Chapter 10: Joyfulness with Ginny
Harry shifted the small form higher on his hip, grunting as the weight landed with uncomfortable pressure on his side. He pushed his legs faster down the hallway. His heart was pounding in his chest. Not fear-anticipation. Expectation. Exasperation.
"Hawwy." The word was yawned his against his throat, Teddy's hot and gaseous breath wafting in his Godfather's face.
"Shh." Harry cooed gently, slowing down his speedy trot to pat Ted's head, letting the now dark brown locks slip between his fingers. "Shh. Just go back to sleep, Teds. Shh."
His pace picked back up slightly as Teddy's breath settled back into a steady rhythm. He turned the last corner down the quiet and dark neighborhood, his heels smacking loudly as they thumped on the shadowed pavement.
Harry felt horribly guilty, dragging poor Ted's out of bed at this hour of morning. He had done his best to be patient for his Godson-to wait until morning. But he couldn't. For nearly four hours he had paced back and forth in his chamber, pulling so roughly at his hair his scalp still stung, and thinking. Thinking. His mind was the worst part of this bloody mess. If he could have slept-have shut his mind down for just a second, just a moment, it might have been more bearable.
But as it was, Harry was driving himself mad.
"I love you, I love you, I love you…"
The scene played over and over through his mind in a never ending reel. Ginny, glorious above him, eyes burning into his, hips rocking, mouth opened in a moan, his name….
"I love you, I love you, I love you…"
Seven long years Harry had waited-no, not waited. To wait you must hope, and he hadn't done that. He had thought she was gone to him, out of reach. That she felt nothing for him anymore, and he was nothing to her.
And she loved him.
His days of sitting and pining over an old photograph were over. He was done being passive. He was Harry fucking Potter. He was no coward. Not today. Not anymore.
His heart skipped a beat as he swung open a white gate, nearly running up a set of steps to stand before a large door. He repositioned Teddy once more before he took a deep breath.
Now or never, he told himself.
He raised his hand, curled a fist, and pounded heavily on the door.
No noise leaked from inside.
He did it once more.
Again, no response.
Harry knocked over and over, letting the pounding of his fist echo through the dark and quiet night. Teddy whimpered lowly at the noise, his small hand tangling tightly in the mop of Harry's hair. Come on, Harry thought, impatiently shifting from one foot to another. Open the door. His hand rose once more and it went to knock-but the door was roughly wrenched open.
"WHO THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU-!"
Hermione's head of dark hair was as bushy as Harry had ever seen it, her eyes wide and bloodshot. It was clear she had just gotten out of bed. Harry noticed that the sleeves of her fuzz pink bathrobe had been pushed all the way up to her elbows, he hand clutching her wand so tightly her knuckles were turning white.
As she finally seemed to recognize Harry, her expression of anger seemed to fade slightly-although not nearly enough as Harry would have preferred. "Harry?" She asked, sounding both highly confused and irritated. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"
"I have children asleep Harry! And so do you!" She flailed her arm in the direction the small sleeping Teddy.
"Tomorrow is my day off Harry. Off. Do you know what that means? It means I shouldn't be getting up at four in the Bloody morning! And furthermore-"
She stopped yelling as her name left his lips, and took a moment to take full stock of her closest and longest friend. She noticed the deep circles under his eyes, the slight shaking of his hands, the way his normally restless hair seemed even more distraught than usual.
Her wand flew upwards into the dark night, her eyes narrowed. "What is it? Come in-Come in quickly."
Harry shuffled inside the door, ducking down and covering Teddy's head as he did so.
"Who is it, Harry?"
Harry said nothing, kneeling to gently set Teddy down on the couch. He pulled the throw from the back of the couch over his shoulders, laying a gentle kiss to his godson's forehead.
"Harry!" Hermione yanked on his sleeve, causing his body to jer backwards. "What is going on?"
"The kitchen, Hermione."
"Do I need to wake Ron? Are the kids safe?"
"The kitchen, Hermione."
With a huff, she lead Harry into the yellow and rose colored kitchen, directing him towards the dinning room table. As soon as they sat, the scuffle of small feet could be heard behind the cupboard.
"Mistress Weasley!" Petals enthusiastic voice chirped out. "Would you or Mr. Harry want tea? Petal has already started the kettle Miss."
"Hermione's exasperation was poorly disguised. "That's fine, Petals."
"A scone, Mistress Weasley? Petals has made very good scones."
"Yes Mistress Weasly?"
"Its too early. Please….just the tea."
"Yes Mistress Weasly."
The pink creature scurried hurriedly from the room.
Hermione turned back to her guest, the stubborn look in her eyes peering all too familiarly at Harry.
"I kissed Ginny."
Hermione's jaw dropped.
"Or maybe she kissed me-it was difficult to tell. But we kissing and then we were snogging and she was touch-"
"Right, sorry." His cheeks flushed slight as his gazes dropped from hers. "But she….Then she…Ginny told me she…loved me."
There was a long pause, as Petals scurried back in and out of the room, delivering tea. They both paused.
Hermione paused, blinking slowly. Once, twice….
"What did you do?"
Harry sight, dropping his head heavily into his head. "I had to go check on Ted, and when I got back, she was gone."
"Did you….did you say anything?" Her voice had a softer, kinder edger to it then before. She reached out, taking her hand in his. Her grasp was warm, from her heated glass. "Did you tell her how you feel?"
He chanced a glanced up at her and let out a gust of air, annoyance and exhaustion coloring his tone. "Have I been that obvious?"
She gave him a familiar smile. "Only to me. Ron hasn't guessed anything….not that that means much. You've loved her a long time, Harry."
He nodded, although it wasn't a question.
"Why didn't you tell her?"
Harry stood then, turning away from her. He brought his hand up, tugging and pulling at his tangled ink locks. "Because…..because I was stunned. And shocked. And…..and….I don't know." He sighed and then turned to face her.
"What if she didn't mean it? What if she was imagining I was someone else? What if she ran away because she realized it was a mistake? What if she thinks I took advantage of her? What if she thinks I'm a prat? What if….?"
Hermione took a lone sip of tea.
"Harry? Can I tell you something."
Stepping closure to her, Harry nodded.
"I'll need to you lock the door on you're way out." With that, she stood, collected both their teacups, placed them in the sink, and walked out of the kitchen.
Harry stood for a long minute, feeling dizzy. He made sure to check the lock twice, as he pulled the Weasly's front door behind him.
Harry shifted nervously from one foot to another, holding a crinkled piece of paper in his hand. He pulled the sheet out, carefully examining it, re-reading the lines as though he hadn't already.
You are Invited
To Ginevra Weasley's House Warming Celebration
532 Charlatan ct
He had had to pop in his home and search for an hour to find the invitation from nearly three years ago, but he finally he did, under a pile of old clothes in his bottom drawer.
He glanced at the number above the door.
He took a large breath. He raised his hand to knock once more, when the door in front of him swung open.
Her eyes were red and bulging, as though she had spent a long, sleepless night in tears. Her hair was frizzy and tangled. Her slim, tempting form was encased in a old and ratted faded pink bath robe.
She had never looked more beautiful.
He winced as the door slammed shut, inches from his hopeful expression.
He knocked again. "Ginny?" The call seemed desperate-pleading. "Can you….can you let me in? Can we talk?"
With a heavy sigh, he backed up until his back hit the wall and sat down, lowing himself to the ground.
So much for that pla-
Harry jumped up, as the door opened again.
Her eyes were still red, but her hair was brushed and she wore jeans and a shirt, instead of a robe.
"Hi…Hi Harry. I didn't….expect you."
He swallowed. "Me either. Can I….come in?"
She stepped to the side.
Ginny's apartment was simple and Spartan-the walls a bland white, and the couch a colorless cream. Along the walls, however, were Quidditch posters, pictures of family and friends, and even diplomas and awards from work. Her couch took up most of the room in the den-the leather a broken and soft maroon. She-like most wizards Harry knew-didn't own a telly, but there was a radio off in the corner. Harry could see the kitchen across from him, and door to his left. The space seemed relatively modern-a bit like Harry's old flat, to be honest.
He turned as the sound of a bolt locked clicked behind him.
Ginny stood not four feet from him, arms cross, eyes down towards the floor.
Harry took a deep breath.
She looked up suddenly, a smile plastering her face. "Thirsty? I'm not sure what I have here, but let me look." she walked past him, into the kitchen.
Harry felt the frown etch across his face. He didn't like that smile-it was too big, too wide. It didn't crinkle her eyes. That wasn't a Ginny smile.
"I don't know if I have any milk. Do you take milk in your tea?"
He took a step closer to her, ignoring the shaking in his legs and his chapped throat. "Ginny. Last night, I ne-"
He stopped, interrupted by the crash of a tea cup falling against her counter. Her voice was cold and lifeless, as she spoke. "It was a mistake. I know that." She turned quickly, eyes flashing as she glared at him. "If that's all you came down here for, you shouldn't have bothered."
Harry stared, dumbfounded. Absent mindedly his left hand moved up to rest against the dull ache in his chest. "You think it was a mistake?"
He watched with almost confused agony as she closed her eyes and took a deep, lingering breath. "I'm sorry." Her voice had lost its edge-had lost everything. "I never meant to make you uncomfortable. I would never put you or Teds in that position. " Her eyes opened, and her stumbled as he saw them brimmed with tear. Ginny was crying. Her expression suddenly hardened. "But I can't change the way I feel, Harry. I shouldn't have said it, but I can't change it either. I'm not some school girl with a crush anymore and I don't….I can't help…." She stopped, her words dying in her throat.
He stared at her. Then he took a step. And another. And another, until he was pressed against her, until he could feel the outline of her body pressed into him and could feel her breath-too quick, too shallow-against his neck. Slowly, so slowly, he moved his hand upward. Their eyes were locked, a dark chocolate swirling with emerald. He laid his hand upon her face, revering in the smooth skin.
"I love these freckles." He annunciated clearly, with a tone firm and direct, but not unaffectionate.
"And I love you.'
Silence enveloped him.
Ginny spoke, her words coming out mangled and twisted. "Harry…I don't…..you don't…."
Harry took a deep breath and began again. "I've loved you since I was sixteen years old, and you knocked Zacharias Smith off the announcing booth after a quidditch match. I've loved you for longer than I can remember loving anyone. I love you so much my heart is-mmmff!"
Ginny's mouth was latched firmly to his, her arms wrapped around his neck and pulling him down to her level. Without thinking about it, without even considering the consequences, he bent down, grabbing her swiftly underneath the ass to hold her up, their hips touching.
"Harry…." Ginny let out a sigh as their lips disconnected. Harry found the skin of her neck quite distracting.
Harry paused, stepping back to look her in the eye. "Are-"
She kissed him again, full of fire and stars and quidditch and butterbeer and just…..Ginny.
"If you're…."she panted as they broke apart. "About to ask me….if I'm sure…."
"I will personally toss you out of my flat like it's a de-Gnoming."
Harry laughed against her throat. "Yes, Headmistress."
Ginny pulled herself from his arms, sliding down his form in a way Harry thought was not quite so helpful, and took his hand. With a fierce look she tugged him out of the kitchen, past the living room, and into a bedroom.
Harry didn't notice much about this room accept the fact that it did, indeed, have a bed. They were kissing again, slowly stepping towards the bed-Ginny moving backwards. As Harry was re-discovering how teasing the skin behind her ear made her blush and groan Ginny suddenly pulled away from him, flopping down on the unmade mattress below her.
She grinned at him, her eyes as seductive as the movement of her fingers against the tangled sheet.
"Join me," she whispered.
Harry swallowed, lifting his shirt quickly over his head. His lips touched the base of her throat, reveling in the glorious feeling of his body pressed against his. He shuddered as her hands generously explored the lines and curves of his back.
She pulled his head down and they kissed again, lips, tongues, souls mingling. "Be with me," She whispered as they broke apart.
Harry groaned, his mouth gliding across the smooth ivory of her shoulder.
"I love you," his voice was a whisper as he lost himself, drowning in her. Drowning in Ginny.
A small girl, her eyes a sparking blue and her hair a fair blonde pulled into two pigtails, giggled as she watched her friend, Coraline, holding a goblet in front of her.
"Come on, Cora, " the pig tailed Katlyn encouraged. "My parents drink it all the time-and they're just fine. You don't want the second and third years to think you're a child, do you?" Katlyn huffed with impatience at Coraline's continued hesitation. She looked around at the three other girls in the circle, all wearing expression of curiosity and anxiety. "Come on! Just a sip won't kill you! The rest of us will go right after, promise!"
With a deep, shuttering sigh, Coraline leaned forward and look a small sip of the amber liquid. As the girl around her giggled and gasped, Coraline's eyes rolled back into her head, her body suddenly falling and slumping to the ground.
There was a beat of silence.
And then the entire Slytherin tower was awoken to the sound of wail, that Coraline Carthin was dead.