I am supposed to be swotting, revising for my NEWTs. I'm not.
I can't even concentrate on the latest copy of Quidditch Weekly. It lies open in front of me on my bed. I try to read it, but my eyes glaze over and my mind keeps straying back to Harry. I look at the photographs and try to concentrate on the Harpies article, but all I manage to do is remember my final game for Gryffindor.
Because of next term's Hogwarts versus Beauxbatons Quidditch match, the final inter-house matches were moved forwards, to before Easter. It seems that Hermione was right, as usual. Creating a school team, with players from all the houses, is bringing the school together, bringing the houses together. After the horrors of last year some inter-house cooperation is a very good thing.
The Beauxbatons game, early next term, will be my final chance to impress the scouts. I hope that I won't need it. Harry says that I don't. He says that if I'm not approached by at least one of the professional clubs, then they're all idiots. I hope he's right. But Harry is biased. Had Ron seen that last game, I would be certain, he would not spare my feelings. But Ron missed it, and I'm really glad that he did.
My final game as Gryffindor Captain was against Ravenclaw; it was a good one. I played well, my team played well and we won the cup. We demolished the Ravenclaws. We were winning three hundred points to ninety when their Seeker and Captain, Shirley Bramfitt, finally caught the Snitch and gratefully brought the game to a close. Three hundred points to two hundred and forty sounds a lot more respectable.
The Ravenclaws, apart from Shirley, are a young team. Like Gryffindor, Ravenclaw will need a new Captain next year. We'll probably need a new Seeker too. Young James Devine hasn't performed as well as I'd hoped. But that's a problem for the next Captain, not me.
My mind continues to wander. I cannot even concentrate on Quidditch because thinking about Quidditch inevitably leads me to thinking about Harry and I find myself daydreaming, remembering the celebrations of last Saturday, and the passion of the week which followed. Last week…
Last Saturday, eight days ago, Gryffindor won the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup.
My team had won the Quidditch Cup and we'd done it with three straight wins. I had captained Gryffindor to the first clean sweep since my brother Charlie was Captain. I'd hardly had time to congratulate my team before the jubilant Gryffindor multitude swarmed onto the pitch. My teammates and I were hauled into the air by the mob. They were singing "Weasley is our Queen" at the top of their voices as we headed back to the Gryffindor common room. At the time, I wished that Ron had been there to hear it.
Thank Merlin he wasn't.
Suddenly, the inexorable march of the cheering crowds stopped. Silence fell. The hands holding me aloft lowered me gently to the ground. The pack of people parted, creating a corridor through the throng. Harry stood at the other end. He told me later that he hadn't said anything, he simply stood in front of the triumphal procession and they halted. The sudden silence was unnatural. Celebrations shouldn't stop! But there was an air of excited expectation about the crowd. I knew why, and so did Harry. We were fifty feet from each other, but neither of us moved.
'Good game,' he said. He spoke calmly, but there was a twinkle in his eye. 'You've won the Quidditch Cup for Gryffindor, just like you did two years ago, and this time, I actually saw you do it! What happens now?'
The last time, in the common room almost two years ago, there had been stunned silence when I ran into his arms. This time, the expectant silence changed to cheers and wolf-whistles the moment we began to move rapidly toward each other. It turned into a roar of approval when we met.
Our kiss seemed to last forever. It was joy and pride and celebration wrapped in love and made passionately physical. The applause and shouts lasted as long as our kiss. They lasted until Headmistress McGonagall's voice boomed out over the pitch.
'All non-students imust/i leave the school grounds. All non-students please make your way to the exit, now,' she ordered. There were boos and catcalls and, although I thought that she said the words reluctantly, I joined in with the complaints. Harry simply grinned.
He kissed me softly on the cheek and whispered, 'I love you, Ginny. I'll wait for you in the changing room. Go and celebrate with your team.'
"I love you, Ginny." I seemed to wait a lifetime to hear those words. Now, almost a year after the Battle, I hear them frequently, but that does not diminish their meaning.
Harry stepped aside and was lost in the crowd. I was immediately hoisted back into the air along with my triumphant teammates and, bouncing along on top of the chanting mob, we were paraded back to the Gryffindor common room to celebrate our victory.
The common room was filled with food and drink and banners and streamers, and the Quidditch Cup was immediately filled with Butterbeer. To cheers, I took the first drink and passed it to Demelza. As soon as that was done, I slipped quietly out from the centre of the celebrating throng. There was an enormous amount of food. Every flat surface was piled high with sandwiches, pies and tarts.
I wasn't really hungry, but I grabbed a ham sandwich and then, thinking about Harry, I picked up a couple of slices of treacle tart too.
If I wanted to escape, I'd need to choose my moment. Our replacement Keeper, Roni Bulcock, was, deservedly, being cheered. Roni had played spectacularly well and I was kicking myself for not allowing her to try out at the beginning of the year.
I checked to see what the Hermione was doing. My friend, the Head Girl, was very busy. She was arguing with Ritchie Coote and Jimmy Peakes, trying to confiscate Firewhisky from two Beaters, both of whom were now a lot bigger than she was. While she was distracted, I managed to sneak out of the portrait hole unnoticed.
I dashed down through several secret passages, still in my sweaty Quidditch gear, munching on the sandwich as I went. I had not even thought about changing before I left.
As I ran through the grounds, I wondered if Harry would really be there. I was overcome with nervous hunger and I took a bite from one of the slices of treacle tart. I was certain that Filch would have made absolutely certain that my boyfriend had left Hogwarts. I slipped silently into the changing room. It was empty and echoing … until Harry pulled off his cloak.
'How?' I asked.
'Easy,' he grinned, 'Filch watched me go. When I got out of sight I put on my cloak and sneaked back in while he reopened the gate to allow the final few stragglers to leave.'
'How will you get back out again? The school is sealed,' I reminded him. He pulled a thoughtful face.
'I don't know, but I'll think of something,' he told me as he walked rapidly towards me and enfolded me in his embrace. We were back in what we now agree is our favourite place, each other's arms.
'Congratulations, Captain,' he whispered. 'Your brilliant team played absolutely brilliantly and you were…'
'Brilliant?' I asked. He laughed.
I thought that he would kiss me, but he didn't. Instead, he talked. It was so unusual that I let him. Harry may not be very good at compliments, but he's honest.
He told me how he loved the smell of my hair. I ran my fingers through his wonderful, tousled black mop.
'I love the smell and feel of yours too,' I told him. After ruffling his hair, I ran my fingers gently across his cheeks. As I did so he grabbed my hand and sniffed it.
'Broomstick,' he whispered, his nose almost touching my palm.
'What do you expect, I've been holding onto a broom for almost two hours,' I told him.
He didn't speak; he sniffed my hair again, and then went back to my hands, kissing my fingertips and staring into my eyes.
'I love you,' he said. 'I really, truly love you, more than … more than … more than … anything.'
'More than anything?' I asked, laughing. He really does need to work on his compliments.
'Even more than treacle tart?' I teased. I know that it's his favourite. 'I brought you two slices from the party, but I started to eat one on the way here,' I admitted.
His eyes gleamed. He bent forwards and I inhaled in preparation for a kiss. At last!
But it didn't come, not then. His tongue darted out and he licked a wayward crumb of treacle tart from the side of my mouth.
'I love you at least a million times more than treacle tart,' he said. 'I don't know what I'd do without you. I'd be lost and alone. Again!' There was a catch in his throat as he spoke.
He opened his heart to me. He'd been hurt so often, and he was leaving himself defenceless against me.
Harry had been slow to tell me how he felt; at least, he'd been slow to say those three little words.
Patience does not come easily to me, but with Harry, you have to wait until his brain catches up to his feelings. Within a week of the Battle, I'd known that he felt the same way about me as I did about him. He didn't say the words, of course. But he did tell me that "he wanted to be with me forever" and that's pretty damn good for a boy who had probably never had the "three little words" spoken to him as he grew up. Over the summer, he'd said "I fancy you" more than once, and I'd known then that he'd get there, eventually.
His first real attempts had been at the beginning of this school year. The first time he tried, he finished a letter "All my love, Harry" I'd been overjoyed. I knew that he was trying, but there had been a few bumps along the way, and he didn't actually say the words to me until the start of the Christmas holidays. He met me off the Hogwarts Express and that's when he said "I love you" for the very first time. It was fitting that he finally said the words at the place where we first met, King's Cross Station. He'd been shy and stammering that first time. Now, a mere three months later, he was baring his soul to me.
'I love you too, Harry. More than everything,' I whispered. 'You look great and you smell great, you smell like something familiar, like…' I wondered what the smell was.
'Amortentia,' Harry told me. He was right.
He was still savouring that tiny crumb of treacle tart. He seemed to be staring into infinity, he was lost in his thoughts, but his eyes were bright and happy. And that was it. That was the moment our relationship changed.
I thought that it would be slow, that we would build up to that most intimate act of love over several weeks dring the coming summer. I expected that one day, after I'd left school, that we would reach the point of no return. I imagined that it would be after a few hours alone one quiet evening, snogging on his sofa. But that wasn't how it happened. That tiny taste of treacle tart stolen from my lips had turned a switch inside Harry's head. Before I knew what was happening I found myself being kissed with more passion than ever before.
He had lifted me off my feet, swept me off my feet, a part of my brain told me. His lips were pressed hard and hungry against mine. And that wasn't the only hard and hungry thing about him.
He was the passionate and unstoppable force I'd seen so many times in the past. But this time his incredible, inspiring passion was not directed against his enemies, or towards his friends and allies. This time it wasn't a passion for justice, for what is right. It was a caring, loving, fervent ardour; it was an overpowering force, and it was being given freely to me. I was swept away by the thundering waterfall of outpoured emotions.
I did not fight it, I allowed myself to be carried away by his emotions and I gave myself to them, allowing myself to be taken by the flood. Our emotions took physical form. I was being lifted off my feet and pressed against the wall. I wrapped my arms around him, and felt his hands on my bum. It took me a few seconds to realise that he was actually caressing my flesh. I still have no idea how he managed to unfasten my belt and get his hands inside my clothes without me noticing, but he proved to be very good with his hands, very good indeed.
We didn't stop kissing; at least, I don't remember us stopping. I remember my tongue in his mouth and his in mine, and I remember fumbling at buttons and zips. We were very quickly naked.
Thank Merlin for Harry's Auror training, and for my foresight. Harry immediately had the place secured and surrounded by alarm spells and I used a Summoning Charm to get the contraceptive potion I had hidden under my bed "just in case" this opportunity presented itself.
We celebrated another Gryffindor victory on the Quidditch pitch with a very different (and nowhere near as fluent, but ultimately satisfying) Gryffindor triumph of our own. In many ways, it was like a Quidditch match, energetic, sweaty, and occasionally frustrating and painful. But by working as a team, we finally won through for each other.
Merlin, he really is good with his hands.
Fortunately, we'd finished and were relaxing in each other's arms when Hermione disturbed our love-making. Our whispered words of love were interrupted by a shimmering silver otter which asked, 'Ginny, where on earth are you?' We hastily dressed, each of us in a white-faced panic, before I replied.
I conjured my own Patronus. 'I'll be back soon,' I told her. 'I'll tell you when I see you.'
Harry seems to do his best thinking in a crisis. He summoned Kreacher and we finally realised that, with Kreacher's help he—and therefore I—could enter and leave Hogwarts whenever we wanted to.
After a few last desperate kisses, I reluctantly let my lover leave. Once he'd gone, I hastily returned to the common room. The party was still going strong, and it seemed that no one, except Hermione, had missed me.
'Where on earth have you been?' Hermione asked when I got back.
'Celebrating with Harry,' I whispered. 'That's two victories in one day!' I added.
It took a few more whispers, and a piercing look, before Hermione finally realised what I meant by "celebrating" and "victory". She blushed. Beating Ravenclaw and winning the Quidditch cup has now led to two very important days in my life, and in Harry's, too.
That was over a week ago. Since then Harry and I have spent more evenings together than we have apart. On Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was at Grimmauld Place with him. I stayed until the early hours of the morning. We missed Monday because Ron was not working the late shift that day, and Harry doesn't want Ron to know that I've been outside Hogwarts. He is terrified about what will happen if Ron finds out what we've been doing.
But it isn't "if" Ron finds out, it's "when" Ron finds out. He will, and it will probably be soon, because Hermione knows. Ron lets everyone think that he's thick and insensitive. In many ways he is, but he can read Hermione almost as easily as Hermione can read a book. He always seems to know when something is troubling her. Although he doesn't always know what's wrong he will pester her and try to find out, and he won't be subtle about it.
Friday was the end of term feast and last night was my first night "home for Easter", so there was no chance that Mum would have let me stay out overnight. Tonight, however, is a different matter. It's time for me to go downstairs and make my plans.
Mum and Dad are both in the kitchen when I descend the stairs from my bedroom. There is a pot of tea on the table; Mum is reading Witch Weekly while Dad reads the Sunday Prophet. I look my mother in the eyes before I speak; Dad can safely be ignored. When I lie to Mum, it's essential that I do it to her face, and I'm about to tell her several whoppers. I lick my dry lips before speaking.
'I've already done three hours of Charms revision today,' I say. That's my first lie, the easy one. I was trying to read Quidditch Weekly, but I even able to do that because my daydreams about Harry interrupted me. Mum nods understandingly.
'And I'm going to go to Hermione's this evening and we're going to do our Transfiguration homework together.' That's the second lie. But it's only partly a lie, because that was the plan, it was even written in Hermione's homework diary. But she is no longer any part of my plans for the day.
Last night at Antonio's Italian restaurant, while Hermione visited the loo, Ron made some alterations to Hermione's diary. My plans no longer involve Hermione, because now she figures very strongly in Ron's latest campaign. Ron and Harry made me promise not to tell her. Ron intends to take her out for the day. I really don't think that they will be calling at The Burrow. There is very little chance that Mum will find out where I really am.
'Hermione says that it'll be all right for me to stay over tonight too,' I tell Mum. 'She has stayed here often enough; she'd like me to stay at her parents place for a change.' This is the big lie; Hermione knows nothing about this either, though I'm confident that she'll cover for me when I tell her. I haven't even told Harry what I'm intending, because I've only now decided to take the risk.
I miss him, I need him, and I'm certain that he won't object to me spending the night with him. I know that he's on the evening shift tomorrow. We'll have a lot of time together, I hope.
'Harry's meeting me at the shop at three o'clock, after he's finished work. We're going to check up on George and then we're going out for a meal. After that, I'm going straight to Hermione's. It's the Easter holidays, Mum, I need to see Harry whenever he's not working, but I will do more swotting tomorrow, I promise. It is still eight weeks to the first exam.'
'Harry wouldn't want you to fail any of your NEWTs, Ginny,' Mum tells me. 'They are very important for your future career, remember.'
'I know, Mum, I'll work hard, and I'll be good, I promise,' I tell her.
Actually, I don't think that Harry has given my exam results much thought. He was accepted into the Auror Office without any NEWTs. I want to become a professional Quidditch player and I know that the clubs don't care about my NEWT results.
Thinking about Quidditch makes me think about Harry and I begin to daydream again. I take a deep breath and try to relax. I don't want to appear too eager in front of Mum, she might suspect.
'Are you going to change, before you go out?' Mum asks. She examines my choice of clothing with a critical gaze.
I'm in combat trousers and crop-top. Mum and Dad were relaxed about us wearing Muggle clothes when we were younger; Mum used to buy them for me from Muggle charity shops, because no one in the wizarding world could identify the clothes as second-hand and unfashionable. She's not so happy about my current choice of clothes; she doesn't like me to display my belly-button. Harry does, and his tongue… I force myself to calm down again, because Mum is looking at me suspiciously.
'It's the Muggle fashion, Mum,' I explain. 'Actually, with this top I could wear a skirt this short and it would be perfectly acceptable.' I place my hand only just below my crotch. Mum looks horrified, recognises the threat in my words, and shakes her head in resignation.
'Off you go, then. Have a nice afternoon. And be sure to thank Hermione's parents for their hospitality,' Mum tells me.
'I will,' I say. I hug her, kiss Dad's bald patch and say goodbye to them both. I grab some Floo powder and walk towards the kitchen fireplace.
Dad looks up from the Sunday Prophet. He's been reading the paper and ignoring everything else, as usual. He smiles at me and says, 'I hope that you're not intending to do anything we wouldn't approve of, Ginny.' There's a twinkle in his eye. He can't suspect, can he? My lips are dry again.
'Of course not, Dad,' I promise him. This is an easy promise to give. They had seven kids, therefore, though I don't like to think about it, they must approve of what Harry and I have been doing for the past week.
Harry is late. It is after four when he finally gets to the shop, because the Auror Office thought that they had a lead on Sigbert Scabior. Unfortunately, like the last lead, this one came to nothing. When Harry finally arrives, we spend a few hours with George. We try to cheer him up, but with little success. He's down because it is his birthday in a few days. He refers to it as "my first birthday" and it's heartbreaking, because it's true.
Last year was the twins' twentieth birthday; this year is George's first.
It is after half past seven when we get to the Leaky Cauldron. Hannah, bless her, manages to find us a small table in a quiet corner. Even so, several people approach Harry while we eat. A very small girl shyly asks Harry for an autograph, which he gives with an embarrassed smile. Hannah then goes from table to table, asking her other customers to allow us to eat in peace. This is why we rarely eat out in the Wizarding world; Harry hates the attention. Last night's meal at Antonio's in Soho with Ron and Hermione was wonderful. We ate and talked and, because we were in Muggle London, no one bothered us.
While we eat I finally admit to Harry what I have planned for the night.
His eyes are bright and mischievous when I tell him. He thought that I'd be going back to The Burrow after the meal. Then his face creases into a worried frown.
'What about Ron? He'll be home sometime tonight. What will we do in the morning?' he asks.
'Leave Ron to me,' I tell him.
'But,' Harry begins.
'Leave Ron to me, Harry,' I repeat. 'I can handle him, although I probably won't need to. I reckon that Ron is planning "the seduction of Hermione Granger" tonight. I just hope that he finally manages to get off with her. If he doesn't, it will be his own fault. All he needs to do is make her forget about the bloody exams for one day and they will end up in bed together. They both need it!'
Harry's smile falls from his face and he tries to look impassive. He fails, and looks shocked instead.
I have to smile. Despite the fact that we've been doing it, Harry still doesn't want to think of his two best friends in that way. Ron will probably be worse when he finally finds out about Harry and me, but Hermione and I have already begun planning a holiday this summer, for just the four of us. So the boys will have to get used to the sleeping arrangements. No more Harry and Ron in one room, Ginny and Hermione in the other. From now on, it's Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, and if Ron complains (and really, given the alternative he's being offered, I don't think that he will—my brother is many things, but he's not a hypocrite) I'll hex him.
'Harry,' I tell him. 'Hermione has been driving me crazy with her revision notes and timetabling. She is even trying to organise my revision schedule for me. A good sha…'
'She tried to do that for me and Ron, too. Organise our revision. But she never succeeded,' interrupts Harry, hastily.
'Ron can make her relax,' I say with confidence. 'And a relaxed and happy Hermione might not nag me about revision.'
'Don't count on it,' Harry warns me. 'It takes a lot to distract Hermione from schoolwork, and anyway, those two can miss the most obvious of opportunities.'
'True,' I agree. 'But you can talk. I practically had to jump on you for our first snog!'
'You did jump on me,' he admits. 'You're braver than me. I was too frightened of Ron to do anything.'
'And you are still frightened of Ron,' I tease. 'Tom Riddle, no, but my daft brother, yes. It's ridiculous. But don't worry, Harry, I'll protect you from him.' He laughs at the truth of my words.
'What if they come back to Grimmauld Place, too?' Harry asks.
'Then Ron will find out tonight, not tomorrow,' I say.
'Ron will find out…' Harry begins, realising what I've just said. I nod.
'Harry, after the Quidditch game I was in the changing room, away from the "real" victory celebrations, for more than an hour. When I got back to the common room, Hermione wanted to know where I'd been and what I'd been doing, so I told her,' I whisper the information, despite the fact that we're using a Muffliato spell to keep our conversation private.
Harry looks pale. 'Hermione knows?'
I nod again.
'Of course she knows. You sent Kreacher to get me out of Hogwarts on Sunday night, and again on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Did you think that I could have spent those evenings with you without Hermione's help?'
'She helped?' I have to smile at the astonishment on his face. In some ways he is so naïve, sometimes I think that he's worse than Ron.
'Yes, the Head Girl helped me to play truant. She lectured me about swotting, and about how close the exams are, but despite the fact that I was with you and not revising for exams, she still covered for me. She made certain that the other girls in our dorm didn't find out that I was in your bedroom, not the library. And I will return the favour for her whenever I can next term, if my useless brother finally manages to get her into his bed,' I say.
'Ron's not useless, and won't be his fault if he … if they ... if…' Harry is unable to say the words so he tries again. 'Like you said, Hermione's in full pre-exam panic. I know how that makes her, and you do, too. I honestly didn't think that Ron's trick with her homework diary would work. But, as he hasn't been in touch with the office today, I suppose it must have done—unless Hermione has murdered him.' Harry, as always, tries his best to defend my brother. This time there's some truth in what he says.
'One thing Ron is really good at is persuading Hermione to break rules,' I remind him.
'You're pretty good at doing that, too, apparently,' he tells me.
'So are you,' I remind him. 'She helped to keep you safe, Harry, safe for me. I'd do anything for her.'
'So would I,' he admits.
It is almost nine o'clock when we leave. I am holding Harry's hand as we walk towards the door out into the Muggle world. He, like me, hears one of the two middle-aged witches near the door say, 'Outrageous, the things these young witches wear, they show too much flesh and look like Muggles.'
'That's the idea,' I tell them. I prevent Harry from losing his temper by pulling him into the Muggle world and squeezing his very squeezable bum. We are standing on Charing Cross Road. It is dark, but the well lit streets are still bustling.
The door to the pub closes and we are instantly invisible to wizardkind. Out here, no one shouts "Mr Potter, Mr Potter!" Out here we are simply two young people on an ordinary street. It is liberating, but sometimes, and often for the wrong reasons, Harry has difficulty leaving the magical world behind.
'How dare they—' Harry begins. I kiss him.
'So long as you like what I'm wearing, Harry, I don't care what anyone else thinks,' I tell him. 'The old witches didn't like my bare arms and bare belly, so what? They're probably talking about your ridiculous clothes too, but it doesn't matter. Because I think you look great.'
Harry is smartly dressed; he usually is these days. He spent seventeen years wearing old and badly fitting Muggle clothes. That seems to have made him determined to be smart from now on. He is wearing a patterned open neck shirt and black trousers. I look into his eyes and he smiles.
'You look wonderful, and beautiful,' he tells me.
He takes my hand in his and we walk up Charing Cross Road to Tottenham Court Road tube station. We travel a couple of stops on the Underground, to Chancery Lane, and then begin the twenty minute walk to Grimmauld Place.
We stride through the streets, hand in hand. We're on our way home.
Home? That thought catches me by surprise.
Will it be our home? I wonder. In three more months I will be leaving Hogwarts, what will happen to us when I leave? Where will I live? Mum would go mad if I moved in with Harry, unless we got married. But I don't want to get married, not yet.
We discussed this a few days ago, last Wednesday evening. It was after midnight, so, really, it was not Wednesday but very early on Thursday morning, and we were in his bed.
Harry understands. I didn't think that he would, but he does. We'd been discussing my hopes for a career as a professional Quidditch player. I'd been telling him my dreams.
'I'd love to play for the Harpies, and England, if I'm good enough. Wouldn't it be great to have an England shirt with my name on the back?' I asked. 'Ginny Weasley, Chaser. I want to be…' I stopped, because I suddenly realised that what I'd been about to say might upset him. He was relaxed and happy, but then we'd just spent three hours in bed together, so that's no surprise. He filled the silence I'd left with his own words, and he was thinking the same things as me.
'I love you and I want to marry you,' he said with heart-stopping certainty. I was sure that he was about to propose; after all, we'd been "doing it" for a few days. But then his voice changed and he spoke softly, and almost apologetically, 'But I don't suppose that you want to be Mrs Potter for a while yet.'
He then proceeded to tell me everything that I wanted to hear.
'It's bad enough for you now, Ginny. You're not Ginny Weasley anymore; you're "Harry Potter's girlfriend" or even "The Chosen One's Chosen One".' He curled his lips in disdain at the term. 'You're not a person in your own right. It's like you're invisible, or at best my shadow. I know that you hate that, and you know that I do too. But there's not much we can do about it. Ron and Hermione have lived with being "Potter's pals" for years and it is wrong.'
'I know, Harry, but you can't control the press,' I reassured him. My heart was beating ninety to the dozen as I wondered where this conversation was going.
'You iare/i your own person, and you want to prove that, don't you?' he asked me. He understood! He knew, really knew, how I felt. I was astonished by his insight.
'Yes,' I said, surprised.
'Believe me; I'd be really happy if, in a few years, the newspaper headlines read "England Quidditch star, Ginny Weasley, marries some bloke from the Auror Office".' He smiled and his eyes twinkled. I laughed, and I kissed him.
Then he put on a very serious face.
'Provided that the "bloke from the Auror Office" is me, of course,' he added.
I did believe him. He meant it; there was no doubt that he meant it. And I loved him even more. And I spent most of the next hour saying an energetic thank you. I showed him how much that his words meant to me and he showed me, too. I didn't get back to Hogwarts until half past two in the morning.
It won't happen of course, because he's Harry Potter, and he always will be. But it is a nice dream. We're not engaged and we're not planning on getting engaged until after I have a career established.
We are together and we love each other, and that's all that anyone needs to know for now.
We are approaching a pub called The Griffin when it begins to rain. I stop and look up unto the grey sky and I decide that everyone needs to know how I feel. I wonder how Harry will respond.
'I love Harry Potter,' I shout at the top of my voice. The other pedestrians stop what they are doing, whether it's looking for shelter or fumbling with umbrellas and they stare at us. Harry grins and does not hesitate.
'I love Ginny Weasley,' he yells as the rain begins in earnest.
We are only ten minutes from Grimmauld Place. We run home hand in hand, laughing all the way. We are soaked to the skin and our wet hair is plastered to our heads. After hanging our jackets on the stand in the hall, we dash upstairs to Harry's bedroom. It's not even ten o'clock when we begin to help each other out of our wet clothes. I'm cold, but that's not why I have goosebumps. I will have to try shouting those words in Diagon Alley too, I think.
We've just started getting down to business when we hear Ron and Hermione arrive. Ron's voice is a low murmur. Whatever he's said has made Hermione laugh. We hear them laughing and giggling as they climb the stairs. Ron's bedroom is on the floor below. But as a precaution Harry locks and secures his bedroom door and I cast a Muffliato spell.