Harry entered the library and found Ginny in a corner, replacing a book in one of the shelves. He leaned against a shelf and gazed at her, a slight smile playing on his lips. Slowly, he looked all around him. What he saw pleased him. There were no other students in that part of the library. In any case, he thought, no one could see us. They were shielded by an arrangement of shelves in that corner. More importantly, Madam Pince would not be able to see them from where she sat at the opposite end of the library, indexing some old books. He'd looked for her as he'd entered the library.
Better to be safe than sorry, Potter, he told himself as he whispered a silencing charm and walked towards Ginny. She was standing on her toes, trying to remove a book from a higher shelf and her red–gold tresses were flowing down her back in gay abandon.
He loved her hair; it was so unique, so lovely; fiery red intermingled with molten gold, as soft as silk and as fragrant as a forget-me-not bouquet. He stood gazing at her hair for a minute and then, grinning mischievously, he carefully lifted the curls near her ear with a gentle finger, bending to inhale the fragrance he always associated with her hair.
Startled, she yelped, whirling around in alarm, the book slipping from her hand and falling on to the floor with a crash. (He thanked his stars for the silencing charm.) She stood silently for a moment, mocha eyes suddenly too large for her oval face, her mouth trembling, and then slowly relaxing as she looked into familiar emerald green eyes. Familiar green eyes that, she slowly realized as she started to instinctively smile back, were gleaming with unholy mirth.
"Scared you," he mouthed, grinning madly at her, moving to pull her into a hug. She narrowed her eyes at him and glared at him coldly as she stepped nimbly out of his reach.
As he reached for her again, she slapped his hand away and yelled, "Harry Potter, what in God's name do yo…." but was cut off by his warm lips as he suddenly yanked her into his arms and kissed her hard. Never really able to resist him, Ginny instantly succumbed, her arms going round his neck, her mouth softening under his as she kissed him back, matching kiss for kiss. He pulled her closer, half-lifting her off the ground as his mouth demanded and was granted complete access to hers.
"I missed you, darling," Harry whispered against her lips, and Ginny trembled, hearing the intensity in his voice. Of late, she'd noticed that Harry had gotten very expressive and demonstrative with his affections, especially when they were on their own. Not that I mind, of course, Ginny admitted to herself sighing. I could get used to this. Only, sometimes, she still felt like this was all part of one of her wonderful fantasies; fantasies that she'd never stopped weaving around Harry. It was all just too good to be true. If this was a dream she told herself ruefully, I never, never, ever want to wake up.
"Oh Harry," she tilted her head, looked deep into his eyes and gently caressed his jaw, her eyes shining with all the love she felt for him. His arms tightened unconsciously around her. "Oh Harry," Ginny repeated, her voice husky and full of emotion, "I love you. Oh! I love you so much."
His whole being flooded with warmth at her words. Ginny always made him feel so very special. Her brand of caring was, to him, utterly unique. No one else cared like she did. No one could. It wouldn't be the same. Only Ginny could make him feel like her world revolved around him; like he was the source of her happiness; like everything he did was wonderful. Only Ginny. With just a look, a touch, a smile, a word, she made him feel cherished.
He tilted her chin up and gently kissed her. She clung to him fiercely, responding with a fervour that heated his blood. He pulled her flush against him, his arms like iron bands around her waist, desperately dropping feverish kisses all over her face, her eyelids, her neck. As Ginny instinctively arched against him to give him better access to her neck, desire exploded within him, and he felt all threads of control slowly slipping away. He pulled away, desperately trying to regain his composure and silently berating himself for his lack of control where she was concerned.
This is not the time, Harry told himself. She was still too young. She had another year to go at Hogwarts. He had a bloody prophecy to deal with sometime soon. He didn't know whether they would have a future together; bloody hell, he didn't even know if he would live to see the next year. It was not fair to her to take this any further. He knew that. But, somehow, around her, he always felt hopeful…of defeating Voldemort, of a future, of a family, of love and life, of everything good. Just being with her did that to him. Just Ginny. She looked up at him questioningly. He just buried his face in her fragrant curls, muttering, "You're driving me insane, young lady."
Ginny whispered huskily, "Harry, you know I love you." Harry dropped a kiss on her bright hair. "I'll love you forever. You must know that," she continued seriously. "No matter where we are, what we'll become, or whether or not we're together." Ginny looked up into his eyes and asked, "So, why do you always pull back? Why do you restrain yourself?"
Harry caught her hand and looked deep into her eyes. "This year is the year, Ginny. He is waiting to kill me. I have to kill him or die trying." He placed a finger against her lips as she moved to protest. "Hush, sweetheart, just hear me out," he entreated.
"No one, not even Dumbledore, can predict the outcome. I can only hope that soon, all this will be behind us. You don't know how desperately I hope, Gin; I want this to end; I want this uncertainty to end.
"But, I want you to know," Harry continued earnestly, still holding her hand, "even if I don't get through this, that I love you, Ginny. More than anyone or anything in this world. I'd do anything for you." Harry tilted her chin towards him and looked into her eyes, luminous with tears. "You know that, sweetheart, don't you?" Ginny nodded tremulously, a tear rolling down her cheek.
"Nothing will happen to you, Harry. Nothing. It's Lord Voldemort who will perish, and you will vanquish him. Don't you, even for a moment, question that. Your mother sacrificed her life in order to give you a chance to live. Her sacrifice can never be in vain, don't you see? I believe in you, Harry. You will emerge victorious. Just believe that. I already do," Ginny begged him softly.
"And let's live each day as it comes, Harry. Let tomorrow's impending shadow not cloud today's sunshine. Let's be together as long as we can," Ginny entreated.
Harry looked silently at her for a long minute. Then he smiled. "You know I want us to be together for the rest of our lives, Ginny. Let's get out of his shadow and then I'm free…free to ask you to be mine forever."
His eyes grew intense. "Marry me Ginny; when all this is behind us, say you'll marry me." A tear slipped down her cheek.
"You know I will," she whispered, reaching up to touch his cheek. He again pulled her into his arms and held her tight, his face buried in her curls.
Thinking of the dark times ahead, he sighed, his breath warm against her ear. She giggled suddenly, and he raised his head to look at her. He grinned, realizing what was making her giggle and started blowing hot air against her neck.
"Harry, stop that!" Ginny laughed. "It tickles."
She swatted him on the head, and he straightened up. "Come on; let's get you back to the common room before your brother sends out a search party." He removed the silencing charm, she picked up the dropped book and they left the library after the book had been issued to her.
"What's that?" Harry wanted to know as she tucked the book under one arm.
"Oh a book for Neville," she answered vaguely and, at his questioning look, grinned mischievously. "Don't ask; it's a secret."
"Hmph, keeping secrets from me huh?" Harry sulked. "See if I care." He quickened his pace, pulling her after him.
"Harry, you're going too fast," Ginny protested breathlessly.
In reply, he further increased his pace, then suddenly turned and swung her up into his arms. He looked down at her adorably flushed face and twirled her around.
Ginny squealed and tried to swat him with her hand, but he just swung her around again.
"Put me down, you half-wit. Anyone can see us here," she growled, still out of breath. "Harry, I tell you, put me down right now."
He laughed at her, tweaked her nose and ran up the stairs with her, turning right at the third floor corridor to the Head Boy's room. He said the password and entered the sitting room. He sat her on the couch near the fireplace and kissed her forehead softly. "Stay here, darling," he told her, "I'll be right back." Harry disappeared into his room.
Ginny held her hands up by the fire and sighed. This was just like a dream. She closed her eyes and prayed silently, Oh God, please, please let him kill Voldemort, and let him be free from all the tension, all the darkness, the huge burden that he carries. Let him be able to live without dreading what the next day will bring. Slowly she opened her eyes and leaned toward the fire.
Suddenly, something sparkling caught her eye and she leaned toward the little table near the fireplace to see what it was. She stared, her jaw dropping. It was an emerald solitaire ring. She picked it up and held it against the fire. It was beautiful. So beautiful. She looked around, but Harry was nowhere to be seen. She looked at the ring closely, turning it over in her palm.
On the gold band, the initials J.P. and L.E. were inscribed. Ginny gazed at the ring in amazement, and began to stand up to call for Harry when she saw that she had no reason to. She stood up, meeting his sparkling green gaze. Harry looked at her, a strange smile on his face.
"Harry." She held the ring up for him to see. "It's your mother's ring." His smile broadened and realization dawned. "You knew, but…," she broke off confused suddenly, thoughts criss-crossing in her head.
Harry reached out and took the ring from her fingers. "Yes, it's my mother's ring; her first Valentine's Day gift, given to her by my dad in their seventh year. They started going out on Valentine's Day; did you know?" She shook her head, dazed.
"Harry," Ginny said, perplexed, "Where on earth did you get that?"
"It's a long story. I'll tell you some time. Remus gave it to me last year, to give to someone special." He smiled at her, his eyes conveying a message only she could understand. Her heart started beating faster.
Harry took her hand in his and kissed her palm. "Virginia Weasley, I love you and although I've taken a long time to get here, I'm here to stay. Say you'll be mine…for as long as we both live."
He slipped the ring onto her unresisting finger and tilted her chin to look into her eyes which were bright with tears. He placed a finger on her lips. "No tears, okay. I want you to be happy. I was going to give you this on Valentine's Day, but I couldn't wait any longer."
"Oh Harry." Ginny smiled tremulously. "I love you; thank you for this fabulous gift. I'll treasure it forever." She hugged him, resting her head against his shoulder.
Suddenly, she giggled and whispered in his ear, drying her tears with one hand, "You know what this reminds me of?" She giggled again.
Harry sighed. "Yes, I know it goes with my eyes."
She giggled again. "His eyes are as green as…," she started mischievously, in a high pitched voice.
"Witch," Harry muttered, kissing her hard. He pulled her firmly into his arms and bent to kiss her again.
"Make one move and you will live to regret it," said the dark throaty voice from behind him.
They turned as one, realizing who it could be and yelled, "Ronald SOD OFF."
Ron grinned at Harry, made a victory sign with his fingers and retreated into Hermione's room, his arm firmly around her shoulders.
The pair near the fireplace comfortably settled into the couch for a long snog.
A/N: I wish to express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to my beta Susan Mueller who has worked miracles on both this piece (LIAA Part II) and the earlier one (LIAA Part I). Susan, this would not have not have read the same without you. Thanks again