AN: Ok, first off you know the rule, I am NOT JK Rowling nor will I ever be. All recognizable characters and places are hers, throughout this whole story.
Ok, now that I got that out of the way, just a heads up, I re-read this and skimmed it over a few times since I originally posted this on another site. It's one of the first things I ever wrote, HP wise. It's a bit old and hopefully my overall writing has gotten better, but I wanted to post this here as well.
Short Story Song Fic based on Jason Aldean's song "Laughed Until We Cried".
Harry and Ginny visit memories from their past as they prepare for the future.
Chapter One – Trip to Last a Lifetime
through my closet the other day Oh man, we were livin'
I found an old yearbook flipped right to the page of that senior trip
Down there on that panama strip
We all started yelling when we smelled the beach
Couldn't wait to try our fake ids
We only had a few days
And a whole lot of memories to make
Didn't waste one minute
We talked, we drank and danced and said goodbye
We laughed until we cried
Oh man, we were livin'
Harry had finally removed the last box from the back of the closet. He hated moving. He hated having to pack all the little knick knacks that had buried themselves in every corner of the house, sweeping all the hidden dust bunnies away and picking through every item his family had ever owned. As much as he hated the idea of moving he was glad for the reason to be moving.
Ginny was settled in a nice fluffy chair downstairs giving instructions to her brothers. Harry had only agreed they could move before she gave birth if and only if she didn't do any of the heavy packing and lifting. Their family was about to outgrow the little three bedroom cottage they had originally moved into after getting married 10 years ago.
"Might as well go through this now as opposed to after we move it. There might be some items we can go ahead and get rid of." Harry mused to himself as he lifted the flaps on the box that had been buried in the back of their bedroom closet.
Inside were a half a dozen dusty old school books of his and Ginny's. Harry flipped through the titles, vague memories of classes and spells slipping through his mind. At the bottom of the box was something different. This wasn't a hardback bound copy of some left over school book but a rich burgundy leather bound volume with faded gold leafing. Harry smiled to himself as he remembered the birthday that Ginny had presented this to him. It was a photo album. The second one he had ever received as a gift. The first was from Hagrid and included photos of his parents. This one was filled with photos from his years at Hogwarts. Harry took the book from the bottom of the box and sat down on the edge of the bed he now shared with Ginny.
It was a pleasant but sad memory that filtered through Harry's mind as he remembered the day she had presented him the book.
It was his 18th birthday. Ginny was about to head to her 7th year at Hogwarts and Ron, Hermione and himself were about to be officially inducted into the Order of the Phoenix to help in the fight against Voldermort. Harry and his friends were to go on a special assignment that Dumbledore had left specifically for them. No one was to know where they were going or what they had to do. The birthday dinner had been cleared from the table and the presents unwrapped and put away. Only the few Weasley's still living at home, Harry and Hermione were now left at the Burrow where previously every available Order member along with a few friends had been present.
Harry was making his way back upstairs to the bedroom that was now classified as his. Percy had finally come back around to the family, but since he was now married and lived in London, Mrs. Weasley had converted his old bedroom into one for Harry so he wouldn't have to keep sleeping on a camp bed crammed into Ron's room. About to turn to head up another flight of stairs a small hand reached out from the nearest door and Harry felt light finger tips encircle his wrist. "Wait Harry."
Ginny let her hand slip away from his wrist as she made her way out of her room. Propping herself up against the door frame she looked up at Harry a little nervously. "I ummm, well….I didn't really want to give this to you downstairs in front of everyone. I figured parts of it might be kinda personal. I know it is for me. Anyway, here. Happy Birthday Harry."
Ginny had placed the wrapped present in Harry's outstreatched hand. She then closed the gap between them in one step and gently rested her hands on his shoulders. Standing on tip toe Ginny leaned in and gave Harry a quick kiss incase any of her brothers were lurking around. In a flash of red hair she was gone and Harry heard the soft click of her door closing.
Harry smiled at himself remembering the time he had finally gotten up the courage to ask her out and his lips tingled remembering many more quick chaste kisses like the one she had just planted on his lips.
Harry took the steps two at a time up to the next landing and was behind the door to his room almost before you could blink your eyes. Making sure the door was locked incase anyone was in a mood to snoop about he strode over to the end of his bed and sat down. Harry marveled at the neat job Ginny had done of wrapping his gift. It was something he had never mastered when presenting his friends with gifts but Ginny had obviously taken the time to crease the edges of the burgundy paper perfectly and had wrapped the gold ribbon around the package before looping it into a simple bow. Harry tugged at the ribbon and it fell to the floor silently. He gently eased the paper from around the gift. His heart was beating in some weird pattern between the recent close contact with Ginny and the knowledge that whatever she had given him was something personal, something so personal she really didn't want to share it with everyone at once.
Once the ribbon and paper were in a small pile at Harry's feet he saw the rich burgundy leather cover for the first time. All around the edges were delicately laid gold leafing in an intricate design. Their house colors. Harry immediately recognized the gift as a book of some sort. He flipped the book over to see the spine. No title there. He opened to the first page. A small bit of parchment with a very familiar floral scent sat staring at him.
I hope that while you are gone you can keep this close by to remind you of all the people who love you and care for you. Me most of all. I hope this book reminds you of all the good that you are fighting for. I pray that this book can bring to you memories and emotions that can shine a light into your soul if all else goes black. I love you. Please come back to me so that I can add a picture to the last page of us when this is all over.
Harry's vision went a little blurry and all the words before him swam together. Quickly he blinked to keep the tears from falling and forever marring the beautiful words Ginny had written him. Harry slid the piece of parchment back into book behind the cover and flipped the first page. Staring up at him was an eleven year old version of himself, Ron, Seamus, Dean and a nervous looking Neville. All first year Gryffindor boys excited to finally be at Hogwarts. There were a few more from that first year. One including himself, Ron and Hermione and another with the whole Gryffindor Quidditch team after he had nearly swallowed the snitch to secure their win against Slytherin. The picture repeated Fred and George hoisting him onto their shoulders and Harry was waving his right hand with the snitch still in it.
Page after page was filled with pictures from his years at Hogwarts. Ginny had obviously spent a great deal of time gathering pictures from their friends to complete the book for him. The last several pages were totally devoted to several weeks earlier in the summer. Pictures of Ginny and Hermione on beach towels tanning, pictures of Ron buried under a mountain of sand and Harry laughing at his attempts to get up. Harry and Ron making faces at a sour drink in front of them while the girls on either side laughed. The attempt at making a sand version of Hogwarts that had half melted away every few seconds as the waves came crashing up at the shore and four sets of smiles faded and then burst into laughter at the absurdity of it all.
The next to final page was one that made Harry's heart flutter. It was sunset, their last night at the beach. The picture was of just him and Ginny. The picture couple moved from looking at the camera, to staring at each other and then leaned in for a kiss before resting their foreheads together and smiling into each other's eyes.
Harry and Ron had both dressed in nice khaki pants that evening and had on white short sleeved linen button up shirts un-tucked. Both girls had gone shopping earlier in the day and had come back giggling with bags in tow refusing to let the guys see what they bought for themselves.
Hermione flung a bag at Ron and Harry was in mid laugh at the expression on Ron's face when Ginny did the same to him. "Here you go, you have one too."
Harry quickly sobered up. "What's this?" Harry peaked inside his bag.
"Clothes." Hermione stated back.
"We have clothes. Incase you forgot, you packed for me, a whole suitcase's worth." Ron was quickly pulling a new pair of khaki's from his bag. "How did you know what size to buy? What if they don't fit?" Hermione leaned over and whispered something into his ear that made him blush from his neck up to his ears in a color that almost matched his hair. Ron had a goofy grin plastered on his face as Hermione stood back and looked up at him with one hand on her hips a mischievous grin on her lips. "Ummm, yeah. I think you're right. You know what size I wear."
Ginny piped up this time. "Well, these are the clothes you guys are going to wear tonight."
Harry had dropped his hand holding his bag to his side. "Where are we going tonight?"
Both girls looked at each other and grinned and then turned back to their respective boyfriend. "You'll see." They chimed together.
"Ohh and by the way boys…" Ginny now was the one with a mischievous grin on her face. "Hermione and I will be getting dressed in our room Harry. You and Ron can use Ron and Hermione's room."
"What..why?" Ron spluttered.
"Because we said so," the girls chimed in unison and quickly made their way to the appropriate room.
"Wait, I need to get my shampoo and stuff to get ready if I have to use Ron's room."
Ginny turned around and wrapped her free hand, not holding her bag, around Harry's waist and leaned up to plant a quick kiss on his lips. "It's already there, go look." And with that Ron and Harry were left in the living room area of their suite, both with a bag of new clothes in their hands and the girls giggling behind a closed door.
"Women." Ron shook his head and dropped his bag into the nearest chair and went over the refrigerator. "Butterbeer Harry?"
The girls had both bought new sundresses and spent the better part of the afternoon giggling, fixing hair and applying a little bit of make up. Hermione had emerged from the room wearing a teal halter style sundress with large white hibiscus flowers printed all over it. But what caught Harry's breath in his throat was when Ginny emerged in a strapless pale green and blue printed dress. The dress was fitted at the top down to her waist and then gently flared from there and ended well above her knees but not so short to be untasteful. Wrapped around her waist was a simple pale green ribbon tied to the side and trailing down the length of the dress. Ginny had pulled her hair up into a loose bun with slight tendrils framing her face. Harry's eyes swept from her beautiful red hair, to her deep chocolate brown eyes, sun kissed cheeks and down the scattering of freckles on her shoulders. She was beautiful to him. More than beautiful, she was his life.
This vacation was given to Harry and his friends so that they could have a few weeks to be teenagers for once. They had all had to grow up a little faster than most with the threat of Tom Riddle constantly on their mind.
It had been Lupin and Tonks' idea. They had arranged the trip to a beach in the US in Florida. They had all needed American ID's and ones that made them slightly older than they actually were since most hotels in this beach town had age limits. Tonks had seen to that point and Lupin made all the travel arrangements. Everyone surprised Harry, Ron and Hermione with the trip at their party the evening they had come home from their final year at Hogwarts.
Harry had pulled Lupin to the side later and thanked him profusely and also had a favor to ask him. Would it be possible for Ginny to go with them? Lupin looked Harry directly in the eyes and smiled. Gone was the boy he had once taught Defense Against the Dark Arts and instead was a young man so much like his father at that age, as tall as Lupin now and with Lilly's eyes staring back at him. "Yeah, Tonks thought of that before I did, so here Harry," Lupin reached into his robes and pulled out another envelope. "Here is everything you'll need for Ginny to go. Don't worry about Molly and Arthur, we asked them first and they finally agreed, knowing full well you wouldn't enjoy the trip without her."
Harry grinned from ear to ear. "Thanks Remus, I really do appreciate this all."
"You kids, well, not quiet kids any more I guess, go and have a little fun for once. Let us old folks take care of things for a few weeks here. Trust me there will be plenty for you to do once you get back."
They all packed up that night and after a very large breakfast and much fussing around from Molly they were off for two weeks of frolic. Those two weeks had been full of sand, sun, dancing the nights away to beach bands, laughter and as he was sure was the same between Ron and Hermione as for him and Ginny, love.
Harry's head jerked up from looking at the photo album in his hand. "argh." Moving a hand to the back of his neck to massage the tense spot that had formed there from looking down at the book for so long and then sudden movement.
Ginny was yelling. That couldn't be too good. Next thing Harry knew there were two sets of small feet running up the stairs and down the hall. "Daddy!!"
Harry let the photo album slide to his side and rested it on the bed as he stooped down the catch his two running kids in a hug. "Daddy, Mummy sent us to get you."
Lilly his red headed 4 year old daughter stated breathlessly her green eyes sparkling.
"Yeah, come on Daddy before we get into trouble for not bringing you back downstairs." James his five year old son was now tugging on his hand.
Harry smiled to himself. The kids had been trying their hardest to be good over the past few days as family had been in and out of the house helping them pack up and trying to stay away from their mum's temper that flared up worse than usual when pregnant. "You two go on back downstairs, tell Mummy I'm coming. I've got something to show her."
Lilly put one hand on her hip just like her mum and gave Harry that same look that Ginny would give him when she was exasperated with him. "But, Mummy said you had to return with us!"
"I'll be right behind you."
With that James walked over to his sister and grabbing her free hand led her out the door. Harry stood back up and picked the photo album up off the bed. Flipping back to the page with the sunset picture Harry smiled again at all the good memories he had of that time in his life. Flipping to the final page there was the picture Harry wanted to see. It was the day he, Ron and Hermione had arrived home after defeating Voldermort for the final time.
They had finally arrived back at the Burrow after having been submitted to the care of Healers from St. Mungo's and dodging questions from the Daily Prophet. Bill and Mr. Weasley had taken charge of the situation and got the three of them out of there and to the safety of the Burrow as quickly as possible. Before they could even make it to the back door a streak of red came running at Harry and in an instant he was wrapped in a very strong hug and his nostrils were filled the floral smell he associated with Ginny. The front of his shirt was now becoming wet as she cried her relief into his shirt. Harry's mind had finally unclogged and he wrapped her in an equally strong hug.
Before he could do or say anything he took his hands and lifted her face to his and kissed her in such a way that he was trying to make up for all the missed kisses over the past ten months. When they finally broke apart Harry had gotten down on one knee and done the one thing he had been wishing for, dreaming for, surviving for. He asked Ginny to marry him.
The last photo in the album was taken a few minutes later once everyone had realized what had taken place. Harry and Ginny were standing next to each other looking at no one but the other. They would kiss and turn to the camera and Harry would hold up her hand to the person taking the picture to show off the ring on her finger.
Harry closed the album and walked from his bedroom down the stairs to find Ginny in the kitchen fussing over their two children, doling out cookies and milk. Obviously the rest of the family had left for the day. Harry smiled, placed the book on the kitchen counter and walked up behind Ginny wrapping his arms around her waist placing his hands palm down on her growing middle. He immediately felt a kick.
"Harry! I've been calling you for ages. Everyone else left almost an hour ago. What have you been doing?"
By this time Ginny had wiggled from his embrace and turned to face him with a hand on one hip and that same look his daughter had given him just a few moments before.
"I found this, in a box in the back of our closet. It kinda had me preoccupied for a while." Harry reached behind him on the counter and handed Ginny the burgundy bound volume.
Ginny's eyes lit up and the smile in her eyes creeped down to her lips. "Ohhhhh. I had almost forgetten about that. Well, I guess I can forgive you then for being lost in memories."
"They are good memories Gin."
"That they are Mr. Potter."