Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any other character created by J.K. Rowling. This is fun, not profit, and any copyright infringement is purely unintentional.
Late July found Harry once again at the Burrow, the home of his favourite family. Bill Weasley’s wedding to Fleur Delacour was set to take place within a fortnight, and the house was always bustling with wedding preparations.
On an unusually quiet afternoon, Harry and Hermione were working on their summer homework in Ron’s room. Ron was apparently bored, and his head continually bobbed as he read. When Ron finally collapsed onto his open textbook, Harry decided that a break was in order.
“Hermione, I’m getting hungry. Would you like a snack?”
“No thanks,” she replied without looking up from her book. “I need to finish this Charms essay today so that I can begin my Transfiguration. You go ahead.”
Harry left Ron’s room and ventured down to the kitchen for a snack. As she was most days of late, Molly was busy in the kitchen but took a moment to greet him with a smile.
“Hello, Harry dear,” Molly called. “Would you please join me in the kitchen? I could do with another pair of hands.”
“Of course, Mrs. Weasley,” he replied as he obediently followed her into the kitchen. “What can I do to help?”
“Would you start by slicing the vegetables? I could do it with a spell, but Arthur likes his vegetables in different sizes. The spell always cuts them perfectly each time.” Harry thought that this sounded like an odd reason, but he did as he was asked. Molly turned to the pot on the stove and began adding ingredients.
They had worked in companionable silence for a few minutes when Molly casually asked how he had been sleeping.
“Er, not well actually, but that’s normal for me. I’ve had a lot on my mind since the end of term.” Harry began to feel uncomfortable. He didn’t like where this talk was heading, and he hoped that she would drop it. It reminded him of similar conversations that he’d had with Hermione.
Molly gave him a suspicious look. “Are you having nightmares, dear? Should I see about a mild Sleeping Draught for you?”
“Um, no, I think I’ll be okay.” Trying to change the subject, he quickly added, “How is Bill coping? Is he nervous about the wedding?”
Molly saw right through his futile attempt and gave him a meaningful glance before answering. “He can’t wait.” She paused and then continued. “You know, Ginny hasn’t been sleeping well, either. She has been in rather poor spirits since we brought her home from Kings’ Cross. There have been many mornings when I come down to start breakfast, and she’s already up, staring into the fireplace. It’s almost as if she’s missing something.” Harry felt his stomach tighten at the mention of Ginny. The knife that he was using began to slip in his sweaty hand, and even without looking up, he knew that Molly was watching him with her eagle eyes. He also knew that he had to say something, but he wasn’t ready to have an argument with Molly.
Keeping his eyes on the carrots, Harry began, “Mrs. Weasley, I’m sure that you already know about me ending things with Ginny. It’s just, well, I felt like it was the only way to protect her. I think it’s for the best.”
“Oh?” She stopped cooking and turned around to face him with her hands on her hips and a scowl on her face. Harry wanted to disappear into the floor when he saw her. He’d seen that stance a few times before, but Ron or the twins were always the ones on the receiving end of it. He knew that he was in for it before she even began to speak.
“Harry Potter, I couldn’t love you more if you were one of my natural-born sons, so I’m going to tell you exactly what I would tell one of them. You are being a complete and selfish prat!” The sausage that she had previously been preparing was now pointing directly at Harry’s face.
Harry’s mouth dropped. Had Molly Weasley, the closest thing that he had ever had to a real mother, just called him a prat? “Eh…Pardon me?” he stammered.
“You heard me, but I don’t think you heard yourself. I, I, I – that’s all that I heard you say just now. Have you stopped to think how Ginny feels?” The aforementioned sausage was now being jabbed in Harry’s chest, forcing him to back up a few inches.
“Well, I, um, that is to say, er, I suppose, not really. I thought that she understood. She said she did!” Harry felt himself backing into the table as Molly and her infamous temper rounded on him again.
“There you go again with the I’s. Harry, I’m not saying that I want Ginny traipsing around the countryside with you, Ronald, and Hermione, but I can’t believe you just walked away from her like you did at that funeral! Harry James Potter, honestly, how do you feel about my Ginny?”
Again, Harry began backing into the table, feeling both his anger and bile rising in his chest. Knowing that he would never win in a battle with Molly, verbal or otherwise, he tried to defend himself. “I, uh, um.” He couldn’t get the words out because he wanted Ginny to hear it first, and thinking about Molly’s fierce reputation was not helping him to form a coherent thought.
At that moment, Harry saw Ron coming into the kitchen from out of the corner of his eye. Ron stopped short when he saw the look on his mother’s face.
“Well?” Molly had begun tapping her foot. “I’m waiting!” At this, Ron quickly turned on his heel and barrelled back up the stairs. Harry heard Ron’s footsteps pounding their way back up the stairs and wished that he was headed up with Ron. Even listening to another lecture from Hermione was better than catching it from Mrs. Weasley. Unbeknownst to Harry, Ron made a stop at another bedroom on the way back to Hermione, and a different Weasley was soon listening in on the conversation, hidden near the bottom of the stairs.
Afraid that Molly would see the jumble of emotion that he was feeling, Harry bowed his head. He knew that he couldn’t keep the truth from Molly because she’d get it out of him somehow. “She means the world to me,” he finally managed. “I want nothing more than to be able to have a normal relationship with her, but until Voldemort is destroyed, I would be putting her in danger by being near her.”
Harry heard Molly take a step towards him as she began winding up for a tirade. “Let me see if I follow your logic. Ron and Hermione are your best friends, so that means that they’re in danger from You-Know-Who, and you’ll need to stay away from them.” Surprised by this, Harry looked up. Molly began ticking off her fingers. Harry started to interrupt, but she put up her other hand to stop him before continuing. “Arthur and I love you like a son, so I suppose we’ll have to just send you on your way to protect ourselves. Remus was your dad’s best friend, so you can’t stay with him, either. Hagrid is a possibility, but no, you’ve always been close to him. You can’t go to him. I suppose that means that until You-Know-Who is dead and gone, you’ll have to be a loner. You’d best run upstairs and fetch your trunk, Harry. We’ll see you when it’s all over.” She turned back to her cooking, hoping that what she said had made the intended impact.
Harry felt like he’d just been punched in the gut. “But Mrs. Weasley, it’s not the same. I’ve always had a close relationship with everyone that you’ve just named. Ginny, well, she’s different. I can’t take a chance of Voldemort finding out about us. He gets a sick pleasure out of using people that are close to me to draw me out. Look at what happened to Sirius and Dumbledore! They’re both dead now, and it’s all my fault. Voldemort was able to possess me at the Ministry and tried to get Dumbledore to kill me. What if he did the same thing to Ginny? He is an expert Legilimens and has a way to read my thoughts, even when I’m trying to block him. I can’t let him know how special she is to me. She means too much to me!” Exasperated and feeling he’d said too much, Harry dropped to the table and put his head down in defeat.
Molly sat beside him and placed a reassuring hand on his back. “Harry, I understand how you feel, but do you honestly believe that he doesn’t already know about you and Ginny? Were you two secretive about your feelings at school?” Harry raised his head sharply. That thought had never occurred to him, and it made him feel both ill that he had wasted this time with Ginny and that it hadn’t really mattered.
“No, we never really hid our relationship.”
“Then, he probably already knows. Harry, look at me.” She tilted his chin up in a motherly way. “Ginny isn’t planning to run after you in your quest for whatever it is that you’re seeking, but admitting to her and to yourself how you really feel about each other will not put her in any more danger than she’s already in. Have you seen our family clock? Everyone’s hand has been on ‘Mortal Peril’ since You-Know-Who came out in public at the Ministry. If I’m not mistaken, that was well before you two got together.”
Harry was unsure of what to say, but he felt that Mrs. Weasley was right. He did really care about Ginny, and he was miserable without her. He wasn’t sure what he needed to do next.
Feeling her ruffle his perpetually messy hair, Harry sighed. “Mrs. Weasley, thanks for letting me have it. I suppose I needed that. Maybe I need to talk with Ginny again… if she’ll even listen to me. D’you think she will?”
“I don’t know, Harry. Why don’t you ask her yourself?” Harry’s head whipped around at the sound of the new voice in the room. Ginny was standing in the doorway with a curious expression on her face.
“I think I hear Arthur calling me from upstairs. I’ll just leave you two to catch up,” Molly said before quickly leaving the room.
“Hi, Ginny,” Harry said, almost afraid to speak. He was unsure if she would hug him or hex him. According to Ron, you never could tell with Ginny until it was too late.
“How much did you hear?”
“Enough to know that Mum thinks that you’re too noble for your own good, same as me. Ron told me that he walked in on her letting you have it.”
Harry nodded. “Look, Ginny, I’m really sorry about what I said to you. I want you to understand that I was just trying to protect you. I thought that you understood when we talked about this at the funeral.”
She crossed the room and stood beside where he was sitting, resting her hand on his shoulder. “Harry, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m no longer that silly little girl who chased the train the first time you went to Hogwarts. I’m quite capable of handling myself and not getting myself into places and situations where I ought not be.” Harry saw the same fierceness in her eyes that he saw at the funeral.
“I know that! Believe me, I’ve noticed just how grown up you are.” He couldn’t help but notice her slight grin at his words and found it hard to repress his own smirk. “What I’m most afraid of is that Voldemort will use you like he used Sirius to try to lure me into a trap. That’s how I lost Sirius, and I don’t want to lose you, too. Although, I’m hoping that I haven’t completely lost you already.”
Ginny sighed and sank down in the chair beside Harry. Suddenly finding the hands in her lap very interesting, she began to speak. “Ever since the funeral, I’ve been trying to get you out of my head. It’s a battle that I have been fighting for the last six years, and it’s a losing one at that. I care more about you now that I ever have, and it’s no longer, for want of a better word, a schoolgirl crush.” Harry opened his mouth to comment, but Ginny silenced him by looking up at him and raising the palm of her hand. “Let me finish. I have strong feelings for you, and quite honestly, they scare me. I have never felt about anyone that way that I feel about you.”
Harry reached out and took her hand. He slowly rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb as he spoke. “Ginny, I never had a mother and father to teach me about what real love looked like. The only real models of love that I’ve had have been your parents. I’m not sure what to call these feelings that I have for you, but I do know that they’re stronger than any feelings that I’ve ever had. However, until Voldemort is gone, being together normally is out of the question. I do want you to know that I haven’t stopped caring about you, and I never will.”
Ginny’s breath caught in her throat as Harry gently lifted her hand to his lips and planted a soft kiss on her knuckles. As he lowered her hand, he looked up at her, and the animal in his chest began to stir. He searched her eyes to see how she would respond, seeing only love and understanding reflecting back at him. Then, ever so slowly, he leaned in to kiss her. The kiss began softly but quickly deepened as the two tried to convey the longing that they had been feeling for each other.
Slowly, Harry pulled back and rested his forehead against Ginny’s. “I probably don’t have any right to ask this of you, but I have to know. Will you wait for me? When this is all over, if I’m still around, will you be here for me? I want to see where our feelings will lead us.”
“Harry, I firmly believe that you’re going to kick that sorry snake’s arse and come back to me in no time at all. I want you to carry my love with you wherever this quest leads you. I’ve waited for you this long. What’s a little while longer?” She gave him a quick kiss and stood up, pulling him with her and into a tight hug.
“Now that we’ve got that out of the way, do you think my boyfriend can help me outside? I promised Mum that I’d degnome the garden before Phlegm arrived with her entourage tomorrow.” Harry couldn’t help but smile at her.
“Lead the way,” he replied as he followed her out the door.
At the top of the stairs, a pair of Extendable Ears were being reeled back into the hands of one self-satisfied Molly Weasley. She smiled to herself as she went off to have a chat with the bushy-haired friend of her youngest son.