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b Disclaimer: This is JKR's world, I'm just messing in it. /b

i A/N: Hehe, trying something new this time... probably going to be a 2-4 parter. Aiming for around 12000 words, eh? Felt like I hadn't written anything for awhile; the idea was already there so I just plucked it out of the air... :) Enjoy! /i

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Harry gasped and ducked behind the fallen pillar. There was a tremendous crash as a Reductor curse shattered the surface of the stone. Taking advantage of the stone dust, Harry quickly crept to the side, raising his wand as he did so. As the dust cleared, the silhouette of his attacker was clearly visible against the evening sunlight. Her back was turned. With a grin, Harry leapt out from his hiding place and swung his wand hand out, quickly whipping it back in to complete the wand movement.

" i Stupefy! /i " he roared. A jet of red light flew from his wand tip, screeching as it tore towards his opponent. With sudden grace, the witch spun around, conjuring a shield just before the stunner hit her. With a 'crack', she disappeared from Harry's line of sight. Sensing a disturbance in the air to his right, Harry turned quickly, an incantation leaving his lips just as the witch apparated in a swirl of robes. As the jet of yellow light hit her, the witch's wand flew out of her hand in a graceful acc, landing squarely in Harry's. Smirking, he approached his would-be assailant with his wand raised, pushing her into a corner of the ruins. Her face was hidden beneath a loose hood, but Harry could see her arms trembling as they met a stone wall. He advanced cautiously, wand conjuring ropes which wrapped themselves firmly around his attacker, leaving no room for movement. As he reached the prone body, he bent over and whispered in her ear softly.

"You're dead."

Satisfied with the look on the witch's face, Harry spun on his heel and started on his way once more. There was a rustle as the ropes fell to the ground. Harry's head snapped back in shock to see the figure leaping towards him. Even before he could whip out his wand, he felt her wand point jabbing into the soft flesh of his side. His eyes widened as his assailant lifted her hood. Soft auburn curls glittered as the last of the waning light gave her face a radiant glow. Her chocolate eyes mirrored her mouth as it curled into an evil smirk. Ginny Weasley gave a last painful twist of her wand, and Harry knew no more...

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Harry ached. There were no other words to describe it. His arms and legs were leaden, probably stiff from the rope which was still wrapped around his wrists and ankles; his back was sore, but the pain was dimmed by the cool and smooth stone he was lying on. Desperate to escape from the darkness of oblivion, Harry forced his eyes open, only to clamp them shut quickly as the harsh glare of a glow stone seared him in contrast to the inky blackness he had floated in for the past... had it been hours? Or perhaps it was days or weeks, he sure felt that way. He grimaced as the feeling returned to his head. His head was spinning and a native drummer seemed to have taken residence inside his skull. Worst of all was the stinging pain which seemed to radiate from his face, Harry grunted in frustration as he tested his bonds to find them tight. A lopsided grin flitted across his face as he discovered that he had been bound flawlessly. i She learns fast /i he thought to himself. Just as he was about to resume his escape attempts, the sound of soft footsteps stopped him in his tracks.

"Comfy?" her lilting voice carried easily in the silence of the room, "I'd hate to see the great Harry Potter uncomfortable, wouldn't I? What kind of hostess would I be then...?" Harry grimaced at the hero reference, for the umpteenth time wishing he could trade his fame away. He turned his mind back to matters at hand. He could almost hear the smug tone of his captor's voice... this was a delicate situation and he had to handle it perfectly. Using a combination of struggling and wobbling, Harry finally managed to roll on his side, only to see the dark leather of his captor's shoes. It was now or never.

"Ginny! Let me up, I'm hurting here, woman..." he whined while attempting to give a doe-eyed look; the boots shifted as their owner squatted down to look Harry in the eye.

"Admit that I got you..." she whispered breathily, lightly trailing a finger down his prone form, reveling in the shiver she was rewarded with as his face began to flush.

"I got you first... you were dead," Harry said stubbornly, but quickly decided to change tack as his girlfriend scowled and stood to leave, "Alright, alright! You won okay... just let me up... please?" Rolling her eyes, Ginny bent down and gave her wand a little wiggle, causing the ropes to fall off from around Harry's wrists and ankles. Grimacing slightly as he rubbed his chaffed skin, Harry quickly turned to follow Ginny's retreating back. Hooking his hand over her shoulder, he spun her around to see her glaring at him. Knowing how hot tempered his girlfriend could be, he let go of her as if his hands had been burned and leapt back a step.

"What did I do?" he yelped, a worried squeak in his voice.

"You boys are all the same! You just can't admit that you lost to me for once... I work and work and when I finally beat you, you act as if I won by fluke..." Ginny's voice became more and more bitter as she worked herself into a rage, she continued as her face reddened further, "I can't stand it! Why do you boys insist on being right all the time? I... mnph!" Ginny's eyes widened as she was forcibly silenced as Harry's lips smothered hers. After a initial few moments of indignation, Ginny's hands wrapped themselves unresistingly around Harry as she lost herself in the kiss. Prying Ginny's hands off him, Harry stepped back and held her at arms length.

"Good that you shut up for a moment, love," he flashed a devilish smirk at her before reverting to a more neutral smile as he continued, "I'm sorry, I was just a little irritable about being bound hand and foot. We've trained hard, and I've not gone easy on you because I know Tom definitely won't. You won fair and square, Gin, and I'm really proud of you." The shy smile which peeked out from beneath her previously stony exterior could not have contrasted more even if she had tried. Harry suddenly realized that no matter how strong she was on the outside, no matter how much they had gone through together, Ginny was still a blossoming young woman who had opinions, emotions and insecurities like any other seventeen year old girl. Harry suddenly felt much more nervous about what he was about to do. Looking up at his girl, Harry's breath was stuck in his throat as he caught sight of Ginny's silhouette in the firelight. The flickering golden flames created brilliant highlights in her coppery hair, making it writhe and dance in a distinctly seductive manner; despite the many hours of training they had had and the missions they had undergone, her skin remained stubbornly pale, causing those cute brown freckles to stand out distinctly, especially around her nose and shoulders; her noble face was distinct but not arrogant, and her chocolaty brown eyes were soulful and deep with intelligence. Those lips... Harry tore his mind away from the incessant urge to ravage her right there and instead pulled her to one side, sitting on the armrest of a sofa and settling her in his lap.

"You're beautiful when you're mad, do you know that?" he asked rhetorically as he planted a row of kisses from behind her ear down to the hollow of her neck, barely slowing as he turned to the subject at hand, "you remember when we discussed making things more... permanent... last summer, the reasons why I said we should wait?" Ginny found herself having trouble concentrating on his words (or anything else for that matter) as his soft butterfly kisses sent tingles of pleasure down her spine. Seeing he was expecting a reply, Ginny rewinded the conversation of the past minute in her head and nodded after she had finally reached the question. Ginny sighed softly as he stopped kissing her, turning to see that he obviously wanted a more elaborated answer.

"You said that we were too young, that I ought to finish school first. You said I would not be able to help you unless I could first protect myself... that's why we started these trainings in the first place, isn't it?" she replied softly as she recalled the raw emotion of that particular meeting. The sound of Harry's voice brought her out of her stupor.

"Yes, I did say that. I wanted to wait for you to finish school, to have no regrets about our marriage. I also made a promise to myself. A promise that today shall be brought in for the tally." he paused a moment, looking unsure of himself, but quickly rallied at the tender smile she gave him, so sincere and well-meaning, "I promised myself that the day you could beat me in a training session, the day that you proved you could fully protect yourself, I would give you a chance to get your wish, mine too, I guess." He grinned ruefully at the last bit. Sliding Ginny off his lap and into the sofa, Harry waved off her questioning look, instead slipping his right hand into his robe pocket, fingering something inside. He turn to face his Ginny and gracefully fell onto one knee. Slipping an object out of his robes and into his palm, Harry Potter raised his right hand palm-side up as he flipped the lid of the velvety box open.

"Ginevra Molly Weasley, will you marry me?" his voice was confident, hopeful and, in Ginny's opinion, downright sexy. Ginny's eyes widened and her jaw fell open at Harry's words, and a mantra began whirling round and round her mind: i Harry Potter just asked me to marry him... /i This was wonderful! The mysterious hero she had worshipped, the kind and noble boy she had befriended, the brave and honorable man she had fought side-by-side with; her wish had finally come true.

"Mmph..." she muttered eloquently, no words could describe the love she felt for this incredible person whom she felt blessed to be with, so she simply replied, "Of course I will, Harry!" As her engagement ring glowed warm around her ring finger, Ginny Weasley leapt into her fiancé's arms, bringing her lips to capture his in a tender kiss. She fisted her hands in his hair, desperately trying to pull him closer to her; her tongue ran teasingly along his lower lip, seeking entrance. As they vigorously explored each and every crevice of the other's mouth, the couple fell onto the couch, all thoughts of Death Eaters, Voldemort and trainings long lost to their minds.

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Harry slid out from Ginny's warm embrace, causing her to mutter in her sleep and roll over. Quietly, he padded across the room to the stairs and ascended to the second level. As he reached the carpeted floor of the landing, he sighed in relief and resumed his normal steps as he turned into the first bedroom on the right to retrieve the Pensieve he had inherited from Dumbledore. Placing the heavy stone basin on the study table, a flash of sorrow clouded Harry's eyes as memories of his time at Hogwarts returned to him; quickly, he cleared his mind and took out his wand. Placing it against his temple, he brought the first memory to the surface of his mind.

" i Extraxi /i ," he thought non-verbally. Feeling the familiar catch of his magic, he drew the strand away from his temple, watching as it swirled around his wand. Feeling strangely comforted by the gentle glow of his memory, Harry smiled softly as he placed his wand tip into the depression in the basin. He made sure that the runes around the bowl had lit up for a few seconds before withdrawing his wand. Pleased with his experiment thus far, Harry repeated the process thrice more, each time leaving the silvery substance in the Pensieve to join the growing ball of memories. Finally satisfied with his work, Harry stood up, walked to one of the intricately-carved bookshelves, and retrieved a small satchel made of coarse fabric.

Returning to the desk, he leaned over the shimmering surface of the basin and plunged in. As he feel, cheering and laughter began echoing about him. Glasses clinked and chairs scraped across the oaken floor. A large fire crackled as a group of Gryffindors lounged before it sipping butterbeers. A copper-haired girl twisted a runaway strand around her little finger and nervously chewed on it. Her forehead was creased slightly with worry and her lip was a little swollen with the constant nervous nibbling. An opened butterbeer lay forgotten by her side, gradually dribbling its contents into the cushion it was leaning against. For what seemed like the hundredth time that afternoon, Ginny Weasley turned her head to glance at the portrait hole. As she returned her listless gaze to the tiny griffins woven into the carpet once more, she saw a sudden movement in her peripheral vision.

The portrait hole creaked open. Harry watched as a younger version of himself stepped nervously through the door, a look of worry on his face. As people turned to see who had entered the tower, the loud chatter of the party escalated into a roar which shook the common room. The younger Harry was swept by a wave of pumping hands and screaming fans as a beaming Ron proudly waved the trophy above his head. Knowing what was soon to happen, Harry untied the knot of the satchel and took out the simple camera that Colin had lent to him.

Looking through the crystal viewfinder, Harry couldn't help but smile to himself as Ginny leapt to her feet, sending butterbeer splashing across the carpeted floor. Surging forward, she seemed to radiate determination as the crowd split before her, creating an aisle as she sprinted towards the surprised-looking Harry. With a mighty leap, she launched herself into his arms, wrapping her legs around his torso as he bent down to share their first kiss. Even as a tear wound its way down Harry's face, the camera's flash send clouds of purple smoke into the memory as he captured the raw emotion showing on both their faces. The shock quickly wore off Ginny's face, and soon she was lost in the passion of the moment. As the image began to blur, Harry sighed, quickly willing himself out of the pensieve so that he could work on the next few memories.

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Some one was calling his name.

Harry stirred.

Something hard was jabbing into his shoulder. Groaning slightly, Harry sniffled and drowsily raised himself out of the uncomfortable position he had fallen asleep in. Shaking his arms and stretching his neck, he tried to work the knots out of his sleep-stiffened muscles.

"Harry! Where are you? What do you want for breakfast? Answer me or I'll go up there and hex you myself..." Ginny's voice rang loudly through the house, causing Harry's head to snap up, quickly wiping the last cobwebs of sleep from his mind. Taking account of his surroundings, Harry realized that he must have fallen asleep after he had completed making Ginny's gift. He looked down and saw that he had been sleeping on the sharp corner of the photo frame and grimaced. Picking it up, he shuffled around the mess on his desk before placing it carefully onto a sheet of emerald coloured wrapping paper. With a flick of his wand, the gift wrapped itself neatly, even going to the extent of tying a pretty little ribbon over the seam of the paper. Harry quickly stuffed the package in his pocket and had just exited his room when he came face to face with Ginny's wand point.

"Didn't think you could lose me that easily, did you, love?" the stern tone of Ginny's voice was offset by the laughter clearly shining in her eyes. Being reminded of his good fortune the night before sent a burst of warmth rushing though Harry's body and he happily kissed his fiancée good morning, and then watched as she glided down to the kitchen to make breakfast for them both. Taking advantage of being alone, Harry quickly washed up and put on a clean robe, then walked towards Ginny's room to leave the present in the robes he knew she would have laid out on the bed for the day's use.

Pushing her door gently open a crack, Harry was glad to hear that it did not squeak. Opening it completely, he stopped to admire the quaint decor of her room, which she had moved into only a week ago. The Burrow had been attacked by the dregs of the Death Eaters, and Harry had decided that it was best if the Weasleys moved out until he had confronted Voldemort. Ginny had moved in with Harry, Ron to Hermione's London flat and Mr. & Mrs. Weasley to the Order Headquarters. The change in the room was stunning, as the once bare ceiling and walls had been transfigured into a cool shade of blue, with a border of delicate lilies along the edges. As his eyes drifted across her room, Harry took in the many knick-knacks and everyday items which made the room look so well lived-in.

All of a sudden, he spotted a movement in the corner of his eye. Spinning around, he drew his wand from the sleeve of his robe and got into a dueling pose, ready to take on whatever he had seen.

Ginny's robe lay innocently on her bed.

Harry advanced towards her bed after seeing that nothing else was out of the ordinary. There was an odd bump in the robe, around the size of a snitch. A spell ready on his lips, he used his wand tip to flip one side of the robe open. i What is that? /i he thought as he looked at the obviously scared creature. Its skin was a vibrant green and it was clad in an assortment of bits and pieces. The creature was humanoid in appearance, and was lying flat against the bed, its hands protectively around its head. Lowering his wand a little, Harry raised his other hand to show he was holding no other weapons. He bent over at the waist, trying to get a better look at the creature.

"What in Merlin's Beard are you?" he muttered wondrously.

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i A/N: Thank you for reading my lastest fic, been trying to find the commitment to write this plot line for weeks now.

Update: Developed the plot when I had free time today, look forward to more developed chapters coming up!

Thanks for reading, now review! /i

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Copyright Geoffrey Lim 2006