AN: Hello again, everyone! Thanks for all the well wishes. I’m fine, but I’ll have to go back for another go round in October, so cross your fingers.
As always, I’d like to give a shout-out to my friend Arnel for all her great work on this story.
I would also like to give recognition to two of my favourite fanfic authors whose individual stories have had a great impact in shaping several scenes in this chapter. The first is “Seeking the Truth” by Been_Reading and the second is “Easier to Be” by Hgfan1111. Two great authors and two fantastic stories. If you’ve read either of those stories before, you may notice several of their concepts repeated here.
Finally, in my story outline it comes to a dividing point here. I can end the story or continue on with some plot twists during the World Cup. My beta votes to carry on — any thoughts from my dear readers?
This is a special British League Quidditch Update brought to you by WWN / W3 productions.
With regular season now behind us, all thought turns to the Quidditch World Cup. We have several good teams competing this year as always.
Last year’s World Champions, the Bulgarians, return their entire team including superstar Seeker Victor Krum. The Irish also look to be strong as well.
However, the English National team led by Hamish MacFarlan looks to make a play at the Championship with a fantastic Chasing squad and Harry Potter at Seeker.
The teams report to training this week and the first matches are just two months away!
Ginny Apparated to the location she had been given to meet her teammates for the English National team, the Queerditch House. She still couldn’t believe that her fellow players had voted her here and, given the way the season had ended, she was ready to put everything behind her and start fresh!
Ginny sighed to herself. She wasn’t ready to put everything behind her. There was still the matter of Harry, and she wasn’t sure if she was going to kill him or snog him when she finally saw him.
Ginny looked around after arriving and found herself outside a large, stately mansion. It looked like a castle or estate that the Muggle nobility would live in. The grounds seemed extensive, with lots of greenery, and she saw at least three full-sized Quidditch pitches down behind the house.
It was beautiful.
Ginny swung her bag over her shoulder and steeled herself. She was going to find Potter.
Ginny walked through the main doors and found, to her surprise, a witch sitting behind a receptionist desk in the main entryway.
The witch looked young, no more than nineteen, with pretty blonde hair.
“Oh, Miss Weasley,” she said as she stood up and offered Ginny her hand. “It’s so good to finally meet you. You’ve been a big inspiration to me this year, with everything that you’ve had to overcome to get here.”
Ginny shrugged self-consciously and shook her hand.
“Thanks, it’s always great to be appreciated. What’s your name?” Ginny asked her with a small smile.
“Oh my goodness,” the young girl said, red staining her checks. “My name is Kate Allistor. Please excuse me! I wasn’t even this nervous when I met Mr Potter.”
“You’ve seen Harry today?” Ginny asked her with interest, leaning forward.
“Oh yes, he was one of the first to show up, I believe he’s already gone to his room,” Kate answered as she returned to her seat.
“Now, the women’s rooms are up and to the left,” she gestured to a sweeping staircase on the left side of the entryway. “Your room has your name on it and if you leave your bags here I’ll have the elves take them up for you.
“You have a team meeting in thirty minutes with Coach Jones and then a two-hour walk-through down on pitch one.”
Ginny barely noticed what the witch was saying, as she eyed the other staircase on the right.
“Kate, I don’t suppose those stairs goes up to the men’s rooms, do they?” Ginny asked with what she hoped was nonchalance.
“Oh yes, but I’m afraid to say, Miss Weasley, that you’re not allowed up in the men’s wing. Coach Jones is very strict with the players — no distractions is what he told me!”
Ginny looked back at Kate and sighed — it wasn’t worth pushing at moment.
“Up to the left? Team meeting in thirty minutes. Got it, Kate, thank you.”
Ginny left her bag with Kate and made her way to her room. She could wait a little while longer.
As Ginny left her room to go to the team meeting, she paused and once again was overwhelmed by her surroundings.
Her “room” was actually a suite that was almost as large as The Burrow. It had three bedrooms, a kitchen, two baths, and a large common area. Of course, the common room had the latest MirrorVision already installed and its own fireplace.
The fireplace wasn’t connected to the outside Floo network, but you could travel to other fireplaces on the estate grounds. Everywhere except other players’ rooms, which Ginny had found out the hard way when the fireplace spit her back onto the couch after she had tried to go to Harry’s.
She had banged her elbow on the table as she fell — just one more thing to pound Potter about when she finally saw him. Git.
Despite her emotional turmoil revolving around Harry, where she was and what she was doing began to overwhelm her as she approached the doors to the team meeting room.
She was at the World Cup training facility. She was playing on the English team! Holy hell.
Ginny felt her hands shake as she made her way inside.
The rest of the team was already in attendance and Ginny paused a moment to take in her surroundings.
The room was very nice, with expensive leather couches and chairs strewn throughout. A large buffet table had been set up across the back of the room and several witches and wizards stood in estate livery to serve when needed.
Her teammates seemed to be spread out, quietly chatting to one another, and they all glanced at her as she made her way inside.
She had chosen her appearance and wardrobe carefully. Relaxed, but not too informal — decent and comfortable, but also showing off her curves. She wanted Harry to feel it when he saw her.
Thinking of Harry, her eyes quickly found him as she made her way fully into the room.
He was seated by himself in the corner and to her surprise his Glamour was back in place.
She quickly turned and found the Harpy Beater, Gwenth Gargin, approaching her.
“Oh, Ginny, I didn’t have a chance to talk to you before the game. I didn’t know they were going to do that, they never told me, I wasn’t in on it…” she rushed out.
Ginny quickly pulled the woman into a hug to silence her.
“Gwen, it’s fine. I’m fine and the Minister is taking care of it.”
“I know,” the other witch moaned, her hands fluttering around nervously.
“I just didn’t want you to think that I was in on it. I really respect you and, well…”
Ginny gave her a tight smile just as the young witch from the reception area walked into the room.
“Great, everyone is here!” she said brightly. “If we could all just find our seats, we have a few things to go over before the team walk through.
“First off — Formal introductions! I’m Kate and I’ll be your team Mum while you’re here and throughout the cup. My job is to help the team bond, get to know each other and just generally help out.”
Kate sat down in a chair at the front of the room.
“I’m sure you all know each other pretty well after playing with and against each other, but we have a pretty unique mix this year so I thought it would be good to do some introductions.”
She looked pointedly around the room, as everyone looked at each other.
“Right then, I’ll go first,” said a well-built but older man that Ginny recognized as the team captain.
“I’m Hamish MacFarlan, but you can call me Ham. You all know this already, but I’m the team captain this year, so give me any lip and I’ll break your nose,” he said with a good-natured smile.
“I’ve been playing Quidditch for seems like forever, but in reality this is my ninth year in the league. I was team captain for the Cup last year and we made it to the semi’s before being knocked out.”
He paused and gathered his thoughts for a moment, glancing around the room.
“I thought I had the scoring title locked this year, until this wee thing over here,” he said looking at Ginny, “blew me away in the playoffs.”
Hamish smirked at Ginny as she blew him a kiss.
“I’m married and have three children, and I think playing Quidditch is the most brilliant career a bloke could have.”
Everyone sat silently and continued to look at him for several seconds after he finished.
“Great!” Kate exclaimed. “Who’s next?”
Someone in an Arrows shirt stood up next, and glanced around the room.
“Right. I’m Matt Jones from the Appleby Arrows. I’ve been in the league for four years now and this is my second Cup appearance and first league title.”
Matt looked over at Harry and gave him a thumbs-up. Harry smiled slightly in response, but otherwise didn’t react.
“I’m also married, but no kids yet. My wife is a Quidditch reporter for WSPN and we met on the road when she was covering one of my games.”
Matt gave a wide smile and pulled a picture out of his robes. “She’s quite the looker.”
“Okay, all right,” Oliver said standing up and pushing Matt back in his seat. “That’s enough of that, thank you very much.”
“My name’s Oliver Wood and I am a Keeper for Puddlemere United. I was also on the Cup team last year and I’m ready to take it all the way this year.
“Not married, but I know many of you here,” he glanced quickly over to Harry, “and some I sure hope I’ll get to know better.”
“To the Cup!” he said with a mock toast.
“Here, here!” was the general response from the assembled witches and wizards.
“Great!” said Katie with sickening enthusiasm that made Ginny want to gag. Kate seemed like a nice enough girl, but this rah-rah attitude was going to wear thin quickly.
“How about our last Chaser?” she asked, smiling at Ginny.
“Hi, everyone. My name’s Ginny Weasley,” Ginny said easily, standing up from the chair she had been sitting in.
“I’m sure most of you know me from all the off-season exploits this year,” Ginny shrugged with a self-depreciating smile, and a chuckle ran around the room.
“I’m a rookie. I took some time off after Hogwarts and now I’m here.”
Ginny sat back down and stood back up. “Oh — I have six brothers so don’t get fresh unless you want to get pounded,” she said, laughing.
“So no boyfriend, then?” asked one of the men who hadn’t introduced himself yet. Ginny thought he was a Beater from the Tornados.
His question caused Ginny to glance at Harry involuntarily. She quickly looked away, her face turning red. “Um… you know, I’m not actually sure.”
Ginny sat back down in the uncomfortable silence, as her teammates glanced uneasily between Harry and herself.
“Great!” Kate said again, her enthusiasm only slightly less than before.
“And our Beaters?”
“I’m William Hastings from the Tornados,” said the man who had asked Ginny about her boyfriend as he quickly stood.
“Third year in the league and first Cup appearance. I’m very excited to be playing with such great players. Single, and looking,” he said, winking at Ginny and causing her face to heat up.
“I’m Gwen Gargin, a Beater from the Harpies — I played with Ginny,” Gwen said with forced brightness from her seat on the couch.
“I think it’s important for everyone to know that I had nothing to do with the incident at the end of the season. That was the other Beater and Miss Jones. I hope that I can earn all of your trust and be part of this team.”
Gwen sat down with a sad face, and again an uneasy silence hung in the room.
“Oh…erm…okay — moving along,” Kate said with what was the first real noticeable dent in her excitement.
“Finally, last but certainly not least, our Seeker, the great Harry Potter!” Kate gasped with eyes shining.
Harry scowled at her introduction and stood up.
“My name’s Harry Potter, and I am a rookie in the league. First year playing Quidditch at all, really, depending if you count back yard games or not.”
Harry ran his hand through his hair and grimaced at his teammates.
“You all know I had an incident during the league Championship, but it’s over now and I’m ready to play. That’s it,” Harry finished, sitting down abruptly.
“Is that it, lad?” Hamish asked gently. “Surely there is something else you can tell us, about yourself?” Hamish smiled at Harry with gentle encouragement.
“Um…” Harry stood back up, looking very uncomfortable. “The charms that were reported on were just my Glamours for, you know.” Harry shrugged and looked at the ceiling. “Not much else to tell.”
“You have a girlfriend, Harry?” William said, brazenly glancing at Ginny, causing Hamish to frown at the Beater.
“Not, not really,” Harry said shooting a furtive glance toward Ginny whose mouth was slowly opening into a surprised O shape.
“You spent a lot of time with Ginny….” William continued, smirking at her.
“Ginny is not my girlfriend!” Harry snapped.
“What!” Ginny shrieked, jumping to her feet.
“That’s right,” Harry continued, looking directly at her, “We’re just friends.”
Ginny totally forgot where she was and whom she was in front of. All she could think of was the enormous, giant, prat of a git-face who was standing in front of her.
“How many of your other friends have you shagged in the last year, Potter? Tell me that!” Ginny screamed, taking a step toward him.
“That’s not… what I mean is… God damn it, Ginny!” Harry yelled, then turned and stormed out of the room.
Ginny quickly realized that her teammates were staring at her with shock and she again felt her face heat even as tears began prickling her eyes.
”So!” Kate jumped up with obviously forced brightness. “That’s everyone then. Don’t forget. you have a team walk-through in thirty minutes and your first practice scrimmage against the reserve squad is tomorrow at seven in the morning.”
Everyone began gathering their things and preparing to go down to the team walk-through; Hamish walked over and stood next to Matt and Oliver.
As Ginny fled the room in embarrassment she heard Hamish mutter under his breath to Matt and Oliver, “So much for team unity, boys, I think we might have some problems here.”
The next afternoon saw a weary team trudge into the mansion in quiet discouragement.
Kate was waiting to meet the team and immediately didn’t like what she saw. She quickly corned Hamish and Matt as they made their way to the men’s stairs and ushered them into a side room.
“What happened out there?” Kate asked, her mind turning. It was her job to keep the team’s morale up and she was obviously failing.
“We had a terrible practice, lass,” Hamish sighed, seating himself on a char facing Kate.
“Weasley was out of sorts, which caused the Chasers problems syncing with each other.”
“Potter was also distracted, completely misreading several break outs and interference chances,” Matt continued for Hamish.
Hamish frowned and stared at the ceiling deep in thought.
“Potter was so out of sync with Weasley that he actually damaged our own chances at scoring more than he helped, plus he never even sniffed the Snitch all day…”
Hamish trailed off again and Matt sighed, picking up the story:
“Toward the end of practice Gwen sent a Bludger toward a reserve, who dodged and the Bludger hit Ginny in the knee.”
“She wasn’t hurt,” Matt assured Kate when she gasped and covered her mouth, “but Gwen went all to pieces and started crying about the Championship game and how she wasn’t involved.”
“Coach Jones is mad as an angry Hippogriff,” Hamish said. “If things don’t improve quickly we might see some reserves joining us here.”
“Let’s tackle the problems one at a time, shall we?” Kate said, turning very business-like. “There seems to be two issues: Gwen’s problems with the Championship game and Harry and Ginny, correct?”
Kate waited until the two men nodded in surprise.
“I was top of my class at Hogwarts, gentlemen, I’m more than a cheerleader,” Kate sniffed, causing Hamish and Matt to look at her with a new respect.
“The problems all seem to focus on Weasley, so we either fix them or remove her from the team.”
“I would hate to see her go,” Hamish said slowly. “How can we fix this?”
“I think Gwen will pull through this,” Matt said carefully. “She just needs to see Ginny playing well and being all right in general. I’ll work with her on some drills and give her some one-on-one pep talks.”
Hamish looked at Matt with an unspoken question in his eyes.
“We went to Hogwarts together and dated — a long time ago!” Matt said with a faint blush. “Anyway, Gwen will listen to me.”
“So, how do we deal with Potter and Weasley?” Kate asked herself softly.
The next afternoon, after another horrendous practice, Kate made her way up the women’s stairs and gently knocked on Ginny’s door.
“Hi, Kate,” Ginny said with some surprise after opening the door slightly. “I didn’t miss a team function, did I?”
“On no, Ginny!” Kate said brightly. “I just thought it would be good for us to talk.”
“Look, Kate, I’m really not in the mood…” Ginny started to close the door, but Kate stopped her, a hard look on her face.
“Ginny, I really must insist. I’m the team Mum and I’m not doing a good job. Please let’s discuss this.”
Ginny sighed and relented, opening the door wider and making her way to her common room.
“Ginny,” Kate said delicately after she had seated herself, “the first two practices haven’t gone well.”
Ginny snorted at the understatement and gave Kate a wry smile.
“Why do you think that is, Ginny?”
Ginny frowned and peered out the window, taking her time before answering.
“It’s mostly my and Potter’s fault. I’m distracted, so I’m throwing off all the Chasers, and Harry and I are so out of sync that it’s actually causing problems with overall team strategy.”
Ginny turned and looked at Kate, rubbing her Bludger-bruised knee self-consciously.
“I think Coach is going to replace me,” Ginny said, her voice soft with sadness.
“He hasn’t said anything to me yet, so I think you have some time.” Kate answered honestly. “What happened with you and Potter? I take it you two were an item, and we all know what happened in the Championship.”
“I don’t know what happened, Kate,” Ginny said heavily, jumping up and beginning to pace. “After the Championship game, Harry was injured, and he just stopped talking to me. He totally refused to even see me!” Ginny was getting heated now.
“The bloke tells me he loves me, then drops me like a hot Quaffle!”
“The nerve!” Kate said, getting heated herself. “Thinks he’s too good for normal folks?”
“Actually, I think it’s the opposite,” Ginny said quietly.
“So you two haven’t spoken?” Kate asked neutrally, quickly reassessing the situation.
“No.” Ginny sat back down with her head between her hands.
“But you would like to, correct?” Kate asked.
Ginny raised her head and stared at Kate with tears prickling her eyes again. “More than anything.”
“Very interesting, Ginny. Let me see what I can do.”
By the end of the week, the team was almost in disarray. There was one practice left in the week, and Coach Jones had made it clear that if he didn’t see dramatic improvement, someone was going to be off the team.
Kate had reported to Hamish and Matt her conversation with Ginny, and together the three of them had launched a plan.
“Remember,” Kate had told them. “I can only take the wards down on the stairs for a few minutes so we have to time this exactly right.”
“Not to worry, love,” Hamish smiled. “I’ve got this.”
After Thursday’s disastrous practice, Hamish pulled Harry aside on the way into the mansion.
“Harry, this can’t continue. I’m going to get cleaned up and then I’m going to meet you in your room in half an hour, exactly. Do not be late.” Hamish glared at the younger man, then turned and walked to his room.
Harry was too stunned at having the normally jovial Hamish speak to him in such a tone that he missed the small smile playing on Hamish’s lips as he disappeared into his room.
Exactly half an hour later, Hamish and Harry were sitting in Harry’s common room.
“Hamish, I know I haven’t been playing well…” Harry started after they both sat down opposite each other.
“Not playing well!” Hamish exclaimed. “Merlin, Potter! You’re throwing off the entire team.
“I’m going to only tell you this once — go talk to Ginny.”
Harry jumped up like a wounded animal, backing into the corner. “No! I can’t, Ham, you don’t understand.”
Hamish sighed and stood up, slowly walking to the window and peering out. He discreetly checked the clock on the wall, then walked over to Harry and clapped him on the shoulder.
“I’m sorry, lad.”
“It’s all right, Hamish, I did this to myself.”
“Aye, lad, you did.”
“What are you…” Harry never finished his thought as Hamish pulled out his wand and Stunned the surprised Harry Potter right in his own room.
Harry awoke groggy and confused. What in Merlin’s name had happened?
He sat up and realized he was on his bed in his bedroom at Queerditch House. His eyes widened as he realized that Ginny was next to him, apparently unconscious.
“Ginny!” he exclaimed, moving quickly to her side.
“Ginny, are you all right?”
She seemed to simply be sleeping, her breath falling regularly with her face scrunched up in an adorable, beautiful way.
Ginny’s eyes fluttered open and it took her a moment to get her bearings. Finally, she sat up and looked at Harry with wide eyes.
“Harry? What am I doing here?”
“I don’t know,” Harry answered, quickly getting off the bed and moving away from her. “Let me see what’s going on… er, the door’s been sealed.”
“What!” Ginny jumped up and made her way to the door. It didn’t budge when she threw her slight weight into it.
“ATTENTION, POTTER AND WEASLEY!” a loud voice echoed through the room.
“THIS IS YOUR HOUSE MUM, ALONG WITH YOUR TEAM CAPTAIN. YOU HAVE BEEN LOCKED IN THIS ROOM WITHOUT YOUR WANDS.”
Harry began to panic as he felt for his wand — it was gone.
“YOU WILL STAY IN THIS ROOM UNTIL YOU WORK OUT YOUR ISSUES. IF YOU HAVEN’T SOLVED THEM BY TOMORROW’S PRACTICE, ONE OF YOU WILL BE LEAVING THE TEAM, PER COACH JONES’ DIRECTIONS. THAT IS ALL.”
Harry snarled and cursed, turning and beating on the door again.
“Did you set this up, Ginny?” he turned his anger at her. “This is the worst day of my life!”
“Me?! Listen, you stupid prat, I wouldn’t lock myself in a room with you ever again if you were the last bloke in Britain. I bloody HATE you!”
Harry stopped, shocked. His whole world began crashing around him. “You hate me?” he whimpered.
“YES!” Ginny shouted. “First you accuse me of leaking your secrets, then you half-arse apologize, then you wouldn’t let me come see you after you were hurt…”
Ginny trailed off as anger turned to grief and the tears began to flow. “I was so worried about you, you were hurt so badly, we thought you were going to die and you just… didn’t care!”
Ginny turned and flung herself face-down on the bed, sobbing as all the hurt from the past year bubbled up.
Harry stood where he was for a moment, and then sat on the bed next to her, slowly stroking her back. He had never been good with crying women.
“Ginny, I’m sorry,” Harry said with feeling. “I didn’t stop to think about how this would have impacted you.”
He brushed her hair over her ear as Ginny remained face-down in the pillow.
“All I could think about was myself and how things had changed and that you wouldn’t want to ever see me again.”
Harry fell silent when Ginny didn’t respond. The two sat there in silence, Harry stroking her back and Ginny crying herself out.
After a while, Ginny turned her tear-streaked face up to Harry. “Why would you think I wouldn’t want to see you? You saved me, I told you I loved you, and you abandoned me.”
“Ginny,” Harry said, his voice trembling, “you saw me; you saw what I really look like. I had lived so long with the Glamours that I had forgotten how bad the scars really were. How could you love someone like that?”
Anger overtook Ginny and she sat up and slapped Harry in the face as hard as she could. His eyes widened, but he made no other movement. His lack of response infuriated her further and she slapped him again. He finally caught her arm on the third go round and growled at her, “Please stop doing that!”
“You know me, Harry!” Ginny screamed. “How could you think I could be that shallow? I loved you and you threw it away out of vanity?”
“I thought you would give me the broom. If I avoided you, if I could avoid hearing you actually say the words, then it was like it wasn’t going to happen, and I got to live in a happy fantasy for a little while longer.
“I just, Ginny, I’m scared. I’m a wreck — a beast. You deserve so much more.”
“Harry,” Ginny said, beginning to calm down. Taking his hand, she looked him full in the face. “Isn’t that for me to decide?”
Ginny realized that although Harry had acted in an unforgiveable way, he had been driven by his fear, fear of her rejection and his own past pain. Her heart ached for the man in front of her who struggled to accept and understand what love really entailed.
Harry squirmed under her penetrating gaze. “You said loved — as in past tense…” he finally managed. “Does this mean I’ve totally bollocked it up? Are you giving me the broom for good?”
“I don’t know, Harry,” Ginny sighed, fully sitting up beside him. “You’re a prat and an arse and a terrible git — but for some reason I still love you.”
Harry relaxed as the tension he wasn’t aware he had been carrying dissipated and he leaned into her.
“Harry,” Ginny asked tentatively, in a small girl voice, “do you still love me?”
Harry turned and the fear and vulnerability on her face broke his heart. He had put that there.
“Oh, Ginny! I love you with all that I am. I truly am sorry. I just didn’t know how you would react to me.”
Harry leaned in to kiss her, but Ginny gently pushed him away.
“I don’t understand,” Harry said with a confused frown.
“No more secrets, Harry,” Ginny said and gently ran her fingers down the smooth skin of his Glamoured face.
“Harry,” Ginny said suddenly sighting up straighter, “how are your Glamours back? Kingsley told me that they weren’t working anymore.”
Harry shrugged in embarrassment. “The curse scars are hard to cover, it took me a while to find the memories of how Dumbledore got the charm to anchor.”
“So now you can take them down and put them up whenever you want?” she asked nonchalantly.
“Good,” she responded forcefully at his nod. “I either get all of you or none of you. I can’t do in between anymore.”
Ginny felt him tense again at her side. “Please don’t ask this of me, Ginny. Please, I beg you.”
“It’s too late, Harry. Either you love and trust me or you don’t. I’ve made my choice and it’s you. Now I’m just waiting for you to do the same.”
Harry stood and paced around the bed, stopping every few minutes to glare at Ginny.
Ginny sat calmly, all previous grief and fear banished, as she patiently waited on him to make his choice.
Eventually Harry stopped pacing and came to rest directly in front of her, his posture slumped in defeat.
“Just remember that you asked for this, Ginny, and I tried to stop you.”
Ginny remained silent, and finally Harry closed his eyes. He shimmered for a moment then re-solidified — without his Glamours.
Ginny’s first instinct was to gasp, but she managed to hold it back. Although she had seen him in hospital, she had been distracted. Now there was nothing between her and the real Harry.
Ginny slowly stood and reached out. Her fingers lightly tracing the scar that ran from his eye, down his face to his jaw.
Harry shivered at her touch, but didn’t push her away or open his eyes. She brought her other hand up and traced a scar that ran down his neck and disappeared under his shirt.
Ginny leaned forward and slowly kissed the scars on his face — one by one. Moving closer, she pushed back his hair and placed a kiss on his famous curse scar.
Harry’s eyes shot open. His entire life that scar had been a symbol of pain and suffering and never an object of affection.
Ginny continued down his neck, the side of his mouth, gently tracing and kissing all his scars and lightly rubbing his crooked nose.
Without speaking, she reached down, grabbed the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head.
Harry sighed softly as the remainder of his scars came in full view.
Ginny took a quick step back and look at him in his entirety. “Simply beautiful,” she whispered.
She quickly stepped forward again before he could react, and began to trace the scars down his torso, back, and side.
Harry looked at the top of her head in amazement as she bent down and kissed the scar running horizontally above his nipple.
Ginny was determined to make every one of those scars a source of love, and she would do it if she had to kiss them a thousand times.
“Ginny?” Harry said timidly.
“Yes, Harry?” Ginny asked, not stopping her exploration of his body.
“So, er, what do you think?”
Ginny slowly stood erect and gazed into his eyes.
“I think you sacrificed a great deal for us — for me,” she said softly. “I think you are beautiful. I love the real you so much more than the fake you.”
Harry cupped her face with his palm. “Ginny, I don’t understand.”
Ginny sat down and patted the bed next to her. Harry obediently sat.
“You probably haven’t had a ton of people love you for just you, have you, Harry?”
Ginny waited until he shook his head in the negative.
Ginny rested her head on his shoulder and her hand on his leg.
“Your scars are a testament to your spirit, your nobility — they just confirm to me what I already knew about you — who you are and how you love with your whole heart.”
“But I’m broken and scarred.”
Ginny put a finger to his lips. “Sometimes we can live with scars, Harry.”
“And sometimes we can’t!” his voice was almost a scream.
“What if I can’t do it, what if I can’t stand?” he pleaded.
“Then I’ll be here to carry you, Harry, until you’re ready to walk on your own.”
Tears rolled down Ginny’s face at the look of relief Harry gave her. He finally, truly realized that she loved him and what that love meant.
“Harry,” she whispered, “you can wear your Glamours in public, but not with me in private. Not anymore. Especially not when we make love.”
Ginny leaned over and kissed him deeply.
“Make love?” Harry said, bewildered.
“You bet your arse, Potter. Now get out of those jeans and get over here,” Ginny said as she rolled to the middle of the bed while pulling her jumper off.
Harry smiled at the wicked look on her face. The scars really didn’t matter. She loved him. It was amazing. It was breathtaking. It was indescribable.