Harry’s muscles screamed at him as he straightened up after stepping
out of the Floo into the Grimmauld Place kitchen... but what he saw
there put his Quidditch-sore back and arms out of his mind.
old oak table stood a vase with a single red rose propping up a card.
Behind these lay his favorite set of robes, folded neatly. Dropping his
kit and leaning his broom against the mantle, Harry walked over and
plucked up the card.
Happy St Valentine’s!
have something special planned (in the dining room, you prat!), so make
yourself beautiful for the woman you love, and budge on up to where a
romantic dinner awaits.
Your Valentine always,
PS I have some news.
a grin, Harry stripped off the clothes he was wearing, tossing them
into the hamper for kitchen linens by the sink. He’d had a quick
shower in the changing rooms, but he’d been in such a hurry to get home
to Ginny that he’d managed to thoroughly dampen his clothes in the
News. Ginny had been very odd for the past few days,
and Harry was fairly certain he knew why. She was jumpy and skittish
and had been on the Floo to her mother and Hermione constantly. She had
barely touched her breakfast all week. Harry had had to gently berate
her—it wouldn’t do for her to head off to Wasps’ practice on an empty
There was that... It was wonderful to be married to
someone who was as good a Seeker as he was himself. That they’d never
been able to play on the same team since Hogwarts was a shame, but they
were two of the three or four best in the league, and even though their
only chances to play on the same pitch had been the eight
Puddlemere/Wimbourne matches (Ginny and he had taken the Snitch four
times apiece), those matches had been some of the most exhilarating
that Harry had ever played in.
The bloody press loved it, of course. But sod them.
Now, though—when he, Ginny, and old Alan Smithee were up for the two Seeker positions on the all-England side—if Ginny were...
shook his head. What did Quidditch matter? Harry knew his own heart’s
desire—had seen it when he was eleven years old. Nothing in the world
mattered to him more than family. Ginny was his family. And if... If
Ginny couldn’t fly for England, Harry would sit out too, and that was
Fastening the last button on the dark green,
silk-and-wool robes that Ginny had spent most of her first Wasps’
paycheck on four years before, Harry ran his fingers through his
still-damp hair, plucked the rose from the bud vase for his lapel, and
put a small package from his kit into the inside pocket of his robes.
Then, after a quick, steadying breath, he walked up the stairs toward
the dining room.
Harry was not surprised to
discover that the surprise was his favorite dinner—prime rib, Yorkshire
pudding, and even treacle tart for afters. From the moment that he had
walked in, the two of them had beamed at each other.
dinner, it felt as if they were newlyweds again. Ginny blushed and
giggled nervously, while Harry found himself grinning like a madman.
Married to the most beautiful woman in the world? Playing a game for a
living? All of the horrors that had plagued their childhoods swept away
with nothing worse than some scars and some portraits in the entry hall
to remind them of what and whom they had lost? And the ranks of loved
ones was growing...
Bill and Fleur had three, Tonks was
pregnant with her and Charlie’s second, Ron and Hermione’s first was
born the previous autumn. And now...
Harry felt at the gold rattle that he’d picked up the day before. He’d had it engraved: Nothing I could give you will ever equal the gifts you have given me. He knew she would tell him he was being silly, that it wasn’t true—but she would cry. He knew that, too.
he finished the last of his pudding—she’d barely touched hers, just as
she’d nibbled at the rest of the wonderful dinner—Ginny cleared her
Harry looked up and waited for her to speak, but she
seemed frozen. Bright circles had blossomed on her cheeks and she
gnawed at her lower lip. He hadn’t seen her like this in years.
Reaching out, he said, “It’s all right, love. I promise that, whatever
it is, I’ll be just as happy as you are.”
She took his hand
and smiled gratefully. Taking a deep breath, she sat up straight and
said, “Harry, I... I do have some... news for you.”
tried to keep from grinning too maniacally. “I know. You said in your
note.” Squeezing her hand, he said softly, “Just say it, love.”
“Harry, I’m...” She looked down at their linked hands. “I’m going to be flying as the reserve for England.”
Harry’s stomach dropped.
peered up and saw his shock; her own face blanched. “Oh... Oh, hell!”
she muttered. “I was afraid... Harry, love, you know you deserved it
every bit as much as I did—more—"
“No,” Harry managed to say.
it makes sense that they’d make Smithee the starter—it’s his last shot,
he’s earned it. And I guess they thought... Oh, Harry!”
She was beginning to tear up—he’d known she’d be crying tonight, he simply hadn’t figured on this.
Clutching her hand hard, he said, “Ginny, this is wonderful. It really
is. You deserve it. You’ve earned it. I’m so happy for you and proud
for you I can’t stand it.”
It was Ginny’s turn to be struck dumb with shock. “I... Really?”
“Of course! What did you think? You’re brilliant, Ginny. It’s about time someone recognized that!”
Harry!” Tears still streaming from her eyes, Ginny slid around the
table and into his lap, and that was all that either of them said for
quite a long time.
When their celebration of the
holiday had reached a natural breathing point, Harry wrapped Ginny in
his outer robes, pulling his wife to him.
“Hmmmm,” she murmured, snuggling up under his chin. “Are you my Valentine?”
“Always. Fresh-pickled eyes and all.”
She swatted at his arm, and then pulled the robes tighter to her.
Suddenly, her hand stopped over the lump in the robes’ pocket. “Harry?”
“What’s in your pocket?”
“Silly. Your robes.”
“Oh.” Suddenly, Harry’s mind flashed back to his original assumption. “Um, nothing.”
“Harry?” Ginny murmured, kissing her way up towards his ear. “Do you have a present for me?”
Quick Seeker’s fingers tugged the jeweler’s box out of Harry’s robe. “Is this for me?” Ginny said, smiling gleefully.
“Uh, Ginny, it, erm, is, or it was, but...” What would she think of him giving her—? “Maybe not this—”
mischievously, Ginny rolled off of Harry’s chest, sat up and turned the
box in her hand. Harry tried to grab it, but she anticipated the
attempt and all that Harry was able to wrap his fingers around was her
wrist. “Ginny, love...”
“Harry.” Her eyes bored into him; she kept the tension on her arm so that he couldn’t take the box from her. “What is it?”
Ginny,” he muttered. “I... I knew that something was up, I knew that
you had something that you were going to tell me tonight, and I... erm,
I got it wrong.”
Ginny’s face became still and small—it is the
face she wore when she was frightened, Harry knew, and he began to feel
even worse. “Should I open this, Harry?”
He let go of her arm
and touched her face. When Harry had done embarrassing things over the
years, Ginny usually found it amusing. Would she think this funny, or
would she be hurt? “Ginny. It’s a present for you, and I meant it with
She held up her free hand and smiled. “Harry. Can I see it?”
up, Ginny removed the ribbon from the velvet box and slowly opened it.
At first, she scowled. Then, slowly, an impish grin spread across her
face. “Harry. What the hell is this?”
“Um. I thought...”
A low chuckle burbled up from Ginny’s chest. “Oh, Harry, you thought I was pregnant?”
Abashed, unable to speak, Harry nodded again.
The chuckle rolled into laughter. “Harry! Why?”
could feel blood flooding up into his face. Only Ginny could still make
him blush. “Erm... Your appetite? And you were sort of... pale?”
Still laughing, she leaned forward and kissed him hard on the lips. “Oh, Harry. You are so sweet.”
Warm relief spread through Harry. After kissing her back, he whispered in her ear, “Look at the inscription.”
gazed at him for a moment, a question hanging on her lips, and then
pulled the rattle out of its case. Her chin fell and she looked back up
into his face. “Harry?”
“It’s true, Ginny,” he sighed. “You
have given me everything I have ever wanted. You are all that I have
ever wanted. I’m so proud of you about the World Cup team—you deserve
it and I can only be happy that you’ve got what you’ve deserved. I’m
your Valentine today and every day. And whether or not there’s ever
someone to play with that rattle, I—"