Harry stood in the shower of his flat on the edge of Muggle London, letting the warm water slide down his back. He'd just returned from the Burrow, where the Weasleys and Hermione had celebrated Ginny's eighteenth birthday. Two months ago, Ginny graduated, as it were, from Hogwarts. Last month, she had signed with the Holyhead Harpies, the only all-witch Quidditch team, as a reserve Chaser.
Harry sighed. Not that Ginny's Quidditch ambitions were a deterrent to his wanting to date her – at least it would be easier than the last year when Ginny had been in her seventh year at Hogwarts. He went to see her Quidditch games, and they had Hogsmeade weekends, but still… Harry chuckled to himself. It's not as if he was an old codger himself, he'd just celebrated his nineteenth birthday two weeks ago. They had time. Ginny was out of school. And now, without the threat of school, summer homework, and not to mention Voldemort hanging over their heads, Harry took the opportunity to take Ginny on a few 'real' dates. Last night, they'd celebrated Ginny's birthday between the two of them. Harry had taken her on a Muggle-style date – dinner and a movie. It was a relatively new experience for Harry, too, as the Dursleys had never willingly taken Harry anywhere when he'd been forced to live with them.
Harry grinned as he recalled Ginny's wide-eyed astonishment at the film that quickly turned to amusement and a desire to bring her father to see it. 'You know Dad,' she said, 'he'd love this!' Ginny watched the movie, in rapt attention. It was 'Singing in the Rain', a movie that had become one of Harry's favorites. He had a television, a VCR, and more recently, a DVD player. There were weekends where he rented a stack of videos and watched one after another. Harry had developed a taste for old movies. Especially the musicals – they just seemed so happy. That particular theatre showed old movies from time to time, and when Harry found out they were showing one of his favorite films, he vowed to bring Ginny. He didn't want to leave her out of anything else, if he could avoid it.
Harry turned the taps off and grabbed a towel off the shelf next to the tub. Wrapping it around his waist, Harry padded into his bedroom and opened a dresser drawer. Rummaging for a pair of socks, Harry found a book he'd bought in a Muggle shop a few months ago. He blushed, even though no one else was around to see it, and surreptitiously pulled it out from under a pile of socks. It was a book about sex. Harry thought eventually he would want to do that one day, but he knew next to nothing about the subject. Maybe Ron was right and Hogwarts needed a class on dealing with the opposite sex. Harry had come home and read it straight through, cheeks burning the entire time. He'd stuffed it in his socks so Teddy wouldn't find it when he came over. When he managed to fall asleep that night, he'd dreamed of Ginny. Not that he slept much. Harry slipped the book back under the socks and pulled out a pair Dobby had given him fourth year for Christmas. They were starting to wear thin a bit, but Harry kept them and wore them in memory of the little house elf who had saved his life. Then he found a pair of green flannel boxers with Snitches and a faded t-shirt.
He dressed slowly, allowing his mind to clear. Harry wandered into the main room of the flat, stopping to look at the photographs on the walls and mantle of the fireplace. There were several of Teddy, with turquoise hair, laughing as he toddled into Harry's outstretched arms, or liberally dribbled with spaghetti. Harry smiled at the one from Teddy's first birthday. Like all babies, Teddy ended up wearing more of the cake than eating it. Ginny had helped him give Teddy a bath. It took 3 tries before they could wash out all the frosting in Teddy's hair. There were several of himself, Ron, and Hermione from the age of eleven on up. Then there were the photos of him and Ginny. There was the one from Ginny's seventeenth birthday. Someone had taken it while they were unawares. Harry was brushing Ginny's hair away from her neck before he brushed a kiss where her neck met her shoulder.
Harry wandered into the kitchen and retrieved a butterbeer from the fridge. Twisting the cork out, he went back to the sitting room, and picked up his latest video. Hmmm. 'The Sound of Music', eh? Turning on the television and VCR, Harry slid in the tape and settled back on the sofa. Sipping his butterbeer, Harry lost himself in the movie. Sure, it was corny, but Harry had spent enough of his life with darkness shadowing him.
After an hour or so into the movie, Harry's Apparition detector started buzzing. Picking up his wand, he slipped to the door, and peered out the peephole. It was Ginny. Harry opened the door. 'What are you doing here?' he asked.
'Um…' Ginny blushed and shrugged in a sudden fit of shyness. 'I couldn't sleep.'
Wordlessly, Harry gestured for Ginny to come inside. 'Does your mother know you're here?' he asked.
Ginny shrugged. 'I told her I was going for a walk and not to wait up. She just gave me a look and told me to be careful.'
She wore a traveling cloak and the bunny slippers Harry had given her as a going away present when she went back to Hogwarts last September. He'd seen them in a Muggle shop and thought Ginny would think they were cute. He was right. Ginny unfastened the cloak, and hung it on a hook by the door. Under it she wore a nightdress. Harry got a flashback of the first time he'd seen Ginny at the Burrow – a tiny girl with long sleep-tousled red hair in a white nightdress. This one was worn from use and slightly translucent because of it. It was also embroidered with violets around the neck and cuffs of the long sleeves. Harry reached out with a finger and traced a petal of one of the violets that danced over her collarbone. He realized his finger was trembling. 'Um, Gin?' His mouth had gone dry.
Harry's eyes darkened several shades as he gave Ginny a long look that traveled from her eyes to the tips of those slippers and back up to her eyes. He could almost see everything through that nightdress. He licked his lips. Pulling her close, he whispered, 'If you don't leave… If you don't leave, I'm not sure I'll be able to control myself…'
Rising on her toes, Ginny kissed Harry, and whispered back, 'Good. I don't want you to.' Harry cupped her face in his hands and kissed her. Ginny didn't hesitate, wrapping her arms around his waist, pressing her body to his.
'Gin? Are you sure?'
Harry drew a deep breath. 'Ginevra, you're going to be the death of me one day.' Ginny laughed, not her usual bright silvery laugh, but something deeper and smokier. It hit him in the knees. She slid a hand under the hem of his t-shirt, fingertips dancing over his stomach. The muscles jumped in reaction. Chuckling again, Ginny slid the hand to his back, tracing patterns along his spine. 'Ginevra Weasley, where on earth did you learn how to do that?' Harry growled against her lips. Harry started walking backwards toward his bedroom, pulling Ginny by the hands.
'Are you going to let go of the wand?' Ginny asked in amusement.
'Oh, um, yeah…' Harry used the wand to dimly light the lamp on his night table and set it down. He turned to the door where Ginny was standing and held his hand out to her. She stared at it for a few agonizingly long moments, before coming to a decision, and letting her hand come to rest on his. He lifted it to his lips and kissed the back, before turning it over and kissing the palm. He sat on his bed and gently pulled Ginny down so she straddled his hips. They had spent many hours in this position before, but not with so little clothing. Harry touched the top button of the nightdress, and looked up at Ginny, the question in his eyes. She nodded, and Harry slid the button though the buttonhole. He kissed the skin that appeared in the opening. Too soon, the tiny buttons that trailed down the nightdress were open and Harry was shaking with the effort to not rip the garment off Ginny's body and do some of those things that were in that hidden book. Barely breathing, Harry slid the nightdress off her shoulders. He hesitantly slid his hands over the bared skin. He could feel Ginny's hips moving against his. She scrabbled at the hem of this t-shirt, yanking it off over his head, before she shifted so her bare breasts were pressed against his bare chest. Harry's hands dipped into the cotton pooled around Ginny's waist, and cupped her bottom.
By now, Ginny's teeth had closed on his earlobe, and her tongue flicked the shell of his ear. She had done it before, but tonight, it rocked him to his core. Her hair fell around them in a shimmering red curtain, flooding Harry's senses with the scent of her shampoo. Dimly, Harry felt Ginny's hands slip into his boxers, her hands cool on his burning skin. Harry pulled her mouth to his, tongue stroking hers in time to rhythm of her hands. One of his hands slid between her thighs, and he began to explore her body. Her head had dropped to his shoulder as she moaned.
Harry rolled her over onto her back and pulled the nightdress off from where it had tangled around her hips. He was stunned at the sight of her, the nightdress clenched, forgotten in his fist. 'Oh, Ginny… you're so beautiful.'
'No, I'm not.'
'Yes, you are… Perfect. Down to the last freckle.' Harry propped himself up on an elbow, and ran his fingers down the length of Ginny's body from collarbone to hip. 'I've dreamed about this… Ever since my sixth year.'
'I was very glad Ron couldn't tell what my dreams were. He would have killed me. Come to think of it, he'd kill me if he could see where you were right now.'
Ginny giggled. 'Or, he'd kill me for corrupting you,' she said, her face lighting up with mischief. She hooked her fingers in the waistband of Harry's boxers, and began to push them down his hips. Harry shifted so she could slide them down his legs. 'You're not so bad yourself, Potter,' she drawled. Harry reached over to the drawer of his night table and pulled out a small foil square. Ginny tugged the square from Harry's fingers and examined it. 'What on earth…?'
'It's a Muggle thing… A condom…' Harry mumbled. 'It keeps you from getting pregnant,' he said blushing furiously. Under Ginny's gentle, but persistent questions, Harry revealed he had used 2 boxes practicing on bananas. It suddenly occurred to him that it felt rather natural to lie here with Ginny, telling her one of the most embarrassing things he had ever done, even if they were both starkers. Ginny held up the condom.
'Let me do it.'
Harry's breath caught in his throat. 'Um, okay… Just tear it open.'
Ginny's fingers shook slightly as she tore open the foil. She followed the instructions Harry gave her, smoothing the condom over his erection. Harry caught her hands in his and pulled her back to the pillows. 'Are you sure, Gin?' Ginny nodded, and pulled Harry over her body. Harry nudged her knees apart and kissed her. He vowed to take it slowly. She took Harry in hand and guided him into her. That was all Harry needed. He slowly thrust into Ginny, knowing it would hurt.
'Harry, can you not move for a minute?' Of all the things to ask, she would ask him to not move, when all he wanted to do was slam into her. Repeatedly.
'Okay… just tell me when you're ready to go.' She nodded, tears on her eyelashes. 'Gin, I'm sorry…'
The red lashes flew up. 'Sorry for what?'
She smiled. 'It's okay.' Harry kissed her forehead, and used a fingertip to brush the tears from Ginny's face. 'You can move now.' Harry began to slowly move in Ginny, reveling in the feel of Ginny around him. Ginny wrapped her legs around his waist, and as she did, gave a squeak of surprise. She began to move with Harry, stroking his back, kneading his bottom. Harry couldn't stop, even though he wanted to make it good for Ginny, he was too close to the edge himself. Wrapping his arms around Ginny to hold her closer, Harry climaxed with a shout. Or a prayer. He couldn't tell. All he knew was it was Ginny's name.
Harry slowly came to himself. He dragged his body off Ginny, and lay facedown, next to her. 'Are you okay?' he asked.
'Oh, yeah…' Ginny stretched langorously.
'Ginevra, please… you're torturing me…'
'Call me Ginevra again, and I'll show you torture.'
'Ginevra,' Harry whispered, drawing out the name, letting it fall off his tongue in a caress, pulling Ginny over to him, so she could face him. He brushed the hair out of her eyes. 'Was it okay?'
'Considering I don't have a frame of reference…' She hooked a leg over his, 'But yeah, it was nice.'
'The next time will be nicer, I promise.'
Ginny arched an eyebrow at this. 'And how do you know this?'
If Harry thought he'd blushed at explaining condoms, he blushed even harder explaining the hidden book in his socks. 'Just do one thing for me,' he begged, 'please don't ever tell your dad about any of this. You know how mad he is about Muggles and Muggle stuff.' Ginny laughed at the image of trying to explain Muggle contraceptives to her father, but like Harry, thought it would be somewhat embarrassing to have to explain the book.
Ginny yawned and her eyes drifted shut. Harry pulled the duvet over them both, and used his wand to set the alarm clock. 'Can't sleep too late. You have to get back to the Burrow before everyone gets up.'
'Mmmm-hmmmm.' Ginny turned over, so her rounded bottom nestled against his groin. Harry turned out the light and pulled Ginny closer, his arm around her waist, fingers entwined in Ginny's and inhaling the scent of her hair, fell asleep.
Ginny woke after a few hours. Snuggling closer to Harry, she reflected over the past few days.
She had come home for her birthday and was staying at the Burrow. It had been a busy few days, between the date with Harry last night and the party at the Burrow. It had been a nice birthday. The movie was fascinating. Ginny admitted as they Apparated back to the Burrow afterward that it was something the wizarding world didn't have. They stayed up late, sitting at the table in the kitchen, drinking tea, and just talking. The Chamber, the Dursleys, Sirius, Teddy, the Harpies, the news that Bill and Fleur were going to have a baby soon, the amount of trouble he, Ron, and Hermione had gotten into their first year. They were still there when the sun began to rise, both of them giddy from lack of sleep. 'I guess I should get home and get some sleep,' Harry yawned. He leaned over to Ginny and kissed her cheek, before slipping a small package in her hands.
'What is this?'
'Birthday present. Well, one birthday present. I didn't want to give it to you in front of everyone later.'
Ginny opened the small box to find a delicate phoenix pendant on a chain. 'The only phoenix I knew was Fawkes, and you remind me of him… All red and gold.' Harry knew he was babbling, but didn't care. Ginny put her hand over his mouth.
'It's beautiful.' She held the box out. 'Would you help me put it on?'
Harry kissed her and Disapperated back to London, with a promise he would be back that evening for the big family party. Ginny went upstairs to bed and heard Molly calling her to breakfast far too soon. Ginny stumbled downstairs, still in her clothes from the night before. She dropped into the chair she had vacated less than two hours before and let her head fall to the surface of the table. Molly opened her mouth to say something, but just gave Ginny an appraising look. 'Late night, dear?'
Ginny lifted her head from the table, and propped it on her hand. 'We just talked, Mum…' Molly just smiled.
'Your father and I would do that. Stay up all night, just talking. Go back to bed. I can handle getting ready for the party.' Gratefully, Ginny crawled back into bed, and went to sleep until lunchtime.
The Burrow garden was strung with lights and the whole family was at the table, even Charlie, who was in from Romania. George and Ron gave Ginny a box of products from Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes. 'Don't worry, sister of mine,' said George, 'we've tested them completely!'
'Yeah,' muttered Ron, shooting a glance at George.
New dress robes from Molly and Arthur – that was good, she needed new ones. A stuffed Snitch from Teddy. A book from Hermione on famous women Quidditch players. New Quidditch equipment from Bill and Charlie. There was only one left. A long thin one. She looked at the tag and all it said was 'For Ginevra'. She looked up at Harry. He was the only person who called her Ginevra. Well, besides her mum when Molly was angry at her. He smiled and gave a sort of half-shrug that seemed to say, 'Of course it's from me.' Ginny curiously tore a strip off the package. Something shiny glinted in the lights. Ginny tore off another strip and pulled out a broom. Not just any broom. A Firebolt, like the one Harry had before the Death Eaters attacked him two summers ago. She gasped in surprise. Harry blushed. 'I can't have you going off to play Quidditch without a good broom, can I?' Ginny threw her arms around him, nearly knocking his chair over.
Later, as everyone sat around the table talking, Ginny watched Harry. She could tell it was still a bit difficult for him to believe the affection the family gave him was real. 'Makes sense,' she thought to herself. After all, it would take more than a few years of peace to make up for the ten years of abuse and neglect he suffered at the hands of the Dursleys and the subsequent seven years of meeting up with Voldemort, or some other Death Eater every June, almost like a bizarre end of year exam.
Soon, though, everyone was getting ready to go home, and Ginny, Harry, Hermione, and Ron helped Molly clean up the party. Hermione, Ron and George Flooed back to Diagon Alley and Harry Disapperated to his flat. Ginny went upstairs to bed, but couldn't sleep. She remembered last year's birthday when she'd turned seventeen and came of age, just two months after the final battle against Voldemort.
She and Harry had snuck off to the apple tree in the paddock. They had fallen asleep under the tree. In the morning, Molly couldn't find either of them and began to panic that some rogue Death Eater had taken them. The entire family came boiling out of the house, coming to a stop under the tree, watching them sleep for a few minutes before the pair woke up. The Weasley men tried to look menacing for appearance's sake, but George began to laugh hysterically. It was the first time George had laughed since Fred died. 'I can't do it… I just can't… Did you see the looks on their faces?!?' Taking a deep breath, George said to no one in particular, 'Ah, Fred would have gotten a kick out of this. Harry, he'd take the mickey out of you until the day you died. Or had a handsome set of twins named Gred and Forge.' This was too much for George, and he bubbled over in laughter.
Ginny glared at the male members of her family, the back of her neck turning red, like Ron's did when he was upset about something. Scrambling to her feet, she said, 'Come on, Harry, let's go help Mum with breakfast,' before strolling away like nothing had happened. 'Gits,' she muttered under her breath.
'Well, everything seems to be all right then!' Arthur's voice came from behind them. Snorting, Ginny caught Harry's eye. Harry was having a very hard time keeping a straight face.
Ginny couldn't put her finger on what made her come to Harry tonight, but it had started with that night under the apple tree. They'd done a few things her brothers would certainly not approve of before they fell asleep. It made Ginny restless. The times she'd seen Harry during school between Hogsmeade weekends and holidays at the Burrow had only made it worse. She knew Harry felt it, too. She could see it on his face, and in the way his eyes traveled over her. She knew Bill, Charlie, and the twins at least, weren't exactly celibate, once they left the Burrow. Not that she could prove it, really, but she still knew. And Ron… Well, not that he had done anything with Lavender Brown, but they had spent a lot of time wrapped around each other in empty classrooms. But Ginny knew he and Hermione snuck off somewhere after the family dinner on Sundays. The idea of Percy doing this, that was almost as laughable as Mum and Dad, but considering they had seven children, anything was possible.
Ginny shifted so she could face Harry. He was asleep. Ginny took the chance to peek at him under the duvet. Ginny had seen naked men before. Try not seeing a naked man growing up in a house full of boys. Add in one bathroom for the whole family, and that was a disaster waiting to happen. Ginny smiled at the memory of walking in on each of the twins or Ron with a Muggle magazine. She'd seen Fred and George skinny-dip in the pond behind the house. But this… this was different.
Ginny hadn't had the chance to examine Harry the way he'd looked at her earlier. He was still thin, but with a layer of wiry muscle from Auror training and Quidditch. 'See something you like?' asked an amused voice. Ginny jumped. She looked up to see Harry laughing at her.
'Well, as a matter of fact, I do,' Ginny said, as she pulled the duvet off Harry.
'Ginny!' A slow blush crept up Harry's chest to his face. Ginny's gaze traveled back down Harry's body from his eyes to toes, watching his body respond to her, noting that he didn't seem to mind being the center of her attention
'Sauce for the gander,' she said tartly. 'If I could stand to be ogled by you, you can handle this. Or is the Boy Who Lived afraid of being eye candy for a girl?' she teased.
'Um…' Harry sighed. 'Okay. You're a lot less scary than Voldemort. And a lot prettier.' Harry grabbed his glasses from the night table and put them on, so he could see Ginny.
'Flattery will get you nowhere, Potter.' Ginny grinned. She pulled Harry back under the duvet with her, snuggling against him, her hands roaming over Harry's body. He pulled Ginny on top of him, so she straddled his hips. She rested her forehead against his for a moment, before kissing him. Her hair fell around Harry's head, reminding him of the light of a summer sunset.
Ginny fumbled in the night table drawer for another one of Harry's condoms. She was surprised at how intense the ache of desire was. Hands shaking, Ginny attempted to rip open the foil square. Harry chuckled and plucked it from her fingers, neatly tearing off the edge.
'Do you want me to do it?' he asked, waggling the condom. Ginny shook her head, mutely, and took it from him, using both hands to slide it around Harry's erection. Harry hissed as Ginny's hands wrapped around him. Through the blood pounding in his head, he started to wonder if girls just knew how to do that.
Ginny planted her knees on either side of his hips and maneuvered so Harry slid slowly into her. Harry let his hands rest lightly on her hips, letting her set the pace. Ginny sat up, eyes closed, head slightly thrown back, nearly simmering, close to the edge as she was. He lay still, but for the movement of his body in a dance with hers, watching her take pleasure for herself. Ginny shivered as she climaxed, moaning softly. She was lightheaded and dizzy. She fell forward, burying her face in the side of Harry's neck. She nibbled the skin under his ear, and began to move again. Harry's hands slid up Ginny's back from her hips. He turned his head, and took her mouth with his. Ginny allowed him to pull her into a deeper kiss for a minute, then pulled away. Harry growled, but Ginny just tossed her hair over her shoulder and ground against him. Harry gasped and arched his back, driving deeper into Ginny. Eyes wide, Ginny shuddered, clutching Harry's hands with hers. Sweat dampened the hair around Ginny's face. Harry tried desperately to hold back his own finish, but he couldn't. His eyes closed, and he let out a muffled shout, hands gripping Ginny, as he let himself go.
Ginny seemed to melt bonelessly on the bed next to Harry. 'Yeah,' she rasped, 'that was much better.' Harry cupped her face in one hand and turned her head to kiss her. Ginny shifted so her head rested on Harry's shoulder, and her free arm wrapped around his waist. The windows in Harry's bedroom were beginning to lighten with the coming daybreak.
Harry peered over Ginny's head to look at the alarm clock. 'Gin? We need to get you home… Your mum will be up soon, and I've seen your mum worked up…' Ginny made a soft noise of protest against Harry's throat. 'Okay. Ten more minutes, and then you have to go home…' The words died as Harry fell asleep.
Then, he and Ginny proceeded to sleep through the alarm.
The next thing they knew, someone was pounding on the front door. 'Harry! Ginny! I know you're in there!' It was Ron. A very upset Ron.
'Ronald Weasley, stop trying to pound the door down.' Hermione sounded scandalized.
Groggily, Harry and Ginny scrambled for clothing. Ginny snatched up Harry's t-shirt. It was a lot closer than her nightdress, which he'd thrown across the room last night. 'Hey! What am I supposed to wear?' Harry whispered frantically pulling on his boxers.
Ginny stood in front of him, 'Do you honestly think that my nightdress is going to cover more than this?' Harry did have to agree that at least you couldn't see through the shirt, and besides, it did come halfway down her thighs. Before he could say anything, the front door trembled under another assault from Ron. Sighing, Harry found his wand, and flicked it toward the front door. Ron, preparing to batter the door again, stumbled through the doorway, where he was met by Ginny, doing her best Molly Weasley impression.
'Ron! What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?'
'Me? What about you? Cavorting around here, like… like…?'
'Like you and Hermione for the last year?'
Ron's mouth snapped shut. 'Fine! Bloody fine!'' He flopped on sofa.
Ginny wasn't done yet. She stalked over to her cloak, and whipped out her wand, pointing it at Ron's head, ears virtually steaming. Slowly advancing toward Ron she ground out between gritted teeth, 'If you so much as breathe a word of this to Mum, not only will I tell her what you and Hermione do after Sunday dinner, but I'll hex you so bad, it'll make what we did to Malfoy on the train look like child's play!' The longer Ginny went on, sparks began to shoot out of her wand. Ron's face paled. He knew what Ginny was capable of. Besides, she'd received an Outstanding in Charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts. 'Besides,' she went on, 'Mum bloody well knows where I am!'
'She does?' This was news to Ron. And Harry.
'Do you honestly think I'm so stupid that I wouldn't tell Mum I was going out?' Harry heard a strangled squeak, like someone had swallowed a whole Sugar Mouse. Hermione was biting the knuckles of one fist, trying not to laugh. 'She told me since I'd left school and moved out on my own, it wasn't like she could tell me what to do!' Ginny had worked herself up into a blaze of anger at her idiot of an elder brother.
Harry leaned against the doorway to his bedroom. He knew better than to interrupt a Weasley in full roar. You could lose a hand that way. Turning on her heel, Ginny stomped back into the bedroom. Then she shot back out. 'In case you forgot, I am of age, you prat, and have been for a year!' she spat. Seething, she stormed into Harry's bedroom and threw herself on the bed. Harry told Ron and Hermione to help themselves to what they could find in his kitchen, and quietly closed the bedroom door. Leaning against the door, he waited a few more minutes for Ginny to calm down. Something she said to Ron finally penetrated through to his brain. Had she really told Molly she was coming over here last night?
Crossing to Ginny, he knelt in front of where she sat. 'Hey, Gin? Come on… go take a shower and I'll find you something to wear, okay? We'll have some breakfast, and head over to the Burrow for lunch.' Ginny was still silently fuming. 'Does your mum really know you're here?' he ventured carefully. She was still angry enough for appendages to be in danger.
'Yes,' Ginny admitted. 'I did tell her I was going out for a walk, because I couldn't sleep. I didn't say I was coming here.' Harry raised a dark eyebrow. This couldn't be good. 'I left a note saying I would probably come here,' she mumbled. Harry felt the blood drain from his head. He wondered if the Americans had something like Aurors. He was going to have to leave the country, because Molly would skin him alive later.
'No, she won't,' Ginny said, with more confidence than she felt. Harry started. He hadn't realized he said anything aloud. 'She told me when I came home Friday afternoon that I didn't have to check with her all the time, I could leave a note. And she does have that clock, you know.'
'Think she's going to believe you spent the night here, and not a damn thing happened?' Harry was starting to fear for his ability to father children in the future.
'Maybe,' Ginny began, 'if we leave out a few details… Besides, have you ever counted the days between when she and Dad got married and when Bill was born?' Mentally Harry rapidly began adding the months and he felt both his eyebrows fly upward. 'It's more a matter of what she wants to believe,' Ginny chuckled.
She grew quiet. She fiddled with a small hole near the hem of the t-shirt. 'Do you regret last night?' she whispered.
'Merlin, no. Never. Even if your mum threw everything she had at me, and your brothers beat me to a bloody pulp. I'll never regret anything about last night.'
Ginny looked up, with a flash of gratitude, kissed him, and started for the bathroom. She turned at the door and said simply, 'Me either.'
Harry shook his head. He found a pair of jeans for himself and dug out the smallest pair he had for Ginny and a clean shirt for her to wear and left them on the foot of the bed. Harry dressed and went to the kitchen, where he found Hermione making tea and toast, and Ron slumping morosely at the table. Harry didn't say anything, but pulled four mugs out of the cupboard and set them on the table. The silence yawned between them, punctuated by the shrill whistle of the teakettle.
'If you hurt her,' Ron began, 'I'll hex your arse into next century, Boy Who Lived or no.'
'Ron. Do you really think I'm that stupid? If she was only going to make what the DA did to Malfoy look like child's play for you being a prat, can you imagine what she'd do to me if I hurt her?'
Ron just blinked. And then nodded. Once.
The silence pooled around the table again. Hermione huffed to herself as she settled next to Ron and said something that sounded suspiciously like, 'Men!' before pushing a plate to toast to Ron.
Ginny padded into the kitchen, and dropped gracefully into Harry's lap, looking pointedly at Ron, as if daring him to say something. Ron just raised an eyebrow and kept his thoughts to himself.
Christmas at the Burrow was more hectic than usual. Everyone was home – Bill, Fleur, Charlie, Percy, George, Ron, Ginny, and of course, Hermione and Harry. There was the addition of Bill and Fleur's daughter, Victoire, and the Delacours and Grangers were coming for dinner, as were Teddy and his grandmother. Molly was up earlier than usual to make breakfast. Coming down the stairs, Molly felt something was… off… for lack of a better word. She'd raised seven children – after all that, she had a sixth sense where they were concerned.
She stopped at the landing in front of Ginny's bedroom. The children could lock their bedroom doors to each other, but not to Arthur or her. She tapped the doorknob with her wand and opened the door, only to be greeted by the sight of Ginny and Harry, sound asleep, tangled in each other, bedding in wild disarray. Molly took in the pajama bottoms by the door, the t-shirt thrown over the lamp, the nightdress drunkenly draped over the small armchair in the corner. She was so stunned, she didn't hear Arthur come to stand behind her. 'Looks like they made a night of it, doesn't it?' Arthur asked softly, so as not to wake them. He reached past Molly to close the bedroom door. 'Let's let them sleep a bit longer.' Arthur chuckled, 'Or at least let them maintain their illusion a little longer.'
He stopped on the stairs. 'Wait, if Harry's in there, Hermione must be…' He turned and quietly walked up the stairs to Ron's room. Tapping the doorknob just as Molly had done, they found a scene slightly less debauched than the one downstairs. At least the bedding was more or less on the bed.
Closing the door, Arthur and Molly went into the kitchen to make some tea. 'Well, Molly, what do you think about adding a few rooms to the place? Looks like we might need a few more.'