Harry and Ginny were arguing. It was not a shout and insult type of argument; no, they were arguing about who would open their present first while they sat by their little Christmas tree in their pyjamas in their quarters at Hogwarts. Each wanted to want the other their present so he or she could watch.
"Please, Ginny, open yours first."
"No way, Harry Potter, you will open yours first." Ginny picked up the somewhat large but flat box and shoved it into his hands. Her Quaffle sized wrapped box sat in front of her. They each had one present from the other.
"Fine!" Harry harrumphed. "But next year, you are opening your present first."
"Next year?" All argument left her voice.
"Well, I don't see why not. We seem to have gotten along pretty well in the last couple of months since we started dating." When Ginny did not answer, Harry pulled the wrapping paper off of his present. Opening the box, he pulled away the tissue paper padding and saw some of the finest purple material he had ever seen. There were golden stars and moons all over it. Touching it, he found it was smoother than any cloth he had ever held. "What is it?" he asked as he pulled it out.
"New robes, silly," she teased him.
He rolled his eyes at her. "No, what's this material?"
"It's made from Acromantula silk. It's the smoothest yet toughest material known to wizards. It also has built in cooling and heating charms so it's always the right temperature and they never wrinkle," she told him as if she had been reading a brochure.
Harry chuckled. "You want me to look like Dumbledore did, don't you?"
"Not really, but I knew there were times that something like this might be useful to you. And if you wanted to let others infer that you had the power and genius of Albus Dumbledore because you happen to wear something similar, I didn't think that was entirely bad."
Looking in the box, he also found a second set of robes. They were dark blue with silver magical symbols on them, symbols which slowly moved over the garment. "These are amazing, Gin. I can't believe you did this. They must have cost you a fortune."
She giggled. "Honestly, they didn't. When I walked into Madam Malkins to get you some robes like this, she recognized me from our pictures in the paper. Then when I gave her your measurements, which obviously wouldn't have fit me, she knew they were for you and charged me what normal robes would cost. It was nice but scary."
Harry snorted. "I understand. The few times I've walked into a pub for a drink, as soon as I was recognized, I had everything I wanted to eat and drink for free. Part of me was upset at that, but then I also realized it wasn't going to go away, and I suppose this is these people's way of saying thank you for us fighting in the war. If I look at it as part of the war effort, I don't get quite so upset."
"That's an interesting way to look at it."
"Thank you for these, Gin; I'm sure I'll be the envy of everyone." He reached over and put one hand behind her head and pulled her over. She did not resist and returned his kiss with passion.
"Umm, yummy," she teased him. "OK, my turn." She picked up the box. "Harry? Are you sure you remembered to wrap the present? The box feels empty."
"Positive, it's just very light." He smirked at his own pun, one she had no reason to understand -- yet.
Tearing the wrapping paper off, she saw instructions on the top of the box: Set box on floor; tap with wand; sit back and enjoy the presentation
She looked at him with skepticism. "This looks like something from my brothers. Are you sure it's safe to open?" One never knew what the twins could put in a box this size. The original portable swamp box was about like this.
"Quite sure, Gin. I checked it myself. Just follow the instructions."
So she set the box down as far away from her as possible, leaned forward and tapped the box on top with her wand, and quickly moved back as far away as their small sitting area allowed.
For a couple of seconds, nothing happened. Suddenly, the top unfolded itself and the sound of trumpets blew. Miniature fireworks went off scaring both of them. The glowing sparks hung in the air and moved to spell out: This personal message brought to you by WWW, where we are wheezes.
Ginny looked over at her boyfriend and saw him grinning from ear to ear.
Another trumpet fanfare started and she swung her attention back to the box. More miniature fireworks came out, and as their sparks coalesced into a message this time, Harry voice also came out of the box as if reading the message. "Ginevra Molly Weasley ... Because I love you, will you marry me?"
She looked back at her boyfriend and saw him looking a little unsure of himself, although he was looking her right in the eyes. With a feral look, she launched herself at him, tackling him. They rolled on the floor and Ginny made sure she came out on top. She pressed all of herself against him, especially her lips.
Harry was in heaven as he felt his girlfriend wiggle and then lay on top of him. Her snogging skills were unmatched, even better than Rachel's, though he was not going to be telling Ginny that. His hands roamed over her, caressing her over her thin pyjamas. He had no idea how long they lay there sucking each other's tonsils out; and frankly, he did not care.
"Yes," she finally said as she came up for air before she started to snog him again. All the time she had been friends with him over the years, the studying of the maps, tracking him down, bringing him back to England, and then working with him since the Final Battle, had been worth it. She loved this man.
When she came up for air the second time, Harry gasped, "I think you forgot something."
A puzzled look came over her. "What?"
"Look at the box again."
She turned her head and noticed that the message had changed. It now said, "Psst, look in the box." She also saw a glow coming out of the box. Carefully getting up, she crawled over and looked in. Lit up with what had to be small Spotlight Charms was a sparkling little item hovering in the middle of the box. The sparkle almost blinded her.
"Go ahead a grab it," Harry encouraged her. "It's only held up by a Levitation charm, so it won't hurt you."
Ginny reached in and grabbed the item and pulled it out. It had to be the largest diamond on a ring she had ever seen. There were also seventeen very little diamonds around the big central diamond.
Harry pulled the ring away from her and grabbed her left hand. Realizing what he was doing, she extended her fingers and let him slide it on. She felt it shrink slightly as it sized itself to her finger. "So, I promised I'd do something formal by the end of the year, Ginny. This is my promise to you. I'm yours until death do us part. You just have to set the date."
She looked at him in deep thought for a moment, then a mischievous smile overcame her. "New Year's Eve, Harry. I only want a small wedding and everyone is here for the holidays."
He was shocked. "You sure?"
"Yes. Are you not sure about marrying me?" She was joking a little, but she also hoped she had not put him off of marriage.
"I've very sure about you, and if you want to get married before the year ends, then we shall," he promised her. "But why the rush?"
"Because I want you Harry Potter," Ginny said with sincerity. "You've been the perfect gentleman, well -- mostly," she said with a small blush, "and I've been the almost perfect young lady. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to stop that."
Harry wiggled his eyebrows and gave her a suggestive face. "We don't have to be at Remus's house to see everyone until lunch, so we have several hours."
Ginny groaned. "You don't know how tempting that is, but let's wait six days. If I've waited this long, I can wait six more days." Another thought had been running through her mind, and she decided now was a good time to bring it up. "Harry?"
"Will you promise me one thing?" He gave her a questioning look, especially since her tone and posture had changed to one of uncertainty. "Please promise me that you won't tell me about Rachel and you in ... bed. I don't want to know if you did it, or if so, how I compare." She was nervously looking down and twisting her new ring around.
Ginny felt his hand touch the side of her face and stroke it once before the hand pulled her face up to look at him. With an intensity she had rarely seen in him, he slowly said, "I promise." She gave him a smile at that.
"I promise I won't compare the two you in any way except for one, and I'll tell you that now. Rachel was who I needed during that year I was away. I don't think you could have helped me then. I needed to be totally free of here to find the real me. But now that I know who I am and what I need, I can also tell you that only you can hold this place in my heart now, she can't. I can't forget Rachel and she has a special little spot as a cherished memory, but all of my loving heart is yours and no other's, not even Rachel's. You never need to worry about her or anyone else. You are all I will ever need, Ginny."
Tears came to Ginny's eyes and she threw her arms around Harry's neck. "Thank you, Harry. I so needed to hear that."
After she let go, Harry told her, "Why don't you take the bathroom first and get ready for later? I'll use it next and then we can go over. I know we'll be a couple hours early, but we can use the time to visit with your family."
Ginny kissed him again before she got up. She had had no idea what he was going to get her for Christmas, but she knew her ring was the best present she could have possibly have gotten. Well, the ring was just for show, she thought as she looked at it again. Her real present had been Harry.
Ginny was standing on the balcony outside of their quarters enjoying the morning July sun. It might be a bit warm later today, she thought as she looked over the grounds, but the warm sunshine and warm breeze felt wonderful on her skin.
Harry spied his wife of six months on their balcony, the one he had had the elves build. It had been one of his best ideas while Headmaster, or so he thought. He silently walked up behind his wife, who was in only shorts and a loose T-shirt, much like he was, and wrapped his arms around her. "'Morning, Ginny love." His hands slipped under her shirt and he felt her belly, which now was slightly rounder than when he had married her. If all went well, there would be three Potters in mid-December.
"'Morning, Husband." She enjoyed calling him that. It felt so possessive, and she did enjoy possessing him and his body, which was why she was now a little more than three months pregnant.
"So what do you think?" he asked her.
"I think it will be a nice day," she said as she looked over the grounds at Hogwarts. She especially liked looking over the lake.
He laughed. "I'm sure, but I meant about my question to you yesterday. Do you want to be the Muggle Studies teacher this coming year? I don't know why I've had such a hard time finding one, but I have."
She put her hand over his and moved them slowly over her belly. Ginny liked that, and thought she would even more as the baby grew. She could hardly wait to feel him -- Harry's son -- kick her. "I'll do it if you can't find anyone else. I learned a lot about Muggles during the war when I had to go into Muggle areas, but I'm really not the best person to teach that. Hermione would be the best, but I can't do Transfiguration as well as she can."
"I'll keep looking and see if I can find anyone else, but I'm sure you'll do fine," he assured her.
As they were about to go in to have a late breakfast, Ginny felt Harry stiffen. "What?" she asked.
"I just felt a visitor come through the wards at the gate." They stayed where they were and watched that direction. Nearly ten minutes later, they saw what appeared to be a woman with dirty blonde hair slowly walking up the path from the main gates.
"Shall we go see who it is?" Harry asked. They both went inside, threw on some normal clothes, and grabbed their wands before heading to the front door of the castle. There were a few other professors in the castle, but that was all at the moment.
Harry opened the front door and the Potters waited with wands drawn, but hanging at their side. Another couple of minutes later, a young woman came around the corner of the castle at a leisurely pace. Harry grinned and put his wand up.
"Who's that?" Ginny asked.
Harry did not answer. Instead, he stepped forward and opened his arms. The young woman started running and threw her arms around his neck when she got there. They hugged each other tightly.
"Harry, I wasn't sure I was going to find you."
Ginny recognized that accent, and it did not come from around here; but where had she heard it before?
"Pamela, what brings you to Hogwarts?"
That name rang a bell in the back of Ginny's mind too, but she still could not connect the dots.
"You," she said and then laughed.
Harry laughed with her. Hearing a small noise behind him, he suddenly realized he was about to get himself in deep trouble. Letting go of the newcomer, he stepped backward and grabbed his wife's hand so he could pull her forward. "Pamela, I'd like you to meet Ginny, my wife. Ginny, this is Pamela, Rachel's sister, as well as my honorary sister."
Now Ginny understood and let a genuine smile come upon her. "Hi, it's nice to meet you. We were about to have breakfast, won't you come in and join us?"
The blonde returned the smile, "Thank you, Ginny, that would be nice. I haven't had breakfast this morning."
"Where did you stay last night?" Harry asked her as he led her inside.
"I stayed in Hogsmeade. I would have come up last night, but it was pretty late when I got in. So, this is Hogwarts? It's an impressive place to live," Pamela told him, then she walked into the Great Hall and saw the ceiling. "Oh wow..." she said reverently, "that's awesome."
Harry smiled. "Thanks, we like it here. My childhood was not a happy one, so when I came here, this became my home and I've loved being here ever since."
"I can see why. You must give me a tour." Pamela was still wide eyed, and that continued when Nearly-Headless Nick and the Fat Friar walked through the wall in deep conversation and continued on through the wall on the other side of the large room.
The three sat at a round table on the main floor. Tilly popped in carrying food and an extra place setting.
"So, what have you been doing, Pamela?" Harry was curious about that and why she was here.
"I just finished my philosophy degree at a Muggle university. After you left, I sold the shop to Pat and returned to school, throwing myself into my studies so I would not have to remember too much. I managed to finish my degree, but I have no family left and I didn't know what to do with myself for a while. Then I remembered you and your invitation to come be with you as my family." Her serious look morphed into a teasing one. "So, here I am to crash at your place for the summer months and have some fun."
Harry and Ginny laughed. "You're always welcome to come visit, Pamela."
Ginny leaned over to her husband and whispered into his ear. Since she was on the other side from Pamela, she also nibbled on his earlobe when she finished. She was satisfied with the result when she saw him shiver and quickly move away from her. Ginny puckered and blew him a kiss before she said, "Go ahead, ask her."
Pamela tilted her head and raised an eyebrow in question.
Harry thought about it for a moment before he shrugged and turned to his visitor. "Say, Pamela, since you're free, would you like to have a job for the next year? Or if you like it, you could stay even longer."
"Oh? Doing what?"
"Well, I've had trouble finding a Muggle Studies teacher. Since you've spent a lot of time in the Muggle world, would you like a job teaching?" Harry inquired.
Pamela pursed her lips and thought about for a moment. "Any single young men here on staff?"
Ginny had wondered if she had come for more than saying hi to Harry. "There is one nice one who is unmarried. There are also some in Hogsmeade too. As a professor, you could go there during your free time."
Nodding her head in acknowledgement, Pamela continued to think. "How long will you and Ginny be here?"
Harry laughed. "That probably depends on what day you ask me. Some days, I want to take Ginny and go away and live on the beach again. However, most days, I think I'll stay here and enjoy the mostly easy and fun life as a Headmaster. I had planned to do this for a year or so until I found someone good enough to take over, but I'm finding I really like doing this. It's not a concrete answer, but it's the best you're going to get."
"So you'll be here at least a couple of years more?"
"I think that's a safe bet. Ginny?" She nodded her agreement .
"Then I accept. This sounds like something that could be fun for a while until I figure out what I want to do," Pamela said.
"Excellent," Harry told her. "I'll give you a tour and we can have you sign a contract for the next year. I think you'll like it here. Ginny and I do."
Ginny was happy she would not have to teach now; she could be just a mom, at least for this next year.
Harry stood when they had finished breakfast and said to Pamela, "Come on, let me give you the grand tour." He put his arm around Ginny and led his visitor around the castle -- his home. Yes, it really felt more like his home. Harry wondered if he'd ever leave here. He looked at Ginny and saw her bright and loving smile at him. Harry realized that it really did not matter. As long as he had Ginny with him, he was at home wherever they lived.
"I love you," he told his wife quietly.
Ginny did not know what that was for, but she gave him her heartfelt response. "And I love you, Harry Potter."
(A/N: And so our tale ends. I have a real love/hate feeling for this story. I wanted to explore a bit and had an idea in my head, but had such trouble pulling it off. For that, my apologies. I think I know how to fix a lot of the problems with this story, most of which come in the first 3 chapters, so maybe I'll do that some day. Many of the reviews and comments I've received have helped me with that, and so I thank each of you who have taken the time to review -- even those of you who said you did not like the story.
Again, I'd like to give a huge thanks to my pre-beta Paul and my final-beta David. Thanks guys for your encouragement, suggestions, and help! This story would have been far worse without your help.
Oh well, I have other stories I need to archive here, and some new ones in development. So much to do and so little time. :-)