Disclaimer: Of course I do not own any of the characters….they unfortunately belong to the great JKR

Pain for Pain

Dreams. They were all that invaded his mind anymore. Dreams of death came and went through both the sleeping and waking hours. When he slept the killings of his parents, Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore, and even Frank Bryce flooded his mind. Being awake was no better then sleep. All that he thought of was the devastation of bodies, hearts, and minds. Dark bags formed under his eyes, which had once shone a beautiful green. He spent some days in a semi conscious state, thinking, feeling, seeing nothing. Food was pushed under the door regularly but it was almost never eaten.

Exercise was his way out. It was his only way to escape from the pains of reality. As the thoughts began to pulse through is brain he would do push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, anything, pushing himself to his absolute limit then forcing himself to continue. Each time as he lay panting sweaty on the floor he would cry uncontrollably, heaving away tears of sorrow, regret and frustration. For hours a day he would do nothing but this and at night against his own will he would reluctantly drift off into a fitful sleep only to be awoken but a few hours later crying out into the night. Then the process would repeat. Physical pain to relieve mental pain.

The cat flap opened and a plate of food was forced through. Harry reached for the water and drank half the glass in two swallows. He couldn't remember when he had eaten last. He picked up the small sandwich and gave the top piece of bread to Hedwig. He ate the rest slowly, letting his stomach get used to having something in its emptiness. The cold soup he left. With the water finished he pushed the plate back through the cat flap and lay crying quietly on his bed.

He moved down on the floor, he was doing push-ups again. But it wasn't enough. He needed a new exercise. His heart was aching more then his body and he couldn't stand it. Quickly his mind tried to process and alternative. Running. Its not that he wasn't allowed out, he just never went. Running. Yes, running would tire his legs and draw attention from the agony of his heavy heart.

He stepped unsteadily into the hall. Once on the stairs he was sure to avoid the one the creaks. As he opened the door the blazing sun blinded his, darkened prone, eyes. He blinked rapidly and finally opened eyes adjusting to the light. He set off at a jog down the street. Not enough, faster. Faster yet he was running, starting to feel the burn in his calves. He was past the park, looped around the market, to the school and running toward the park again. He was running with incredible speed now, unable to stop. Not wanting to stop. He poured all his rage, anger, and sorrow into a final fast paced sprint and collapsed onto the grass at the park. "Now the tears would come." He thought to himself. "NO!" Not in public. Even in the company of complete strangers he would not break down. He took deep breaths and swallowed his tears. Slowly he rose to his knees then his feet. He walked back to the Dursleys with is eyes on his feet, unable to stop the steady flow of tears that dripped onto the sidewalk. Once back at number four Privet Drive he could not bring himself to enter the room of which he had imprisoned himself for so long. He took a place on the soft grass of the yard and continued to cry softly.

Above him Petunia was digging through an old wooden chest. She retrieved an envelope, delicately placed the quilts in the correct order and shut the lid. She walked to her rocking chair by the window placing the envelope in her scrawny lap. As she peered upon her shattered nephew her heart remained as cold as stone. She clenched her fists together in anger. Anger from the fact that even after death her sisters son had become the most important being in the world and her own son had become noting but an over weight trouble maker. She shuddered in frustration and stoop up scribbled some words on the envelope and let the room.

Sleep claimed Harry as he lay on the sweet smelling grass. Dreams came, not of death, but of love. Ginny, the fiery red-headed beauty that had taken claim of his heart went in and out of him mind. Sirius was chuckling, instead of screaming, "Oh Merlin, Potters and their red heads." He cracked a delicate smile within his slumber. His first in weeks. For the first time in a long time he slept a full night. When he awoke the next morning he felt refreshed. As if one dream of good could wash away the bad. The bad. He remembered the bad and suddenly goodness felt far away and unreachable. He set his elbows on his knees and ran a hand through his untidy black hair. His eyes caught the date on his watch. Harry Potter was now seventeen years old, and of age.

He dashed through the house and up the stairs taking two at a time. He slammed the door behind him and pulled his wand from the waist band of his jeans. He raised it high in the air and yelled "Pack!" He was so happy he even got the socks to fold themselves. Just at the pivotal moment of independence Hedwig came soaring through the window. Harry crossed the room and untied the letter attached to her leg.

Dear Harry,

Happy birthday! I cannot believe that we are all finally of age. More of that later. I will be arriving today to take you away from the Dursleys. Can't say too much else incase the letter is intercepted. We can talk when I see you.

Love Always


Suddenly dread surfaced in Harry's stomach. His daily routine would not work with the Weasleys. How could he make it seem that he was okay? He certainly wasn't and he was aware of that. Perhaps once he was surrounded by friends he would be alright. Like he was before school let out, before he –

Ginny. There would be Ginny. He wasn't going to pretend he didn't think about her. He did. All the time. Was she safe? Was she happy? Did she hate him? These very questions ran through his head all day, everyday. He wasn't sure if he could stand being around her the rest of the summer without wanting to be with her. Without putting her in danger. He kneaded his forehead with his knuckles in frustration.

In the midst of his thoughts he had failed to her the resounding crack from down stairs. He jumped up suddenly, defensively, as the door was magically opened. Hermione walked in on her best friend to see him in a state she was not prepared for. In less then two seconds Ginny stood at her side equally shocked. He did not look like the Harry they had once known and loved. His face was littered with tear stains. His eyes were hollow surrounded by dark circles. Without his shirt Ginny could immediately tell he had gained muscles even if the rest of him looked dreadful.

"Oh Harry." Hermione breathed. She hurried over to his side and wrapped him in a warm loving hug. Suddenly, being able to hold it back, Harry broke down frantically sobbing into her shoulder. Ginny stared at the two best friends and could not help it when tears of her own filled her hazel brown eyes. She walked over and wrapped her arms around Harry from behind. Together with words unspoken they put their sorrow aside and smiled weakly at each other

"Look at the three of us," Hermione stated in-between sniffles. "Blubbering when we should be getting Harry home."

Home. The word sounded like music to his ears. Despite his emotional difficulty just being at home would bring some small degree of satisfaction. A least a facade for the day would be manageable. He slipped a shirt over his head and crossed the room to his trunk. With a wave of his wand he sent it to the Burrow. Just as they were about to apperate Aunt Petunia appeared in the room and thrust and envelope into Harry's hands. He gripped Hermione's arm and with a loud pop they were gone. As soon as thy apperated at the Burrow he jammed the envelope into his pocket where it was soon forgotten in the mass of hugs and greetings.

Harry kept his emotions in check all day; both his immense sadness and his feelings for a Miss Ginny Weasley were kept to himself. Tonight alone in his room he sat on his bed much like that morning. Slowly he slipped his hand into this jeans pocket and retrieved the envelope. "Happy 17th Birthday" was written on the front. As he turned it over to open it he saw two words written hurriedly, in different hand writing; "good luck." He pried the envelope open and dumped the contents on the bed. A letter, a locket, and a ring fell to the bed.

Dear Son,

Congratulations. You are of age and a full-fledged, no doubt amazing, young wizard. You're probably looking at us weird, thinking why the heck would my parents write a 17th birthday letter when I was just a baby? Well the answer is; it's a tradition of the Potter family. This envelope contains two of our most prized possessions, besides you of course. Your mother's locket has been passed down from her great-great-grandmother. Keep it well. This ring is the very ring my great-grandfather proposed to my great-grandmother with. Keep it well. The last gift is a gift only you yourself can give. Your magic is a wonderful gift indeed. The ability to control and use it wisely is even greater. Keep your magic and yourself well. As you travel into the word and do great things never forget your roots, your family & friends. We are your true stronghold, your true home.

Love Always, and Forever,

Mom and Dad

Harry's cries came in long wracking sobs as he curled up on his bed and wept. Through cloudy eyes he examined his parents past. He clutched the jewelry in his fist as he started to shake. The whole room suddenly felt cold but he could not bring himself to get under the blankets. He wrapped his arms around his knees and pressed his head down. Suddenly a pair of warm arms slipped around him. He tensed his body in defense. A chin rested lightly on top of his head and a delicate voice made soft shushing noises in his ear. A scent filled his nose and his senses told him who was comforting him. Ginny Weasley. But he no longer cared. He put a hand over hers and grasped it continuing to cry. Ginny slowly rocked him back and forth. The comforting movements caused Harry to look into her eyes as the flow of tears slowed. She brushed the hair out of his eyes and kissed the top of his head.

"Tell me." Was all she said. And between sniffs and cries everything came pouring from him before he even knew what he was doing. The exercises, insomnia, eating habits, were all told. The worries about her, everything was released. He looked into her eyes once more as they moved closer to his. Their lips connected in a sweet passionate kiss. Harry moved his hand to the back of her neck as she opened her mouth to allow him in. Their tongues slid over each other, gently caressing the other. Ginny hands found their way under his shirt and she ran the tips of her fingers over his muscles.

Suddenly he pulled away and removed her hands from is chest. Slowly his hands crept around her neck and back again. She felt a weight pull at her neck and without taking her eyes off of him clasped the locked. She slid her fingers across it and finally tore her eyes away from his. The locket was beautiful

"It was my mothers." He whispered. "And this," he said slipping the ring onto her finger, "was the ring my father proposed to my mother with. It's been in the Potter family for generations."

"Are you proposing to me?"

He shook his head. "A promise ring, you will be mine forever. No matter what. And someday if—

"When." She said forcefully

"If I come back," he re-stated, "I will marry you and you will be Mrs. Ginny Potter.

Ginny's eyes were rapidly forming tears. "You are not going to die on me Potter. You are going to come back and marry me and make me a mother. I demand you come back to me alive Harry James Potter."

"Whatever you say dear." He whispered in her ear.

Tenderly he grasped her earlobe in his lips. She lifted her head back as he trailed kisses along her neck. She took his face in hers and kissed him smoothly and with passion. She released his face and lifted her shirt over his head. Harry bent over and put his head to her breasts kissing them lightly. I had been to long since he had been able to do this. He wrapped his arms around her and laid her back on the bed. Kneeling over her he removed his own shirt. For the first time she saw his perfect new muscles clearly. She kissed him all over exploring his newly developed body. Her hands moved gracefully over his defined chest. Then up and down his bulging biceps. Finally their lips came together in a steamy passionate kiss.

Harry cursed his clumsy hands as he fumbled to undo the buckle on her belt. She smiled softly when at last it came loose. She felt her pants slide slowly down her legs and fall to the floor. Ginny made quick work of Harry's pants and they soon joined hers. She bit him lightly on the ear as his boxers were taken from his waist.

As Harry made for her underwear couldn't help but be sad for everything that had happened and everything that would. Seeing the emotional look on Harry's face Ginny sat up and kissed him long and hard. Her underwear landed on the floor.

She rested her forehead against his head and smiled, for everything that had happened and everything that would.

"I love you." She whispered.

Harry bit his lip and nodded.

"And I know you love me."

Again, he nodded.

"And I know you're afraid to say it because everyone you love is in danger."

He nodded once more.

"So if you won't say it with words, you need to show it." She kissed him. "Feel it." Another kiss. "And experience it."

This time he kissed her. Softly. Slowly. Tenderly. He lowered her to the bed once more. Together they became lost in each other. He filled her completely, he made her whole. There was no pain. The first time he had felt horrible for causing her to be in so much pain. Now there was only the love and desire in their hearts. The love they could not openly show now became their very beings.

Then as soon as they had started it was over. Ginny could still feel a small tingle of pleasure run through her. She reached over in the darkness and grasped his hand. In the dim lighting of the moon she saw him offer her a weak smile. He lifter her hand and kissed it. Then he slowly untangled their fingers and replaced is underwear and pants. She pulled the covers around herself as she watched Harry doing push-ups on his bedroom floor.