee length, strapless red dress. The bodice clung to her tightly and as the dress reached her hips, it flared out into a full, flowing skirt that swished back and forth each time she swung her hips.
Harry felt his mouth drop open even more; his stare, at last, making his way to her face. Her skin was slightly flushed and he felt himself turn pink, in return. He noticed that she was wearing her hair up tonight. Personally, he'd always preferred it being down because he loved running his fingers through it. But, he certainly wasn't complaining about this new look. He loved how the curls spilled over her twist. He lovingly noticed the few loose curls that she'd let hang down over her neck and the one long curl that hung down on the side of her face. He thought that it all made her look positively radiant, reflecting the beautiful woman that she had become.
Oh God, he thought he was going to die right there, until he looked into her deep brown eyes. They glistened in the soft light of the room and he suddenly saw a shy smile appear on her face. He could barely hear her say, "Yes, Harry. Welcome Home." When his heart stopped at the sound of her voice. It sent shivers up and down his spine and thousands of goosebumps creeping across his skin.
His mouth was still hanging wide open. Harry tried to form the words. They were on the tip of his tongue but no sound was coming out. He'd suddenly forgotten how to breathe.
Standing there, frozen in one spot, Harry saw a concern look come across Ginny's face. He heard the muffled sound of her calling his name, "Harry? Harry, are you alright?"
Somehow regaining his ability to function properly, he took in a deep breath and one word came stammering out of his mouth, "Gin-… Ginny…"
She flashed him a bright smile when she realized that he seemed to be ok.
As she walked a little closer to him, he took a deep breath smelling a light fragrance that seemed to float around her. It smelled like strawberries and champagne. He smiled as he took in another deep breath of her and suddenly his knees became weak. His heart was racing and he felt his skin growing hotter.
Out of nowhere, Ron and Hermione came rushing over. Hermione squeezed him and gave him a friendly peck on the cheek. "Oh, Harry. We've all missed you terribly. It's about time you came home to us all."
Hermione had caught him by surprise and he shook his head trying to muster some kind of clear thought. Seeing Ginny, especially the way she was looking tonight, had left Harry in a bit of a daze. He looked over at Hermione and gave her a humble smile. With a raspy voice, he said, "thanks. I'm glad to finally be home." He glanced over at Ginny again who was now talking to her mother and he smiled at just the thought of her saying his name.
Whack! That was the next thing that Harry felt, turning to see that Ron had swiftly hit him across the back. "Mate, it's good to see you! I know I saw you not too long ago, but you are still a sight for sore eyes."
"Yeah, we've missed bugging the stew out of you" bellowed Fred.
"But in all seriousness…" began George.
"Since when were you guys ever serious?" Hermione asked.
"I'll have you know that we can be." George said.
"Yeah, that's right," echoed Fred.
As the three of them carried on with the friendly bickering, the crowd around Harry began to grow, as everyone flocked to his side. Several people were yelling out, "we've missed you" and "glad your back to stay"; he was becoming a bit annoyed with all the meaningless fuss that everyone was putting on. He definitely wished that Mrs. Weasley hadn't invited all of these people over.
Looking around for her familiar face, Harry noticed that he couldn't seem to find Ginny anywhere. She was just here, he thought. He longed for them to be in the same room with each other. He was tired of always being so far away from her and he realized that he wanted to keep her by his side, forever.
Somehow managing to escape the crowd of people that had been smothering him, Harry walked around the corner heading towards the kitchen. He stopped just short of walking in when he heard a man's voice speaking to someone. Peeking in, he saw Dean Thomas put his hand on the small of Ginny's back and heard him say, "I've missed you, Ginny."
Harry quickly turned around trying to get himself as far away the kitchen as possible. He couldn't stand the thought of Dean being with Ginny. He knew it, somehow. He knew that if she was with anyone it would either be Dean or Neville, and honestly, if it couldn't be him, he'd rather it be Neville than Dean. Harry's blood began to boil just thinking about Dean touching her. Ugh!, he thought. No, this can't be… it just can't be this way. Shaking his head, he returned to the crowded sitting room where he spotted Neville and Luna on one of the couches and sat down next to them.
Ginny adored Harry. There was just no other way of putting it. She smiled shyly at him, desperately trying to suppress a giggle from the look that she saw on his face. He was just standing there with his mouth hanging wide open. Oh yeah, she thought, this dress was definitely doing the trick.
She noticed that he wasn't moving at all, and she started to get a little worried about him. The first thought that popped in her head was, Oh god… I didn't mean I wanted to take his breath away literally! Dangit, Hermione, you jinxed me. Walking closer to him, she said, "Harry? Harry, you alright?"
Her mother quickly shot her a look that clearly said, "What did you do to him?"
At long last, she heard him stumble over saying her name and she smiled brightly knowing that he was ok.
She walked a little closer to him. She saw a smile come across his face and just as she was close enough to give him a hug, Ron and Hermione came over, followed by Fred and George. Ginny rolled her eyes, great, now I'm never going to get a minute with him. He probably won't even notice me whenever I walk in the room. So much for your brilliant plan, Weasley.
Ginny walked over to her mother and said, "Mum, I'm going to go to the kitchen to get some drinks and bring them out for everyone."
"Ok dear," Mrs. Weasley replied. "Do you need one of your brothers to help you?"
"No, Mum, I've got it." Ginny said as she rounded the corner into the kitchen.
She was oblivious to the fact that Dean Thomas had followed her into the kitchen, as she walked over to the counter and began filling some small glasses with a wonderful muggle concoction called punch. Hermione had given them the idea to do punch instead of spending so much money on all the butterbeer. They decided to buy a few cases just in case someone didn't like the muggle drink. Ginny, admittedly, liked the taste of this "punch", but if she had to choose, she'd still go with the butterbeer.
While her thoughts had gotten a bit carried away with punch and butterbeer, she didn't realize that someone was behind her until she felt a hand touch the small of her back. She shivered a little and gave a half smile when she heard a man's voice say, "I've missed you, Ginny."
Putting down the glass that was in her hand, she slowly started to turn around and say "I've missed you too", when she realized that she was now standing face to face with Dean.
Rolling her eyes and huffing, "Dean, what do you think you're doing?" Ginny was more than a little upset. She'd thought, by the touch, it might be Harry. Needless to say, she wasn't happy with who it actually was.
"I saw you after you came down those steps and I thought, 'God, you're beautiful.' I just had to come see you." Dean replied.
"Well, think again and retrace your steps out of the kitchen, now!"
"But Ginny, I've missed being with you. Don't you miss me?" Dean pleaded.
"NO! If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times. The relationship that we had was years ago. It's over! And, it's been over for a very VERY long time. Now, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave me alone." Ginny's temper was flaring up and her face was now a little more than red.
"But-…but Ginny…" Dean was producing his most pathetic puppy dog face now.
"I swear, Dean, if you 'but Ginny' me one more time, I'm going to knock you on your butt."
Heeding her words, Dean went to leave the kitchen and Ginny turned back to the counter to finish getting the drinks.
Ginny heard his footsteps stop and him take in a loud breath. Being fed up with him completely and not wanting to hear another word, she swung around with her wand in hand and swiftly hit him with a spell on his backside. Dean turned around abruptly giving her a shocked look and she spoke through clenched teeth, "I said no… more… buts."
She almost died laughing as she saw him scamper out of the kitchen. Sometimes she surprised herself. She couldn't help it. She'd put up with Dean's crap for a long time and she wanted an end to it all, even more so, now that Harry was back.
Ginny finished up in the kitchen and walked back toward the sitting room with the drinks in hand. She noticed Harry sitting by Neville and Luna on the couch. He seemed to be busily talking with them and thought if she knew Neville and Luna, which she did, she'd never get a chance to be alone with Harry. Your plan failed miserably, Ginevra. Call the time of death. She hated it when her own conscious called her by her full first name.