A/N: This story first appeared unbeta'd in my live
journal. The next seven chapters make up Part One of this story,
which is set during the end of Ginny's seventh year and the following
summer. Part two concerns Harry and Ginny's experiences in New
hurried across the Entrance Hall to join the queue of students waiting
to be signed out to visit Hogsmeade. She cursed herself for fussing
over her hair and not noticing the time. Normally she bundled her hair
into a loose ponytail and got on with her day. Normally there was no
one to impress at Hogwarts now that she was a seventh year. But
today was not a normal day.
Today she was going to meet Harry at the gates to the grounds and then they were to spend the whole day together.
She hadn't seen him in two long months and now she was cutting into
their time together by having to wait in this ridiculously long line
full of bouncy third-years who didn't look like they needed a trip to
"Excuse me," she said, brazenly cutting in front
of the fresh-faced Hufflepuffs. "Pardon." She smiled at a fifth-year
boy who blushed and let her pass without protest.
It was easy to cut if you adopted a certain audacity.
last she was near the table where Mr. Filch was laboriously ticking off
the names of the departing students. Ginny thought she would scream
with impatience as Filch slowly lifted one piece of parchment after
another looking for Colin Creevey's name. At last Colin and his
girlfriend left hand-in-hand. It was Ginny's turn.
"Weasley, eh?" Filch scowled at her.
She didn't bother answering. Hurry, hurry,
she thought as Filch traversed the alphabet from C all the way to W.
Could a person die from impatience? From the way the blood was rising
in her forehead, it felt like it.
An ice age later, Filch put
a check mark next to her name and nodded her through. She was free –
free to see Harry for the next six hours.
Why hadn't she
thought to bring her broom? She could fly to the gate in less than a
minute. It felt like she was flying now as she ran down the path that
overlooked the lake. On all other days the sight of the lake gave her a
pang of regret since she associated it with her blissful walks with
Harry back in her fifth year. But today she welcomed the sight of the
sparkling blue waters. It meant she was closer – closer to Harry.
she scrambled down the steep path, she picked up welcome speed, not
caring that her hair - which she had curled so carefully this morning -
was blowing every which way. At last she saw the winged boars guarding
the gates of Hogwarts. She ran through puddles unheeding of the mud.
She was almost there.
His back was to her – but she knew it
was Harry by the set of his shoulders and the way he moved when he
paced. She slowed down to catch her breath and savor the sight of him.
He looked so…good. Auror training, while physically demanding, had
benefited him. He had gained some weight and muscle.
pivoted, Ginny rushed forward. "Harry!" she cried. In a moment she was
in his arms, having only a second to register his green eyes and his
happy, relieved smile.
His embrace was familiar and new all
over again. It had been so long, but her nose still rested against his
heart when he hugged her, and he smelled the same – like everything
good – brooms and the outdoors and…Harry.
She lifted her face,
sniffing back a few tears. His kiss was as insistent and as impatient
as she felt. As always his actions mirrored back to her all of her
secrets. He just knew how hungry she was for him, how lonely she had
been, how happy she was to see him. Probably because he felt all these
There was a loud chorus of wolf whistles behind them.
Harry pulled away and gave her a sheepish smile, but he didn't drop his arms from around her waist. "Hi," he said.
She laughed. Hers. Green eyes, blue sky, and the next six hours were hers.
Three Broomsticks was jammed with noisy students, but Harry managed to
procure a small table in the back corner near the storeroom. Since
Harry was still the hero of the hour, he could have demanded a large
table at the front and filled it with all sorts of people willing to be
his friend for the afternoon. But that wasn't his way.
going to be a long wait for their food, but Ginny didn't mind too much.
They needed to talk and it was always good to just look at Harry. But
she desperately wanted to be alone with him. They had a place in the
hills above Hogsmeade they Apparated to. It was just a clearing with a
flat boulder to sit on – but it was quiet and private and theirs. Harry
knew all sorts of Concealment Charms and Security Charms and best of
all – how to Transfigure a flat boulder into a squishy settee.
There was something so right about kissing him and touching him outdoors.
The flash of light on his glasses as he moved broke her out of her reverie. "So what's up with training next week?" she asked.
working on tracking, I think," he said, pulling a crumpled pamphlet out
of his pocket. "Ron's glad. He's tired of Transfiguring into sign posts
all the time."
"Did he ever master lamp posts?"
laughed. "Well, his light is a little red and he's taller than most,
but he'd pass. Of course, no one can turn into a stile like me."
She giggled. "Aren't you afraid someone is going to climb over you?"
did. This week. A group of walkers in the Lake District thought they
were on a designated path." He shook his head. "Hiking boots hurt the
top of your head."
"I'll remember that," she murmured as she watched him finger the pamphlet. Something was up with him. "What's that?"
"Oh." He clutched the pamphlet in both hands and then glanced at her awkwardly.
Ginny's stomach lurched. Something was definitely up.
"I've been looking –"
Rosmerta set a plate of fish and chips in front of Harry and macaroni
cheese in front of Ginny. "There now. Anything else, Harry?"
"Um. No, thanks." He hastily covered the pamphlet with his hand. "It looks great."
Madam Rosmerta nodded and hurried away. Harry picked up his cutlery and smiled at Ginny. "Cheers."
She was not going to be diverted by food. "What's that?" She reached for the pamphlet now under his elbow.
He stiffened, but let her take it.
Learn Magical Search and Rescue Techniques in New Zealand,
the pamphlet proclaimed. Below the words were a series of moving
photographs. In one, a wizard was hanging off the side of a snowy
cliff, a weeping child in his arms. In another, a witch was swimming
and dragging an unconscious woman to a rocky shore.
Ginny opened the first fold. In
this one-year course, you will learn magical first aid. You will adapt
standard search and rescue techniques for some of the most rugged
landscapes on earth....
She could feel Harry's eyes on
her. "This looks really interesting," she said as she pushed her plate
away and unfolded the entire thing so she could see the month-to-month
break-down of the course. It looked practical and hands-on and
rather…exhilarating. She felt a surge of excitement – what a fun career
– to be a Search and Rescue Medi-Wizard. So much better than a dreary,
predictable job at St. Mungo's or the Ministry like she was considering.
edges of the glossy paper were curled and worn. Harry had been carrying
this around for a long time and she could see why. This was just the
thing for Harry. The study of Dark Magic and Defensive Spells and crime
scene investigations didn't really interest him anymore – and he
complained in every other letter about the paperwork an Auror was
expected to do.
She ran her hand over the smooth paper. It was so far away. She wondered how he had found out about this course.
"So you're interested in this course, then?" she said, looking up.
He shifted awkwardly. "Yeah."
turned the pamphlet over. A new course started next September. Then she
gulped as she saw the price of the tuition. "A thousand Galleons?"
"Those are New Zealand Galleons."
Ginny didn't know whether that was more or less gold – it was still a lot. "Is accomodation included?"
He was watching her warily. Why?
her eyes locked with his, she knew. He was going to go – he was going
to go to the other side of the world in September and leave her behind.
Her stomach twisted.
This was her nightmare all over again. He had to go and she had to let him go.
looked at the photos again. At least he would be happy there, she
thought desperately. New Zealand was lush and green – a good place. At
least he would be doing what he wanted instead of what he was forced to
This was right for Harry. If he wanted this, then he should have it, she concluded fiercely. He deserved it.
"I think this sounds perfect," she said, folding up the pamphlet. "I think you should do it."
"I don't want to go alone."
thousand emotions flooded her heart. The first and foremost was that he
wanted her with him this time. But she had no money to take the course,
and her mother would never her let her go off to the other side of the
world with Harry. It was going to take all of her persuasive powers to
convince her mother to let her live in a London flat with Hermione
instead of at home while she trained at St. Mungo's.
about Ron?" she asked. "He's been making a lot of money with his
building jobs. And I don't think he likes Auror training."
"I didn't ask Ron," Harry answered. There was a bleakness in his eyes that hadn't been there before.
"You didn't ask me, either," she said, trying to tease.
He took a deep breath. "I'm asking now."
food was growing cold, one part of her brain told her, the other part
was consumed with the knowledge that she was going to disappoint Harry.
This meant so much to him and if she didn't go, he might not go, and
she couldn't live with herself if she kept him from doing what he
"I can't go," she said. "I don't have enough money – and even if I did, Mum would lose her mind."
A shadow of pain flickered across Harry's face. "You think your mum would be angry if you went away?"
Ginny snorted. "Angry is putting it mildly."
"Harry." She took a deep breath to keep from choking. "You must go. This is perfect for you."
"I'm not going alone," he said. He was pale, but determined.
She hated that martyred expression.
"Harry, listen to me," she said. "If this course was in London, would you take it?"
"Then try to forget it's in New Zealand."
"We'll be apart for a year, but –"
"I'm not going to be apart from you for another year, Ginny."
Why was this so hard?
she thought. She wanted to be with him, too. She wanted it so badly,
she ached with it – and it was all she could do not to burst into
tears. "Even if I could talk Mum and Dad into letting me go, I still
don't have enough Galleons."
He sighed. "Money isn't a problem."
"It is when you don't have any," she said bitterly.
"What if…" He hesitated so long that Ginny looked up at him. "What if you did have the money?"
"I'm not taking money from you, Harry," she said sharply.
"What if it was our money?"
"Our money?" She frowned. How could they have money together? Unless…. Her
heart started beating faster. That serious expression on his face
wasn't there because he was going to leave her. No, he was so serious
because…. She gulped.
He ran his hand through his hair. "I didn't want this to come out this way. I had all these plans back in February."
"And then I came down with Dragon Pox," she murmured through dry lips.
Her eyes widened as he took a small velvet box from his cloak pocket.
was it. He was going to ask her to marry him and he was going to ask
her to change her whole world. Her school girl days were essentially
over already. But now – if she accepted – she would no longer belong
just to herself, she would be his wife.
"I love you," he said
simply, placing the box on the table in front of her. He had said that
to her only once before – after he had defeated Voldemort.
"What are you saying, Harry?" she whispered, not touching the box.
"Marry me," he said. "Please."
was the 'please' that did it. She started to cry – not brief,
sentimental, happy tears – but wrenching sobs. Harry wanted to be her
husband. He was willing to no longer belong to himself, but deep down
he still wasn't sure of her. How could he not know how much she loved
"Ginny," he hissed. "I'm sorry. Don't cry. It's okay if
you don't want to." He was desperate for her to stop crying in the
middle of a public place. She had to calm down.
covered the velvet box as if to take it away, but she stopped him.
"No." She put her hand on top of his. "Don't you dare." She sniffed and
then ran her other hand over her eyes, glad she had left her hair down
so she could hide her tears from curious strangers.
"Ginny…." he said helplessly.
"Don't you take my ring back," she said, prying the box out of his hand.
"What are you saying?" he asked, echoing her earlier words. She wondered if she had sounded that worried and unsure.
saying I'll marry you," she answered, tossing her hair out of her face.
She could smile a little now that she was getting used to the idea.
"But the ring is part of the bargain."
His smile spread across
his face just as joy was spreading across her heart and finding its way
into her thoughts. They were never going to be parted.
opened the box and saw a gold ring with two intertwined hearts
surrounding a ruby. The jewel glowed with such red fire that it seemed
alive. Ginny slowly took it out of the box and placed it on her finger.
It was rich and red and gold and warmed her to look at it.
"I thought of you when I saw it in the shop," Harry said.
"That's the name of that ring," he answered. "It was on the sign next to it in the window."
"Oh." It was perfect. He was perfect.
"Are your parents really going to be angry if I take you away?" he blurted.
pulled her eyes away from her ring. New Zealand. Not only was she going
to change her world, but she was going to see the world – with him.
"I can stay in England and finish my Auror training," he began.
How could he think her parents wouldn't want this either? "Mum would
have been angry with me if I left to go off to New Zealand with my boyfriend. She can't say a word about me going off with my husband."
He let out a sigh, but his expression was still serious. "I didn't talk to your dad about this. I wanted to talk to you first."
"That was the right decision," she said tartly.
She reached across the table and covered his hand. "Mum and Dad love you. I love you."
His green eyes looked brighter and he swallowed. "We'll come back, Ginny."
"I know." A little thrill ran down her spine at the word "we." Her heart was on fire at the thought.
Thanks to Sherylyn for betaing, to Parakletos for the Brit-picking, and
to Allie Kiwi for the NZ/Kiwi-picking. Also, even though the NZ
school year runs on a different schedule than does Hogwarts, I decided
to keep the NZ course set according to JKR's school schedule -- which
means, of course, that the 1st of September is always on a Monday ;-)
note: And thanks to the amazing St. Margaret's for allowing me to play
in her world, too. For Harry's POV on all this, look here ;-) (in case that link doesn't show up right, it's: Hearts Afire )