Chapter 1: The End of the Beginning

"You're not of age!" Mrs. Weasley shouted.

"Harry will let me!" Ginny said desperately, turning to look at him, but he shook his head slowly and she glared at him. "Fine!" Ginny crossed her arms over her chest and started to turn away.

"Ginny, come here a minute. I want to…talk to you." Harry said hesitantly.

Ginny turned back towards him with tears in her eyes, slowly walking over to stand in front of him.

"It's because…I need someone to come back to." Harry said quietly, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. Ginny's eyes widened. Harry let himself be taken into Voldemort's mind for a moment. "Ginny, he's on his way here now, and it's going to end tonight." Harry said firmly. "It's got to. You… you are what holds me here. I will try as hard as I can to come back to you." He stared at her a moment and then leaned down and kissed her hard, taking her face in his hands. The kiss ended too soon for both of them. When he pulled away from her mouth he kissed the spot right below her ear. "It's because I love you." He breathed, pulling slowly away.

That was when Percy came through the door. "Is it over? Did I miss it?" He asked frantically.

Harry backed away from Ginny and looked around the room. Lupin and Ginny were the only two still looking at him, Lupin curiously, and Ginny with tears in her eyes.

"I've got to go find Ron and Hermione." He said resolutely, tearing his eyes from Ginny.

"They said something about going to a bathroom." Ginny said hesitantly.

Harry looked back at her, and stepped forward again, kissing her once more. "Remember…" he breathed against her lips, before turning and walking quickly out of the room without a backwards glance.

"What the hell was that about?" Charlie asked.

Ginny whipped her head around to look at him, tears in her eyes and her hand at her mouth. She shook her head slowly at her family and turned away again, wringing her hands.

"Don't let him die. Please don't let him die." Ginny whispered, her eyes closed.