I'll Bring You Back the Snitch
They met down by the lake at their favorite spot under the shade of a massive oak leaning out over the water. Ginny brought a blanket she borrowed from her dormitory, and Harry managed to bring a thermos of cold pumpkin juice and a small basket of picnic items from the gracious and accommodating house elves in the kitchens. "I hated to ask for it," Harry set down the basket and helped Ginny spread out the blanket on the ground. "They're busy enough already."
"I'm sure they didn't mind," Ginny eagerly dug into the picnic contents, starving after an exhausting day of cleanup on the castle grounds. There was a long way to go yet. They wouldn't be leaving Hogwarts until the school was rebuilt to its former glory. It needed to be ready for lessons to resume in September, and there was so much to do before then. Handing Harry a sandwich, she took one for herself and settled in on the blanket with the tree trunk as a backrest.
The sun was beginning to go down, but the evening was comfortable and not yet too cool. Their little corner of the grounds had a beautiful view of the lake with the castle standing behind them to the left. Other than a few fallen trees knocked down by the giants, the battle scars were less visible from where they sat. Staring out over the glass-like surface of the water, they could easily imagine that things were normal, as if either one of them knew what normal was.
"Tired?" Harry asked, pulling her close under one arm and allowing Ginny to rest her head on his shoulder.
"Exhausted," she sighed through a mouthful of bread, meat, and cheese.
"We made some headway today though," Harry looked on the bright side.
It was true. A lot of the debris had been cleared from the Great Hall, front entrance, and main courtyard of the school. It would take a lot longer to fix the upper corridors and rebuild the broken stone and gaping holes in the windows and walls. The hard part had yet to come for all of them. The long list of funerals to arrange and attend was daunting and something Ginny did not want to think about just then.
"So what was your excuse?" Harry asked, finishing off his first sandwich in three bites and reaching for another.
"I told Mum I wasn't hungry. I said I was going for a walk and then to bed early."
"Sounds plausible," Harry nodded.
"Why? What'd you say?"
"I didn't," he shrugged. "I just avoided Ron and asked Hermione to keep him busy for a few hours so he wouldn't wonder where I was."
"Thank Merlin for Hermione," Ginny took a long swig of pumpkin juice. "Do you think anyone would notice if we didn't come back tonight?"
"You mean, like sleep out here?" Harry looked around in contemplation.
"Why not?" Ginny liked the idea.
"I think a fully competent wizard could find a solution for that."
"They haven't rounded up all the Death Eaters who escaped into the Forbidden Forest yet," Harry argued, his eyes roving the tree line along the edge of the lake.
"Excuses, excuses," Ginny sat up to get a better look at what was in the bottom of the basket, feigning annoyance with his argument. "If you just don't want to spend the night with me, Potter, come out and say it."
"I don't want to spend the night with you," he returned the jest and received a scathing look all too familiar among Weasley women. "Here," he clarified with a grin, pulling her back in and circling his arms around her waist despite her efforts to pull away and resume her search of the food basket. "I don't want to spend the night with you here. We could go…" he came up with the first place he could think of, "to the Shrieking Shack."
Ginny's disgusted expression was real this time, and Harry laughed. "Okay, maybe not. Alright, what about London? We could slip off the grounds and apparate—oh, wait. You can't, you're not of age yet."
"You're looking to get hexed aren't you?"
"Are you of age? Did I miss your birthday?" Harry continued to push her good-naturedly to get a reaction, and he received one with a pumpkin pastie in the face from the supply of deserts from the picnic basket. Ginny shoved a generous portion of the pastie in his mouth to shut him up, leaving a mess of crumbs and filling.
"You're hilarious, Potter."
"This is good," Harry wiped his face and licked some off the tip of his thumb, not bothered at all by her actions. "Taste it," he shoved a piece of crust in her face in retaliation, missing her mouth and hitting her nose instead.
"Nice aim," Ginny grunted and reached in the basket for napkins.
"I thought they packed some treacle tart…" Harry leaned in and checked inside. "There it is! Still warm," he picked out a small covered container and found a utensil, lamenting that the house elves had not provided any cream to go with it.
Ginny brushed the mess off her nose and settled back on the blanket, lying flat on her back and staring up at the darkening sky. With the setting sun went the warmth of the spring evening, and she as glad she had thought to wear a cardigan.
"You know Mum still made you and Ron Christmas sweaters this year?" she told Harry. "I think she just needed something to do. I'm pretty sure she packed them with the things we brought to Auntie Muriel's, just in case you were wondering."
"I was, thank you," Harry tossed the empty treacle container back in the basket and spread out beside her, searching for her hand and entwining her fingers with hers.
It was surreal for both of them, sitting there together with nothing but nonsense to talk about, nothing to plan, nowhere to be. Harry's head had never felt so clear. He had nothing to worry about. Not at the moment.
"Did you see Teddy when Andromeda was here earlier?" Ginny asked.
"Yeah," Harry responded with a pang of pain in his gut. He had seen the baby from a distance, across the Great Hall where he had been working with Ron and Neville in the cleanup effort. He had not gone any closer.
Ginny seemed to understand his feelings on the matter, and did not speak any more about it. Every war had its orphans, as Harry knew all too well. He would take his duties as godfather seriously and make sure the boy knew he was wanted, that his parent's sacrifice had not been in vain. But that day had not been the time; the pain was just too fresh for both Harry and Andromeda. He had watched when Mrs. Weasley had offered to hold the baby while Mr. Weasley led Tonks' mother to the place where Lupin and his wife lay in death. Andromeda had already lost so much to the Dark Lord's murderous reign. This had brought her to her knees.
"I'll go visit," Harry told Ginny, "soon."
"I'll go with if you like."
"Yeah," he looked over in the growing gloom. "That'd be nice."
Ginny smiled softly and drew his arm over her shoulders, snuggling in close against his chest to keep warm. They both heard the distant call of her name at the same time, glancing up toward the castle and listening for the voice behind the appeal. "Damn," Ginny muttered. "I shouldn't have told her I was going for a walk. Of course Mum would keep an eye out for my return."
"So much for sleeping under the stars," Harry said, trying to hide his disappointment. Why was it always so impossible for them to find quality time alone?
"I thought you didn't want to spend the night out here?"
"It's not night yet," Harry pulled out his wand and produced a Patronus in the air before sending it galloping up the hill toward the school.
"What did you tell her?" Ginny watched it go.
"Not to worry," Harry tucked his wand away again and pulled her in tighter. "That you were with me."
"I'm not so sure that's going to keep Mum from worrying."
"Maybe it will buy us some time," he shrugged. "I hope Ron doesn't get mad since I never actually spoke with him about us getting back together."
"Spoke with him?" Ginny lifted her head with an indignant snort. "I believe it's me you should be concerned about. When were you planning to ask my permission?" She meant it to be funny, a continued jest in tune with the rest of their lighthearted conversation, but Harry looked at her seriously as if she had a point.
Gently flipping her over on her back, he propped himself up on his elbow and met her eyes with his. "Ginny Weasley."
"Harry Potter," she peered at him curiously, not quite sure what it was he was doing.
"I love who you are."
Ginny's eyes widened in surprise with no ready response to that. Harry was so often the one who fought for the right words when he was with her. Ginny had the Weasley wit and talent for a quick response, but he took her off guard with that proclamation. For a year he had spent hours thinking of her during his endless travels. When Hallows and Horcruxes weren't plaguing his mind, she had been. In his memories of their short time together or simply in seeing her name on the Marauder's Map while she was at school, he had thought about her in great detail. He had made a mental note of all the things he loved about her, and for once he knew exactly what he wanted to say.
"I love that you're like your mum."
"Shut up," he shushed her, "I do. Not exactly like her, but a lot like her. She's tough. Had to be to raise all of you," Harry smiled, and Ginny laughed, not able to argue with that. But why were they talking about her mother? "Anyway," Harry moved on. "I love your courage and your bravery…your humor. I love watching you fly a broom."
"Well, I am good at that," she didn't mind admitting.
"Yes you are. You're a damn good Chaser and a pretty decent Seeker. Sometimes."
"All the time."
"Sometimes," he wasn't going to give her that one. "You're amazing and strong. You didn't just survive the last few years, you challenged them. I am in love with who you are, and I hope you want to be my girlfriend as much as I want to be your boyfriend."
"Hell…" How was she supposed to answer to that? "You didn't even have to ask."
Harry laughed and Ginny joined in, running her fingers through his hair and pulling him in for a kiss. The sun disappeared entirely and the stars filled the sky with their brilliance. Harry decided to build a fire, warding off the early May chill. Perhaps they would stay out there all night after all, Forbidden Forest haunts or not.
"You are Harry Potter," Ginny pointed out. "Who's going to want to mess with a wizard possessing the Elder Wand?"
"Not physically," he pointed out, setting flame to a nice pile of fuel in their little spot by the water. "Not anymore."
"Well, they don't know that," she nodded in the direction of the forest before digging in the picnic basket once again. "You should have had the house elves toss in something we could roast."
"We could warm up the last of the pumpkin pasties," Harry suggested and plopped back down on the blanket once again.
"Here's a question for you, Potter," Ginny curled up in a ball with her head in his lap.
"With the world free of Lord Voldemort and you free from your obligation to destroy him, what exactly do you plan to do now?"
"Besides spend the night with you?"
"Besides that, yes."
Harry thought about it while absentmindedly playing with her hair with his fingers. "I want to catch them all."
"The Death Eaters?"
"Yeah, but not just them. I think that those who willingly went along with what he did should be brought to justice too. At least those who did it for their own gain." He made a fist and watched the scar stand out on the back of his hand under the firelight.
"So you still want to be an Auror?" Ginny asked, figuring as much.
"And before that? In the near future?"
Ginny was facing the fire so she did not see the small, pleasant smile which played on Harry's relaxed features. "I want to go flying."
Ginny grinned at this similarly expected response. "Throw together a quick game of Quidditch maybe?"
"Well, we almost have a whole team here. We could fill in some holes, maybe see if the Ravenclaws are up for an impromptu match just for fun."
"We can't leave out the Hufflepuffs," Harry pointed out fairly. "And I guess if any Slytherins join in the rebuilding efforts we should include them too."
"If we must," Ginny pulled a disgusted grimace which Harry missed. "One last game on the Hogwarts pitch. One last chance for you to play Seeker. I like that idea," she agreed. "As long as I still get to be Captain."
"Captain?" Harry laughed. "Yeah, I guess I can allow that. Captain Ginny Weasley, the finest looking Chaser at Hogwarts."
"Yep. I'll chase the hell out of that Quaffle."
"You score all the goals," Harry relaxed against the tree headrest and closed his eyes as Ginny took hold of his hand in hers once more. "And I'll bring you back the Snitch."
AN: That's it, last chapter! I hope it was worth the read! Thanks so much for all the awesome reviews. This story is over, but there will be more to come from me, I assure you! As always, the characters and settings of this fanfiction are the property of J.K. Rowling , and I do not claim any ownership. Thanks! :D