Harry Potter and all characters, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling, not me.

Harry's New Boggart - Chapter 1: Harry's New Boggart

"Congratulations, Fleur," said Harry, facing the new bride. He'd been trying to pretend he was happy all day as he stood in the garden. Fleur's little sister was there as well, as were all the Weasleys except Percy, which he knew must be hurting Mrs. Weasley. Hermione was also there, along with several witches and wizards Harry was not acquainted with. A few had already introduced themselves, shaking his hand and staring at his scar.

He was at the Burrow and had just watched Bill and Fleur get married, doing his best to watch the happy couple, not a certain red-haired bridesmaid wearing a pale gold dress. She was the only person he wanted to be with, but he couldn't. God, she looked good! Every few minutes during the ceremony he'd caught his eyes wandering in Ginny's direction, and straightly pulled them back where they belonged. He cursed himself for wanting to watch her now. After all, he'd made his decision, hadn't he? Now all he had to do was live with it.

Harry was so lost in his thoughts that it took him a few seconds to realize that Fleur Weasley was kissing both his cheeks and saying, "Thankz zzo much, 'Arry! I'm zzo 'appy!" He smiled at her and turned away to his left, intending to go into the house.

That's when his eyes met Ginny's, and he stopped dead. He felt his pulse quicken, as beads of sweat began to form on his forehead. She had an unreadable expression on her face, which meant to Harry that she was sad. If she were happy, she'd be smiling. If she were angry, she'd be glaring at him. She lifted up her right hand and waved casually at him. He automatically waved back wordlessly, and began marching as swiftly as he could toward the house. He couldn't take this! He needed to leave right now. It had been hard enough for him to exist these last few weeks, mostly moping around.

Not that he'd just wasted his time. Hermione wouldn't let him do that. After they'd spent one night with the Dursleys, Hermione, Ron, and he had been preparing for their mission. She had been reading everything she could on detecting magical traps, etc. She was determined to figure out how Professor Dumbledore had detected the secrets of the cave Harry and he had visited on the day his mentor had died. Harry had used some of his gold stocking up on things they might need.

Thinking about what had happened that night, the first thing he bought was a bunch of bezoars in case they had to take poison. Fred and George had given them a lot of their defensive magical items, such as instant darkness powder and shield gloves. Ron was researching charms that might come in handy, such as the one that Dumbledore had used to dry Harry's clothes. At the end of each day, they'd compare notes and practice defensive magic. It was like having D.A. meetings every day.

At least he'd been able to keep busy most of the time that way. He only really thought about Ginny at night. That had been hard enough. He would never admit it to anyone, but he missed that girl more than he'd ever imagined he would! And now here he was, ten feet from her, and all but running away. He knew that if he got any closer, he would lose his resolve. He kept telling himself that he was protecting Ginny, that it was in her best interests to avoid him. She'd live longer that way. When he'd seen the empty expression on her face, a tiny voice inside his head whispered, 'You call that alive?'

He knew what it meant. The phrase, "Neither can live while the other survives" was so deeply etched into his brain that he could never forget that life is more than breathing, existing. Lately he'd felt almost like a Dementor had sucked out his soul. He'd gotten used to the fact that every source of happiness he had was taken from him. First, his godfather Sirius, then his mentor and hero Dumbledore, and now his girlfriend Ginny. No, that had been his choice.

He knew she'd have been taken from him if he hadn't pushed her away from him. But she didn't look alive. She was happier before they'd starting dating. Why had he given into that impulse to kiss her? If he hadn't done that, neither one of them would be depressed. They would be friends.

He opened the door and walked into the house, closing the door behind him. He walked toward Ron's bedroom, but as soon as his feet hit the stairs, he heard a noise from Ginny's bedroom. He automatically pulled out his wand. He knew nobody should be in there, but he knocked on the door anyway. Nobody spoke, but he heard a crash from inside the room, so he opened the door and looked around. At first, he saw nothing unusual, then he noticed a wooden trunk moving slightly, and he knew what the problem was.

With a slight smile, he remembered a class nearly four years ago, where Professor Lupin had introduced them to a Boggart, a shape-shifter that assumes the form of whatever the one facing it fears the most. He also remembered that his Boggart always became a Dementor, the soul-sucking creatures that would make him relive his parents' deaths if he let them. Confident that he'd have no trouble defeating this creature, he opened the chest and got his wand ready. It did not become a Dementor.

Standing before him was a Boggart that looked like — Ginny Weasley. He was stunned. This Boggart looked just as beautiful as the real thing. He wasn't afraid of her. Then, remembering Mrs. Weasley's Boggart, he thought he might fear seeing Ginny die, and waited, horrified of that happening. Instead of dying in front of him, Genevra Weasley spoke. She smiled at him and said, "Harry, it's time for you to leave. Go face Voldemort and whatever stands between you and him. I'm not coming with you, no matter how much you need me. I'm going to send Errol with a letter to Dean, and see if he wants to get back together. Maybe, if you get back in time, if you get back at all, you can be at our wedding."

Harry wasn't ready to face this Boggart. He knew that it was revealing what he feared the most. It couldn't be right. He cleared his throat and argued unsteadily, "Th,that's not what I'm afraid of. I, I d,don't want you coming with me. It'll put you in d,danger. I can't let that happen." This Boggart was almost making him cry.

Boggart/Ginny smiled that beautiful smile he had studied during those glorious five weeks and replied, "Maybe part of you doesn't want me in danger, but you know that you need me. You can't live without me. Look at the way you've felt for the past few weeks. You can't fight Voldemort and your own depression at the same time! Face it Harry; you're in love with me and get your strength from me."

"I, I know." Harry admitted, unsuccessfully fighting back tears and sinking onto the floor next to the door. How was he going to laugh this Boggart away when it reminded him how depressed he was? He missed the Dementors. He could deal with them.

All of the sudden he heard a loud crack, and Boggart/Ginny became an old diary. He then heard a familiar voice shout, "Riddikulus!" and the pages all tore out of it, becoming paper airplanes and zooming around the room in all directions. That same voice began laughing at the paper airplanes, and Harry joined in. Within a few seconds, the Boggart had dissolved.

Harry looked up at the real Ginny, suddenly afraid of what she thought of him, the 'great hero' who couldn't even fight a Boggart. Then he wondered how much of his Boggart she had seen.

She looked down at him in concern and said, "Harry, we need to talk."

He wanted to leave, now! He was embarrassed. He stood up quickly and replied, "Er, I don't think…"

"I heard every word your Boggart said," Ginny stated firmly. "I don't care what you say now! You can't convince me now that you don't love me, or that you don't want me coming along with you to fight Voldemort. I just want to know why you won't admit how you feel about me."

Harry wasn't sure if she was mad at him or not. But he did know how stubborn she was. He'd have to say something. He looked into her eyes through tear-stained glasses and said, "I, I don't know. I don't know what I want. Some days I want to kill Voldemort, and some days I just want to die. I didn't want to put you in danger but I don't want to be without you." He hadn't meant to say the last part out loud.

She looked into his eyes and replied, "Maybe it's time that you realized that it's my life to risk. Whether I'm at your side or not, I'm a member of a family that Voldemort's followers call 'blood traitors.' Not only that, but everybody knows how close my family is to you. I'm already in danger. Snape and Malfoy know we were dating. Do you think they didn't tell their master? It's not your fault I'm in danger; it's Voldemort's. You've got to stop blaming yourself for what he and the Death Eater's do! I love you. I know you love me too. I want to help you fight Voldemort. I know you want me to. I think it's time for you to stop letting Voldemort rule your life! He wants you to be as lonely and miserable as he is! He doesn't want you to feel love."

"Love," Harry half smiled, while cleaning his glasses with his shirt. "You know, Dumbledore told me that love is the power I have that Voldemort knows not."

"What?" Ginny asked, looking puzzled.

Harry looked at her appraisingly. "This is a complete secret, Ginny. The only people alive who know this are myself, Ron, and Hermione. You can't tell anyone this, no matter how mad I make you." At this, Ginny chuckled slightly. Harry continued, gazing into her eyes, "Do you agree not to ever tell anyone, not even your parents?" She nodded. "I guess you deserve to know about the prophecy. The one the Daily Prophet speculated might be about me. For once, they were actually right. I am the 'Chosen One,' with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord."

"That was destroyed, Harry," Ginny responded. "How do you…"

"Just that record of it was destroyed. It had been given to Dumbledore and he showed to me after Sirius…after it happened. It said he would mark me as his equal," Harry pointed to his scar, "…that I'd have a power he knew not, and that 'either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.'"

Ginny gasped and put a hand over her mouth. Tears were starting to form in her eyes. She reached out and took his hand. She asked, "You've known that for a year? Does that mean you've got to kill Voldemort or he'll kill you? No one else has a chance of stopping him, and you have no guarantee that you'll be able to either." He nodded. She declared, "That sucks! The reason you seem to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders is because you've got the weight of the world on your shoulders."

"Are you still sure you want to join me?"

"Yes Harry, I am." She said, "If love is Riddle's weakness, then you need the one who loves you more than anyone with you." Harry looked a bit uncomfortable at those words. Ginny insisted, "We can't play games anymore; there's too much at stake. I'm through saying 'I like you,' or 'I fancy you,' or anything else! I love you more than I love myself! I don't want to live without you!"

"All right," Harry replied sharply, startling Ginny. Then he placed his hand gently on her shoulder and whispered, "All right. I guess it's time to be honest with you. I do love you. I've been trying to convince myself I don't, but I do." She blushed a little and stared deep into his eyes. He then took a deep breath and said determinedly, "I do want you to come with me."

With the hard, blazing look in her face that he found irresistible, she vowed, "I'll follow you anywhere, into the blazes of Hell itself."

Harry looked at her very seriously when he commented, "I hope he doesn't have a Horcrux hidden there."

"A what?" Ginny asked, with a puzzled look in her eyes.

He decided that Dumbledore would approve and said, "I guess I'd better explain," and he told her all about the Horcruxes that Voldemort had created. When he got to the diary, he saw her look nervous, and then angry.

She exclaimed, "I think I have more reason than anyone to make sure those horrible things are destroyed!" Harry continued all the way until Dumbledore had died, weakened by the poison he'd swallowed trying to retrieve the fake Horcrux. He then told her about the note from 'R.A.B."

Ginny whispered those letters to herself, and said, "That locket! It can't be Harry, can it? Regulus Black?"

"What? What about Sirius' brother?"

"Don't you remember that locket at Number Twelve Grimmauld place? The one no one could open? Regulus Black — R. B. — we don't know his middle name — was a Death Eater who got in trouble with Voldemort!"

Harry was getting excited. He asked, "Are you saying? It's certainly worth a look! I just hope that Mundungus hasn't stolen it! If he has, I'll kill him, whether it's a Horcrux or not!" Then he smiled at Ginny and said, "I'm so glad I told you, I…" At that moment, he put his hands on her cheeks, pulled her face next to hers, and kissed her passionately.

He never knew how long they'd been snogging when he heard both Ron and Hermione laughing. Ron commented in mock anger, "You kissed less passionately than that when you were dating!"

Hermione said, "I'm so glad that you're back together, Harry!"

"Well, er," replied Harry nervously. "I've got three things to say. First, Ron, I love your sister. Second, she's coming with us. Third, she has an idea about who R.A.B. was."

Chapter end