"Uh, Ginny, aren't you a bit under-dressed?" said Ron, trying to cover his sister.
"It's a bikini, Ron, and in this heat, it's the most practical form of dress. It's so hot, you could cook a Jarvey out here."
"But it's so - so tiny!"
"That's the idea, big brother -- the less I wear, the cooler I'll feel." She took a run toward the river that bordered the Burrow's property and dove in. "Ah, relief from the heat!" she exclaimed as she surfaced and pushed her mane of wet red hair from her eyes. "So, Harry, coming in?"
Harry (who had been daydreaming somewhat lasciviously ever since Ginny showed up in her new bikini) started at the mention of his name. "What?"
"I said, aren't you coming in? It's much nicer in the water," Ginny replied, her voice low and inviting.
"All right." Harry climbed to his feet, adjusted his swim trunks and jumped in, making a tremendous splash. He then dove under the surface and swam unerringly to where Ginny was treading water. Grasping one of her ankles, he pulled her under suddenly. When the two teens surfaced, Ginny immediately used her hand to splash water into Harry's face, making him sputter in surprise.
"Serves you right, Mr. Potter," she stuck out her tongue and splashed again. Harry retaliated in kind, and soon both teens were laughing merrily.
Ginny took a stroke in the water and moved closer, then wrapped her arms around Harry's neck to give him a kiss. Harry took her into his arms as he treaded the water, reveling in the feel of her cool flesh against his own.
"Sort of makes up for the time you had to spend at the Dursleys, doesn't it?" murmured Ginny as she broke the kiss. "Were they as horrible to you this time?"
"Actually, no, they weren't. They mostly treated me like I didn't exist since that was safer for them, what with the Order popping in unexpectedly to check on me."
"Ginny, Harry, best break it up -- Mum's on her way down here," called Ron from the bank of the river.
Harry reluctantly released Ginny from his embrace, and she gave him a swift peck on the cheek before arching her back and backstroking away.
Mrs. Weasley appeared a moment later carrying a tray of glasses filled with lemonade. "I thought something cool to drink would be good in this heat," she explained, handing Ron a glass. "Ginny, dear, are you wearing enough sun block?"
"I think so, Mum. I'll have Harry put some more on my back in a bit," replied the red-haired teen as she climbed from the river to take her lemonade. Sipping the cool liquid, she noticed the slight frown on her mother's face. "Mum, please don't start up again -- You'll just have to accept that Harry and I are growing closer."
"Not too close, I hope," sniffed Mrs. Weasley, suspicion dripping from every syllable.
"Mum, it's nothing like that. Don't you trust me?"
"Well, you do seem to take after the twins at times," commented her mother, "and that does give me some twinges of doubt."
"Mum, I'm right here to keep an eye on them," said Ron from where he sat in the shade of an old oak tree. "You know I won't let Harry get away with anything."
"I rather resent that implication, Ron. Harry has been nothing but a perfect gentleman with me," responded Ginny angrily.
"Yeah, and you suck face with him every chance you get," Ron grinned.
"Ronald Weasley, you are dangerously close to spitting slugs," huffed his little sister. "Besides, if Mum knew what you and Hermione get up to --"
"And just what do you mean by that, Ginevra Molly Weasley?" asked Mrs. Weasley, now eyeing Ron suspiciously.
"Just that Ron and Hermione have been found going at the, erm, snogging a bit hot and heavy on occasion, Mum," explained Ginny as Ron's ears turned a bright crimson.
Harry had climbed from the river in time to overhear the brother and sister begin arguing back and forth over which of them had done the most with their partner of choice, and took in Mrs. Weasley's shocked expression at the accusations. "They're both exaggerating, Mrs. Weasley," he tried to explain, only to have the Weasley matriarch begin frowning in earnest.
"That is enough!" yelled Mrs. Weasley at her two offspring. "To the house, both of you! Now! We are going to have words about this!" Both Ron and Ginny went silent, their eyes going round at their mother's implication. Even Harry winced at her shrill tone, and felt a chill run down his spine as she added, "You too, Harry. I am going to find out the truth, even if I have to brew up some Veritaserum!"
Harry, Ginny and Ron looked at each other forlornly, dreading what they knew was coming. 'Having words' with Mrs. Weasley was not a good omen for the rest of the summer holidays. All three could imagine de-gnoming and weeding the garden on a daily basis, with her eagle eye on them to prevent any of the possible pleasurable circumstances that their closeness could entail.
"See what you've done!" hissed Ginny at her brother.
"Me? What about you? Mum will never allow Hermione to come here now," growled Ron.
Harry winced again. This looked to be the start of a long, hot and very unpleasant summer...
"She can't mean that!" complained Ron. "A month before Hermione can come? It's bloody unfair, that's what it is."
"Well, you are the one who admitted to being allowed some liberties with Hermione's person," reminded Harry as he lay staring at the ceiling. "It's just lucky that Ginny and I haven't had a real opportunity to --" He caught himself before he could finish that random thought aloud.
"To what, Harry?" Ron had, unfortunately, caught the drift of the comment and was staring at his friend in a most unfriendly manner. "You're not saying that Ginny and you are planning something, are you?"
"Erm... No, we're not planning anything, Ron. It's just that -- well, we like each other a lot, and there have been some instances -- in the heat of the moment -- where we -- sort of, well -- sort of 'extended the boundaries' of our relationship..."
"Uh-huh..." Ron's tone was now rather cold. "I don't suppose you're going to tell me just how far those 'boundaries' have been extended, are you? No -- don't answer that... I really don't want to know, because I just might have to beat you to a bloody pulp if I don't like the answer. That is, if there's enough left of you when Bill, Charlie, and the twins get through with you."
"It's nothing like that, Ron. Just a bit of deep snogging, that's all," explained Harry, his face glowing red as a sunset. "We've never gone as far as some of the things you and Hermione have."
It was Ron's turn to flush deeply. "That's beside the point. Hermione and I have real feelings about each other."
"And you don't think I have real feelings for Ginny? Or her for me?"
"Well, yes -- no -- I don't know! It's just that -- that she's my little sister, Harry! I don't want to see her hurt!"
"Neither do I! Damn it, Ron, you're the one who suggested we get together in the first place!" Harry sat up on the side of the bed, frustration with his friend's shifting attitudes making him angry. "If you hadn't made that implication on the Hogwart's Express when we were coming home, she probably wouldn't even be looking at me -- she'd be writing letters to Dean Thomas!"
Ron's mouth sagged open. "She -- I -- You don't really mean she was serious?"
"Of course she was! Look, if you've got a real problem with it, just remember this -- Ginny and I are only going out together, and while we like each other a lot - I didn't sign up for a lifetime supply of your problems with your sister's choices. She's the one I've got to please -- not you." Harry stood up and headed out the door and down the stairs.
"Mrs. Weasley, can I have a moment of your time? There are some things I think you should know -- about Ginny and myself." Harry stood in the doorway of the kitchen as Mrs. Weasley peeled peaches for a pie.
"Oh? Really?" she replied, pausing in her cookery to look at him. "Well, all right -- sit down. We can talk while I'm working."
Harry sat down at the table in his accustomed place, and waited as Mrs. Weasley went back to work.
"So? What do you want to tell me, Harry?" she asked.
Harry took a deep breath and blew it out before beginning. "I like Ginny, Mrs. Weasley. I like her a lot."
"I'm sure she likes you too, Harry," smiled the Weasley matriarch.
"Well, yeah, I guess she does... It's just -- I think my feelings for her are stronger than just liking her."
"Go on." Mrs. Weasley looked over her shoulder at him.
"I -- I want to go out with her. Maybe take her to a Muggle movie, or out to dinner. Just the two of us."
"All right. So why are you telling me this?"
"Because I don't want you getting angry at me or Ginny. I thought if I asked permission..."
"You're asking the wrong person, Harry," said Mrs. Weasley.
"Oh... Should I talk to Mr. Weasley, then?"
"No, that won't be necessary, Harry." Mrs. Weasley seemed to be struggling with herself -- trying to control her temper, thought Harry, feeling suddenly like a mouse in a free-range cat shelter.
"No?" Harry's voice squeaked. Was she telling him he couldn't go out with Ginny? "Oh -- I see," he started to rise to leave the room, crestfallen at her response.
"You should be asking Ginny, not me or Arthur, Harry. She's the one who'll have to say yes or no." Molly was suddenly laughing at the expression on Harry's face. "Oh, Harry dear, I know that you have feelings for my daughter, and that she has feelings for you! But I trust you to always do the right thing, even more than her. Just promise me that you won't take too many liberties together. I'd rather one of the boys make me a grandmother first, not Ginny -- and only after they get married! So go on, ask the right person. Arthur and I won't object if she doesn't."
"T-Thank you, Mrs. Weasley," stammered Harry, suddenly a bit dizzy. He couldn't believe his ears -- Was this the same woman who had laid down the law to Ron, making sure he wouldn't see Hermione for another month because of a bit of heavy snogging?
"Just don't let me catch the two of you doing anything inappropriate. If that happens -- well, you should know that I got top marks on hexes and jinxes while at Hogwarts, and I've kept up my studies. I know some real doozies! I'd rather not have to get some more practical experience, if you catch my drift."