An owl hooted softly outside an open window on the first floor of the
Burrow. Ginny Weasley stirred in her bed and groaned as the oppressive
feeling of wanting to vomit overwhelmed her. She tumbled out of bed,
barely keeping her balance, and padded to the loo in case she lost her
dinner from the night before.
It was a month before Ginny’s
seventeenth birthday and she was alone at the Burrow with her mother
for the summer. It had been a rough year since her brothers, Hermione,
and Harry had left to find the bits of Voldemort’s soul hidden across
the country and face the most powerful Dark wizard in a century. Ginny
had been left behind, the only one of her family not able to use magic
outside of school. She was sent back to Hogwarts the next September
with a handful of other students. It hadn’t been the same without the
ones that mattered most to her and without Dumbledore.
had been there and, after hearing that Harry had broken things off with
her, had asked to rekindle their relationship. Ginny had hexed him and
left him stuck to the wall of the common room, but his proposal had
helped make her mind up regarding Harry. She’d wait for him, but it
wouldn’t be because she was particularly good at being the doting
Breakfast was sullen and depressing. Ginny pushed
her porridge around in the bowl without any desire to taste it. She
didn’t usually eat until lunch anyway. Her mother seemed to notice,
“Ginny, dear,” she said, in what she must have
thought was a consoling manner, but it only irritated Ginny. “I don’t
like it when you don’t eat. It worries me.”
Ginny dropped her spoon and stood. “Maybe I can’t eat because I’m worried,” she said, a bit more harshly than she intended.
sighed and approached her daughter. “I’m worried, too,” she admitted
with a muffled sniff. “I wish they’d stay with us every night instead
of just when they’re not on duty.”
It was a mark of Ginny’s
restraint that she didn’t demand to leave with Ron during the token
visits he made to the Burrow. While her father and other brothers came
home regularly to rest and get re-supplied with food and love, Ron had
only appeared once since Hogwarts had ended its last term. She’d only
seen him twice at school after he’d left with Harry and Hermione the
night of Bill and Fleur’s wedding. She’d seen Harry even less.
Molly said after a moment, breaking Ginny out of her thoughts. “At
least they bring us news when they come,” she said sadly.
it was true; they had been bringing them news, but it wasn’t always
welcomed. When Fred hadn’t come home with the rest of them, the girls
were told that he was in St. Mungo’s with a thousand Billywig stings
and it would be a week before they got all the poison out of his
system. The last time she’d seen Ron – three weeks ago – he reported
that Harry had been wounded after finding one of the Horcruxes and was
blind in one eye. Ginny hadn’t been able to spend time with Harry then,
even though he’d been sleeping in Ron’s room. Harry preferred not to
chance it, and even though it left a bitter taste in her mouth, she
hadn’t seem him while he was awake, preferring instead to visit him at
Molly shifted again and took a half-step towards the
living room. “Best get on with the laundry,” she announced and sent the
breakfast dishes to the sink; Ginny’s uneaten porridge whisked into the
rubbish bin on the way. She followed her mother and felt a stab of
regret in her middle. If only the war had started a year later, Ginny
would have been old enough to use magic and would be doing something instead of folding half-charred trousers.
was restricted since it was so easily intercepted and forged, so Ginny
and Molly had to rely on hand-delivered messages from Arthur and
whomever needed to stay with them on their off shifts. These were
Ginny’s life lines and from the way her mother clung to the ones in her
dad’s writing, it seemed that her mother valued them quite as much as
Remus had appeared a month before, looking as
battered and weary as ever, clutching three letters for each of them.
Molly had sequestered herself in her room to read the ones from Arthur,
Fleur and Ron, while Ginny fell asleep reading and re-reading the
fourth letter Harry’d ever sent her.
He’d been in Wales
tracking down the last Horcrux and was resting in an abandoned castle
with Ron and Hermione. The thing that had caused Ginny to read it over
and over wasn’t the descriptions of the battles he’d been in, or even
the fantastic places he’d been visiting. It was the fact that he’d told
her how he’d felt....
The Death Eaters fight like
they don’t care if they live or die. How can we possibly win against
people who have such disregard for life? I can’t even manage to cast
Cruciatus at them, let alone the Killing Curse. They throw it around
like they don’t know any other spell. Ginny, if I make it through this,
I’m going to come straight to you and... well, I can’t really say,
because I’m afraid I’ll come and do it right now. After all this...
death, I’m going to need someone like you to make me whole again. Is
that selfish of me? You can tell me off for it and I wouldn’t be
surprised. I just can’t think of anything else but those times we went
out to the lake... We’ll be at the Burrow in a couple of days, but like
the last time I was there, I need to ask you to not visit me. I won’t
be able to leave you again if you don’t keep away. It’ll only be a
little longer, Ginny.
Ginny fought back both her
overwhelming sadness at being told not to see him, even though he’d be
so close, and the urge to smack him the second he Apparated there for
even suggesting it.
The other two letters Remus delivered
had been from Ron and Hermione. Ron’s, she’d read over lunch and it
didn’t contain anything that she hadn’t heard from Harry already or
would be covered by Hermione’s usually more thorough letter. She
decided to read her best friend’s missive at the end of the day, after
their chores were done.
But as they finished dinner and set to
work repairing trousers and cloaks, all thoughts of a relaxing evening
reading Hermione’s letter flew from her mind.
“Arthur says he
won’t be coming back for another two weeks,” Molly pronounced as she
pointed her wand at a large hole in one of Fred’s jumpers and watched
thread fly from the tip of the oak stick and weave itself into the
material. “Something about a lead on where Lucius Malfoy’s operating
Ginny snorted, amused that it’d taken so long to find
him after his escape from Azkaban, but then her feelings shifted to
anger as hot desire welled up inside her – desire to be out there doing
something. Sitting at the Burrow, safe and protected was nice, but also
completely stifling. She pulled roughly on her needle, forcing the
thick thread through the patch she was sewing onto Ron’s trousers. “It
isn’t fair,” she hissed in what she thought was a quiet voice.
not fair, dear?” Molly asked, moving on to one of Arthur’s cloaks that
had been charred almost beyond recognition despite a very powerful
Deciding not to hide her frustration, Ginny
squared her shoulders and faced her mum. “This whole thing,” she said,
waving a hand around the air. “It’s not fair that they get to go off
and fight Voldemort while I have to stay here and repair trousers.” She
brandished Ron’s almost-repaired pants in front of her for extra effect.
frowned. “We’ve been over this, Ginny. You’re not of age. You can’t
fight in the war yet, and even if you were old enough, I would still
tell you not to go.”
Ginny winced as she pushed the needle
hard into the denim and into her finger. She threw the offending
trousers to the sofa, and sucked on her finger for a second. “Well,”
she said defiantly, “I’ll be of age in August and there’s nothing you
can do to stop me from fighting then.”
Mother and daughter
stared at each other a long second, each holding the other in a
challenging gaze. “Ginny,” Molly pleaded, holding out her hands.
“Please don’t leave me here alone. Don’t... leave,” she croaked.
two forces battling inside her, one aimed at getting her at Harry’s
side and the other guilty for not supporting her mum, Ginny decided on
a compromise as she went into her mother’s embrace. “If Harry hasn’t
killed Voldemort by the time I turn seventeen, I’m going to ask him to
let me come with him,” she said. Molly shuddered in her arms. “If he’ll
have me, I’m going to go, Mum. He needs me.”
“What about me?”
Molly asked tremulously. “Who’ll I have when you lot are gone? I can’t
even bear to think of losing one of you and you... you’re my baby,” she
wailed, clinging even more tightly to Ginny.
“Mum,” Ginny said with tears forming in her own eyes. “I’m not a baby anymore and if Harry needs me, I... I’ll have to go.”
Molly cried on Ginny’s shoulder, and nodded her head, seeming to accept the inevitable.
a long while they broke apart and Ginny walked languidly to her room,
not feeling much like repairing rips just then. It was gloomy and
sullen outside, the normally-hot July sun held hostage by an
Sitting on her bed, she took Hermione’s
letter from her pocket and opened it. It took two hours to read the
whole thing and she had to re-read one section three times to make sure
she’d read it right.
We’ve come across some very
interesting spells in our research on how to destroy the Horcruxes.
There are all sorts of ways to remove the bit of Voldemort’s spirit
from the enchanted objects. From Transfiguring them into something
living, to out and out destroying them. There was even a spell
originally used to impregnate a woman with a dying man’s baby (Dissero Ventris)
in desperate circumstances. A dark wizard had adapted it so that it
removed parts of a person’s soul instead. I don’t think that this spell
would do anyone any good, as it’d take casting it loads of times before
it would kill off Voldemort. Still, it is a fascinating concept, isn’t
it? Dissero Ventris has to be cast during the fertile part of a woman’s cycle to be effective.
had blinked very hard the first time she had read that passage. The
next paragraph was abruptly different from the rest of the letter, as
if the bit about Dissero Ventris was added in after the fact. She knew
that Hermione never did anything without a reason and despite all her
attempts to rationalize it differently, Ginny kept coming to the same
Harry arrived that evening and Ginny
watched him from the kitchen as he gave her mum a weary hug and
accepted a mug of cold pumpkin juice. They locked eyes for a moment,
his blind one completely white, and then Harry turned to walk to the
loo. In that moment, she felt a brief surge of terrible want and
long-repressed need course through her veins. It was fine and dandy to
say that they couldn’t be together, but it was cruel punishment to have
him so close after being apart for so long.
Ron and Harry upstairs, but not before smiling at Ginny and giving the
younger girl a significant look. While Ginny had agreed to not see
Harry, she hadn’t said anything about not visiting with Hermione. The
first chance she got, she grabbed the brown-haired witch by the arm and
steered her into the room they’d be sharing.
“All right, Hermione,” Ginny said imperiously. “What’s going on with the not-so-subtle hints in your letter?”
Flopping down on her camp bed, Hermione closed her eyes and let out a weary breath.
“I’m not stupid. I know what you’re implying and it’s... well, it’s a little sick, don’t you think?”
opened her eyes and sat up. “No, I don’t,” she replied. “Tell me why
you think it is and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.”
sucked in a breath. It wasn’t like Hermione to be so short with people.
Then again, Ginny rationalised, Hermione had been involved in a war for
over a year now; she was bound to have become a little hard around the
“Well,” Ginny began, “first there’s the whole fact that it’s dishonest. Don’t you think he’d want to know about it?”
Hermione did not answer, but simply stared back at her.
“And then there’s the fact that I can’t perform magic until next month....”
“Yes, you can,” Hermione answered. “You were there when Harry told us how the Underage Magic Office detects magic.”
Ginny sat on her bed, remembering that night before Dumbledore’s funeral. “Yeah,” she admitted. “I remember.”
sat on their separate beds for a while as Ginny’s mind raced. “And with
us here,” Hermione continued, “there’ll be even less of a chance that
they’d figure out who performed the charm.”
Ginny narrowed her eyes. “Wait a minute,” she said suspiciously. “You were thinking about performing this charm, weren’t you?”
Reluctantly, Hermione nodded. “I was. Until I realised how stupid it would be for me
to do it. I mean, what with Ron and I together every second of every
day. If he were to be killed, I’d likely be killed too... and....”
was another moment of silence in which Ginny chewed nervously on her
lip. It was not a question of how much they loved each other; it was
more a question of taking something so personal from him and....
you really think he doesn’t know that I’ve told you?” Hermione said,
breaking into her thoughts. “Do you think I’d be suggesting this if we
hadn’t already talked about it and he hadn’t said it was a great idea?”
Ginny was thunderstruck. “What? He... he said he wanted to do this?”
paused. “Well, as much as he commits to anything concerning you. You
know how he is, Ginny. Ron and I had been talking about doing it and
Harry was listening. He said, ‘It’s a great idea, only, you’d be better
off with one of you tucked away safe... at the Burrow.’ Then his eyes
got a little misty and he looked away.” Hermione moved over to sit next
to Ginny. “I approached him later that night and tried to get him to
tell me what he wanted – you know I just want you and him to be happy,
Ginny nodded, still reeling from this new information. Why hadn’t she said more in the letter?
Hermione continued. “It wasn’t easy, but in the end, Harry told me that
he loved you and the thing he wanted most in the world was to kill
Voldemort, marry you, and have loads of red-haired children.”
stomach dropped and a feeling of light giddiness spiralled up through
her anxiety. If the daft prat really felt that way, then why didn’t he say
so? Why didn’t he just talk to her, Ginny, and not Hermione about all
this? They could have had many wonderful moments, maybe even tried to
do things properly, instead of using some ruddy spell.... Then
something struck her as she realised part of what Hermione had said in
“Hermione, it doesn’t matter anyway. My period was last week.”
smiled and fished for something in her robe pocket; when she found it,
she held it out triumphantly. “Tell me exactly when your period started
and I’ll add enough essence of rue to adjust your cycle.”
told her, but still couldn’t believe this was happening at all.
“Hermione?” she asked as the older girl was adding a bit of carefully
measured powder to the vial. “Why can’t I... why can’t Harry and I...
you know... do things the normal way?” Hermione blushed a little. “If
it’s that important to him, why can’t we...?”
“I don’t think you’d be able to convince him of that,” Hermione said. “Think about it. Harry’s barely got enough nerve to do this,” she said, waving the now-pink potion in the air. “He’d never agree to that; especially not before he asked you to marry him and especially in your parents’ house.”
“He said that?” Ginny asked. “He... said he wanted to marry me?”
Hermione chuckled. “Yes. Did you think he asked you to wait for him because he thought the snogging was good?”
about snogging Harry made Ginny flush. “It’s not like it was bad,” she
offered as a token of levity, but the joke fell flat. She focused her
eyes on the vial. Something overtook her just then, and she snatched
the now-corked potion from Hermione’s hand. “When do I take it?”
“Right before you perform the spell. You’ll have about five minutes and your body will go back to its normal cycle.”
nodded again, slipping the potion into her jean pocket. Her decision
made, she let out a breath and slapped Hermione’s knee. “So.... tell me
how the war’s really going?”
It was the day
before Ginny’s birthday that she got the news. Voldemort was dead.
Harry was coming home, and Ginny was going to be there to meet him.
checked herself in the mirror to make sure that her dress was clean and
wrinkle-free. Her cheeks were slightly red from a spot of makeup that
matched her lipstick. Her hair was pulled back in exactly the way he
liked it; gathered together with a clip that allowed her neck to show
on the sides. Last, she applied a dot of his favourite flower-scented
perfume on each wrist and rubbed them on her neck.
Burrow’s garden was pristine, as she’d used magic to clear the weeds
and piles of dead leaves, and green up the grass. A re-painted
wrought-iron garden seat sat underneath a large, swaying willow tree
and Ginny sat down to wait for him. This was where he had promised to
met her when the war was over, and this was where she’d be when he
There was a series of muted cracks from the
kitchen door and she could hear the deep murmurs of her brothers. There
was the unmistakable sound of her mother shrieking with joy and kissing
each one soundly on the cheek. She tilted her ear towards the sound and
could almost hear her telling Harry that Ginny was waiting for him in
Her pulse quickened as the moment she’d been
waiting for over a year to arrive was almost upon her. She smoothed her
dress for the thousandth time and took a deep, soothing breath.
first thing she saw was his messy mop of black hair, jutting up from a
rise in the hill between her and the Burrow. Then his smiling face came
into view and he did not take his eyes from her. It took a moment for
her to realise it, but both eyes were looking at her. The eye that had been blind a month ago was no longer white and sightless.
sat next to her and there was a feeling of deep anticipation in the air
between them. Ginny felt as though there was something large and warm
expanding in her chest, pushing outward so hard that it was almost
impossible to breath. “You’re here,” she said at last, breaking the
Harry nodded, not taking his eyes from her face. “You’re so beautiful.”
He lifted a hand slowly and brushed her cheek with a finger. He’d done
that so many times before, but the time apart had made such a gesture
incredibly intimate. She could see his hesitancy and his desire.
you done being noble?” she asked before she could tell her lips not to
form the words. He seemed a little shocked, but mostly amused. “I’ve
been noble, too.”
A question carved itself onto his face. “Really?” he asked. “How’d you manage that?”
She waited a second before answering. Then, carefully, she took his hand and placed it on her stomach. “I’m....”
wait!” he declared, stopping her mid-sentence. His eyes were bulging as
he seemed to realise what she had been about to say. She was
about to say something important, really important, but before she
could, he was rummaging around in his pocket for something and had
dropped to one knee. Her stomach dropped with him.
said, staring up at her with a fierceness she’d never seen before. “I
love you. I’ve been waiting for over a year to tell you that and I’m
really sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to it.”
giggled reflexively and brought her hand to her mouth to stop it from
doing it again. He was really being very cute and she didn’t want to
make it harder for him than was necessary.
He took her hand,
the one that she’d placed on her belly and she felt how sweaty his was.
For a brief moment, she wondered if he really thought she might say no.
“I’m rubbish with girls,” he continued. “But I know that I want to be
around you forever.” He paused and took a deep breath. “Will you marry
me?” It all came in a rush and she had to replay it in her mind to make
sure he’d actually asked.
“Yes,” she said with absolute seriousness. “I’d love to, Harry.”
smiled as if a great weight had been lifted off him. He stood and then
smacked his head. “Blimey. I forgot the ring.” He pulled it out of his
pocket and opened the lid. It was a beautiful solitaire with four
emeralds surrounding the diamond. The ring was soon on her finger and
Harry was seated next to her again.
“I’m pregnant,” Ginny said before he could interrupt her again.
His face echoed surprise and then understanding. “Hermione,” he said simply.
told me about Dissero Ventris, if that’s what you’re asking,” Ginny
explained, experimentally playing with the new ring on her finger. “And
I used it the last time you were here.”
Harry leaned in just then and kissed her. It was slow, as if he were savoring it, and Ginny melted into him.
time later, they pulled apart and a very pink-faced Harry stared back
at her. “Sorry,” he murmured. “I just couldn’t hold back any longer. I
hope you didn’t mind.”
Ginny smiled shyly. “No,” she admitted.
“I didn’t mind. In fact I quite liked it, but I wanted to...” And they
were kissing again. It really didn’t matter that she’d had something
important to ask him, because everything like eating and breathing
seemed to dim in comparison to the need they had to kiss each other.
They had months and years of kissing to catch up on, and Ginny was
going to darn well make sure he paid in full.