Tears flowed unhindered down her face, staining her cheeks as she sat in the middle of her bed. It was dark in the small room. The curtains were drawn against the searing night sky. Ginny sat in an old t-shirt, at least three sizes too large for her petite frame, willing her clammy skin to dry. She held her arms apart from the rest of her body, reluctant to let the skin stick together. Her legs were crossed and had been for a while resulting in, when she finally moved, a pressed outline of her socks on either leg.
The silence of the house was overbearing, causing her ears to start ringing in protest. She sat unmoving, staring straight forward at the candles burning on her desk. Her vision blurred as her eyes watered once more. The backs of her eyes ached with trying to keep the tears back and her throat burned. The ghoul in the attic, two floors above, knocked over a box or two, but seemed to concur with the rest of the Weasleys. Ginny certainly needed some time to herself.
She always tried to hide her feelings, preferring that no one knew how she felt. This time, however, she had been unable to mask her hurt properly. Much like they had always done, her family knew of her love for the Boy Who Lived. She had always admired the story when she was a child, but admiration had quickly turned to adoration. At the tender age of ten, Ginevra Weasley had met her true love. At a mere fifteen she had learned of crushing loss.
Her stomach twisted sickeningly and she let out a sob. Her face contorted with the pain of her broken heart, forcing her mouth into a grimace. Tears squeezed through the lashes of her tightly shut eyes. Her hands found their way to her face, shielding her pain even from the darkness of the room. She found she had no desire to support herself any longer as her body fell to the bed. She lay there on her side, convulsing with her cries, for an eternity. Vaguely, she was aware of the fact that her legs had become glued together with sweat. She tore them apart, and let them flop to either side, hissing with pain as she hit her foot on the corner of the headboard.
White stars formed beneath her watery eyelids and she turned her head, muffling the sounds of physical pain in her mattress. Slowly, the pain grew dull and she drew in a breath. The air, filtered through the bed linens, was hot and dry. Each breath became more vapid as she continually breathed in more of her exhaled air. Finally, she turned back to the more fulfilling air of the room, feeling her nose resume normal shape after having been confined between the pressure of her face and the mattress.
A bruise would form, later, on her foot. She wished the pain had not been so fleeting. It had served as a distraction from the aching emptiness of her heart. It came back full force, and she let out a pathetic moan akin to a trapped animal wishing it would simply die. Her hands fisted into the linens, wishing, praying to any god that would listen. The pain was unbearable, inescapable. It was a wonder her heart hadn't torn itself to pieces for the sheer desire for a more tangible pain. Nothing could help this, nothing could heal her. She would go through life heedlessly for the rest of her days. Her vacuous soul would keep her functioning though she may have wished for the sweet release of death. She could not exist this way.
The creaking of the stairs penetrated her hazy mind. She blinked her eyes at the door, which now stood open, emitting a yellow light from the hall. A figure stood in the door for a fraction of a second, for an eternity: a man's figure. She closed her eyes once more, not caring for an intrusion, not caring for what purpose he was there. She closed her mind to the shadow of a man. She ignored the tension, the panic that suddenly filled the air.
"Ginny! Merlin's beard, what happened?"
Harry. He had come to her in her pain. He sat on the bed, the springs giving under his superior weight. She involuntarily slid closer to him and into the small crater where he sat. She did not move; she had no reason to do so. She had no reason to keep living. His hands where on her shoulders, shaking her lightly. They were on her face, beseeching her to open her eyes from which tears continued to escape. His warm, calloused hands touched her own, her abdomen, her legs, searching for an injury, for any sign of attack. Finding none, they returned to her face.
"Ginny, please. Tell me what happened. Where is everyone? Are you all right?"
She flinched when something unexpectedly hit her face, a small cool droplet landed on her cheek. It traced a trail over the raw skin of her face and slid onto her swollen lips. Her tongue darted out in a subconscious act. Salt. Tears. Her eyes fluttered open. The light from the hall danced over the form of the man hunched over her. His eyes were closed tightly and his lips were pressed into a thin, white line.
"Please," he whispered. "Not her. Not Ginny."
He opened his brilliantly green eyes and they met her deep brown orbs. His breath hitched and eyes bulged and he took in her coherent gaze. His hands gripped her head more firmly, his fingers threading into her auburn locks. He did not care, in the moment, how it had been done. Ginny was alive; she was safe. He did not think on it any longer, crashing his lips upon hers in a passion only felt by one who has nearly lost.
Ginny's heart seemed to stop beating as his tongue slid into her mouth. Dimly, it occurred to her that she might be dreaming, but she could not will herself to care at that moment. Forgetting all questions of reality and fantasy, Ginny raised her fatigued arms to encircle the man who had come to straddle her in his search for a more stable position. His hands, his large, strong hands, fell first to her shoulder, then to her breast, kneading. He left one hand above her head for support, but it dropped to his elbow as he broke the kiss. They panted for air, foreheads touching, sweating with more enthusiasm than the heat alone had been able to provoke.
His wanton kisses trailed from her mouth to her cheek and down further still where he licked the soft skin of her neck. His hand left her breast and travelled down her side, grasping her hips in a needy manner and pulling her closer to him. She sucked in a breath at the unexpected reaction of her body. Her abdomen jumped and her heart began to race.
"Harry," she moaned. She had intended to gain his attention, but it had come across as an expression of her pleasure. She tried to compose herself and succeeded marginally. "Harry," she said again, more coherently this time.
"What?" he asked, barely taking his lips from her shoulder, to which they had migrated. He pulled her loose shirt aside with his teeth and began laying his kisses there as his hand wandered further yet.
"What..." she managed before closing her eyes to savour his touch. They flew open once more, purposefully. "What are you doing?" she asked.
At the urgency in her voice, he lifted his head and looked her in the eyes. "I thought..." he said, choking. "I thought you were dying."
She would have smiled, had it not been he who had caused the pain initially.
"No one was home," he continued. "You weren't opening your eyes. I thought I'd lost you."
"I'll live," Ginny said quietly. She had not been able to will herself to say she was fine. She was not.
His hand was at her cheek once more, guiding her mouth toward his. Harry kissed her feverishly, digging his arms underneath her body to hold her. He rolled onto his side, pulling Ginny onto hers and buried his face into her hair. She smelled of wildflowers as she always had. He closed his eyes in a moment of bliss before she escaped his grasp and sat up, turning her torso to look at him as he lay motionless. "What is this, then?"
He paused before saying "I don't know," and sitting up to meet her.
"I couldn't stand it if you broke my heart again, Harry."
He averted his gaze ashamedly and clenched his jaw. "I just wanted to protect you."
"Don't go any further if you're just going to hurt me again. Tell me now if this is going to be a mistake."
"I don't know, Ginny. I can't say I'll be here in the morning. I can't promise I'll be alive this time tomorrow." His heart grew heavy as he chanced a look at her. Her eyes glazed over as her mind reeled. How could she ask promises of him? He had no answers, yet he had not lied to her. When he spoke again, his voice was barely audible. She was not sure whether it was real or imagined and she never would be. "I love you, Ginny," came the words, tumbling out of his reddened lips. His eyes were full of suffering. He was waging a war with himself; either way, he would lose.
She found herself in his arms once more, damning the consequences. He might not be there in the morning; he might not be there ever again, but he was with her then and that was all she had been concerned with. Her hands grasped his shoulders, feeling the muscles contracting and expanding underneath the skin and fabric of his shirt as he righted her on the bed. One hand grasped the top of the headboard as he gently lowered her to the mattress.
He crossed his forearms and clasped the hem of his shirt, tugging the thin material over his head and throwing it away arbitrarily. All at once, he was surrounding her, squeezing her in his arms, holding onto her as if groping at smoke. He brushed the hair out of her eyes and tilted her upward as he removed the shirt she wore, exposing her bare torso. She shivered at the air, cooler on her newly bare skin. Leaning above her, Harry waited to see if she would protest. Far from it, Ginny placed her palms flat on his toned and scarred chest, sliding her fingertips down his abdomen. They stopped unwillingly at his belt, diving underneath the thicker fabric of his trousers.
As she bit her lower lip and unbuckled his belt, Harry stared, transfixed, at the young woman before him. She was a vision, even in her dishevelled state. She slowly slid his zipper down, releasing his aching penis. He took her mouth once more, gently this time, as she slid his trousers over his buttocks and down his thighs. His legs were lightly peppered with hair, which tickled her bare skin as he freed himself of his remaining clothing. Harry pressed his lips against her chin, down her throat, and ran a straight line to her navel, where he paused. Repositioning his legs for better balance, he used his now unoccupied hands to stroke down her hips. He took the edges of her knickers in his grasp and pulled them down her legs slowly, sensually.
Returning his lips to hers once more, Harry pushed his leg in between her cautiously closed thighs. He nudged her, gesturing for her to part them and she complied, shaking with nerves. Lowering his heated body to hers, he slowly let her grow accustomed to his weight. She looked up at him, her eyes wide as he stroked her face reassuringly.
"You've never-" he began. She shook her head. "You're nervous," he continued. Soothingly, he told her, "don't worry, it will be fine." Ginny felt one of his hands slide up her arm and hold her hand, intertwining their fingers as he sat, poised at the entrance. She held onto him tightly, gritting her teeth and shutting her eyes tightly as she felt herself give way to his penetration. Holding her breath to prevent a groan, Ginny noticed he had stopped moving completely once he had buried himself in her.
She opened her eyes to look at him and noticed he appeared deep in thought. She squeezed his hand as the pain subsided and he lifted his gaze to meet hers. "Are you all right?" she asked him quietly, having seen the pained look on his face.
"Yes," Harry replied. "I'm just... anxious to keep going."
She nodded and moved her hips, getting used to his presence. Never before had she felt something so intimate. He was on top of her, around her, inside her. "Go on," she prodded, giving him a weak smile.
"Are you sure you're all right with this?"
"It's a little late to back out now, isn't it?" she replied.
"No. It's not. Just tell me if you want me to stop."
Cautiously, Harry began to pull out of her and Ginny felt his absence immediately. She wanted to cry out when he slowly filled her once more. Arching her back, she veritably purred, content though her brain had been unable to separate the simultaneous sensations of pain and pleasure. Harry hung his head and closed his eyes, letting loose a groan that gave Ginny a chill.
"Have you," she paused, "ever done this before?" She prepared herself for the answer, not expecting what she received.
"No," he replied. "Why? Am I hurting you?"
"Not anymore, no."
Keeping one arm above her head for support, Harry firmly grabbed her hip and dove into her, eliciting a hearty groan from each of them. His scent filled her brain, lulling her to close her eyes as his ministrations proved fruitful. Ginny tilted her head back, exposing her throat to him. She trusted him completely and, at this, Harry felt his heart soar. He kissed her collarbone while she wrapped her legs around his waist. The change of angle allowed him further access. The muscles in his lower back tightened with the surge of pleasure that ran through him.
Pressure was building inside of him and, if the soft mewling sounds coming from Ginny were any indication, she was enjoying this as well. He dropped his eyes to her breasts, which swayed with each of his thrusts. He ran his hand from her hip to her breast and teased the nipple, making it harder than it had previously been. The callouses on his palms ran a hot trail over her sensitive skin and she drew in a breath before lowering her head to look at him.
Sweat was condensing on his brow. Her fingers thrust into his dampened hair and she pulled his lips to hers, throwing off the rhythm he had developed. He quickly recovered, shoving his tongue past her lips and into her sweet mouth. She tightened around him unexpectedly and drew a sharp breath in through her nose. Harry growled his pleasure at her and continued, even as her groans grew in volume. She felt as if she were suspended in air for a moment before heat washed over her and her eyes rolled backward.
Her moans only served to antagonise him, making the growing pressure increase. His thrusts became more erratic as he reached orgasm. Muscles tensed as his seed spilled into her and his mind went blissfully blank. His head hung limply and he lowered himself to her, resting his cheek upon her chest. The sweat felt cold to Ginny's pale, flushed skin. She wrapped her arms around him while his panting slowed. Without extracting himself from within her, Harry slid his hands under her back and gave a half-hearted hug. He was exhausted in every sense of the word, but he was contented.
As carefully as his first penetration had been, Harry slid out and collapsed beside her. Ginny curled up beside him, resting her head on his chest. She draped an arm and a leg over his cooling body. The sweat and the heat made their skin stick, but he held her close regardless. As her breathing evened out and she fell into a light sleep, Harry lapsed into deep thought.
He had never imagined this would have happened when he apparated to the Burrow two hours previously. Having returned from another fruitless search, he had entered, not bothering to knock, only to hear worrisome noises from upstairs. He had been concerned enough, as it was, to find that no one else was in the house. Seeing Ginny convulsing in pain had set off the alarm bells in his mind. Instantly, his first thought had been to protect her, followed by the desire for her.
He brushed the hair out of her face as Ginny slept on, oblivious to the world around her. Downstairs, the kitchen door opened. The sounds of the Weasleys filtered up the stairs. It was early yet and Mrs. Weasley was likely making dinner. Harry slipped out from underneath his lover and stood. It pained him to leave her side and to think of what thoughts she would have in the morning. He preferred to think her a strong, independent young woman, but Ginny would think he had abandoned her. His brow furrowed and he turned away from her, closing the bedroom door and gathering his trousers. He dressed in near silence before gently pulling a light linen over her and kissing her cheek lightly.
He could not promise her he would return the next night. He could not promise he would live through the day. He lay a quill out to dry and replaced the stopper on the ink well after he finished writing a short note. He straightened from over her desk and waited a moment for the ink to set before laying the note on the bed beside his lover and quietly leaving the room.
I love you, Ginny. This, at least, I can promise you.