A/N: I forgot to post a disclaimer on the first chapter. Disclaimer: HP is not mine. This story is for fun, not profit.
A/N2: Thanks again, Jenn!
In the end it took her nearly a week to get all of her plans worked out. It had been much more difficult than Ginny had originally thought. She had spent the rest of her day off trying to come up with words that fit the acronym "T.O.U.C.H.E.S." There had been several different words she could use for "T," "C," and "S," but finding words for "O" and "U" had been beyond difficult.
She ended up scrapping the idea. Another thought had occurred to her while she and the other Chasers were attempting a variation of the Parkin's Pincher. The reserve Chaser that they were using the manoeuvre on had been completely oblivious. It had struck Ginny as she swiped the Quaffle from the startled woman that Harry would never get that the seven words spelled out T.O.U.C.H.E.S. since he was normally oblivious to such things. There was also the fact that he had an aversion to acronyms after putting up with Hermione's penchant for using them for everything.
That night she threw out all the parchment that she had scribbled her words on and began anew. When she had finished, Ginny couldn't help but be pleased with herself. Over the next three days, she worked out how she could demonstrate these words with Harry. The only problem she had left was convincing her boyfriend to go along with her idea.
"You want to do what?" Harry said incredulously, with one eyebrow raised and his arms folded across his chest.
Ginny licked her lips nervously and tried again. "We aren't moving forward at all and I thought we could try something from one of my rom-, er, from a book. It, er, suggested taking seven words and acting them out over seven days."
Harry's face broke into a small smirk. "From a book, huh? I can see you now." He pitched his voice in a falsetto tone and batted his eyes. "'Oh, this will work! It's has to be true! I read it in a romance novel!' Come on, Ginny. We're fine. We're just not like your brothers. Besides, if we acted like them, they'd kill me!"
"I don't want to be like the prats, but I want us to move a little faster." She looked down trying to think of anything else that could convince him when he finally spoke up.
"Alright, I'll do this girly thing from your romance novels, but you can't tell Ron. Or George." He ran his fingers through his hair. "So touch, huh? What do I need to do?"
Ginny gave him a huge smile. "First of all, I need you to plan to get together with me at least one hour every evening next week. Can you do that?" Harry nodded. "Alright, every day we'll act out one of the words and I'll tell you the following day's word before we say goodnight so that you can prepare."
Harry nodded his head again. "So we'll start tomorrow, right? All the words have to be, er, acted out with, er, touch?"
"Yes, to both questions."
He sighed. "Okay. What's the word for tomorrow?"
"Support?" Harry dragged out the word, looking completely confused.
He ruffled his hair again, sighed and then looked resigned. "Alright, whatever you say. I need to leave. I promised Andromeda I'd have dinner with them tonight." He leaned over and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "So I'll meet you here tomorrow around six and we'll act out, er, 'support.'"
Ginny watched as Harry shifted nervously side to side. She could admit that 'support' wasn't exactly the easiest word on her list, but it seemed like the best word to start with. Her plan was to start out slowly and work their way into more intimate touches.
"So, would you like to go first?" Harry looked startled and slightly green, but he was red and gold through and through. He sucked up his courage and moved so that he was directly behind Ginny.
"Okay, fall back," he whispered nervously. When she turned her head to face him with wide eyes, she saw he had his arms extended, ready to catch her. "Don't worry. I won't let you fall."
Ginny took a deep breath before allowing herself to fall back. His hands caught her just below her shoulders and he held her up, supporting her. After a few moments, Ginny moved to stand upright and Harry shuffled his feet.
"Was that right?"
Ginny gave a small smile. "There's not really a right or wrong answer, Harry. I asked you to act out 'support' and you did wonderfully. I know you'd never let me fall."
Apparently Harry did catch the double meaning of her words as he looked up and gave her a shy smile. Ginny gestured for him to sit down on the blanket she had brought that was spread out under a large oak tree near the edge of the property. "Alright, it's my turn."
She sat beside him and twisted so that she could place her left hand gently onto his right shoulder. She smiled, hoping she looked encouraging, and then got onto her knees. Ginny moved her hand from his shoulder to his upper arm and gave him a quick squeeze. It wasn't difficult to see that Harry was confused.
Instead of answering him with words, she crawled behind him. Her hands were tender in their touches, almost as if she was dealing with a skittish animal. In a way, she felt like she was. Harry was tense and seemed ready to bolt at a moment's notice. The redhead tried not to get discouraged, however, as she patted him on the back, kneaded his shoulder gently and then ran both her hands up and down his arms.
Finally, she pressed herself lightly against his back, wrapped her arms loosely around him and placed a soft kiss on the back of his neck. The happy sigh that escaped him was felt all the way to her toes and Ginny smiled, pressing her face more firmly against him. Now she could explain herself.
"You are the one person I trust to always support me. When I asked you what you thought about me playing Quidditch professionally, you told me I'd be brilliant. You said any team would be lucky to have me and that you loved watching me play. No one else thought I could or should try out. They all wanted me to do something else, something that was them and not me. But you supported me."
Ginny stopped talking to draw a breath. In that moment Harry slowly reached up one of his hands to clasp hers. It was difficult for Ginny not to shout out in triumph. Instead, she went on with her explanation.
"I want you to know I will always support you, no matter what. I worry so much about you, but I know you're happy fighting the bad guys. Even if we don't know how to tell each other with words that we support one another, we can always tell each other this way."
They stayed in that position for several minutes longer before Ginny let go and stood up.
"How about we go for a fly?" Harry smiled and nodded. They walked to the broom shed talking about George's new products. Just before they took off, Harry grabbed Ginny's hand and gave it two quick squeezes.
Later that evening as Harry was getting ready to Apparate to his home, Ginny whispered, "Calm."
Harry gave her a startled look and then disappeared with a louder than normal crack.
Harry stood in front of Ginny, looking even more nervous, and possibly even frightened, than he had the previous day. Either way, he was far from calm. While Ginny didn't like that he was worked up, it would help her point if she could prove that touch could help to relax him.
"Do you want me to go first again?" Ginny nodded and waited for Harry to make a move.
He did, in a big way. She hadn't known what to expect, but a passionate kiss hadn't been something she would have thought for "calm."
When Harry finally pulled away from her, she smiled at him and gave a little giggle. "Okay, that was about the opposite of calm!"
Her boyfriend stepped back and seemed to close in on himself a little. At first, Ginny didn't know what to do, but then remembered 'support' and wrapped her arms around him, lightly rubbing his back. "I'm sorry I laughed, Harry. I just don't understand how a kiss like that is supposed to be calming."
"That's what I do whenever we fight and you're really angry," he mumbled. "It always seems to calm you down."
Ginny had to smile at that. "I probably would have called it distraction, but you're right. I'm usually much calmer. Ten points to Gryffindor, Mr. Potter."
He laughed. Ginny enjoyed feeling his joy radiate from his chest into her own. "Alright, oh wise one. It's your turn."
She had planned to have him sit down again, but instead decided to stay as she was. One of her hands found one of his and she stroked his palm lightly with her thumb. Then she moved both of her hands to his temples and rubbed delicate circles on the tender flesh there. Soon Harry's eyes had closed and he leaned his head forward until his forehead touched hers.
"I like your 'calm' just as much as mine," he whispered, ending on a slight groan.
"We trust each other enough that we can seek each other out if we need to calm down," she whispered back as she moved her hands down to his shoulders. She massaged the taut muscles more firmly than she had the day before. "Or if we need to relax. Isn't touch wonderful?"
They headed back to the Burrow where chocolate biscuits awaited when she had finished easing some of the tension in his shoulders.
Harry gave her a shrewd look just before they entered the house. "What's tomorrow?"
"Let's get this over with." Harry pulled Ginny into an awkward hug and patted her on the back three times before releasing her and stepping away. He ran his fingers through his hair agitatedly several times. Ginny was worried he'd make himself go bald with the force he was using.
Her plan had been to hug him, but now something else came to mind. "Sit up against the tree." Harry gave her a bewildered look, but did as she requested. Ginny sat close beside him and leaned her head back against his shoulder. She smiled when his arm came up automatically and their fingers laced together.
"This is how you comforted me at Fred's funeral." Harry jolted a little. Ginny crawled away from him, then turned and faced him. "Take my hand and squeeze it tightly," she requested.
Harry got to his own knees and leaned forward, placing his larger hand on top of her small one and then gave it one tight squeeze.
"This is how you comforted me when I woke up in the Chamber of Secrets." This time Harry jerked back, nearly smacking up against the tree trunk.
"Harry, you already know how to comfort people, or at least me. You've done perfectly every time you've offered me comfort. You just let your head over think it. Giving someone comfort isn't about doing the exact right thing. It's about lending your strength to someone who needs it at that moment."
Harry stood up, looking distressed. "I need to think about this one." He sighed, facing away from Ginny. "What, er, what's tomorrow's word?" His whole body was tense and Ginny thought for one wild moment that they should stop this whole crazy idea.
"Oh. I'll see you at six." Then he was gone and Ginny was left to wonder if this idea was making things worse.
Ginny was worried that Harry was going to stand her up today when her watch showed half past six. It shouldn't have surprised her after how uncomfortable he had been the previous evening, but it did. Harry was always considerate.
Just as she was getting ready to head back to her home, a brilliant white stag galloped up to her. He bowed his head and Harry's voice vibrated the air around her. "I'm sorry, love. Bad guys are really inconsiderate of people's schedules. I'm just finishing up here and I should be at the Burrow a little after seven. I love you." It was surreal to hear Harry's voice come from the stag, but it made her smile all the same.
Instead of heading back to the Burrow to wait for Harry to arrive, she stayed under the tree, watching as the sun sank lower and simply enjoying what was left of the evening. Sooner than she had expected, there was a soft crack several yards away. Harry turned his head back and forth disoriented and then he turned completely to face Ginny.
"I'm really sorry, Ginny. We had this guy we've been tracking for..." He trailed off when he saw Ginny hold up her hand.
"I understand. Thanks for sending a message. I appreciate it." She stood up and they walked to each other until they were toe to toe.
"So, er, indulge. Am I suppose to indulge you or, er, me?" His face was slightly flushed and Ginny watched the pink in his cheeks travel to his neck before she answered.
"You can indulge you, or me, or both of us. It doesn't really matter."
Harry nodded, lifting his hand to her shoulder. He paused for a moment and then lowered his mouth to kiss her. Ginny was so lost in the kiss that she was slightly startled when the hand on her shoulder shifted the neck of her loose shirt so that it was just off her shoulder. He broke the kiss and watched his hand as it lightly traced from her shoulder to her collarbone and over to just under her neck. His brilliant green eyes were intense.
Ginny was certain that he'd pull back quickly, but just when she thought he'd stop the back and forth movement of his hand, he lowered his mouth to her neck. Both of his hands made their way to her back and under her shirt where they made gentle patterns over her lower back and sides.
It felt heavenly and she was a little disappointed when he finally stopped, breathing much harder than before.
He looked down shyly. "I've wanted to do that for a long time," he whispered. "I love your freckles."
She couldn't stop the jittery little giggle that escaped and Harry chuckled quietly as well. "I think you definitely indulged us both." Taking his hand, she led him over to the well-worn blanket that had been in this same spot with them for the last few days. "I'm planning on indulging us both as well. If you're comfortable with it, that is."
Harry gave her a questioning look. "I'd like you to take off your shirt and lay down on your stomach." He looked undecided for a moment, but then nodded and proceeded to remove his shirt.
No one would call Harry Potter muscular. Even after a year of eating food prepared by her mum and Kreacher, he was still a little thinner than looked healthy. The muscles he did have were well defined, however, and Ginny indulged herself by looking her fill.
Once he had lain down, Ginny came to her next dilemma. She desperately wanted to straddle his waist, but didn't think he'd be comfortable with her doing that. Instead she kneeled beside him and began rubbing his back. She had asked Luna for advice on this and tried hard to do what the blonde had said. 'Hold your hands lightly above his muscles to see if you can feel heat coming from them. Those are places that may be inflamed and would be sore. Rub gently to feel for knots and then work them outward, away from his spine.'
There had been many other things Luna had told her, most of which Ginny knew Harry would object to right now. She hoped that she'd get to use her friend's advice on her boyfriend one day, sooner rather than later.
It didn't take long before Harry was giving quiet moans and grunts. Whenever she came across an especially tender area, he'd suck his breath in and tense up for a short time until she had soothed the spot. She worked her hands over his back and shoulders, his neck, and then his arms, even rubbing his hands and fingers.
Then she moved back within easy reach of his back and dragged her fingernails lightly over his back, which drew a much louder moan of pleasure from him. It seemed Harry very much enjoyed having his back scratched. When Ginny moved her fingers to just under the waist of his jeans, he tensed up a little, but groaned happily when she scratched the strip of skin that the coarse material rubbed up against.
Once Ginny finally sat back, Harry got up and pulled his shirt on again. He sat down next to her, pressing a lingering kiss to her temple.
"I really like 'indulge,'" he said.
"Me, too," she replied, leaning up against him. "Tomorrow is 'accept.'"
"Alright, tomorrow is 'accept.'" Harry smiled at her and they sat together, watching the sunset.
"I'm not really sure how to act out 'accept' with touch, so is it okay if I talk?" Harry asked almost as soon as he arrived. "I mean, there will still be touching, but I don't think the touch really demonstrates 'accept.'"
Ginny smiled at him. "It isn't as though we can't change our own rules, you know. The world will still turn and broomsticks will still fly if we can't come up with the right touch for a word."
Her boyfriend laughed a little uneasily and gestured for her to sit down in between his legs. She did and leaned back as he wrapped his arms around her. Ginny remembered sitting this way with him when they had dated those few perfect weeks in her fifth year, but she couldn't think of a time they had sat like this since then.
"My family isn't like yours," he began. "Aunt Petunia would fuss dramatically over Dudley and praise him for every little thing. She always did that, but it got worse when I started bringing home better grades than he did and it was always really nauseating for awhile after I had done accidental magic. Now I understand that she wanted to make sure that Dudley wouldn't be shunted aside just because I could do magic and he couldn't, but I didn't know that for a long time.
"Uncle Vernon treated me like I had a dangerous disease. He'd only touch me to push or pull me somewhere and then he'd still grab my shirt." Harry sighed as he laid his head on Ginny's shoulder. "It's hard for me to accept that you actually want to touch me. That's what this week is about, right? Helping me to accept your touch?"
Ginny was quiet for awhile, long enough that Harry got a little impatient. "What are you thinking? The suspense is killing me, but I guess that's better than one of your hexes," he tried to joke.
"I had planned to kiss you and then attempt to take things a little further tonight. I was going to say that we could accept each other and that we'd learn together. That isn't right, though. What I had planned wasn't very accepting." She turned and wrapped her arms around him, pulling Harry into a tight embrace. "I accept that touching is not, er, comfortable for you. I accept that you try to overcome your, er, unease. I accept you, all of you."
Ginny waited nervously, hoping that, yet again, she hadn't said something that would upset him. "I accept that you'll never hurt me, even though it's my biggest fear." She sucked in her breath at his admission. "I accept that we both want to move, er, further than we have. I accept that it's okay to ask you what to do, since I don't really know."
They continued to embrace, laughing occasionally whenever one of them would make an inane "I accept" remark. They got sillier until at last Harry said, "I accept that in the next two days, you're probably going to try to have your wicked way with me."
Ginny laughed. "That's good, because I accept that tomorrow's word-of-the-day is 'stimulate.'"
Harry's eyes got wide and his Adam's apple bobbed up and down as he gulped.
She could see how anxious Harry was in the way he shifted back and forth on his feet. Some days Ginny couldn't get any clues from what her boyfriend was thinking by the expressions on his face. Then there were the days like today when he was an open book. It was easy to see the moment he had found his courage. The determined look on his face made a tremor run down her spine and she could hardly stand the wait.
Ginny gasped in shock when his hands went immediately under her shirt, tracing the same pattern as they had two days before. Instead of staying on her back and sides, however, they made their way to her stomach as well. They rose slightly higher, but went no further. A fleeting thought crossed her mind, but she wasn't in the mood to ponder why the warmth of his hands made her shiver. At that moment he had kissed his way from her shoulder to under her ear and Ginny was convinced she'd never felt this stimulated in her life.
She couldn't help moving her own hands to his chest. Although she desperately wanted to feel her hands on his bare skin again, when she attempted do so, Harry tensed up and drew away slightly. Not wanting to push the issue, she ran her hands from his shoulders to his stomach, causing his breathing to hitch deliciously against her neck.
It was all over far too soon in Ginny's opinion, but she was delighted to see her boyfriend was flushed and panting a little. She didn't feel she needed to explain anything after Harry spoke up.
"I really liked that." He ruffled his hair, which was the only sign he was anxious. "I mean I knew touch could, er, stimulate, but I was always worried that we wouldn't be able to stop once we started. You know, since we're both sort of impulsive and tend to act without thinking." He actually smirked a little at her and she couldn't help returning the expression.
Inwardly, Ginny agreed wholeheartedly. She had planned on doing something similar for her demonstration of 'stimulate,' but decided it would probably be better if Harry's demonstration counted for the both of them.
Once they had settled down, they made their way to the Burrow. Ginny's mum had made Harry promise to eat with them that evening and he wasn't one to pass up Mrs. Weasley's cooking.
They weren't able to get a moment alone again before Harry needed to head to his place, so Ginny tried to be crafty about telling him the last day's word.
"I'll try to come up with something nice to 'offer' you tomorrow, Harry."
He seemed to understand. Unfortunately, her mum had caught the emphasis Ginny had placed on 'offer.' Since she didn't want to explain what she and Harry were doing, Ginny was forced to listen to a mild speech about what she should and shouldn't offer a boy.
Ginny was nervous. She had planned to offer herself today, but the week hadn't gone as she had expected. In all honesty, she could have tried to push Harry into being a little more receptive to more risqué touches, but she'd been afraid she would scare him off. As it was, she felt the week had been a success. The problem was that Ginny wasn't sure what she would do to act out offer now.
When she heard the crack that signalled Harry's arrival, she turned. He looked at her, cocked his head to the side and furrowed his brow in thought. Then his face broke into a small smile and he held out his arms to her. As Ginny accepted his embrace, everything suddenly became clear and she knew what she would offer, but Harry started talking before she could do anything else.
"I feel like an idiot. I had no idea how to act out 'offer.' I spent all day thinking about it. Savage got on my case about being distracted." Ginny laughed into Harry's chest and waited for him to continue. "Then I get here and see you looking worried about something and I knew exactly what I should offer you. Did I pass?"
She nodded and then pulled away from him. "I had this whole week planned out before I even said anything to you." She paused taking a deep breath. "I planned to, uh, offer, um, myself."
Harry sucked in a breath and cut off what she had planned to say. "No, Ginny, that's... You don't have to... I'm not--"
"I know," she interrupted him. "I'm not either. I thought I was teaching you. How arrogant is that? It hadn't occurred to me that I thought something was wrong with us because I was basing our relationship on other people and my, er, books. I mean, I think this week really helped us, but I don't think we need to work so hard on moving faster physically. One day, we'll both be ready to go a little further. Then another day will be another step and eventually we'll both be ready to offer everything." She took another deep breath and looked up into his eyes as she placed a hand on either side of his face. "I'm sorry for trying to push you and acting like I knew everything."
"You're forgiven." He smiled at her offered apology, looking like he was ready to laugh. "I promise we'll get there one day. I'm really glad you're not ready either. I've been a little worried you'd decide I wasn't worth waiting on."
Ginny laughed. "Potter, you'd think by now you'd have realized that I'm too stubborn for my own good. I'll always wait for you."
They sat down beneath the tree that had become their own over the past week. "Do you think you could Summon us a couple of Butterbeers?" Ginny nodded and cast a quick spell. "I think that maybe it's time I offer to tell you some things I wouldn't offer to tell anyone else."
"I'd like that. I'd like to make the same offer."
With that, Harry and Ginny spent the next week meeting under their tree, talking about their pasts.
Ginny ended up giving her romance novels to Luna. The blonde had always said those types of books contained some of the most fantastical things in them.
She did send a copy of Charming Cordelia to Romilda Vane. On the inside cover she wrote a message.
You were right. There is a lot to learn from romance novels. My boyfriend and I appreciate all of your help. Hope this book can help you!
"Hey, Gin?" Harry looked like he was thinking really hard about something. He absentmindedly rubbed circles on her back through her thick jumper.
"You know that week of, er, touches back in September?" She nodded, but he was looking off into the distance at something she couldn't see. Perhaps Harry was just contemplating the mystery of how George snuck another gnome past her mum to grace the top of the Christmas tree this year.
"Well, you weren't, you know, trying to, er, hint that, maybe I should, er, um." He sighed and ran his hands through his hair before turning and looking directly at Ginny.
Ginny's eyes got wide. "Did you say what I think you said?" Harry started to speak, probably to clarify what had just spewed forth moments before, but she clapped her hand over his mouth to stop him.
"Shhhh!" she hissed. "Don't say the "P" word anywhere near my mum! Are you crazy? She's been all twitchy lately. Yesterday she made Ron too ill to eat with all of the wedding hints!"
Ginny put her hand down. Harry raised an eyebrow at her and smirked before turning nervous again.
"Well? Is that what you were wanting?" He rushed on, cutting off her response. "I mean, if that's what you're wanting, I'm okay with that. I'd have to get my mu-, er something first, but, yeah, I can do that."
She put her hand against the side of his face, her smile getting wider when he leaned into her touch.
"I don't think I'm ready for that yet." Ginny was startled to see a disappointed look in her boyfriend's eyes. "It's just...I don't want to have a really long, um, waiting period and I don't think I'll be ready to get," here she paused to drop her voice to a barely audible whisper, "married for a couple of years."
Harry relaxed a bit and gave her a shy smile. "So if I surprised you sometime in the next couple of years, that'd be alright?"
"Yeah, that'd be alright." She smiled up at him while slipping a finger between two of his shirt's buttons to tickle his stomach. "Until then, we can just have fun with touching."
Harry started laughing when she got a particularly sensitive spot. Ginny caught Ron's eyes from across the sitting room when Harry tried to scramble away from her. She was gratified to see an approving smile on her brother's face.
When she finally stopped tickling him, Harry grinned up at her from where he'd fallen to the floor.
"By the way, who's Bambi Potter?"