Disclaimer: Harry Potter and his various friends and enemies, as well as Sam, Al, and Ziggy, all belong to their respective owners; I'm just borrowing them
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Leaping Into Magic
As Malfoy finally collapsed to the ground, blood dripping from his nose and a large bruise forming on his cheek where Sam had kicked him, the quantum physicist smiled in relief as he glanced over at Al.
"'I'm your Nemesis'?" he said in a low voice- he didn't want to attract too many questions from Ginny if she heard him apparently talking to himself- looking teasingly at Al. "Isn't that just a bit melodramatic… not to mention more than slightly cliché?"
"This from the guy who called a powerful Dark Wizard who's killed hundreds of people 'Moldiewarts'?" Al retorted, grinning widely at his friend. "I mean, you have six degrees- one in languages, I might add- and that's the best insulting name you could come up with for the guy?"
"I wanted something that Malfoy would understand if I was going to provoke him; besides, I was under a more than slight bit of stress, you know!" Sam retorted, his indignant attitude significantly less effective due to the wide grin on his face.
"Yeah, well, whatever," Al said, shrugging dismissively as he indicated Ginny's still-immobilised body. "Anyway, you'd best get her back up and get back to the Burrow; I get the distinct impression she's getting a bit tired having to lie around there right now. Gushie asked Harry about that spell Malfoy used on her," he added, indicating the handlink, "and apparently all you need to do is say 'Finite Incantatem' and she's back up and at them."
"Right," Sam said, nodding in agreement as he pulled Harry's wand out of his pocket and walked over to the form of the young girl he'd come here to save. Grateful that she'd been looking away and that he'd been speaking at a low volume- at least he wouldn't have to explain who he'd been talking to earlier- Sam took a brief glance to make sure she didn't seem injured, raised the wand, pointed it at her, and said "Finite Incanteum!"
Almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth, Ginny was sitting up with her arms wrapped tightly around Sam's shoulders, sobbing uncontrollably into his shoulder as she spoke.
"I'm s-s-sorry!" she said, sounding like she'd just been told someone she loved had died. "You could have died… Malfoy could have killed you… It's my fault… it's all my fault… if you'd just stayed away…"
"What, then you'd be dead?" Sam said, reaching up to grab Ginny's shoulders and push her slightly away from him so he could look her in the eyes. He wasn't sure how she'd take this, given that she still appeared to be crying slightly…
But she had to know- she deserved to know- how Harry felt about her.
How he had to feel about her, given how he'd reacted to her death in the original timeline…
Just because Sam wasn't Harry in any way other than appearance didn't mean he didn't understand what his host must have gone through when this woman had been taken from his life forever. Even after all this time, the loss of his father and brother still hurt Sam considerably, and he'd had the 'comfort' of knowing they'd just died by chance rather than fearing that their deaths may have occurred because somebody was trying to hurt him.
As far as how strongly Harry's feelings about Ginny's death must have been…
Even the little he'd heard from Al had been enough for him to pity his host's future unless things were changed for the better. Losing this beautiful, courageous young woman had driven Harry Potter, a young man who had already endured so much, over the edge into a state of almost suicidal madness. If Al's information was accurate, the man had pretty much refused to keep going after he'd completed his 'mission' to destroy the horcruxes… apparently all because Ginny Weasley would never be there for him once the fight was over.
If that didn't mean he'd been in love with her, Sam didn't know what would show that.
"Look, Ginny," Sam said, turning his thoughts back to the matter at hand as he looked at her, still red-eyed from her earlier crying fit, "whatever you think, I don't blame you for getting me into this situation; quite frankly, a world where I didn't manage to find you here isn't worth thinking about…"
He sighed. "If I blame anyone for what that… jerk… did," he said, indicating where Malfoy was lying sprawled on the ground, already wishing he'd hit the guy a bit harder than he actually did, "I'm blaming myself."
"No, Har-" Ginny began, before Sam placed a hand over her mouth.
"No, really, I do," he said, staring at her as he spoke. "If I'd been a bit more sensible back then… a bit less stupid about how I treated you after the funeral… maybe you wouldn't have been so busy being angry at me- not that I didn't deserve it, of course- for doing something so stupid as letting you go."
"Nice line," Al said, nodding in approval as Ginny looked inquiringly at Sam.
"You… you mean that?" she asked, staring at him in surprise. "Even after I-"
"What, got taken by surprise by a complete idiot after already trying to hold him back as much as you could given what you had available?" Sam asked, indicating the unconscious Malfoy with a small grin on his face. "Ginny, if I blamed you for that, I'd be an even bigger idiot! Quite frankly, given that he took you by surprise and had a wand, I'm mainly impressed that you were still willing to stand up to him, given that you didn't know what he'd do."
Ginny just shrugged slightly as she glared over at the unconscious Malfoy.
"Trust me, Harry; I had a basic idea of what he wanted, and that's more than I wanted or needed," she said, eyes narrowed as she glared in the young madman's direction before looking back at Sam. "But… you mean that? About not blaming me for it, I mean…"
Sam just smiled back at her, as he tenderly brushed an errant strand of hair out of her face.
"Every word," he said simply. "I'm just grateful that you held him off until I could get here."
He leaned over to kiss her briefly on the forehead, and then he stood up, took Ginny by the hand, and hauled her to her feet.
"Anyway, we'd better be getting back," he said, sparing a brief glare over in Malfoy's direction as he spoke. "We'll have to remember to send someone here for that guy when we get back to the Burrow."
"Tell me about it," Ginny muttered, shooting a brief glare at Malfoy before Sam clasped her tightly in his arms, closed his eyes as she wrapped her own arms around his waist, focused on the Burrow…
And the two of them were standing in the middle of the kitchen, attracting several stares as the various Weasleys turned to see (As they thought) Harry and Ginny in a passionate embrace.
"Before anyone says anything," Ginny said, turning to glare particularly hard at the twins who'd picked Sam up yesterday, before turning her attention to her very critical-looking parents, "Harry and I were not apparating off to have a private snog; we actually just had a close call with Malfoy."
"Malfoy?" Hermione said, looking at Ginny in shock as she stepped away from Sam; the youngest Weasley's brothers and parents both seemed too shocked to think of something else to say right now.
"Yeah; he just hit me in the head, grabbed Ginny, and then apparated over to this graveyard before I could do anything to stop him," Sam put in, drawing attention away from Ginny for the moment; he got the impression this was not going to be something she wanted to talk to her family about. "I managed to stay awake, took a chance that Malfoy'd go somewhere he knew pretty well, and checked out some of the more likely places-"
"Wait a minute; he knows a graveyard pretty well?" Charlie put in, looking at Harry in confusion. "What's that all about?"
"And what made you so sure he'd go there?" Ron put in, looking in confusion at Sam. "Wouldn't he go somewhere a bit more comfortable than a graveyard?"
"Well, to answer the first one, that's… a long story," Sam said, passing it off with a wave of his hand; he'd rather not go into too much detail right now, especially since Harry might come back at any minute. "And for the second… well, not many people know there's a connection between him and this graveyard, so I figured he'd probably want to go somewhere where he wasn't likely to be found."
"And you just went there?" Hermione said, looking critically at Sam; this girl could really make you feel uncomfortable with the intensity of her stare, Sam reflected.
"Well… I checked a couple of locations first," Sam said, grateful that he'd taken a bit of time to leave; so long as nobody had actually looked through the window during his discussion with Al before he'd apparated away, his story should be OK…
"Look, does it really matter how he did it?" Ginny said, looking at her parents critically. "As far as I'm concerned, all that matters is that, if Harry hadn't managed to find me, I probably wouldn't be here right now, OK?"
"That's true enough…" a voice said from over Sam's shoulder; Al had evidently shown up at last.
"Uh… could you excuse me a minute?" Sam said, looking anxiously at everyone else. "I've… got to do something."
For a moment he thought that someone was going to protest, but when he started to head towards the door that concealed the Weasley's toilet, they appeared more prepared to just let him go.
As soon as the door was locked, Sam turned to look at Al, who had walked through the wall to join him.
"Well?" he asked, looking anxiously at the hologram. "What happens now?"
"Well," Al said, studying the handlink with a broad grin on his face, "you'll be pleased to know that not only does Harry find the horcruxes, but he actually finds them far faster than he did in the original history; he takes a lot more care when he's on the missions than he did the first time around."
"Went down like a sack of potatoes in the final confrontation after a few minutes," Al smiled, chuckling slightly as he studied the handlink. "Hey, get this; turns out Harry started working on his hand-to-hand skills after he gets back, and it helps him take Voldemort by surprise in the showdown." He glanced back at Sam with a smile on his face. "Guess you made more of an impression than you thought; he commented once that he was inspired to train by a friend who helped him out of a tight spot."
A brief sob outside the door caused Sam and Al to pause for a moment, but Al just stuck his head through the door and then glanced back at Sam. "It's cool; just Mrs Weasley hugging Ginny- think it finally fully hit her what could have happened to Ginny if you hadn't shown up in time."
Sam nodded in understanding. Back in the Vietnam War, when his family received the telegram informing them of the death of Tom Beckett, it had taken him some time to fully process the news that his brother was gone; it had only fully sunk in when he'd gone into his brother's room after getting the news, as he realised that Tom would never be returning to it. It was hardly surprising that other people would feel the same way in this kind of situation.
And speaking of the Weasleys…
"What about the others?" Sam asked anxiously. "Ron and Hermione? Are they both OK now?"
"Yeah, they're fine," Al grinned back. "Ron and Hermione are married and expecting their first children- twins, apparently- and Harry and Ginny have a son and Ginny's pregnant with their daughter. Ron and Hermione still haven't decided on names for the kids, but Harry and Ginny are already resolved to call their daughter Lily Molly, after her grandmothers, and the son…"
He smiled slightly.
"What?" Sam said, looking in confusion at Al. "What is it?"
Looking up, Al smiled.
"They called their son Sirius Samuel," he said, a broad grin on his face. "Harry named him after you, Sam."
Sam blinked in surprise.
He hadn't been expecting that. He'd sometimes wondered just how much the 'swiss cheese' effect that always left his memory rather spotty when he Leaped would affect his hosts- he typical just assumed that they forgot about the Leap and went on with their lives.
To know that Harry had remembered enough to name his son after him…
"Wait a minute…" Sam said, turning to look at Al in confusion, "how do we know all this? I mean, I can understand knowing about the kids- birth and marriage certificates would probably be in computer records- but all this stuff about Voldemort…"
"Well, we didn't have to go far," Al said, smiling broadly at his friend. "After all, not only does Harrypretty much keep us going financially these days, but we do have Hermione on the staff."
Sam's jaw nearly dropped.
"What…?" he began.
"Oh yeah; turns out, when Harry finally beat Voldemort and had some extra spare time on his hands, he tracked us down and monitored our progress, chipping in with financial donations whenever we were strapped for cash- apparently his parents left him a stupidly large amount of money and he figured we'd make good use of it," Al said, smiling as he looked at Sam. "Anonymous, mainly; we only learned it was him a couple of days ago when he was sure the time was right and he wouldn't impact us getting into this position in the first place."
"Whoa…" Sam said, as he turned to stare at the reflection in the mirror before he fully processed the other detail Al had told him. "Wait; Hermione's on the Project now?"
"Yep," Al said, smiling broadly at his friend. "She was actually involved in the construction of Ziggy; the two of you came up with some pretty good ideas about how to get our brain patterns to sync up so that Ziggy could be the brainbox she is today, to say nothing of the upgrades she's made to the system since then."
"Upgrades?" Sam said, looking at Al in surprise.
"Yeah, mostly to do with the speed at which we can track you down after you've Leaped; there've been a few other upgrades involving information access and general comfort in the project, but generally these days she's good for keeping our spirits up," Al explained, a grin on his face as he spoke. "If nothing else, some of her arguments with Ron can be very amusing…"
"Right…" Sam said, only partly registering what Al was saying as he stared at the mirror.
He had barely spent two days living Harry's life to save Ginny… and Harry had provided them with financial assistance? The sheer amount of money the Project needed just to operate on a daily basis was…
Raising one hand as he stared at the mirror, Sam touched the glass gently, wishing more than ever before that he could, at some point, actually meet his hosts, rather than just see them in the mirror…
Because, right now, he wanted nothing more than to shake Harry's hand and thank him for what he had done for the Project- if the man hadn't had something to do with Hermione applying for a job at the Project, Sam would be very surprised.
"Anyway, you'd better get back out there," Al said, jerking his thumb towards the bathroom door. "Ziggy estimates there's a ninety-eight percent chance that all you need to do is make it clear to Ginny that she and Harry are going to start dating once again, and you're set."
Nodding slightly, Sam opened the door, and instantly found himself wrapped in Mrs Weasley's arms as she gripped him so tightly he was almost worried she'd suffocate him.
"Oh, Harry!" she said, sounding like she was almost sobbing herself. "How could you do that? You could have been killed! Why didn't you wait for help? We were all so worried about you…"
"I know…" Sam said, patting her reassuringly on the back as he spoke. "And I'm sorry for that… believe me."
Then he sighed slightly as he looked over at Ginny. "But quite frankly… given what might have happened, the option of doing nothing…"
He shrugged. "Well, it wasn't an option."
As Ginny looked up at him, the faintest trace of tears in her eyes at what 'Harry' had just said to her, Sam smiled back…
And then he Leaped.