A/N: You should know that I'm terrible at writing action scenes, and I don't particularly enjoy writing them, so any time I actually have to updates take much longer. Hence why this has taken forever. It also hasn't been edited as much as I'd like, so there's a good possibility of grammatical errors.

That being said, I think most of you will be happy with where this chapter goes.

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It was chaos, pure and unadulterated. The main reception area that they'd arrived in was full of smashed up furniture, and the terrified screams of patients, staff and visitors alike echoed through the building. The air crackled with magic as curses were flung from every direction.

Ginny glanced down at Harry, still pinned to the floor beneath her weight. He could probably have thrown her off if he'd really wanted to, but knowing him he wouldn't do so without good reason; at that moment he was trusting her instincts, that she was keeping him down for good reason. It only took a moment for her auror instincts to kick in, and she rolled off of him and tugged him towards the best available cover, the reception desk; Ron was already crouched behind it, Hermione's body lying on the floor behind him.

'Do you think we can make it back to the exit without being seen?' Ginny kept her voice low as she addressed the question to Ron, but it was Harry who answered.

'Doubt it. I counted at least four people in black robes. One of them is bound to spot us, even through disillusion charms.'

Ron looked at the two of them speculatively. 'They'd almost certainly see if you went for the exit, but if you were quick enough you could be through it and out before they could react. You're both pretty light on your feet, you have a better than fifty percent chance of making it out unscathed I'd say.'

'Better than fifty percent is not the kind of odds I like Ron. Oh, and obviously it would be totally sensible to leave you and Hermione here wouldn't it?' Ginny hissed back at him. 'In case you hadn't noticed, she's hardly up to defending herself.'

'That's what I'm for.' Snapped Ron. 'And we can hardly run with her can we, she's bloody unconscious! Even if we use a featherweight charm and levitate her we won't be able to move quickly enough; I'll stay and look after her, and you do your job and get Harry out safe.'

'Harry is right here.' He cut into the conversation. 'And he thinks that just darting for the door without a clear plan isn't the best idea we could come up with.'

The room shook then with the force of a distant explosion, the echoes of the blast sending Ginny across the floor and leaving her without the cover of the weighty desk. She shook her head to clear her vision and climbed to her feet; she could see Ron peering around the side of the desk and raising his wand to cover her.

A black-robed figure turned and aimed his wand at her, and only her quick reflexes saved her as she rolled to one side, the hex he fired at her leaving a smoking hole in the ground. He let out a grunt as a jet of red light hit him squarely in the throat, the force of Ron's stunning spell throwing him across the room.

Ginny rolled again until she was on her knees and could scramble to her feet; she dashed back to the cover of the desk, keeping her body low while Ron swept his eyes around the room.

'I'm forced to agree with Harry.' Ginny sucked in quick breaths. 'Look how quickly they responded to me being out there. Maybe one of us could make it to the door, but not both.'

'We need a different exit then.' Ron said grimly. 'I sent a patronus in as soon as I got here, but there's no telling how long it will take for a response. They've got to call in an emergency squad, and there's nothing to say that they'll be able to get here quickly. The Death Eaters have had plenty of time to put all kinds of wards up, anti-apparation jinxes and all.'

'Maybe we should be thinking about fighting rather than escaping.' Harry's voice was tight. 'I don't like the idea of just getting out and leaving the people here to the mercy of those bastards, and every Death Eater we incapacitate now is one less between us and getting out of here anyway.'

Ginny looked at him sharply. 'Your safety is my responsibility Harry. I'm not exactly thrilled with the idea of running away from a fight either, but you are my priority.'

'And what I'm telling you is that our best way out of here is to fight them.' He insisted. 'There's three of us, and we're all pretty good at duelling I assume?' He lifted an eyebrow and waited for Ginny and Ron to confirm his assumption; once they'd both nodded grudgingly he continued. 'We've established that we can't run, so it's either fight or stay here and wait; and I don't know how long we can wait. This desk won't last too long under a barrage of spells.'

Ginny looked at Ron. 'I hate to say it, but he might be right. We can't just wait here and hope, and you saw what happened as soon as I left cover; the minute we move we're going to be attacked. At least if we go out on the offensive we might have the advantage of surprise.'

Ron scowled. 'I don't like it, but you're right. If it was anyone but Harry that's exactly what I'd suggest we do.' He glanced up at Harry. 'No offence mate, I just don't like allowing someone under Ministry protection to take themselves into a fight.'

'Well, we're already in this one.' Harry rolled his shoulders as he tried to get the stiffness out of his neck. 'I think it's pretty unavoidable.'

'But we are not trying to win this fight on our own. I don't want us going into this under the delusion that we're going to run a superior force out of the hospital. We get to an exit, and then we get out of here.' Ron spoke firmly, his eyes lingering on Harry. 'We fight when and if we have to, and we help anyone we come across but we can't risk any heroics.'

Harry nodded, a little grudgingly. It just didn't sit well with him not to involve himself, and unlike the other two he'd never been through any training that instilled in you the need to make the most pragmatic decision. One of Vance's favourite sayings was that idealism had no place in decision making in the auror department; everything they did was based on practicalities. But he understood the point; they were isolated and unprepared, with a wounded companion. It was time to put his sensibilities to one side and be practical about this; they needed to get out.

'Left or right then?' Ginny glanced from one man to the other.

'Away from the main entrance?' Harry directed the question at Ron, who pursed his lips and nodded.

'That's the first place they'd ward. I bet you can't apparate within a half mile of those doors. And if I were them I'd leave a couple of people there to catch anyone trying to get out. Bloody suicide.'

Harry grinned. 'I've got no problem with reckless, but I do draw the line at suicide. We go right then. Towards the stairs?'

Ginny nodded, and Ron turned to slide his hands under Hermione's limp body. 'I can carry her and hold up a decent shield charm at the same time.' He nodded at the other two. 'That leaves you two to duel.'

'Wait, wait!' Harry held up a hand quickly. 'Can one of you cast a glamour over me? If they spot Harry Potter they're just going to come straight for us; if we look like any other group in the hospital they won't focus on us.'

Ginny cast a glamour charm that turned Harry's distinctive hair blond, then a second to hide his scar; it wouldn't get past anyone who looked closely, but from a distance he no longer looked like Harry Potter.

'Okay, let's get moving.'

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They had good luck between the reception foyer and the staircase; there wasn't a great deal in this section of the hospital except routes to everywhere else, and the lack of people to curse also apparently meant a lack of Death Eaters. They moved quietly, and as quickly as possible, and they made it almost to the main staircase before they were spotted.

Two jets of purple light hit Ron's shield charm, and it stuttered under the force of the curse, the effects of which were blunted but not wholly prevented by the shield; it struck Ron in the arm and made him drop his wand and caught Harry in the face, making him stagger back.

Ginny aimed a reducto curse at the nearest wall, causing it to collapse in front of them, trying to buy them sort time to regroup.

'Doorway.' Ron grunted as he shifted Hermione's weight in his arms. 'Right there.'

Ginny wrenched open the door and aimed her wand ahead of her to light her view. 'Corridor. Looks like maintenance.'

She waved Ron through, and then she and Harry followed, although he paused for a moment to grab Ron's dropped wand. Ginny sealed the door behind them, and they moved down the corridor.

'I don't know this hospital well enough.' Ginny grumbled. 'I've no idea of the layout, or where anything is really. Anyone know anything about the exits? Other than the main one.'

'There aren't many.' Ron answered grimly. 'They like people to come in through reception, although there are some that are private staff use only; they're warded to prevent people from coming and going too freely. There's a good possibility that all of them are going to have some sort of guard, depending on how many Death Eaters are actually here.'

'I just don't get it.' Ginny growled in frustration. 'While the attack on the Quidditch match was senseless, at least we could understand that they were doing it to get at Harry. Why are they here though? They couldn't know Harry would be here, so this is...what? What could possibly be here for the Death Eaters?'

'People.' Harry's voice was hard. 'Lots and lots of helpless people.'

'They used to torture people for fun Gin.' Ron sounded almost as angry as Harry. 'I doubt that's changed.'

'She's got a point though.' Harry's voice suddenly sounded different. 'I mean, yes on the one hand attacking a hospital is exactly the kind of thing they'd enjoy doing, but is that a good enough reason to do it? There are other, more crowded, places if you just want to cause mass panic, and this kind of thing is risky anyway; there can't be that many of them, and at least one or two are going to be captured or killed. Whatever they're doing here needs to be worth it.'

'So what are you saying?' Ginny asked.

'I'm saying that you're right, and they have a reason to be here. So what is it?'

Ron glanced back at the still sealed door before he lowered Hermione to the floor and began gently renewing the spells he'd cast on her. 'We can't stay here long, we need to get moving.'

Harry glanced down. 'How is she?'

'Okay, I think. Her breathing is nice and even, her heartbeat's regular. I think she's just unconscious, though I wouldn't rule out some broken bones. I might be able to wake her up in a little bit, but not now.'

Ginny kicked the wall in frustration. 'We need to get her to a healer, we need to get out of this damn hospital, we need to beat the crap out of some Death Eaters! I don't even care which we do at this point.'

'Okay, well they aren't going to be messing around on the second floor are they? Contagious diseases and all that.' Harry glanced at the others for confirmation, then carried on. 'There's a visitor floo point on the second floor, to help keep contact with that floor and the rest of the hospital to a minimum. They might have anti-apparition jinxes everywhere but it's much harder to magically block a floo; at worst they'll be a couple of guards on it.'

Ginny and Ron exchanged glances.

'Good a plan as any.' Ron pushed himself up off the floor and then gathered Hermione up again; her face had more colour now, and she seemed a little less limp in his arms. 'It means we just have to get up two flights of stairs and then to the waiting room.'

'Okay then.' Ginny ran her wand over the door, unsealing it once more. She pushed it open and stepped out carefully, looking all around the room. It was a lot quieter than it had been only moments ago, and she wasn't sure whether that was a good or bad thing.

She gestured for them to follow her, and they moved carefully across to the stairwell, stepping over and around the rubble she'd created when she'd blown the wall down.

They stepped into the stairwell, Ginny and Harry keeping a careful eye on their surroundings while Ron focused on keeping his shield charm up while balancing Hermione carefully.

They made it up one flight without a problem, until they passed the magical sign that announced that they were on the "First Floor, Creature Induced Injuries"; Ginny shot a silencing spell at it, but footsteps were already audible on the stairs a floor or so above them. They froze in place, wanting to remain unseen for as long as possible.

'Someone thinks they can hide on the stairs then.' The voice that sounded in the quiet of the stairwell was rough and crude, and the sentence was accompanied by a wheezy sort of giggle that made Harry's head snap up and his eyes narrow.

'People always think they can hide. There ain't never been a way of hiding from the Dark Lord.' The footsteps stopped, and a jet of green light shot out randomly from the landing directly above them. Harry lifted his wand and began to take a step forward when Ginny grabbed his arm and shook her head furiously. Might be more, she mouthed at him, and he held himself in place with some difficulty.

'Where are yeh then? My little mice? Because the cat always wins this game in the end. If yeh come out now, maybe it'll be easy.'

The footsteps stopped again; there were no other sounds. Then a short man in Death Eater robes, but no mask, landed directly in front of them aiming his wand ahead of him; a red flash shot out from it and they all dropped to the floor to avoid it, Ron rolling his body over Hermione's, his arms cradled protectively over her head.

Ginny rolled and came up with her wand in front of her, firing a disarming and then a stunning jinx in quick succession; both missed, but the Death Eater was forced to move sharply sideways, bringing him away from the wall - and away from Ron and Hermione - and towards the handrail.

Harry shot another stunning curse, which bounced off the man's hasty shield charm, and he followed that with a particularly strong flipendo jinx which threw the Death Eater towards the bannister. Ginny fired a leg-locker hex at him at almost exactly the same moment, and the man suddenly found himself colliding with the handrail and unable to use his legs to rebalance himself; he seemed to teeter for a moment, and then he fell over the rail.

Ginny rushed to look down, and winced as there was a crashing noise below. 'Damn it, I'm going to have to explain that to somebody later.'

'If he's dead then it's a better death than he deserved.' Harry reached down to help Ron move Hermione as Ginny stared at the side of his head.

'You knew him?'

Harry looked at her, his expression bemused. 'You didn't? That was Amycus Carrow.'

Ginny's face changed instantly. 'I didn't recognise him; he's so...gaunt.' The man who'd been responsible for so much of the torment of her sixth year at Hogwarts, and she'd barely recognised him. She remembered him as being dumpy and squat, piggy eyes looking out from a doughy face framed with lank black hair; the man she'd just seen was short but had almost no bulk left on his frame, his cheeks were hollowed and the once dark hair had begun to turn grey.

'Being on the run for five years can do that for you I imagine.' Harry joined her at the rail. 'It was his laugh I recognised.'

Ginny shuddered. 'I should have caught that. I heard it often enough. Of course, it was usually overshadowed by the screams of the students being tortured, so maybe I never gave it any real attention.'

Harry put his hand on her forearm and tugged her away from the rail. 'Come on. Time to get out of here.'

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Ginny slammed the cupboard door shut on the bound man, and passed her wand over it to apply the strongest locking charms she could manage before burning the symbol of the auror department into the door; it was an old trick they used to draw their colleagues attention to something when they had no other secure way of communicating it. None of them had recognised this man, which meant he was either a Death Eater who had never been implicated as one previously, or he was a new recruit, which was both more likely and more worrying.

'Well that's two.' Ron changed Hermione's position in his arms as she stirred slightly. 'Three, if you count the bloke you chucked down the stairs.'

'He fell.' Ginny nodded in approval at the door and re-joined the other three as they moved quietly but quickly towards the waiting room for the Magical Diseases ward. It had been probably less than fifteen minutes since they'd arrived at the hospital, but it felt like hours.

'You do know that "he fell down the stairs" is the oldest and lamest excuse in policing history right?' Harry's comment earned him a whack on the shoulder, and he aimed a grin in her direction.

He was noticeably the most relaxed of them all, which Ginny supposed was only natural. Despite all they'd done at school, the role they'd had in the final battle and all the auror training they'd been through neither she nor Ron had as much experience of what she supposed would have to be called combat in the same ways as Harry had. While they moved cautiously, and with tension in every muscle, he moved much more loosely, almost like a big cat. Predatory.

They'd almost reached the door of the waiting room when Hermione moaned and lifted her head, mumbling indistinct words at them.

Ginny quickly grabbed the nearest door handle and rattled it; the door was locked, but a simple alohamora had it opening for her. They all piled into the little room, which turned out to be a healer's office, and Ron put Hermione down on a chair carefully.

'Mione love? Can you hear me?'

'Of course I can hear you.' Her words were slurred and indistinct, possibly at least partly because of the way her head was drooping forward, but she was responsive and lucid and that was better than twenty minutes ago. Ron's face betrayed only a hint of the relief he was feeling, and he immediately began to repeat the same healing spells he'd been casting on her since the explosion.

'Can you tell us where you're hurt Hermione?' Ginny crouched down next to her brother while Harry kept his eyes fixed firmly on the door.

'Uh….my arm…' she tried to move her right arm and then winced painfully, 'my ribs down that side, and my hip...'

Ron ran his hand down the length of her side, wincing every time she made a squeak of pain.

'And my head. My head really, really hurts.'

Harry winced in sympathy. 'I bet.'

She stared at him for a moment. 'Don't take this the wrong way Harry, but you look terrible as a blond.'

He laughed, and she relaxed a little in her seat before a memory jumped to the forefront of her brain and her head snapped up as she began to blurt out words. 'There were Death Eaters in the pub! They started attacking everyone, I couldn't get shields up quickly enough…'

'It's okay.' Ron soothed. 'It's okay, we know all about it.'

Hermione glanced around the unfamiliar room before her eyes landed squarely back on Ron. 'Where are we?'

'St Mungo's. We thought we ought to get you looked at, but it seems the Death Eaters had more than one target today.'

Her eyes widened. 'They're here?'

'We don't know how many, and we aren't sure what they're up to either. With you hurt we didn't want to rush into a fight we couldn't handle.' Ginny smiled at her. 'Not to mention we've got the Boy-Who-Lived with us too. I don't need to be in any more trouble than I already am.'

Hermione tried to straighten up but couldn't seem to find the strength. 'Well that's more clarity of thought than I'd have expected from you two. Harry's influence?' Her voice was still unsteady but she seemed lucid enough.

Harry snorted a quiet laugh and Ginny glared at him. 'Actually he was all for hunting them all down, but we talked him out of it. I don't know if you've noticed Hermione, but we're both fully trained aurors; we do this professionally.'

'Yeah, but you're Weasleys first and foremost.' She smiled weakly at them, and Ron laughed as he pressed his lips to her forehead.

'Tempers firmly under control 'Mione, I promise.'

'Can you walk Hermione?' Harry asked, and she nodded quickly, wincing when pain shot through her head at the motion.

'If someone helps me I think so. I don't think I could hold myself upright on my own.'

'I've got you.' Ron slipped an arm around her waist and helped her to her feet. She balanced herself against him and pulled out her wand.

'I'm not so good with my left hand, but it's better than nothing.'

'Okay then.' Ginny put her hand on the door handle and the others moved towards her. 'Which way to the waiting room Harry?'

He closed his eyes and tried to picture the layout of the floor, working out which direction they had come from. 'I'm pretty sure it's right, that should take us past the nurses station, then all the way to the end of the corridor and then it's on the left.'

Ginny nodded, and held her wand up in front of her before she opened the door a fraction and peered out cautiously; she took a moment to take stock of their surroundings, then she pushed the door opened fully and stepped out. Ron and Hermione followed her, and Harry came out last.

They came to a right hand turn, and Ginny glanced back at Harry who nodded. She turned right, and they walked into the main area where all the wards on this floor conjoined at the nurses' station and the Matron's office.

They'd made it almost all the way to the corridor Harry had mentioned before a group of masked men ran into the room from the same direction they'd come from.

There wasn't even a free moment to think about what to do, they had no option but to duel. Harry immediately shot a stunning hex at the nearest man; it missed, but it forced the man directly behind him to leap aside, sending him straight into the path of Ginny's stinging hex which struck him squarely between the eyes.

He dropped to his knees, clutching at his rapidly swelling face and screeching in pain. The Death Eater behind him kicked him aside, aiming his wand directly at Ginny; Harry raised his wand, but Hermione was faster, her knockback jinx sending the man backwards until he crashed into the chairs along the wall. While she might be confused and light-headed it apparently in no way impeded the strength and skill of her spellwork.

Another Death Eater dropped on the other side of the room, the victim of Ron's rather aggressive stupefy, but two more appeared from behind them and the collective strength of their assault was pushing the four of them back and forcing them to focus on defending themselves.

A jet of light struck Harry in the shoulder and flung him back, and by the time he'd rolled to his feet Ginny's glamour charms had worn off and he looked his usual self again. One of the Death Eaters noticed almost instantly and changed direction to charge towards him, his wand firing curses, not even bothering to defend himself.

'Potter! I will murder you Potter! You'll wish you'd died with your mudblood mother!'

Harry felt someone barrel into his side, forcing him to stagger out of the line of fire, and then the screaming man dropped quickly, his legs giving out from under him thanks to Ginny's severing charm hitting him across the knees, and then she hurled him into the wall with particularly vicious use of levitation charms.

Harry's head whipped around to look at her, a little shocked at her ruthlessness. The truth was that he was so used to thinking of her as Ginny, as the girl who left red hair on all his furniture and soft-smelling soap in the bathroom, the girl who ate breakfast with him and talked Quidditch with him that he'd all but forgotten that she was an auror, that her job was to protect him by any means necessary. Apparently she hadn't.

His distraction almost cost him dearly as a flash of green light came perilously close to his left side, but he moved quickly out of the way and fired a full body bind into the group, freezing one of them momentarily, but since the man Ron had stupefied had been woken up by one of his comrades it made no difference to their numbers.

They'd been pushed back now, all four of them pushed up against the wall, Ron struggling to direct his jinxes as efficiently as normal as he supported Hermione; she was still on her feet, but her face was paling again, her eyes lacking the lucidity they'd had only moments ago.

There were only four Death Eaters still on their feet, but it wasn't an even fight when Ron and Hermione were struggling and Ginny was trying to defend all three of them while actively preventing Harry from participating as much as possible. He was on the verge of screaming at her to stop getting in his bloody way when one of the Death Eaters dropped to his knees with a screech, blood pouring from the side of his head where his ear used to be.

Cho Chang appeared behind him, knocking him to the ground with a well-placed stunner, then she jumped out of the way of a curse aimed at her, rolling into the wall just to the left of Harry and Ginny.

'Thanks Chang!' Ginny shouted as she once more attempted to push Harry behind her, ignoring his growl of frustration.

The other witch glanced up at her in surprise, but whatever their personal feelings towards each other Ginny wasn't petty enough not to acknowledge a colleague when they helped her out.

'Took you bloody long enough!' Ron gave up trying to support Hermione at his side and settled for pushing her behind him and blocking her body with his own.

'This isn't the only spot with trouble today! The on-call aurors had already gone to calls in Hogsmeade and Caerphilly, we had to round up a squad!' Cho yelled back as she regained her footing, her wand flickering as she aimed a spell across the room. 'Personally I thought it was fucking good response time, considering!'

An almighty crash sounded from the other side of the room as one of the Death Eaters was suddenly levitated into the air and slammed into the wall; Tonks appeared from behind him, her wand still raised.

'What the hell are you doing here?' She demanded the instant her eyes lit on Harry and Ginny. 'Get the bloody hell out!'

'We've been trying!' snarled Ginny. 'We're not running around the infectious ward for fun you know.'

'We've lifted the anti-apparition jinx.' Cho said as she ducked another curse, swearing loudly as the ricochet caught her in the arm. 'Just go, this isn't your fight. Vance is on his way.'

Ginny glanced up at Harry and then her eyes flickered to Hermione and Ron. Harry understood instantly; she wanted to do her job and get him out of there, but she didn't want to leave them.

'We'll all go.' He nodded at her before he turned to her brother. 'Ron, we're getting out, we can apparate.'

He nodded and backed towards Hermione. 'Where to? I'll have to side-along her. And she still needs a healer.'

Ginny threw up a shield just in time to block a hex coming her way and retaliated with one of her own. 'Hogwarts?' She suggested. 'Madame Pomfrey is more than capable.'

Harry shook his head. 'We'd have to apparate into Hogsmeade and walk up.' He fired off a quick hex, then moved quickly towards Hermione and Ron.

'We'll go to my place. It's secure as hell, and I can have a healer there in fifteen minutes.'

'We can't apparate to your house Harry, it's warded and under the fidelius.' Ginny objected. 'We'd have to apparate to the boundary line and walk in like we did the other day, that's no better than Hogwarts.'

'You're assuming that Hogsmeade is accessible after the attack; it might be closed off.' Harry answered, diving at her and pushing her to the floor, pressing her down as an exploding curse flew their way, blowing chunks of plaster out of the wall behind them. 'Trust me Ginny.' He whispered in her ear. 'Grab Ron and apparate to my house. I can only take one person side-along at a time. I'll get Hermione.'

She glanced up at him, seeing nothing in his eyes but honesty, and she nodded despite her doubts; she just couldn't see how she could apparate through his wards but she trusted him. He lifted his weight off of her and she crawled to her brother.

'Ron, let go of Hermione. Harry has to bring her.' It took a moment of coaxing, but Ron released his grip on Hermione and allowed Ginny to pull him to his feet; Harry slid his arms under Hermione and stood up with her before apparating almost instantly.

Ginny followed less than a second later, feeling the usual sense of compression, and she and Ron landed in Harry's back garden just in time to see Harry's back disappearing into the house.

'I'll be damned.' She whispered under her breath as Ron rushed to follow Harry.

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Ginny paused for a moment before knocking on Harry's open door. His balcony doors were open and he was standing out there barefoot as he looked up at the night sky. He turned his head and smiled when he saw her. 'How is she?'

'Okay.' Ginny hesitated a moment before she crossed the room to join him in the cold air. 'Healer Margot fixed her up, but she's on bed rest for a few days. Ron's just taken her to the Burrow, so my mum can fuss over her and keep her from completely ignoring healer's orders. He said thanks.'

Harry snorted a half-laugh. 'He's welcome, though I'm not sure what I did to deserve thanks exactly.'

Ginny rested her elbows on the balcony rail alongside his. 'For helping protect Hermione at Hogsmeade and then at the hospital. For bringing them both here, into the protection of your house and calling a healer for her. It's enough Harry.'

'Then he's definitely welcome.'

Ginny looked down at her hands drawing patterns on the stone beneath them. 'I have a question.'

Harry glanced sideways at her. 'Ask away.'

'How could I apparate into your garden? The wards shouldn't allow people to do that, Sirius told me they only let in you, him, Remus and Dumbledore. And I certainly shouldn't have been able to bring Ron past the fidelius.'

Harry looked back out at the garden. 'Sirius lied to you. He isn't my secret keeper; I am.'

'I don't see how that makes…'

'Remember the other day when we apparated to the cliffs and then walked here? And we stopped at the ward boundaries so I could lift them to let you through?'

Ginny nodded slowly, her eyes fixed on his profile. He looked down at his hands before he turned to her and continued.

'The runes I drew with my wand, that I carved into the wards? That was me adding you to the wards, to let you pass anytime you wanted. And because I'm secret keeper…when I did that you became secret keeper too.'

Ginny struggled for words for a moment. Harry had added her to his wards. He'd placed his safety, his security, directly in her hands. He'd placed her squarely in a group with the people he trusted more than anyone else.

'I'm sorry if I overstepped.' Harry hesitated. 'I know I should have told you…I mean asked you…'

He was cut off by Ginny's lips landing squarely on his. A muffled sound escaped his lips but any thought of protest was gone the instant it came; he was never going to find the strength to stop her.

Her arms wound their way up around his neck, and his hands slid onto her hips to pull her a little closer so their bodies brushed lightly. They pressed into each other, swaying a little as they kissed furiously, pouring all the pent up tension of the last few weeks into each other.

Ginny wasn't sure who moved first, whether she took a step backwards or Harry took a step forwards, but somehow they were moving towards his bed. And when they reached it, and she felt the back of her knees hit the mattress, she wasn't sure if she fell backwards or if Harry pushed her down, but she knew that she pulled him down after her, that she was the one who tugged him down to the mattress with her.

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A/N: This is rated T, as you may have noticed, so this is about as graphic as this is going to get. Sorry if that disappoints anyone. If people are interested in reading the smutty parts I may consider posting M-rated 'deleted scenes' as I have done for other fics.

To address some of the concerns in reviews/PMs: I know there are big gaps between updates at the moment, and I'm sorry about that – life, you know? - but this is not abandoned or on hiatus. This fic will be finished (in fact we have now passed the halfway point), no matter how long it takes. But updates will continue to be sporadic.

If you want to ask me about updates, or anything else for that matter, you're welcome to PM me here, or to come and find me on Tumblr; there's a link on my profile.