Here's a fun bit of fluff I came up with after reading that part of DH where Harry realizes that his birthday kiss with Ginny is better than Firewhisky. Special thanks to Ellyse (although she doesn't know it), for the idea that kissing Ginny is pretty much better than not kissing Ginny.

Better than Firewhisky

The first time I ever tasted Firewhisky was the day I left the Dursleys' for good. The day Mad-Eye Moody was killed by Death Eaters as he helped me escape. The day Hedwig died. I was not quite seventeen years old.

That first sip, well, it was exactly what I needed, right then. It warmed me at the beginning of what was to be one of the coldest times of my life, it grounded me when my thoughts threatened to swirl out of control. It burned, oh yes, it burned, but that feeling helped me forget, for just a minute, not only my recent losses, but those I knew were yet to come.

The first time I ever kissed Ginny Weasley, well, do I even need to tell you? You were probably there, hell, it seemed like the rest of the world was. Gryffindor Common Room, ring a bell? Detention, the Quidditch Cup, a celebration, and well, I just couldn't help myself. I had been thinking about her all year at that point, and once I got her in my arms (for what I later found out was just supposed to be a hug), I knew I never wanted to let her go.

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. The knowing I never wanted to let her go came somewhat later. Closer to the time that I actually did have to let her go, for her own safety. And it almost killed me.

Okay, well, yeah, it did kill me. Actually, to be completely accurate, Voldemort killed me, but you must already know that whole saga.

But I digress. I was talking about drinking Firewhisky and kissing Ginny, two much more pleasant activities. Don't worry, I usually don't do them both at the same time.

Usually. But more about that later.

I have to admit, that in the seven years since the war ended, I have definitely had my moments of enjoyment with a bottle of Ogden's, good friends, and good times.

And I have had many, many more moments of enjoyment kissing Ginny. Although those moments have occasionally been witnessed by friends, family, and the odd stranger in the street, the best kisses have always been with just the two of us, alone. Well, except for one. But again, more about that later.

Is kissing Ginny better than Firewhisky? You bet. Let me give you some of the highlights of both, and let you decide.

There was the party, held at the end of that first summer of freedom, when we were all slowly starting to get over our numbness and intense grief. By August, the pain of loss had settled into a place I think it will always be for most of us – a dull ache that sits sort of right above your stomach, sometimes fading into the background, and sometimes, usually when you least expect it, blazing forth with sharp surprise to bring tears and memories, and even laughter. We tried to find the laughter as much as possible that summer, especially for George. Sometimes, we were actually successful.

And that party at the Burrow was something to see. Imagine everyone who was ever part of Dumbledore's Army, plus a bunch of former Gryffindor Quidditch players, plus the oldest Weasley brothers and their friends, all together for nothing more than a bit of fun.

Okay, a whole lot of fun.

It was the first time I got really pissed. The first time I went swimming in nothing but a pair of boxers (I am not even going to tell you which of the group actually went skinny dipping – you can probably figure it out for yourself). It's the first time I ever got sick from drinking and had to hold my girlfriend's hair back while she returned the favor. It was the first time I had a hangover.

It was a blast, at least until the next morning.

There have been other times. Toasts at my stag party, which I actually remember, and toasts from Ron's, which I don't. (From what I understand, I may have called him "Ickle Ronniekins", once or twice, but if you ask me when he's around, I will deny it).

What, you don't believe that I actually remember my own stag party? Well I do. Really. I controlled myself quite admirably that night, I'm proud to say, so that I could truly enjoy the camaraderie of friendship with my best mates.

Okay, that's a lie. The real reason I stayed in control at my stag night was because my soon-to-be wife had sweetly requested that I not come home in a state, and I quote, "so that the only use I am to her is as a doorstop."

You wouldn't suggest that I turn down such a request, would you? Not if you are at all familiar with the lovely woman, I bet. You know, Ginny Weasley Potter? She of the gorgeous eyes, fiery red hair and lethal Bat Bogey Hex?

Although, I'm not scared of the hex. Really, I'm not. I'm the Savior of the Wizarding World, remember? Faced Tom Riddle? Fought Death Eaters? Youngest Seeker in a century? Yes? So one little hex doesn't scare me. Nope, not one bit.

Now, her threat to withhold sex, that's another story altogether. Scares the pants off me.

Well, actually, no it doesn't. That threat keeps my pants firmly on, it does. That's the problem. So when she "suggested" that I make it home from my own stag night mostly in one piece, I was more than happy to comply.

And what we did the rest of that night was a hell of a lot better than a whole tubful of Firewhisky.

And speaking of tubs, I think Ron actually slept in one, that night. Outside, behind the Burrow.

Oh yeah, and then there was Seamus' stag night. Held in Dublin. On St. Patrick's Day, for Merlin's sake. After that night, I was ready to give up Firewhisky for good.

I have never, ever, wanted to give up kissing Ginny. Not even for a minute.

Because kissing Ginny is, quite simply, pretty much always better than not kissing Ginny.

And it's always better than Firewhisky.

The first time I was aware that kissing Ginny was better than Firewhisky was only a couple days after I had tasted my first shot. You know, after Mad-Eye was killed. It was a tough time.

Okay, stop me if you've heard this one. Actually, scratch that. Don't stop me, I like to remember. It was on my birthday, and it was the kind of kiss that had to pack a whole lot of things into it, because we didn't know if there would ever be another.

It was the kiss that wasn't supposed to happen, between the two of us when I was trying desperately to keep anyone from knowing there had ever been a "two of us". It was a kiss between two kids who already loved each other, but who didn't yet know how to say it with words. It was a kiss that remembered a more innocent time. It was a kiss that wasn't going to go much farther, because, well, at that time, we just hadn't.

It was heartbreaking. It was goodbye before we had had a really proper hello.

It was, unfortunately, interrupted by her brother Ron. My best mate.

But I got to return the favor. In spades. So there. But really, who goes and snogs their girl for the first time in the middle of a flippin' war?

Guess I can't blame the bloke. Or Hermione either. You go, girl.

Then, of course, there was the Kiss. The Afterwards. The Finally. The . . . you know, I can't do this justice by just telling you. You need to experience it. No, not like that. Let me get my Pensieve. Trust me, you won't be sorry. After all, you are reading this for a bit of fluff, right?

Ready? Don't worry, I'm going with you, to narrate and answer questions, okay? Just tilt your head in, that's it, and let yourself fall . . .

It was over. That was about all my brain could process at the moment, and it kept repeating that singular thought. It was over. It was over.

After a while, the words didn't even make much sense. It didn't really matter, though. I realized pretty quickly that I didn't have to do much thinking at all, right now. Just had to nod and smile at the throngs of people who crowded around me, wanting to touch, to hug, to crow with victory along with the Boy Who Lived.

It seemed like anyone I really wanted to be with at that moment, wasn't there. They had been there, briefly, at first, but the surging masses had borne them away after only a quick, unsatisfactory minute. I would catch glimpses through the crowd of people – a flash of red, a bit of bushy brown, but they didn't come closer again. It made sense, I suppose. What was I to do, shake Ron's hand and smile for a photo? Give Ginny a high-five? Squeeze George's shoulder through the crowd?

I could wait.

But not much longer.

Luna, wonderful, crazy, hilarious, came to the rescue, creating a diversion so that I could finally escape from the Great Hall under my Invisibility Cloak. Ron and Hermione had the right to know what had happened in the Forest, even as my mind was elsewhere, on food and bed and well, other things.

But finally I was alone, trudging slowly up to Gryffindor Tower.

Me again. Why, you ask, did I go up to the Tower, instead of back to the Great Hall where Ginny was? Good question. I wasn't really thinking too clearly, just then. I had been awake for more than 24 hours at that point. Broken into Gringotts. Escaped on the back of a dragon. Battled Death Eaters. Nearly been burned alive. Discovered that the man I had spent seven years despising had helped keep me alive because he was desperately in love with my mother. What else? Oh yeah, walked to my death, died, come back, and defeated Tom Riddle, once and for all.

So can you blame me for being a bit woozy at that point?

Luna came to the rescue again, though. Because when I got up to my dorm in Gryffindor Tower, someone was waiting for me.

She was sitting on my bed.

For a long minute, I couldn't do anything but stare. So that's what I did. Stood in the doorway and stared. At her. At Ginny. Finally.

I had to do this right.

I didn't trust my voice, at first. My heart was beating so fast I thought it would explode out of my chest. My legs were buckling, whether from exhaustion or nerves, I didn't care.

But when I looked at Ginny, she made it all okay. Her eyes showed me that she was feeling everything I was. I recognized it all.

Relief, exhaustion, grief. Want. Need.

Love.

And so I knelt silently in front of her, my hands on her legs. I couldn't have taken my eyes away from hers if I wanted to.

She put her hands on top of mine, wrapped them around, her thumbs grazing the backs of my hands, rubbing gently.

That first touch almost did me in. I leaned into her, my head against her chest. I think I may have groaned.

Oh yeah, now that I am watching this again, I did groan. Oh, sorry – I'll just be quiet now and let you watch.

Her hand, now in my hair, the sound of her heart, beating against my ear. I was home. And tears slid down my face as I let her just hold me. I don't think I had ever felt so safe.

But I knew. She needed to be held, too.

I leaned back, stumbled to my feet, managed to sit down on the bed all while still grasping her hands, pulling her onto my lap.

Now our faces were even with each other. Still staring.

"Harry." The most beautiful sound ever.

My hand moved up to her cheek, wiping away a few stray tears. Pushing the hair away from her face because, after all, that's what I always did.

"Ginny." Just saying her name, after so many months of denial, was a release.

"I . . . I have so much to tell you, Ginny. So much. I want you to know everything. And I want to know everything too. About your year."

Ginny smiled. "But not right now."

I smiled back. "Mmhmm. Later. Definitely not now."

Even while staring at her eyes, I couldn't help but notice her lick her lips. Almost involuntarily, I was doing the same. One hand was on the back of her head. The other, snaking slowly around her waist, pulling her even closer.

One more look, right into her eyes. Seeing the yes. Hearing the "please," even as she made no sound other than a tiny whimper of want. A year apart disappeared in an instant. My lips remembered hers with the first gentle touch.

And I couldn't get enough of them. Soft kisses, trailing over her lips, over mine. Down my jaw, across her cheek, back together. Giggles as our noses touched, Ginny shifting in my lap to straddle my waist, adding glorious pressure in the right places, even as the heaviness in my chest melted away. I swallowed hard, to gain some control. My tongue on hers, finally tasting the future.

There was no need for anything but each other, right then. Eventually, we ended up laying side by side on my bed, legs tangled together, my arm falling asleep under her, her fingers stroking the stubble on my chin even as we continued reacquainting ourselves, stopping only occasionally to grin at each other, to laugh at our fortune. I have to say I don't remember when the kiss ended. We fell asleep at some point, woke up hours later, and picked up pretty much where we had left off.

Well, that is about enough of that, I think. From there it gets, well, a bit more private. But no, we didn't do that. Not then. And I'm not telling you when, either. So don't ask.

There were a lot of wonderful kisses after that. Pretty much all that summer long, I couldn't get enough of being as close to Ginny as possible. Luckily for me, she felt the same way.

Unluckily for most everyone else around us, we didn't bother to hide our feelings. At one point, I think George threatened to conjure a portable Disillusionment Charm to follow us around, just so no one would have to see us snogging. Now that I think about it, he threatened the same thing for Ron and Hermione.

Yeah, there was a lot of kissing that summer. Remember that party at the Burrow I told you about? Before that night, I had never really understood how much pleasure – and pain – could be involved in snogging your girlfriend whilst drinking.

It was certainly fun at first. Heightened senses, lowered inhibitions, poorly cast privacy spells, you name it. It didn't really matter that neither of us had the greatest technique that night; the Firewhisky had made sure of that.

She definitely missed my lips, one or twice.

I may have slobbered a bit more than was strictly necessary.

We both got the giggles. Over what, I have no idea.

And then, the spinning started. Ron calls it "bed spins", which is pretty accurate, although technically we were laying on a blanket I had conjured in the grass under a tree.

I'm sure you can figure out the rest. There was definitely no more kissing for the rest of that evening. Or most of the next day, for that matter.

I tried not to combine drinking with kissing too often, after that.

Fast forward by about two years.

I've had a single shot of Fireswhisky. And I'm nauseous.

But in a good way.

You can probably guess why.

I had wanted to do it at either the Burrow or at Hogwarts, those being the two most important places in my life, and in Ginny's, and for our relationship. The problem was, I couldn't come up with a plausible reason to be at the school at that time, and as for the Burrow, well, she has all those brothers, remember? And at least one or two of them are always around. Usually asking their mum to do their laundry.

Or, in Ron's case, eating. Hermione has many admirable traits, but cooking is definitely not one of them.

But I finally figured out a way to get them all to be elsewhere. Hermione may be a terrible cook but her Confundus charms are simply the best. And the "Weasley Repelling Charm" she came up with . . . sheer brilliance! That one came in handy on our wedding night too.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It had been a tiring week for both of us. The iceboxes at both our flats were empty. I suggested going to the Burrow to have dinner and be fussed over by her mum a bit. She loved the idea. How was I to know that Molly and Arthur had been called away to babysit Victoire?

Well of course, I was to know. Perfectly well. Thanks, 'Mione.

The disappointment in Ginny's eyes as she realized she was not going to get a nice plate of her mum's cooking was heartbreaking. Well, it would have been if I hadn't know what was going to happen quite shortly thereafter. I saved the day by coming up with a lovely, if I do say so myself, picnic supper, scrounged from nothing more than what foodstuffs Molly had stored in various places in the kitchen . . .

. . . or that Hermione might have strategically hidden around the kitchen the day before. That she managed to get everything concealed before Ron noticed and started eating still amazes me.

Anyway, it was quite a nice spread.

We were out by the pond, Ginny eating, me picking a bit and pretending to eat, talking about everything and nothing. Those are the best conversations. I can open myself up to her without worrying about what she will think of me. Whatever I say, it's the right thing. She listens, she doesn't pass judgment, and even when we disagree, I don't worry. And I pay attention too, because as I have learned, she's usually right.

While we were sitting there together, I only could hope that she felt even half as strongly for me as I felt about her.

Considering the fact that I wasn't doing much of the eating, the food seemed to disappear way too quickly. Ginny had started to unwrap a plate of cookies when I grabbed her hand. I had been rehearsing speeches in my head for a week, and yet, now that it was time, I had no idea what to say.

But one look in Ginny's eyes made it all okay. I told her that I loved her. That the year I had spent apart from her made me realize that I was only half a person when she wasn't there. That after all the fighting we had done to secure our future didn't matter if she was not part of that future with me.

It was quite a nice speech. Halfway through, I started crying.

I think that tipped her off.

I had never seen such a perfect combination of tears and absolute joy on her face before. I put that joy there. That contentment. That excitement. That future.

That . . . whoa, her lips were on mine, her hands were under my shirt, mine were in her hair, and suddenly we were wrapped together as tightly as we could be.

We forgot about dessert, but it didn't matter. The taste of her was all the sweetness I needed.

Okay, I admit it. That last part was a bit cheesy and mushy. But hey, if you can't be sentimental on the night you get engaged, when can you?

And the wedding was something to see.

Not that we didn't have a few bumps along the way, planning-wise. Mrs. Weasley, well, by then I was calling her Molly, went into overdrive, planning the thing, and she dragged Ginny right along with her. Actually, Ginny got a little crazy too. She had actually offered to let me hex her if she turned into a bridezilla, and I have to admit, there were a couple of times I had to give Ron my wand, just to make sure I didn't. He understood completely, after all, he's been with Hermione – planner extraordinaire – all these years.

Things calmed down a bit after I threatened to climb a ladder up to her room and whisk her away to the Ministry of Magic and just let Kingsley do it right then. The thought of the icy reception we would get from her parents when we returned from that kind of stunt was enough to give us both a little clarity.

And Merlin, seeing her walk down the aisle, well, it made the months of planning more than worth it. I know I stopped breathing. She was so unbelievably gorgeous that I was almost in shock to think that she actually wanted me. I mean, she's always gorgeous, but there is something about seeing the woman you love in a wedding dress that makes everything take on an almost otherwordly quality. Nothing seemed real. Except Ginny, and the look on her face. That blazing look, of course, tempered with both tears and a smile that said everything I was feeling too. Was this really us? Were we really here, after everything? Could we really be this lucky? I did not break eye contact with her for the entire ceremony. Nothing else was worth looking at.

But I have a confession.

I don't have a lot of really clear memories of that kiss. The whole day seems to be something out of a dream, you know? I've seen the pictures, of course. Even the "you may now kiss the bride" picture. I have that one on my desk at work. I must have watched Ginny and I grin at each other and meet each other in that kiss thousands of times in the last few years. I love the way her eyes light up as she leans toward me, and the ecstatic, but slightly punch-drunk look on my face as my lips meet hers. From the picture, I can tell that we deepened the kiss almost immediately. And that it lasted a good long while, at least for a wedding kiss. But by now, my actual memories of the thing have kind of merged with that picture, and everything is kind of muddled.

Our first kiss when we finally alone together that night, on the other hand. . . Well, actually, it was the second, and third, and, oh Merlin.

We spent that night in my flat in London. Not the most romantic place, to be sure, but it didn't really matter. We were leaving the next morning for our honeymoon, and when we got back we would be moving into the cottage we had bought and renovated together. I don't think we slept much at all, so busy were we with other things.

The first kiss when I carried Ginny over the threshold of the flat was lovely. I just wanted to stay there forever, with her in my arms, her lips on mine, and then her tongue in my mouth.

But her tongue had other ideas.

After a minute or two, mine did too.

We didn't even make it to the bedroom, but collapsed onto the sofa in front of us. My hands at her robes, her hands at my belt, nothing at all to hold us back.

I have to say, there is something both fantastically amazing, as well as supremely comforting about being kissed all over your body by the woman you love and to whom you just pledged your future. The feeling of her lips well, everywhere, returning the favor to her, knowing that you are going to get to experience these feelings for the rest of your life.

Wow.

It's a totally inadequate word for what that night felt like, but, wow.

And, oh my.

So there you have it. The best of my kisses with Ginny.

Well, not quite all of them.

I did leave out one of the greatest. And for this one we were not alone.

It wasn't quiet, or calm, or even particularly clean. There were a lot of people around. Not as many as at our wedding, but honestly, if there had been, I wouldn't have noticed.

Because the world had shrunk, quite small, as it often seems to do when Ginny and I are together. Smaller even, this time.

To the size of a tiny set of feet, a tiny pair of hands.

Two unfocused eyes above a perfect little nose.

A soft, sweet-smelling forehead, where my lips, and Ginny's, met.

Not with each other, for once, but together, just the same.

A most important kiss. A better than anything kiss.

A "shots of Firewhisky all around" kiss.

But not for me, this time.

And not for her.

Because we had him.

And that, without a doubt, is better than Firewhisky.

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