A/N: I should probably include a "fluff alert" here, but oh well…if you've read this far, then you're probably aware of what you've got yourself into! ;-) (Just don't blame me if you find yourself in the hospital wing until you "quit coughing up fur balls!") So… without further ado… the conclusion.
When Harry awoke on Valentine's Day, he stretched and then rolled over to greet his wife. Even through the fog of sleep, he was dimly aware of how much he enjoyed waking up with Ginny beside him. He knew he'd never tire of doing so, either. He stretched his arm toward her… and was suddenly wide awake. Ginny was gone.
He sat up, grabbing his wand and glasses in one motion, almost managing to poke himself in the eye with his wand in the process. "Gin?" he called softly. No answer. Not a sound. He hurried toward the bedroom door, his bare feet making no noise. He opened the door and called quietly again. Still nothing. He hurried into Hope's room, and froze in his tracks. Hope's bed was empty as well.
He turned and raced down the stairs, his heart pounding, even as his mind tried to convince him that perhaps Ginny had only taken Hope downstairs. He glanced into the living room as he ran past, but it was obviously empty. He ducked into the kitchen… "Ginny!" he gasped, gripping the doorway for support.
Ginny turned from the stove to greet him, then seemed to notice his expression. She quickly picked up her wand and he saw her lips moving, but couldn't hear a thing. He shook his head, wondering if he was dreaming somehow. "Harry? What's wrong?" Her voice sounded unnaturally loud in his ears, after the total silence in which he'd woken. She hurried across the room to him, took his hand and guided him to sit at the table. He grabbed her and pulled her onto his lap, his head against her shoulder. "My goodness, Harry, you're breathing as though you've just run a race. What's wrong?"
Harry wrapped his arms around her more tightly. "Are you all right?" he asked hoarsely. "Where's Hope?"
Ginny leaned back to look at him, holding his face in her hands. "I'm fine. Hope's fine. Why?"
"Where is she?"
"I'll tell you in a moment, but she's fine, believe me. You tell me what's wrong."
"I woke up, and you weren't there, and I couldn't hear a sound, and Hope was gone…" Harry paused and took a deep breath, running a hand through his hair. "I suppose I panicked."
"Oh, dear, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. I was trying to let you sleep." Ginny kissed his forehead, then his cheek. "I cast a silencing charm around you after you went to sleep last night so that Hope wouldn't disturb you."
Harry sat still for a moment, staring at her. "You — you what?"
Ginny gigged. "I wanted you to get a good night's sleep. You haven't been able to sleep well in ages, and I wanted you to be well-rested."
Harry gave her a puzzled look. "You did? Why?"
For just a moment, Ginny attempted to look irritated, but then burst into giggles. "I should really be upset with you! I can't believe you'd forget two years in a row!"
"Forget? What… OH!" Harry laughed himself. "For your information, I did not forget this year! You just got me so worked up that I didn't know what I was doing!" He grinned and kissed her soundly, then whispered, "Happy Valentine's Day, Mrs. Potter."
Ginny kissed him again. "Happy Valentine's Day, Mr. Potter." She looked at him appraisingly for a moment, then asked, "Are you certain you didn't forget?"
Harry gave a short laugh, then attempted to look thoroughly wounded. "Of course I remembered! How thick do you think I am?"
Ginny laughed again, then kissed his nose. "Do you really want me to answer that?"
In answer, Harry grabbed her and began to tickle her, but Ginny quickly retaliated, and they were both breathless from laughter in only moments.
Harry suddenly remembered that Ginny had promised to tell him something, and he abruptly stopped tickling her. "Hey! Where is Hope?" he asked, still a bit breathless.
"Oh! She's —" Ginny paused, catching her breath as well. "She's with Mum. I arranged with Mum for her to keep Hope for awhile this morning so you could have a bit of a lie in. And I thought we might enjoy a quiet breakfast before I have to leave, too."
Harry smiled. "That was really sweet of you and your mum. Thank you."
She kissed him again. "I need to finish your breakfast, though, if we're going to eat before I have to leave." She stood up and hurried back to the stove.
"What should I do?" Harry asked, moving toward the stove as well.
"Not a thing, dear. This is a treat for you. You sit down with a cup of tea and just read the Prophet while I finish."
Harry hesitated. "Are you certain? I'd be glad to help, so we could both enjoy it more."
Ginny gave him a wicked grin. "I'll enjoy it just fine without your help. Now go. Sit."
Harry ran a hand thorough his hair again, then said, "I think I'll go wash up a bit first." He hurried off to the bathroom and quickly washed, then returned to the kitchen just as Ginny was taking things from the stove. "Mmm… smells good in here," he remarked, as he sat at the table again.
Ginny turned away from the stove with a smile. "You have to close your eyes."
Harry chuckled. "I do? Why?"
"Because I say so. And because you woke up before I was ready for you." He chuckled at her. She leaned closer and kissed his forehead. "Now close your eyes."
"Yes, dear," Harry replied with a grin, but closed his eyes anyway. He could hear her moving around him, setting things on the table, and murmuring some words that he couldn't quite make out.
After a few moments, Ginny's arms slid around his neck from behind him. She kissed his cheek and whispered, "Happy Valentine's Day. Open your eyes."
Harry opened his eyes to a beautiful sight. The table was spread with a red and gold cloth and decorated with several candles and a small vase filled with red and white roses. The plates were filled with a delicious-looking breakfast — all his favorite foods. "Wow!" he whispered, then took Ginny's hand and kissed it. "I thought I was supposed to be the one giving flowers."
She smiled at him as he drew her down for a kiss. "Sometimes it's just as much fun to give as to receive," she murmured, then kissed him.
When they parted, Harry chuckled. "I suppose it is, at times. Thanks, Ginny. This is wonderful."
She sat beside him and they enjoyed the delicious meal together, until Ginny suddenly looked at her watch. "Oh, goodness, I'd better get busy if I'm going to get everything done before I leave."
"What do you have to do, besides get dressed?" Harry asked around a mouthful of toast and jam.
"I have to do the washing up, don't I?" Ginny smiled at him.
"I can do that after you're gone. Just sit with me instead." Harry smiled to keep from laughing, deliberately looking into her eyes. He placed his hand over his heart and waggled his eyebrows at her. "I'm enjoying my Valentine's breakfast with my Valentine. What more could I ask for?"
Ginny burst into giggles. "Could you possibly think of anything more mushy than that to say?"
Harry laughed. "Probably not. But honestly, I'll do them later."
"But that's not right. This is meant to be my surprise for you; you're not meant to wash up from your own surprise."
"Ginny, I'd much prefer you to sit with me than to avoid washing up. It's fine." He could tell Ginny was wavering, and he smiled winningly at her and took her hand. "Please?"
Ginny squeezed his hand and then giggled. "You really are getting too good at that innocent expression!"
Harry laughed. "I'm learning."
They finished eating and Ginny went to get dressed while Harry Banished the dishes to the sink. While Ginny was in the bathroom, he hurried to the bedroom and quickly collected his clothes and Invisibility Cloak, then hid them in his wardrobe with the other things he'd need shortly.
He was just closing the door of the wardrobe when Ginny entered the bedroom, still brushing her hair. She stopped in front of her dresser and looked at him quizzically. "What are you doing?"
"Hmm? Oh, erm… nothing. Just… trying to decide what I'll wear," he answered quickly, sitting on the bed and leaning back on his elbows, attempting to appear nonchalant.
Ginny cocked an eyebrow at him. "Clothes are always a good choice," she teased.
"How about you? Aren't you dressed yet?" Harry tried to change the subject, hoping to distract her attention.
She grinned at him, obviously not fooled. "I'm almost ready. I do need to get there early today. I'm meeting Dennis in the Great Hall to help him with a project."
Harry made an exaggerated show of checking his watch, then teased, "How long does it take you to walk there?"
"Oh shush," she smirked, tossing her brush at him. She finished dressing quickly, then leaned over to kiss him goodbye. "I'll see you tonight."
Harry smiled up at her. "You'd better." She giggled and kissed him again. He sat up and wrapped his arms around her, deepening the kiss. When he released her, he said softly, "Have a good day, love."
She smiled at him warmly, then hurried to collect her book bag and cloak. Harry crept across the floor of their bedroom, waiting until he heard the front door close before he rushed to change into his clothes. He pulled on the Invisibility Cloak and then Apparated to the gates of Hogwarts.
He could just see Ginny coming up the path from town, and he hurried to the doors of the castle. He slipped inside and then hurried quietly into the Great Hall.
Chaos assaulted him the moment he stepped through the doors. He quickly stepped out of the doorway, flattening himself against the wall at the rear of the hall.
Headmistress McGonagall had allowed a special Valentine's Day celebration. Dozens of owls still flew overhead, most of which had already delivered their Valentines to the appropriate person and were now on their way to the Owlery. Quite a few house elves were also circulating amongst the students, delivering Valentines as well.
Harry had to stifle a laugh when he caught sight of Dobby, who was wearing what he obviously thought was a special outfit for the occasion. He wore one bright red sock with white hearts on it, and one white sock with pink cupids. His shorts were a shocking pink, and he was wearing a bright red and gold sweater. Dobby was standing almost in the center of the Great Hall, looking quite expectantly toward the main doors.
A few moments later, Dobby's patience was rewarded, as Ginny hurried through the doors. And stopped, staring about in wonder and amusement.
Dobby saw her immediately. "MRS. HARRY POTTER!" he bellowed, and Ginny immediately turned bright red as every head in the room turned to stare at them.
"Yes, Dobby?" she asked, edging closer to him, as if to encourage him to lower his voice.
Dobby wasn't to be discouraged. "I HAVE A VALENTINE FOR MRS. HARRY POTTER!" he yelled.
Harry edged nearer to where they stood, but still close enough to the wall not to have anyone bump into him as they came through the doors. He had to bite down on the sleeve of his robe to keep from laughing out loud at the look on Ginny's face.
Blushing about six shades of Gryffindor red, Ginny stammered, "Y-yes, Dobby. You can just give it to me now."
"I will give it to you, Mrs. Harry Potter, but I must tell it to you, too," Dobby announced, at only a slightly lower volume than his original proclamation.
"All-all right, Dobby," Ginny replied, squaring her shoulders and looking as though she'd prefer to do just about anything but stand there and listen.
With a flourish, Dobby pulled a parchment from his sweater, handed it to Ginny, and then began…to sing?! Harry had never heard a house elf sing, but that was apparently what Dobby was attempting to do. "I'm really going to have to reward him for this," Harry thought to himself, as he leaned against the wall, tears of laughter rolling down his face, still trying not to make any noise.
Dobby "sang" (loudly!):
Like pools of chocolate, her eyes so sweet,
Her hair like captured fire.
Her wishes are mine, our love so divine,
She is my only desire.
If she'll meet me tonight, on this special eve,
We'll share our dream come true.
For a date to remember, and love to last,
Ginny, love, I only need you.
Meet me at home, at six o'clock;
Please don't be late.
I'll miss you till then;
Tonight, your books will have to wait!
When he'd finished, the rest of the school burst into loud laughter and applause. Dobby bowed to Ginny, then turned and bowed to the rest of the Hall. Then, very deliberately, he turned and faced where Harry was. He bowed again, winked, and with a snap of his fingers, disappeared.
Ginny stood still for a moment, one hand covering her face as she laughed. Harry quickly ducked through the doors of the Hall and into a secluded alcove. He tore off the Invisibility Cloak, stuffed it into his pocket, then strode purposefully into the Hall. Ginny was moving down the aisle toward her friends, still shaking with laughter.
Harry stopped in the middle of the doorway and bellowed, "MRS. HARRY POTTER!" He could feel his face turn as red as Ginny's hair as she whirled around to face him, but the expression on her face was worth all his embarrassment.
Ginny's mouth literally dropped open as she saw him striding toward her. He stopped beside her, and with a flourish even grander than Dobby had managed, pulled a white, long-stemmed rose from inside his robe. A red and gold ribbon was attached to it with a small card. Harry grinned at her wickedly, kissed her on the cheek and turned to leave.
Ginny had other ideas.
She quickly grabbed the front of his robe and spun him around, then planted a passionate kiss on his mouth.
When she released his robes, they were both blushing furiously, but smiling happily. Harry winked at her, then turned and strolled out of the Hall, then out of the castle.
He strolled leisurely toward the gates, enjoying the crisp air, and grinning to himself over the note he was certain Ginny had just read.
The note on the rose read:
"I reckoned this was my last opportunity to pay you back for that dwarf. And one of my first opportunities of the day to tell you how much I love you. See you tonight! All my love, H."
After Harry arrived home, he put away his cloaks and started the charms for washing up the dishes, then went to call Molly. When she appeared in front of him in the fireplace, the smile on her face was eerily reminiscent of the twins' expressions after a good prank. He couldn't help but grin in response.
"Harry, dear, how lovely to see you. I trust you had a nice breakfast?"
He laughed, then replied, "Yes, we did, Molly, dear," he teased. "And thank you for all your help with that. You didn't tell Ginny I'd already asked you to keep Hope today, did you?"
Molly chuckled, and grinned wickedly. "What would be the fun in that?" They both laughed, and then she asked, "Did your plan succeed this morning?"
Harry's green eyes sparkled mischievously. "Yes, everything went perfectly. Or at least, it did after she scared me to death first!"
Molly frowned with concern. "Scared you? What happened?"
Harry shook his head slightly and ran a hand through his hair. "She put a silencing charm on me after I went to sleep. It was a very sweet idea, but when I woke up, I couldn't hear her anywhere, and she couldn't hear me until I found her in the kitchen. I woke up and she and Hope were both gone, and… well, I panicked."
Molly smiled again, shaking her head. "I'd have never thought of that happening. I know she intended to wake you when breakfast was ready, but I take it that you woke up before she intended." Harry grinned and nodded. "Well, I'm glad you survived the shock, dear."
Harry chuckled. "It was a wonderful breakfast though, and I enjoyed it very much after my heart started beating again."
Molly laughed again. "I'm glad it worked out for both of you," she said warmly, then gave him that wicked look once more. "So, how did things go at school? Or are you going to make me wait and find out from Ginny?"
Harry laughed. "She can tell you her opinion later. I thought it went perfectly. I got there just before she did, and Dobby bellowed the Valentine in the middle of the Great Hall. Everyone was laughing, but her expression was worth it all." Molly was laughing helplessly.
"Oh, I'm certain it was! I can't wait to hear her version of what happened!"
"Me, either." Harry grinned again. "So, erm… Shall I come and collect Hope then? I can bring her back after her nap this afternoon, before Ginny gets home."
Molly smiled and shook her head. "She's playing with her toys right now and having a wonderful time. Why don't you just leave her with me today and take the time to get everything just as you want it? Hope and I will be quite fine." Molly looked away from Harry, toward the other side of the room, and he could see her smile toward where he knew the play pen was. He could hear Hope cooing and laughing from there.
"She certainly sounds as if she's having fun. I don't want to impose on you, though," Harry began, but Molly shook her head and held up a hand to stop him.
"This is truly no imposition. You know how much I love having her here. I'll bring her back in the morning before school so that Ginny can see her before she leaves."
"All right. I do appreciate this, Molly. Do I need to get any of her things for you?"
"No, dear, we're fine. You just enjoy preparing your surprise." She smiled at him again, then turned quickly as Hope began to fuss. She glanced back at Harry and chuckled. "She's fine, Harry. She just needs some attention. I'll sort her out, you go sort out your things."
Harry smiled again. "All right, Molly. Thanks again."
"Any time, dear. Good bye now." Molly disappeared from the fire, and Harry turned back to check on the dishes.
He was relieved to see that the washing up was finished, the dishes neatly stacked in the sink to be put away. He waved his wand to send them to their proper places, then went into the living room to begin his other preparations.
When Ginny arrived home that evening, Harry met her at the door, smiling. He had changed into his dress robes, and finished all his preparations just in time.
Ginny's eyes widened as she saw him. "Harry, what are you…" she began, but he silenced her with a quick kiss.
"All will be explained in due time, Mrs. Potter. May I take your cloak and bag?" he asked formally, grinning broadly.
Ginny smiled and handed her things to him, and he quickly put them in the cupboard. "You're dressed so nicely. Should I go change?"
"Not unless you really want to. You know I think you're beautiful no matter what you wear," he sighed theatrically, then grinned again. They both laughed, and he led her into the living room.
Ginny stopped in the doorway and looked around. "Harry… this is beautiful. You did all this?" Their living room was filled with flickering candles, and groups of flowers adorned the tables and mantle.
"Is it too much?" Harry asked uncertainly. "I can get rid of some of the flowers—" he began, but Ginny turned and kissed him.
"It's perfect. Don't change a thing. I just can't believe you went to so much trouble," she smiled and wrapped her arms around his waist.
He wrapped his arms around her in return. "I wanted this to be perfect, Ginny. Last year, I—"
Ginny quickly laid her fingers against his mouth. "Last year was wonderful. You don't have to keep apologizing for it."
Harry grinned. "It wasn't 'wonderful' to begin with, but it's nice of you to say so. But this year I definitely didn't forget, so I suppose that means I'm doing better!"
Ginny laughed again and leaned her head against his shoulder. "You're doing brilliantly, Harry. I've only seen this room, but what I can smell is amazing."
He chuckled. "I hope so."
"Speaking of 'hope'…" Ginny began, looking around the toy-free living room, and plainly wondering about their daughter.
Harry smiled. "She's with your mum for the night. Molly insisted that it would be easiest to let Hope sleep there. She's going to bring Hope back in the morning before you have to leave."
Ginny snuggled against his shoulder once more. "You've really thought of everything, haven't you?" she murmured.
Harry chuckled, then kissed the top of her head. "I've tried, but let's see how things work out. It will take me a few minutes to get dinner on the table. Would you like me to bring you a cup of tea and you can relax for a few minutes while I do?"
Ginny leaned back and looked at him. "What are you up to, Mr. Potter?"
"Me? Whatever do you mean, Mrs. Potter?"
"Cup of tea? Relax? What are you trying to do to me?"
Harry laughed again, then brought one hand to her cheek. He leaned over and kissed her deliberately, lingeringly. When they parted, he said quietly, "I just want this evening to be perfect, Ginny."
Ginny smiled at him. "Harry, whatever happens, it'll be brilliant."
"Sit down and relax. I'll be back in a few minutes."
He guided Ginny toward the sofa, but at the last moment she turned and said, "I think I'd prefer to wash up a bit. I promise to not enter the kitchen until you say I can."
Harry smiled at her again. "All right. As long as you promise." He kissed her cheek, then went into the kitchen to finish dinner.
A short time later, Harry returned to the living room to find Ginny standing in front of the fire, dressed in the light blue robes that she'd worn to Hope's christening, and looking even more beautiful than she did then. Harry stopped in the doorway and stared at her. "Gin… you look… amazing," he whispered.
She turned and smiled at him. "I thought I should at least try to look as nice as you do." She came to him and slid her arms around his waist again.
"How did I ever get so lucky as to be married to you?" he murmured, holding her and kissing her forehead.
She smiled up at him. "Probably the same way I was lucky enough to be married to you," she replied.
Harry chuckled. "We're terribly mushy tonight, aren't we?"
Ginny laughed. "Oh, we definitely are!" She gave an exaggerated sniff. "But if what I smell is any indication, I think I could give up 'mushy' in order to eat. I'm starving!"
Harry laughed. "I think that could be arranged." He turned and offered her his arm. She smiled at him, and put her hand on his arm. "You have to close your eyes," he grinned.
She laughed. "Is this another opportunity to get me back?"
He chuckled. "I suppose it is at that." He carefully guided her to sit at the table, then repeated her actions from that morning. He slid his arms about her, than said softly, "Open your eyes."
Ginny's eyes opened wide in amazement as she took in the transformation of their kitchen. Harry had Transfigured the room so that they appeared to be part of an intimate café. Harry had added an extra-large drapery across part of the kitchen to block the view of the stove and cupboards. The drapes were a dark blue, trimmed with silvery-gray stars that actually twinkled at them. The table was spread with a matching blue cloth, and their dishes had been Transfigured to a pearly white, and edged with the same twinkling silver stars. The table was decorated with silver candlesticks and creamy white roses in a silvery vase.
Ginny's mouth dropped open as she continued to stare at the table. "Oh…! Harry, this is beautiful! You must have worked so hard!"
Harry could feel his face heat up at the compliment. "Well, I thought that if things looked nice, I'd be able to fool you into thinking that it tasted good too," he said, trying not to let her see how nervous he was about his culinary skills.
Ginny beamed at him. "I'm sure dinner will be fine, too. It looks delicious," she nodded toward the roast chicken, potatoes, rolls and vegetables that he'd painstakingly prepared and had spread out invitingly over the table.
"I have to be honest… your mum tutored me through a lot of this," Harry admitted, taking his seat across from her.
Ginny smiled. "That doesn't matter. I just can't believe you went to all this effort."
Harry found himself blushing again as they began to serve the food. "I just hope I didn't drive your mum to distraction with all my questions."
"I'm sure she was glad to help," Ginny remarked with a smile. Harry watched anxiously as Ginny took her first bite of chicken. Seeing his expression, she chuckled, trying to keep her mouth closed as she did. After she swallowed, she looked back at him. "Why are you looking at me that way?"
Harry squirmed a bit and nervously ran a hand through his hair. "I suppose it's just that — well, the last time I tried to do something 'special'… it didn't turn out very well, if you'll recall. I suppose I'm a bit nervous tonight."
Ginny reached across the table and clasped his hand. "Have you tasted any of this?" Harry shook his head. "You really should," she paused and smiled at him warmly, then whispered, "It's delicious."
Harry looked so relieved that Ginny had to laugh. "C'mon, dear. Eat some dinner. It's really tasty," she prompted. Harry smiled and began to eat. Ginny watched him carefully. "See? You did a brilliant job."
Harry couldn't help but grin at her. "I suppose it's not too bad."
Ginny shook her head. "It's perfect, dear," she paused, then said quietly, "and thank you for doing this."
Harry looked at her. "I'm glad you like it." She squeezed his hand once more, then released it in order to eat.
They spent the rest of their dinnertime chatting and enjoying being together, talking about all the things they hadn't had the chance to discuss recently. When they'd finally finished their meal, Harry Banished the dishes behind the drapery, then asked, "Would you like to eat dessert now, or wait a while?"
Ginny smiled mysteriously. "Let's wait a bit on dessert. There's something else I'd like to do first."
Harry looked puzzled. "All right…" he said slowly. "Do you want to tell me what it is?"
Ginny shook her head, her eyes sparkling mischievously. "Let me show you." She took his hand and led him into the living room. "Sit down and close your eyes again."
Harry sat on the sofa and closed his eyes. "Is this becoming a habit with you?" he asked.
She chuckled, but didn't answer. He could hear her moving around the room, then she said quietly, "Don't open them until I say you may."
"All right," he answered cautiously.
He was totally unprepared for what happened next.
He heard a strange sound… "Is that a —" he began, but Ginny laid her fingers against his lips to quiet him. The sound was growing closer. It sounded so much like – and then something bumped against his shoe. He jumped, startled, and Ginny giggled from behind him.
"Open your eyes," she said softly.
He did, and looked toward his foot. There, bumping repeatedly against his shoe, was a toy train engine. He chuckled in surprise and then glanced over his shoulder to where Ginny stood behind the sofa. "Do I want to ask?"
She smiled. "Read the note."
He looked at the train again, but couldn't see a note. He carefully picked up the toy and realized that it looked very much like the Hogwarts Express. He chuckled, then saw a small piece of parchment inside the cab of the engine. He carefully tugged it free, then read, "Follow me to find your surprise."
He looked up at Ginny questioningly, but she only gave him that mysterious smile once more. He wasn't quite sure what he was supposed to do, but reckoned that he couldn't very well follow the train when he was holding it. He set it down on the floor and it immediately began to roll toward the kitchen, puffing steam out of its smokestack as it went. Amused, Harry looked at Ginny, and she smiled and held out her hand to him. He took her hand and they followed the train into the kitchen to discover that it was now bumping against the back door.
Harry opened the door, and the train rolled through the doorway and out into the back garden. He looked at Ginny again, but she simply smiled at him and nodded in the direction of the old oak tree. He moved to follow the train, and as he drew nearer to the tree, he realized what it was he was seeing.
"Ginny!" he gasped, as realization dawned on him. "What – how – I – it's brilliant! How did you do this?"
Ginny smiled even more broadly and said, "Try it out, Harry."
Almost speechless with amazement, Harry carefully stepped forward and scooped up the train, then sat down carefully on the seat before him. Ginny settled in beside him and he wrapped his arms around her. "Ginny," he whispered, burying his face in her hair. "I can't believe you did this. It's wonderful." He looked up, trying to take in the whole vision of the wonderful swing that she'd given him. It was much like a Muggle porch swing, but set in its own frame so that it could stand alone. Ginny smiled at him and lifted her wand. Tiny lights appeared, twinkling gently around the frame of the swing. Even without asking, he could tell that it was also charmed, because it was obviously much warmer on the swing than it should have been for being outside on a February evening. "However did you think of this?" he murmured.
Her eyes glowed with love as she said softly, "It came to me. I remembered what you said about the park and the swings from when you were growing up, and I just thought that it would be nice for you to have a special swing of your own. This way, we can share it together, and with Hope as well."
"Oh, Gin… this is … I don't know what to say. Thank you," he whispered. He wrapped his arms more tightly about her and kissed her lovingly. After several moments, he pulled away slightly, but before he could speak, the train gave a distinct toooot of its horn, and Harry jumped in surprise, then laughed. "I didn't know it could do that," he chuckled, as he lifted it from where it sat next to him on the seat, and examined it more closely.
"Is this… it looks like…" he began, and Ginny giggled.
"It is. It's a replica of the Hogwarts Express. I suppose thinking about the swing made me think about how you didn't have toys of your own when you were growing up, either, and I saw this, and wanted you to have it. I know you won't really play with it now so much, but… well, the first time I ever saw you was when you were getting on the train, and I thought this could remind us both of the first time we saw each other."
Harry gently cupped her cheek with his hand, stroking his thumb over her cheekbone. "I can't believe you thought of all this," he whispered hoarsely, his throat tightening with emotion.
Ginny stared into his eyes, "I love you," she whispered, as if that explained everything.
Harry closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against hers. "I love you, too."
They sat in silence for quite a while, their arms wrapped around each other, swinging gently. After quite some time, Harry chuckled softly, and Ginny looked up at him questioningly. "I just realized," he began, smiling. "How did you keep me from seeing this before?"
She giggled, then gave him that mysterious smile again. "Some things don't have to have cloaks to be invisible."
He laughed, then said, "Oh, but sometimes, being invisible is so much fun. Like this morning for instance."
Ginny gave a small shriek of realization as she turned to stare at him. "You were there?" she gasped.
Harry burst out laughing. "Of course I was. I had to see your expression, didn't I?"
"I had already asked your mum to watch Hope this morning, but we'd planned for her to Apparate here as soon as you'd left for school. I hurried to get into the Hall before you got there, and I stayed against the wall so no one would bump into me. I had to see Dobby give you your Valentine."
Ginny collapsed in a fit of giggles against his chest. "I don't know whether to hit you or hug you for that Valentine."
Harry chuckled and wrapped his arms more snugly around her shoulders. "Well, that's not all of your Valentine, you know."
Ginny looked up, intrigued. "It's not? Harry, you've done so much – the house, and the dinner – it's all been delightful."
Harry smiled and shook his head. "I'm glad you liked those things, but perhaps we should wait awhile longer for the rest."
"We should? Why?"
Harry chuckled. "Because I'm still enjoying my Valentine."
Ginny laughed and smacked him lightly on the chest. "You're terrible. But I'm glad you're enjoying it." She snuggled against his shoulder again, then murmured, "And I'm enjoying it with you."
He squeezed her shoulders. "Are you ready for dessert now?"
Ginny straightened in the seat, then leaned forward and kissed him. "Only if you let me help now."
"You're not meant to help tonight," he murmured.
She kissed him again. "Please?"
"That's not —"
She silenced him again with a kiss. "Please?"
Another kiss. "I'll stop, if you don't let me help."
Harry chuckled. "All right, but only if I get another kiss."
She giggled. "I believe that can be arranged." And she did.
After several more minutes, Harry smiled at her again. "I believe I could sit here like this with you forever, but then you'd never get the rest of your surprise."
Ginny smiled impishly. "What a difficult decision!"
Harry forced himself to stand, and took her hand. "Let's just say that we'll continue later, shall we?"
Ginny chuckled, but nodded and followed him into the kitchen.
"Why don't we sit by the fire?" Harry suggested, as he served the pudding he'd made for dessert, and Ginny poured the tea.
"That sounds lovely," Ginny answered. They went into the living room and sat on the sofa to enjoy their dessert.
When they'd finished, Harry picked up his wand to banish the dishes, but Ginny stopped him. "You did the washing up this morning. I'll do it tonight." He started to protest, but she silenced him again with a kiss. "No arguments."
Harry chuckled. "Yes, dear," he teased, and Ginny smiled and sent the dishes into the kitchen.
Then she turned and snuggled against his shoulder. "What was it you said about 'continuing'?"
Harry squeezed her closer, then murmured. "I thought you wanted your surprise."
Ginny looked up at him, eyes twinkling. "I didn't want to ask."
Harry smiled. "Close your eyes." Ginny giggled, but obeyed. He quickly Summoned her gift from its hiding place. He deftly caught the gift, then laid it in Ginny's lap. "You may open now."
"My eyes or the gift?" she teased.
Ginny opened her eyes to find two beautifully wrapped presents in her lap. "Open the smaller one first," Harry instructed, indicating the smaller box that was on top of a larger one.
Ginny looked at him curiously, then opened the smaller gift. Inside a velvet box she found a delicate gold necklace, with an hourglass-shaped charm on it. "Oh, Harry, it's beautiful," she whispered as she removed it from the box, and he helped her to fasten it around her neck.
She lifted the charm to examine it more closely. "An hourglass?"
Harry nodded. "It represents time," he said softly. "Open the other one. It'll explain the necklace."
Ginny quickly unwrapped the other gift. Inside was a framed photo of the two of them from the day of Hope's christening — she could tell immediately from their clothing. In the photo, they had their arms around each other and Ginny's head was leaning against Harry's chest. One of Harry's hands was moving slowly, lovingly, up and down her back as he kissed the top of her head, and she closed her eyes and squeezed him. Ginny had no idea when the photo had been taken, but it seemed to have captured the very essence of them. "Oh, Harry, it's perfect," she said softly.
Harry smiled, then touched the top edge of the frame with his wand. "Watch," he murmured.
As she watched, Ginny saw words begin to scroll over the picture, flowing from the bottom of the frame toward the top. She watched in wonder as she read the words, then looked up at Harry, her eyes glimmering with unshed tears. "It's beautiful," she whispered.
"I-I tried to find something that would say what I meant, like the sonnet you gave me last year. I found it in a book of Muggle song lyrics, and it said what I wanted to tell you. This is what the hourglass means — it's like a time-turner, because — well —" Harry paused self-consciously, "I know I'll love you forever, Ginny," he finished, his own eyes overly bright.
"Oh Harry…" she murmured, wrapping her arms around him and kissing him deeply.
It was several minutes before she pulled back slightly. "Let's go upstairs," she whispered, her voice huskier than usual. Harry nodded wordlessly. They moved off of the sofa and Harry managed to remember to extinguish the candles with his wand. Ginny picked up the picture frame, and Harry looked at her quizzically. "It's going on the table by the bed, so I can see it as I go to sleep and when I wake up."
He smiled, took her hand, and led her upstairs to their room. Once there, she found that Harry's re-decorating had spread to their bedroom as well. The room was lit with candles and decorated with flowers, much as the living room below had been. "You really did think of everything, didn't you?" she murmured, turning to kiss him once more.
"I tried to," he answered before kissing her deeply. Ginny pulled away after a few moments, and carefully set the picture frame on the table by the bed.
Then she turned to Harry and whispered, "I love you."
Harry wrapped his arms around her and held her close. "I love you, too."
And as they loved each other to sleep, the frame by the bed continued to scroll the words Harry had found, that seemed to say it all…
AND STILL RUN OUT OF TIME*
The stars are slowly fading, This night is almost gone. Wish I could keep the day away And stay here in your arms. If I could turn the clock back, Maybe stop the moon, I'd steal another hour But what good would it do?
I could love you til forever, For another thousand lives, And still not find the way to show you Everything I feel inside. It's an endless deep devotion – With each new day I find — I could love you til forever And still run out of time.
It might just be a smile Some little thing you do. And all at once I start to see A whole new side of you. And, Girl, it's so amazing That anything could be this strong, Like a river of emotion That just goes on and on.
I could love you til forever, For another thousand lives, And still not find the way to show you Everything I feel inside. It's an endless deep devotion – With each new day I find – I could love you til forever And still run out of time. It's an endless deep devotion – With each new day I find – I could love you til forever… I'd love you til forever, Baby, And still run out of time. And still run out of time.
Song, "And Still Run Out of Time", by Steve Dorff, Billy Kirsch, and Bob Regan. This song can be "blamed" for this story, in many ways. I was only half-listening late one night and suddenly "heard" this song in connection to Harry and Ginny. From that came the idea of Harry's gift, and then I had to come up with the rest of the story. Now you know where I got the title. J (But the "fluff alerts" are entirely my fault.)