Title: Coming Home, Chapter 1, A Wedding Ring
Rating: PG-13
Characters/pairings: Harry/Ginny
Summary: Now that the Final Battle is over, Harry wants to pick up the pieces of the life he left behind, starting with Ginny.
Author's Notes: Plot bunny that refused to shut up. Hope it's enjoyable. Extra special thanks to my betas rosiekatriona, and sassyfrass. Constructive criticism cheerfully accepted. Praise greatly enjoyed. Flames haughtily ignored.


Chapter 1: A Wedding Ring

The Common Room was a welcome sight for Harry's eyes. He hadn't stopped to think about it too much, but he figured the only rest he'd gotten in the last however many hours had been in Hagrid's arms when he'd been assumed dead.

He slowly climbed the stairs to what would have been his dormitory if he hadn't spent the year camping and trying to find soul fragments. Curiously enough, there were still five beds, even though the number of occupants had never risen above three.

The bed that would have been Harry's had the curtains drawn shut-Harry assumed it was to keep the mattress inside from being used as a shelf for the other inhabitants. He wearily toed off his shoes, pulled off his jumper, and opened the curtains. Hopefully he'd be able to sleep for a good long while, before he had to confront anyone wanting something from him.

Harry reached up to remove his glasses, then paused. There seemed to be something distinctly off about his bed. The sheets and blankets that he'd half-expected to be missing were still there. There was a pillow, with a case and everything. But he hadn't expected there to be a person already in residence. Dumbfounded, he remained where he was, half-in and half-out of the hangings, mouth agape, and hand holding on to his glasses.

The shape in his bed rolled over toward him, and Ginny's face came into view. She'd obviously been sleeping, as her face showed an imprint from the pillow, and her hair was frowsy. She blinked up at Harry, and he was struck, at that moment, with a huge welling-up of happiness. He had spent so much time while on the run just thinking about her. He had spent his nights on watch peering at the Map, watching over her dot in the Gryffindor girls' tower. And his days were spent thinking of the wonderful, incredible, love-filled days of the last school year (at least, the latter part of it). During the battle, he hadn't had time to think of anything more personal than to just hope that she was safe. But now. . . now he had all the time in the world.

"Are you planning on just staring for the rest of forever? Or are you going to join me?" Ginny had woken up enough for coherence, and her words startled him slightly.

"Um, yeah. I just didn't expect to find you here," he responded, as he moved forward, leaving his glasses on, but allowing the curtains to fall closed behind him. "Are you sure you want me in there with you?"

She frowned at him, and he hastened to explain. "No, not that. It's just . . . well, I'm not very clean. I've been wearing these clothes for . . . erm, I don't really remember how long. And I probably stink, too. Somehow, showers didn't seem as important as killing Tom."

Ginny chuckled a bit, then sat up, allowing the sheet to fall down until it was exposing her milky-white shoulders. "What makes you think I'd let you in here with those clothes on anyway?" And she let the sheet drop a little more.

Harry's mouth fell open. He decided that this was the best idea he'd heard all . . . day, week, month. . . possibly all year, so he hurried to obey. It proved to be a mistake to try to take his shirt and trousers off at the same time, and that was compounded by his having left his glasses on. Ginny giggled when Harry toppled onto the bed, with one arm still trapped in his shirt, and only one leg even partially divested of clothing.

"Harry," she said softly. "Don't worry-I'm not going to disappear. I've waited much too long for this, and I'm willing to wait for you to get undressed the right way." She lay back on the bed with her hands behind her head, and smiled at him.

He grinned back, sheepishly, and extricated his arms. With those free, he carefully took his shirt off, then his trousers, and made to climb under the covers. Ginny smirked at him, and said, "Unh-uh. My knickers are over with my clothes-you can at least show me the courtesy of matching me."

Harry blushed crimson, but slowly removed the last article of clothing. Ginny smiled up at him, and held out her arms. He wasted no time in climbing under the covers and pulling her towards him. This-this was what he had been fighting for. Not the wizarding world, not Hogwarts, not even his friends. When it came right down to it, he had been fighting for Ginny. And not just an idealized Ginny-on-a-pedestal, but a Ginny he could hold, and kiss, and love. Her arms pulled him as close as possible, and he felt her warmth spread through his body, and engulf him in love. The tensions and strains of the past year melted away, slowly, but surely. The chaos and pain of the battle, the cries of the wounded, they were all forgotten as he found himself quietly weeping on Ginny's shoulder.

And Harry wasn't the only one finding surcease-Ginny's tears dropped onto Harry's shoulder as she finally, finally was able to feel, deep inside her, the absolute truth of Harry's survival. The shock of Hagrid carrying his body out of the woods, the mocking words that Voldemort had broadcast, the rage and shock as the Wizarding world struggled to comprehend the death of their Savior; all these things had combined to just about break Ginny. But as she held the love of her life in her arms, close to her heart, she felt those knots and tangles loosen inside her, and slowly, slowly untie themselves.

They never really knew how long they just lay in bed together, holding on for dear life, for sanity, for peace. However long it was, it was enough to allow their thoughts to turn from the utter salvation of finding each other safe and sane, to the idea of, perhaps, celebrating their victory in another way. It started slowly; Harry kissed Ginny's shoulder where a tear had landed, and found that the feel of her skin on his lips had become more tantalizing than reassuring. Ginny felt that kiss, and responded by loosening her grip, then shifting her hands so that one lay on his back, and the other gently intertwined itself in his hair.

Harry kissed Ginny's shoulder again, then moved his lips to the hollow of her neck, where he knew she liked the attention. When he kissed her there, and a small moan escaped her mouth, Harry backed up. Assuaging her fears, he just reached for his wand and cast a sealing charm on the curtains and a silencing charm around the bed.

Assured of their privacy, although it was probably a dead certainty that there would be people down in the Common Room guarding the stairs against unwanted visitors, the kisses grew more heated, the hands more urgent, and the moans and sighs more passionate.

Harry knew that they were rapidly approaching the point of no return, and he consciously stopped and lifted himself up slightly so he could look Ginny in the eye. She returned the look with one that was reminiscent of the so-called Quidditch Kiss, although full of more fire than Harry thought was possible, and they came together again.

They moved together, and kissed frantically, and clutched at shoulders, and hips, and uttered groans and gasps and little love-words. And as they did so, they both, independently, felt a rush of love, and warmth, and permanence, and perfection, and knew that they had finally come home.

No words were spoken afterward, both Harry and Ginny were spent, and tired, and beyond tired. Positions were adjusted, and covers were arranged, and they once again discovered the perfect way for two people to cuddle in bed together, and, perfection achieved, they drifted off to the first really peaceful night's (and next day's) sleep they'd had since the end of the previous school year.

But as they slept, and time passed, a small, simple, almost insignificant glamor charm wore off, and a wedding ring appeared, as if by magic, on Ginny's left ring finger.