By the time Christmas rolled around, Harry and I had nearly decimated Voldemort's forces. He still had a rather large amount of incompetent idiots, as he was constantly recruiting those, but his best fighters had been systematically hunted and destroyed. It took us several days to drain Rookwood, and required the use of Veritaserum, and then we put the fool out of his misery and sent him on his way. We found Lucius Malfoy the last week of November, and I had a bit of fun seeing how loud I could make him scream. This was the man responsible for all the horrors of my first year; I felt no pity for him. Eventually, we ended his miserable existence, but not before I made him write his farewell in his own blood. Tom had made me do the same, so I thought it was only fair. In early December, we came across a little cell of Death Eaters that worked in the Ministry. After spying on them for a solid two days to see how much we could learn, Harry gleefully watched as Umbridge wrote out her confession using a blood quill. I was very glad that last school year I had been so preoccupied with my own problems that I never crossed her. Harry wasn't the only one who had been forced to serve her evil detentions, though he was the only one punished simply for existing. The week before Christmas, we found Bellatrix Lestrange. When Harry told me the story of what she had done to Neville's parents, I insisted that a photograph of her body be delivered to Longbottom manner with a lovely Christmas card.
I hope Neville liked his Christmas present.
Harry and I had a rather large argument about the holiday. I was fairly well content to sit in our home with Sirius and Remus, but Harry insisted that we spend it with my family. I pointed out that there was no way for that to happen, as half of my family would most likely curse us on sight. He just smiled and said he would work it out. Eventually giving up on figuring out what he was up to, I simply rolled my eyes and left him to it.
I woke up Christmas morning alone, something I was never happy about. I sat up and rubbed my eyes, peering around for my husband. I had started hunting around for him when he popped into existence at my side, beaming. I raised an eyebrow in question.
"You look entirely too pleased with yourself."
He ignored this. "Get dressed. We have to go soon."
I shook my head at him, but did as he asked. The last time he had gotten some crazy harebrained idea in his head and I refused to do as he asked he simply dressed me himself and dragged me along. I figured it was easier to simply comply. At times like this, it seemed like the child he had never gotten to be came out for a bit of fun, and I hated to quash his enthusiasm and joy. I dressed quickly, and threw on my dragonhide coat for good measure. I had a feeling we were going to the Burrow, and figured I could use the extra protection. Then, with wand in hand, I returned to his side. He had shrunk a rather large pile of presents and was carefully putting them in his pocket. When he finished he looked up at me with a smile. "Ready?"
I nodded and placed my hand in his outstretched one. With a pop, we were gone.
We were in the front room of my childhood home, and Dad was sitting on the couch, beaming at us. I went to hug him, but stopped when Harry placed a restraining hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him curiously.
"I'm fully aware that certain individuals are likely to try something with us here. We're inside a heavily warded portion of the room, and it is probably best to remain here."
I looked carefully at our location. With a casual flick of my wand I could see the wards that surrounded us. There were more layers than I could make out easily. I nodded and smiled at my father instead.
"Merry Christmas, Daddy."
He beamed. "I'm glad you were able to make it. Happy Christmas."
My gaze flickered to where Harry was enlarging the packages he had brought. With a hasty look around, he slipped out of the ward for a minute to place them in a large pile in front of my father. He shook hands with Dad quickly, and then stepped back. I pushed him down into the large armchair in our corner and happily curled up on his lap.
"Does everyone else know we are going to be here?"
Dad's smile faltered briefly. "No. Charlie and the twins know, but I thought it was best if I not tell the others."
I nodded my understanding. "Is everyone going to be here?"
"Percy we haven't heard from in awhile, but everyone else should be. Bill is bringing his fiancée, and Hermione and Neville are staying with us for the holiday."
I grinned. It would be nice to see them. Despite our many differences of opinion, Hermione was the closest female friend I had. I was also excited to see Neville. I looked up at Harry.
Do you think Neville knows it was us?
He shrugged. It's possible. It wouldn't be a huge leap of logic. And very few people know what happened to his parents and would have cared to let him know.
Do you think he'll say something?
I don't know. You know him much better than I do.
I nodded my acceptance of this and turned back around. It was only a few seconds later when a loud explosion announced the arrival of Fred and George. They bounced into the room, grinning ear to ear.
"It's so absolutely spiffing to see you!"
I giggled at them. "Hello Fred, George. Merry Christmas."
Their eyes narrowed at us. "What is this? So afraid of what we'll do to you that you have to hide behind a ward?"
I giggled. "Blame my overprotective husband."
I looked up in just enough time to see Harry roll his eyes, but he didn't say anything. He had retreated into his silent public persona. It saddened me that my family's behaviour made it so he wasn't comfortable being himself here. Not that I had been myself in this house for last several years, but, you know, it was the principal of the matter.
Bill was the next one down, with his arm wrapped around a lovely blonde that I remembered from the Tournament. Bill scowled at us, but didn't say anything. The girl, however, beamed when she saw us.
"'Arry! It is lovely to see you again!"
"Hello, Fleur," he said quietly. "How have you been?"
"Oh, 'onderful! 'E 'ave been planning our 'edding. You 'ill be there, of course."
Harry nodded. "Wouldn't miss it."
Bill must have tensed at this, because Fleur turned around and hit him across the chest. "Be'ave Bill 'Easley! 'Arry is my friend and your brother-een-law. 'E deserves your civility."
Fred and George snickered at the contrite look on Bill's face, and then their expressions went blank as Mum stepped into the room. Her eyes widened as they landed on me, and her hand tensed towards her wand before relaxing slightly as her eyes shot briefly over to Dad.
"Ginevra." She greeted stiffly.
"So you have decided to be a part of our family again, have you?"
"Actually, Dad invited us for Christmas and Harry wouldn't hear of us missing it. He says family should always be together on holidays."
She glared at me, but before she could say anymore there was a loud commotion as the room suddenly filled up. Neville and Ron were in the lead, chatting happily until they spotted us. Ron turned red, and Neville stared at us with a strange expression on his face. Hermione was right behind them, her face carefully neutral. Charlie bounced in not two seconds later, grinning when he saw me.
"Ginny! You guys made it!"
"Hello, Charlie. It is good to see you again. Merry Christmas."
Charlie bounced over with his arms opening for a hug, but he stopped when Harry raised a hand. "I wouldn't do that if I were you, Charlie."
Charlie came to an abrupt halt and looked at him curiously. Instead of answering, Harry flicked his wand and the wards shimmered into view for a brief second. Charlie shrugged and sat down beside Dad instead.
Hermione was looking at us curiously. "Did you do the wards yourself? They looked complicated."
I shrugged. "Harry did them. We were... worried after our last visit with the family."
The twins snickered and Charlie hung his head. Hermione looked confused and surprised. "Oh." She shook her head before offering a tentative smile. "It's good to see you, Ginny. How have you been?"
"Fairly good. We've been keeping busy, but I've certainly enjoyed myself."
I turned to Harry and cupped his cheek with a loving smile. His eyes blazed down at me in return. I don't think anyone missed my allusion, as there were several loud clearing of throats. I turned back around and smiled.
"Harry?" My eyes shot over to Neville, who was staring at Harry over my shoulder. "Thank you."
Harry offered a small smile. "Of course. Everyone deserves justice, Neville."
Neville nodded and I beamed at him. I'm glad he understood our gesture. Ron turned to his friend in confusion and anger. "What are you talking about, mate? And why would you thank Potter?" He spit the name like a curse word, and I growled softly. That was my name now, too. Harry's hand came up to rub soothing circles on my stomach.
Neville looked at Ron with a carefully guarded expression. "Harry and Ginny sent me an early Christmas present last week."
"Why would he send you a present?"
"Because he knows what it is like to grow up without your parents in your life."
Ron stared at Neville before gritting his teeth and turning away. He walked stiffly over to the couch and sat down next to George. "Well, are we going to open presents?" He finally demanded.
The family sat down awkwardly around us, Mum studiously putting her back to us, as if that would mean we weren't really there. And we largely obliged her sensibilities. Harry wasn't going to talk unless he had to, and I was content to sit quietly in his arms. It was obvious that most everyone wasn't expecting us, as there weren't presents waiting for us. Or maybe they wouldn't have had anything for us even if they knew we were coming. You never knew.
Charlie was the first to offer us a present, offering me a smile and setting it just outside our ward. The twins were next, and I eyed their present carefully. I wasn't entirely sure they wouldn't try to pull something on us, but was fairly confident that we could handle it without turning into some unusual creature or having body parts dyed. I sat still in Harry's arms, knowing it would be better to retrieve our presents all at once at the end, and watched as Dad quietly passed ours out for us. Ron stared at it and refused to even touch it. Bill eyed his hesitantly, but picked it up when Fleur shot him a glare. He opened it and tried to be discrete about tapping his wand on it several times as he did. I rolled my eyes.
"Satisfied I'm not trying to kill you, Bill?"
His eyes shot up to mine and he had the grace to look sheepish. "Old habits die hard, Ginny. I don't necessarily trust your husband there."
"You don't know my husband."
"Touché," he acknowledged. He opened the box and drew in a startled gasp. "Ginny? Is this real?"
I shrugged. "Depends what you think it is. If you think it is the marriage crest of Hor-Aha, Pharaoh of the First Dynasty, then yes, it is."
"Merlin! How did you get this?"
I grinned. "Harry has connections." Bill didn't need to know that we took it as collateral damage when we raided Malfoy Manor. And Malfoy wouldn't be coming looking for it.
Bill's eyes shot up to me, huge with shock. "Ginny, this is priceless."
Bill's attention moved just over my shoulder to Harry. "Thank you," he whispered. I could feel Harry nod against my shoulder in acknowledgment.
The twins must have felt that the mood was too serious, because they hastily tore into their own packages. They looked confused at the contents: several small Muggle pill containers. That was, until they found the small piece of parchment at the bottom that detailed what each of the pills did. Then they went dead silent. It was hilarious. After a few moments, they both looked up with identical looks of glee.
I smirked. "They come with Padfoot and Moony's blessing."
The twins' eyes went wide with shock. "You know the Marauders?"
"Of course. Harry here is second generation."
I laughed as Fred and George fell to the floor, bowing and chanting, "We are not worthy!" Those two crack me up.
Curiosity obvious in his eyes, Charlie tore into his own present. He looked at it in confusion before finally admitting defeat. "What is it?"
"Dragons and Snitches. Evidently it's a Russian game. There's a spell that will enlarge all the parts, and instructions included. It's a rather more intense game than Quidditch, what with the artificial dragons that try and chase after you, but I think you'll like it."
We completely lost Charlie after that, as he had pulled out the miniature dragon models and was examining them carefully for accuracy. Every once in awhile he mumbled something under his breath about idiots who had never seen a real dragon, but he still didn't remove the beaming smile from his face. I think he liked his present. I wish I would be there to play it with him. It sounded amazing.
While Charlie was playing with his dragons, I turned my attention to Dad. I knew Mum probably would refuse to open anything we got her, so Harry and I had decided to just give both gifts to Dad. The first box he opened contained a miniature model of the Burrow. The detail was fabulous, and Dad stared at it in excitement. But that wasn't the real present.
"It's not just for show," I spoke quietly. Dad looked up at me curiously. "It's an advanced map, there's a model of everyone in the Burrow at all times. Hopefully it will help you be able to move back home for good, instead of just a visit."
"There's more," Harry started, and I turned in shock. I didn't know about more. "If you would poor a drop of your blood on that rune in the front, it will activate several extra wards."
"Wards?" Bill asked, his attention immediately fixed on Harry.
"Blood wards. No one but a Weasley will be allowed access. It's a bit extreme, but I figure social visits can wait until after the war is over, or be done at another location."
Dad gave a feint nod, and pulled his wand.
"Wait!" Bill called. "Harry isn't a Weasley." I smiled; at least he was showing concern.
"Sure I am. My magic and Ginny's has blended, and so I am now half Weasley. It is enough. However, I would still wait. There are other guests here."
Dad smiled. "I'll do that later tonight." Dad looked straight at Harry. "Thank you, son." Mum flinched. "You've made our family safe." Dad picked up the second gift. "You really didn't need to get me anything more."
"Believe me, Dad, you'll want this." I answered for my silent husband.
He shrugged and opened the envelope. He read it in confusion, before exclaiming, "Bloody hell!"
"Arthur!" Mum bit out.
He flinched. "Sorry, dear." He looked back at me. "Is this what I think it is?"
"Private lessons on a Muggle airplane. They start next week."
I laughed happily as Dad jumped up and started dancing around. He picked Mum up and spun her around in excitement. She had a hard time hiding her smile. Of course, she made her displeasure at me known as soon as he set her down. She went to the large pile of lumpy packages in front of the fire and started passing them out. The Weasley jumpers.
She didn't have one for me.
I had been expecting this, and so I was able to keep my face in a careful neutral expression. But I could not hide my distress from Harry. He tightened his arms around my waist and leaned up slightly to hiss in my ear. "She'll come around eventually, love. It will be okay." I didn't believe that she actually would, but I was determined to not let her ruin this for me.
Dad must have been more observant than I thought, for he looked up at me with a sad look in his eyes. Deliberately, he got up and walked over to our corner. He pulled a small wrapped box out of his pocket and set it on the pile waiting for us.
"Dad?" He had never given his own presents before. He always let Mum choose the gifts.
"My little girl deserves a present at Christmas."
He missed Mum's glare as he went back to his seat and I cringed. She was going to tear into him as soon as they were alone, I had no doubt. Standing up, I walked carefully forward and picked up the presents, then brought them back. I let Harry open the gift from Fred and George while I opened Charlie's.
Charlie had given us matching arm cuffs with an elaborate dragon made out of leather. They were beautiful. When I examined it closely, there was a small hole near the top. On a whim, I took out my wand and stuck it down the hole. Despite the fact that the cuff was no more than two inches wide, my entire wand disappeared inside. I beamed up at him. "Thank you, Charlie. These are wonderful."
I handed Harry his and looked at the various things he was examining. It looked like the twins had given him an entire set of their Defence line. Some of those things looked remarkably useful. When Harry looked up, I helped him tie the cuff on his left arm. I smiled sadly when he ran his wand over both of them. But I couldn't fault him. My husband was paranoid for a reason.
Dad's gift was small, and when I opened it I found a velvet blue box. This made me curious, as it looked like jewellery. But I had no idea how Dad could have afforded to buy me something like that. I opened the box and gasped. It was beautiful. A chain of diamonds sat on the velvet, and in the centre was a rather large emerald. I looked up with tears in my eyes. "It's beautiful, Daddy."
He smiled. "That necklace has been an heirloom in my family for generations. Every Weasley daughter has worn it at her wedding. As our actions forced you to hide your wedding, I thought it might be nice for you to wear it to show my support and love instead."
I smiled at him, unable to stop the tears from falling. I felt Harry lean up carefully to have a look. Once more, his wand was out. Dad's smile faltered when he saw this.
"I'm sorry that we made you think that was necessary. You take whatever precautions you need to, Ginny girl."
Harry took the box gently from my hands and removed the necklace, and then he carefully placed it around my neck. He placed a small kiss behind my ear as he did up the clasp. "This looks beautiful on you."
I smiled softly before turning back to the room. "We didn't know you would be here, Hermione and Neville, so I'm sorry we left you out."
Neville chuckled. "You already gave me the best present I could ask for. Don't worry about it, Ginny."
I smiled. Harry leaned up again. "Would you like me to pop home and grab Hermione's, love?"
I turned my head and smiled at him. "That would be lovely." I hopped off his lap and watched as he disappeared from view, then turned back to face my family. "You can open your present, Ron. I swear we didn't do anything to it."
He glared at me but said nothing.
I raised an eyebrow. "Given the quality of the gifts we got for everyone else, aren't you the least bit curious?"
His eyes shot over Charlie, who was still playing with his dragons, Bill, who was holding tightly to his gift and carefully investigating it, the twins, who were passing the small bottles back and forth as they examined them, and Dad, who was prodding around at the model Burrow. Then his gaze returned to me. "Fine," he bit out, grudgingly. He carefully pulled off the paper, flinching as he opened the small box. When nothing happened, he looked closer.
He looked exceptionally confused.
"You might try an enlargement charm," I added, dryly.
He pulled his wand, then seemed to remember that he wasn't supposed to do magic, and handed it to Hermione instead. She muttered a quick spell, and the box enlarged rapidly.
I giggled. "I have one of those myself. I think you'll enjoy it."
"Bloody hell! This is the new Firebolt!"
Ron looked up with wide eyes. Before he worked up the courage to say anything else, I whipped around with a smile on my face. I could feel a familiar energy approaching. I was looking right at him when Harry materialized in front of me. He smiled and held out a large box for me.
"Thank you, Harry."
His right hand came up and gently caressed the side of my face in answer. I took the box and, with a careful look around the room, stepped gingerly out of the ward. I handed the present to Hermione with a smile, and turned back to our corner. On the way, I stopped and kissed Dad on the cheek.
Hermione had already opened the box by the time I turned back around. She was nearly vibrating with excitement as she carefully examined the book it held. I knew it would take her a minute or two to figure out what it was, as the book was quite old, and handwritten. A line appeared in her forehead as she read, confused.
"Check the last page," I whispered.
She flipped to the back of the book, looked at it for several seconds, and then screamed. I clamped my hands over my ears and laughed.
Hermione looked up. "You... Is this... How... But..." She couldn't seem to get a single phrase out.
"Yes, that is a spell book handwritten by Cressida Ravenclaw, as dictated to her by her great-grandmother Rowena."
She screamed again, and I laughed happily. I think she liked it.
This time it wasn't me doing the jumping. Harry stalked towards me, his eyes wild with need, and he threw me onto the ground. I blinked and he was on top of me. He growled at me as I pushed up into his exploring hands.
"Do you have any idea how sexy that was?"
I mewled as he sucked furiously on my neck.
"To see you tear them apart for hurting me, to see you act every bit the furious lion protecting her mate, I've never wanted you so much in my life," he whispered in my ear as his hands attacked my trousers.
My mind was a hazy fog and the only thing I could focus on was Harry and the feelings that were coursing through me. I didn't even know if we had finished securing the Death Eaters that were only feet away from us. My eyes narrowed as I thought of them. They had used the Cruciatus on Harry, and I made them pay. I gasped as he ripped open my shirt. He must not have been harmed too badly, as he seemed quite enthusiastic in showing his thanks.
I was spending the day atop the tallest cabinet in the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. This was something that Harry or I did every week or two, to make sure we were keeping abreast of the recent developments in the war. We didn't always learn anything useful, but sometimes we got lucky.
As the greasy figure of my ex-Potions professor stalked into the room I drew in a quick breath. Today I was going to get lucky.
Behind Snape, most of the Order members trickled into the room. I was surprised to see that none of my family was there. Did Dumbledore think that they were helping Harry and me? It seemed the only logical explanation for why they were excluded from what seemed to be an important meeting.
Remus hadn't been invited back since he left Dumbledore's office with me in September.
Dumbledore was the last to step into the room, and he waved his wand at the door as he crossed the threshold. Then he turned to the room. "Thank you for coming on such short notice. Severus, if you could tell us what you have learned?"
Snape nodded before beginning to speak. "The Dark Lord is starting to get desperate. He has lost all his Death Eaters of note, excluding myself, and most of his new recruits."
"Have we confirmed that it is Potter?" Came a growling voice from the corner. I looked over to see Mad-Eye and shrunk back out of habit. We weren't sure if his magical eye could detect animagi, but the possibility made me nervous.
Dumbledore sighed. "No, but I am sure nonetheless."
Snape nodded. "As is the Dark Lord. I gather that Potter has been sending him some calling cards."
Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"Potter's been sending... pieces, along with letters, taunting the Dark Lord. He has not been amused by this. He is getting... erratic, and has been muttering increasingly outrageous plans. Frankly, I am concerned."
"Can we use that to our advantage?" A woman in the back asked. I didn't recognize her.
"How?" The little man that spoke was Dedulus Diggle. "He knows that Harry is no longer cooperating with us."
"Yes, but he has lost most of his supporters, and is probably getting paranoid." She responded. "Would this not be the ideal time to attack?"
Dumbledore sighed. "I fear we would still be risking too much if we were to attack now. None of us have the power to eliminate Voldemort, and without Harry on our side we never will. We need to find him, and convince him to work with us."
I was amused to see a small smile on Snape's face. "You kidnapped his wife, after keeping her away from him for five years, and you think he would ever willingly work with you?" I had to suppress the urge to trill a chuckle.
"That is the past. He needs us now."
Mad-Eye barked out a laugh from his corner. "No he doesn't. He and the missus seem to be doing just fine on their own. They have managed to accomplish what we never could, and there are only two of them. Harry will take out Voldemort when he is ready. In the meantime, we should spend our resources protecting the rest of the wizarding world." I had to resist chirping a laugh. I think the ex-Auror was growing on me.
"I fear leaving Harry to his own devices. I do not wish him to fall."
Kingsley stared at him incredulously. "Fall? Isn't it a bit late for that concern? They have already shown they aren't afraid to use Dark spells."
"And yet they don't kill everyone." Snape spoke quietly. "You'll notice that the newer recruits, those that haven't had time to really do anything much, are always taken captive instead. Harry seems to be clear that he will punish harshly, but only those who deserve it."
"And what gives him the right to judge?" Kingsley asked.
"Someone has to, and no one else was willing. The Aurors and Order try to capture everyone, and you die in the process. And when you do manage to capture anyone of value, the Dark Lord is able to release them quickly. Harry has recognized that this is war and if we have any hope of winning we must do something more than just take the same people prisoner over and over again."
I was surprised by Snape's words. I knew that he understood Harry better than most, but it sounded like he actually respected what we were doing. Harry would be pleased to hear that.
"And what is to stop him from becoming the next Dark Lord?" Emmeline Vance asked. I glared at her. How dare she suggest such a thing.
"He has been pretty obvious about the fact that only those who harm someone will face his wrath. The only thing he will fight anyone other than Death Eaters for is his wife. Stay away from Ginny Potter, and Harry will leave you alone."
Dumbledore looked at Snape carefully. "You sound sure of yourself, Severus. Have they been in contact with you?"
Snape shook his head in exasperation. "Of course not. You destroyed any trust Harry might have had in me in September. But I've watched him for five years, and I think I know him better than most. He has always fought for her. I watched countless times as he redirected attention away from her, especially when it was coming from boys. He stepped in at least twice when one of her brothers was going to do something. You know what he risked in the Chamber of Secrets to get her back. And surely even you were aware of all he did last year to keep Malfoy away from her. You knew that the Dark Lord had tasked Draco to get close to her. Harry and Draco came to spells several times over her. I don't think she even knows any of this."
Dumbledore seemed to be pondering this. "This would seem to imply that he knew early on of their betrothal. How did he come by this information?"
"Lily told him." Snape answered.
Dumbledore's jaw dropped in shock. "Lily! But... how?"
"She left a letter for him in my keeping."
"Why did you not tell me of this?"
"She asked me not to, and my loyalty has always been to Lily above all else. Lily knew that you would be more concerned with Harry fulfilling the prophecy than his wellbeing. She was afraid you would keep him in the dark for the greater good. She made me swear an oath, and I was not released until after the marriage was performed."
There was a giggle from one side. "As my Mum always says," Tonks cut in. "Never come between a mother dragon and her eggs unless you want to get burned."
I waited until the room had emptied to hop out and fly out of the window. When I was a comfortable distance away I transformed back and apparated home, making a quick stop on the way. Harry was sitting in the front room talking with Sirius and Remus when I appeared, and he looked up with a smile. He must have noticed something in my expression, because his smile changed to a look of confusion.
"Moony, Padfoot, I have some things to discuss with my husband; if you could leave us alone, please."
They looked at me curiously. "Did you hear anything important?" Sirius asked.
"Tomorrow." I answered firmly.
He looked shocked, but finally shrugged and stood up. With a glance between them, the two men bid us a hurried goodbye and ducked out of the room. I never removed my gaze from Harry. When they were gone, he finally spoke.
"Are you hurt?"
"Is your family okay?"
"As far as I know."
He growled softly. "Gin... you're worrying me."
With a flick of my wrist, I summoned his wand. He watched it go with wide eyes. With both wands held tightly in my hand, I conjured ropes and in an instant his hands were tied. I knew this wouldn't keep him if he really wanted to escape, but he wouldn't fight me.
"I know you, Potter. You would fight what I intend to do, as you are the most selfless person I know." He looked adorably confused. It was so much easier to surprise him now that I had to voluntarily let him in my mind. Every time I had tried something like this the first bit we were married he was always able to turn it around on me. "But tonight, tonight you are all mine and everything is about you."
His eyes darkened with lust, and he licked his lips. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Why is it that no boys, besides Colin, ever asked me out, Potter?"
He froze. "Um, they were scared of your brothers?"
"That might be partially true, but I think they were more scared of you." With a flick of our wands, my cloak was gone, and Harry's jaw dropped at my outfit. I was ever so glad that Hermione had told me about certain Muggle stores. "Wanted me all for yourself, did you, Potter?"
His eyes were hungrily devouring me, and he growled again. "You have always been mine, Potter."
I took a step closer. "Yes, I have. Is that why Ron turned up in the hospital wing at the end of my first year?"
He grunted. "He was plotting to teach you a lesson for falling prey to the diary. I will never let anyone harm you."
I moved closer and straddled his lap. He strained against the ropes to get to me, but I sat just out of his reach. "And was it you who repeatedly put Malfoy in the hospital wing last year?"
Harry's eyes shot up from where they had been ogling my chest to meet mine. "Who told you that?"
"Snape had some rather interesting things to say about you tonight. He said you repeatedly thwarted Draco in his attempts to get near me."
Harry gritted his teeth. "The wanker had been tasked by Voldemort. They knew of our betrothal, and Draco was instructed to make sure you would be unable to go through with it."
I tilted my head, confused. "What do you mean?"
"Remember the night we were married, how I had to stop you from..."
I grinned, "Oh, yes. I remember."
"I said a betrothal bride had to be pure for the ceremony to be performed."
"And he was told to..."
I stared at him. With another flick of our wands he was sitting naked beneath me. "It seems that I have much to thank you for, husband of mine. So you just sit there and enjoy yourself."
I couldn't believe we were doing this.
When I had finally gotten around to telling everyone about what I heard in the Order meeting, I expected that Harry and Sirius would want to act soon. Both were just a little too impulsive sometimes, and I knew they would be worried about what Voldemort would do now that we had effectively backed him into a corner. I had, however, trusted that Remus and I could talk a small amount of sense into them.
Apparently, I was mistaken.
So here we were, staking out the mansion where Voldemort himself was hiding away. It was quite an interesting tale of how we got here. We knew that there would be numerous wards hiding this place, and we had tried, unsuccessfully, for the last few months to find it. But the knowledge that I had overheard had pushed Harry to try to do something extreme. Yesterday afternoon, Harry had turned his wand on me and put me into an enchanted sleep. The rest I only knew because he had gone over it with me several times before hand. He seemed to think I needed to know so that I wouldn't be scared, but I think he was telling me mostly to reassure himself that I would be fine. I know he would have much preferred that it was him under the stasis charm, but it had to be one of us and I knew our accomplice would respond much better to him than me.
After I was out, he transfigured me into a toothpick and placed a time-delayed reversal on me. If otherwise left alone, I would return to my normal form after 12 hours. Then he donned his cloak and went to visit Snape. I'm sure that meeting was quite amusing, but given that everything seemed to have worked out so far, Harry must have convinced the man to do as he asked. And, really, how hard is it to go to Voldemort's hideout and find an unobtrusive place to hide a toothpick? Of course, Harry didn't tell him I was the toothpick, just that it had an advanced tracking charm on it. If Snape had bothered to question it, he might have realised something more was going on. Only the fact that we were bound so tightly together in every way allowed us to portkey to each other's sides through any ward. After all, you cannot keep someone from the person that shares their blood, magic, and soul.
When I came to, I was hidden in an empty and dark room. After quickly checking that I seemed to be in good condition and that no one was nearby, I touched my necklace and summoned Harry to me. We had spent all day quietly making our way around the mansion, our animagus forms disillusioned for good measure. It was just now getting dark, and I was starting to get restless. This was the longest stakeout we had done in one go, and I was desperate to stretch my legs and ravish my husband. But I guess some things just had to wait for the after party. Pity.
Given our current state, it was rather hard to communicate. Harry could hiss instructions to me, though he had to be quiet, as we didn't want Voldemort to overhear anything. However, I had no way of speaking back to him, as I had no clue where his eyes were to look into and a bird couldn't exactly speak Parseltongue. I had to trust that he knew what he was doing. My attention shot to the left as he hissed at me.
"Let's get closer. I want to know how many are with him when I go in."
Following Harry's quiet hiss, I carefully made my way down the hall until we were only a few feet away from the door to Voldemort's throne room. I had to force myself not to react at that thought; the man was a delusional megalomaniac if he thought his presumption of having such a room would convince anyone who wasn't just as fanatical that he was somehow royal.
It is excessively boring to sit and wait when nothing is happening. The only activity we saw was a few low level idiots coming in to bring Voldemort reports or food. The ones who brought the food were lucky, in that they weren't cursed for what they brought. I knew Harry wanted to wait until the early hours of the morning, and I agreed with his reasoning. Those that were awake at that time would be much less alert. What I wasn't happy about was that this meant waiting some more.
My attention was once more drawn to Harry's hiss, and I tensed. This was the part I was worried about. Carefully, I hopped forward until I found Harry and touched the band around my left ankle against him. The disillusionment on him lifted instantly. His tongue came out, catching me briefly, before he slithered closer to the throne room and started talking.
"Sssso manysss wizardsss... don't underssstand ussss... ssstupid wizardsss in oursss way..."
We had captured several little garden snakes and listened to them for hours so that he could mimic their speech patterns perfectly. And, indeed, he had only moved a few feet when the door was thrown open and a young wizard came out, looking around carefully. He spotted Harry quickly, and picked him up, carrying him back into the room. I tensed and listened.
"Wizardsss... doesss they not understandsss what I isss? Why aresss they takingsss usss? Insssolent foolsss."
"Hello, my young friend." I had to repress the shiver. Tom had changed, but I still recognized his voice.
"Whatsss thisss? A wizardsss who speaksss to usss?"
"Yes, my friend. Welcome."
"Who isss you?"
"I am Lord Voldemort. The Dark Lord. How did you come here, little one?"
"Lord, yousss saysss? Yesss, I can smellsss that. I camesss becaussse of the powersss heresss. Great powersss theresss issss."
"You could sense my power?"
"Yesss, smellsss you I could. I hasss looked for powersss for yearsss, I have."
"Years? You do not seem that old, little one."
"Yesss, but it isss better tosss travel sssmall, don'tsss you thinksss?"
"Ah, you have power yourself, then."
"Yesss, powersss I seeksss and powersss I have. Many yearsss have I ssssearched. Powersss I have ssseensss, but neversss what I sssoughtsss."
I listened as Harry spun his tale. It had taken us several days to piece together this story, as it had to be believable and get Voldemort to lower his guard. Harry told how in his long life he had met many wizards, powerful and otherwise. He was drawn to great power, but none of those he had found had intrigued him enough to stay. He spoke of meeting Dumbledore as a young man near the turn of the century; of finding Grindewald during the thirties; he even described a run in with Flamel in the seventies. And interspersed with these familiar names were many more, from all over the globe. We had been careful that if Voldemort knew of any of these, or was familiar with their locations, it would be feasible for Harry to have been everywhere he said.
By this time all of Voldemort's minions had gotten bored of the continued hissing that they could not understand, and wandered off to other pursuits. This was perfect for Harry's last tale.
"I hasss met anothersss wizard with greatsss powersss. And only hesss, of the manysss I metsss before yousss, could ssspeaksss my tongue."
"There is another speaker? Who is this man?"
"Hisss name isss Potter."
"Potter? When did you see him?" Voldemort's tone was instantly more persuasive.
"Beforesss I came heresss. He hasss great powersss, and he could ssspeaksss to usss. I almossst staysss with him."
"How do you know of his power?"
"I watchsss him forsss many daysss."
"You know where he is?"
"Yesss. I ssspent daysss in hisss home. There wasss othersss there. A girl with flamesss for hairsss and twosss men that camesss often."
"Could you take me there?"
"Yesss, if we leavesss now. My trail willsss fade sssoon, and the waysss I camesss will be lossst."
"Then lead the way, my slippery friend."
I scurried as far back down the hall as I could, unsure if the disillusionment would be strong enough to hide me from Voldemort. Luckily, the lunatic seemed so excited to be following Harry, he didn't even look in my direction. I waited for several minutes till I was sure they were out of sight, and then I made my move. I reversed my transformation but not my disillusionment, and carefully made my way through the mansion, hunting as I went. Being as we had already taken care of the Death Eaters with any talent worth speaking of, and no one was suspecting an attack, I made quick work of them. Then I took a seat to catch my breath and wait for my husband's call.
The next hour passed with me trying my best to not imagine Voldemort figuring us out and killing my husband before I could get to him. I wasn't very successful in this endeavour. But when your husband is alone with the worst Dark Lord in recorded history, who just happens to want nothing more than to kill him, you shouldn't be held responsible for your imagination.
My breath caught as the necklace I wore warmed slightly. That was Harry's signal. With a calming breath, I clenched my wand, checked my disillusionment, and touched my hand to my neck. "Diligo delecto."
I reappeared in front of a large house in the middle of a field. Harry was standing in front of me, his back to me, with his wand trained on Voldemort, who was in a towering rage. I touched my necklace again to send the signal that I was here. In quick succession, it returned the signal that meant Remus and Sirius were nearby; it turned to ice around my neck for a split second. They had had their own mission today. We knew that if we weren't carefully, interested parties would try to claim the credit for what we were attempting to do, or try to prosecute us for it. So Sirius and Remus had spent the morning kidnapping Sirius' cousin, Auror Tonks. I'm sure she was probably spitting mad, but her presence here would serve to protect us.
I turned my attention to the rabid wizard in front of me. "You think you have the power to defeat me, boy?" He sneered. I could practically feel Harry's anger at the form of address; he hated to be called that.
But my husband didn't lose his cool. Calmly, he answered. "Well, I have you here all alone, don't I?"
"The opposite could just as easily be said."
"Ahh, you are assuming I didn't plan ahead, and that we really are the only two people here."
Voldemort roared, and started flinging curses. This was the signal. We all had our tasks today, and I jumped to mine. As soon as Voldemort threw his first curse I raised my wand and silently cast my spell. Tom himself had taught me Legilimency, and so I was one of the few people on the planet who could come close to matching his skill. While Harry battled his body, I battled his mind.
I was revolted instantly, but staid where I was. I wasn't searching for anything, just pushing as much of my magic as I could towards him, hoping to throw him off balance. I wasn't even aware of the spell fight, trusting in Harry to protect me.
Tom seemed to falter momentarily, and instantly there were more spells coming at him. Sirius and Remus were jumping into the fight to further disorient him. I pushed harder.
The contents of my stomach were trying valiantly to come back up, and I gritted my teeth in effort. Tom was pushing back against me, but he was too distracted to discover where I was, and so he could do no more than push against my probe of him as any more would require either eye contact or the use of a spell. Yet, this was still enough to drive me to my knees.
I pushed harder, recalling in vivid detail all of my times with Harry to give my probe strength. Harry had explained to me that any thoughts of loved ones tended to be toxic to Voldemort, and so I was using that to fuel me efforts. My left hand fell to the ground, and I was only barely able to maintain my aim with my wand. My hand was shaking violently. I dug my free hand into the ground to provide an anchor and pushed again.
Black spots started to fill my vision, and I struggled to maintain my focus. Harry needed me to do this so that he could win.
I pushed with everything I had. A small portion of my mind was paying attention to the real world still. Who was that screaming?
I pushed harder, and it felt like my entire body was being torn apart from the inside out.
And everything went black.
My whole body ached, and it felt like I was lying at the bottom of the ocean with all of its water pressing down on every inch of me. I couldn't see a thing, but after several long minutes of contemplation I determined that this was because my eyes were closed.
Unfortunately, I seemed incapable of doing anything about that right now.
My ears did seem to be working, as I could hear many voices in the background. I could hear Sirius arguing with a woman, who I guessed was his cousin he had kidnapped this morning. Good. At least that means he made it. I tried to focus on the other voices, and eventually picked out Remus whispering to another man. With a shock I realised that it sounded like my father. I could also hear muted arguing. I couldn't make out the words, but it certainly sounded like my mother. That must mean that we weren't at home, and it concerned me, as I had no idea where we could be. I didn't think they would take me to St. Mungo's, but then again, I didn't know what was wrong with me.
I was beginning to worry, as there was one important voice that I couldn't make out. Where was Harry?
I needed to find him, and knowing my shy husband, I wouldn't be able to hear him. That left only one option: I had to open my eyes.
I dedicated all of my energies to this endeavour, and after a considerable amount of time I was met with partial success. I was able to crack my eyes open, but I had no energy to look around, so I was stuck with a view of a white ceiling. Just great.
Alright, I'm going for my voice next. This didn't go so well, however. After an eternity, I still hadn't managed to make a sound. Why did the inside of my throat feel like I poured acid down it? I really wanted to huff in frustration right about now.
Suddenly, my view of the ceiling was obstructed.
Unable to blink them away, I just led the tears fall as I gazed into the most beautiful emerald eyes I had ever seen. Harry. I desperately needed to know he was okay, but I couldn't even shift my gaze to check him out. I tried to push my thoughts forward to him, but was unable to. What was wrong with me?
Harry must have noticed my distress, for he beamed at me and then climbed right on top of me. He kneeled with one leg on either side of my torso and placed his hands gently on either side of my face. This position meant he could sit there comfortably in my line of sight for as long as he wanted. I hoped he never moved.
Are you okay? Please let you be okay. You look okay, but I can't really see most of you. I cann't deal with you not being okay.
Of course. You were really the only one we were concerned about. The healers fixed me up in an hour or two, and Remus and Sirius never even got hit.
More tears fell. But what is wrong with me? I don't remember Voldemort hitting me with anything.
No, he didn't. You used every ounce of your magic in your attack. It nearly killed you.
Oh. Alrighty then. But using my magic doesn't explain why I can't move. And why I apparently swallowed a cauldron full of acid.
Our magic is what keeps our bodies working, so without it, you literally have nothing keeping you alive. We've been keeping you alive through artificial methods for over a day now. It isn't a pleasant process. And your throat hurts because you screamed yourself raw at the end there.
I screamed? Was I hearing myself at the end then? No matter. We better have gotten him. Please tell me he's gone, Harry.
Yes, love. Tom is dead. He was already weakened by our attack when you started screaming with your final assault. It was strong enough for me to get the first major hit in. After that it was easier.
I breathed a sigh of relief. He was finally gone. I hope that means we are finally free.
Mostly. Although it is rather amusing to see all the people who have been by in the last day here to try and push their own agendas. But I've been ignoring them rather successfully.
Good. We can deal with them later. Like in a year or two. I try once more to move something, anything, and get even angrier when I can't even growl in frustration. When the bloody hell am I going to get the use of my body back?
Soon, love. We brought you to St. Mungo's because we didn't know what was wrong with you. They said your magic is starting to recover, and until it reaches a certain level there isn't much they can do. Potions and spells require the patient's magic to work properly.
This is ridiculous. I can't even claim my bloody victory kiss.
I don't mind kissing my non-responsive wife.
He grinned at me and lowered his face. It was a rather odd sensation, having Harry kiss me and being unable to respond. But it was certainly better than nothing. He covered my face in kisses and returned to my lips. With a sigh my mouth fell open and his tongue invaded instantly. Without even thinking about it, I responded, and Harry's hands clenched in my hair as he attacked my mouth.
He pulled back bare inches, panting heavily. His eyes didn't leave mine as he spoke quietly to the room. I hadn't even realised there was anyone else in here. "Leave. Now. I'm going to kiss my wife back to health."
I heard a furious voice off to the side and caught just enough to deduce it must be a healer, then dismissed it. I only cared about Harry. He lifted his head further, removing his eyes from mine, and growled. I can only surmise that this sent everyone scurrying out of the room, because an instant later the door slammed shut and Harry's hand came up with his wand. He shot a spell at the door, then dropped his wand and returned to kissing me senseless.
This is most definitely my preferred method of healing. And it certainly seemed to be working. The longer he kissed me, the more control I regained of my body. Eventually I was able to bring my hands up and pull him down onto me. Then I started attacking his clothes. I needed to feel him. I needed to remember why we had fought so hard. I needed him to bring me back.
Frustrated that he didn't seem to be getting the message, I pushed him back slightly and hissed at him. It was easier than speaking English, and avoided the nasty little problem of anyone that might be listening at the door. "If you love me at all, Potter, you will get us naked and remind me of why we fought this bloody war. Now."
His brow quirked adorably. "Rather demanding little thing, aren't you?"
"That wasn't a request, Potter. Now."
He sat back on his knees and reached down for his fallen wand. Another serious of spells were shot at the door, and then he pointed it down at the two of us. Instantly, we were skin to skin. Without removing his eyes from mine, he set his wand aside and came back with a vial of clear blue potion.
"Drink this first. The healer said it would help with the pain you're feeling."
I dutifully opened my mouth and let him pore it in. When the vial was cast aside, Harry began the arduous task of reminding me that we were alive. He was rather diligent in this task, and spent the next several hours at it. Then we curled up together and fell asleep.
We never did get around to letting everyone back into our room.
Deciding it would be the ultimate punishment for Dumbledore, Harry and I elected not to tell anyone how we had defeated Tom Riddle. Instead, we gave magical oaths to Amelia Bones that he was gone for good and disappeared.
We spent the next month on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. No one knew who we were, and so we were left blissfully alone. Harry ravaged me every chance he got, and delighted in buying me things to spoil me with. The last week of our trip, we were joined by Sirius and Remus. Remus had brought a... friend with him, that had Harry and Sirius snickering. Evidently, she was Sirius' young cousin and an Auror to boot. She was also a metamorphagus, so we greatly enjoyed the rumours on the ship about what a player Remus was. After she got over being mad at him for kidnapping her the day of Voldemort's defeat, she set her cap at him and refused to take no for an answer. She seemed good for him, as she made him young again. Sirius didn't come with his own special friend, but that didn't stop him from chatting up every available woman on the ship. Watching him, it made me glad that Harry hadn't taken after his godfather in that respect. Harry could definitely charm the pants off any woman he wanted if he tried; I was just lucky he only ever tried with me.
When we returned after our trip, we only staid for three days. Neither Harry nor I could put up with the magical population of Britain. Now that Voldemort was dead, they seemed to want to crown Harry king and do whatever he said. We were both disgusted by their brainlessness. So after spending some time with my family, we left again.
Harry claimed there were endless places in the world he wanted to take me to. I agreed as long as they all had a comfortable bed. Some comforts a girl just wasn't willing to give up. And I still had a lot to teach my husband.
It's a good thing he's such a diligent learner.
A/N: First of all, a lot of you were questioning Fawkes. I know that phoenixes are supposed to be light creatures. However, he is still allied with Dumbledore. If he were perfectly light he would have ended that a long time ago (even in canon, in my mind). The way I see it, is that Fawkes shares many of Dumbledore's prejudices and beliefs. He wasn't bringing Ginny into danger; he thought he was saving her from it.
Well, this has been fun. I hope you enjoyed my little flight of fancy. Originally, this was just going to a small one-shot because I thought it was a fun idea. And then it kind of got a bit out of hand. I have no plans to write any more of this story. Harry and Ginny spent the rest of their lives travelling the world, learning much, having a family, and occasionally visiting their friends back in England. They taught their children themselves, not trusting anyone else to do so. Every once in awhile they would run into an intriguing problem and decide to stay around to solve it for entertainment, but mostly they just enjoyed life.
As always, please let me know what you thought of my little story. As for my others. I've started revising War Against Voldemort. Godric's Legacy should have its last chapter posted hopefully by the end of the month. And I plan on starting to post my Harry/Daphne story (which will be considerably more mature than any of my others) about the same time. Elemental should continue to be posted fairly regularly.