Harry Apparated back to Grimmauld Place after having been able to dodge and avoid the giant shopping crowd. He decided that it would be easier for him to plan the engagement in the quiet atmosphere of the Black's old home. As he walked into his bedroom and settled on his messy bed, he began to think of things Ginny loved. Many ideas came to his mind but none that could be use for a proposal. He became restless and slowly grabbed a snitch that lay on his nightstand. This snitch was one of Harry's more valuable items; to anyone else it wasn't any different that any other Snitch but Harry had a history with this one. This was the one that Dumbledore had left him in his will, this was the Snitch that Harry nearly swallowed during his first Quidditch match, and this was the Snitch that had held the Resurrection Stone that had allowed him to see his parents, Sirius, and Remus one more time. With that thought, Harry had an epiphany and, thinking of Ginny flying on her broom and playing Quidditch, he now had an idea but would need help.
"Kreacher!" A loud crack erupted in his room as Harry finished saying his name.
"Master?" replied Kreacher while giving Harry a low bow.
"Sorry to take you away from your holiday," said Harry remembering that he had given Kreacher Christmas break off.
"I'm always here to serve to Master Harry," Kreacher said in a way that reminded Harry of Dobby so very much.
"Kreacher, I need you to go to Hogwarts for me and do me a favor," Harry then began to explain to the elf how he was going to ask Ginny to marry him. "When you've done what I've asked, just put it in the box and bring it back here and leave it on my night stand," Harry finished while taking the ring from his pocket and handing it to Kreacher.
"I will be as swift as possible, Master Harry," commented Kreacher, then he set out to do what he had been told with another loud crack.
Harry felt as if a great amount of weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He knew Kreacher would accomplish the mission he had given him: the elf had helped during the battle against Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and he should be able to handle something as easy as this. Harry now only had one thing left on the list he had created in his mind, and that was to see Ginny. He waved his wand at the gifts he had purchased and watched rapping paper fly out of the closet and fold itself over them; after he waved his wand again a pen flew out of his desk and began to write names on a card that swiftly flew to each gift. When all the gifts had been wrapped and addressed, he through them in a bad and jogged down the stairs to grab his cloak and Apparate to the Burrow.
As Harry walked toward the door of the Burrow, he noticed how dead the place looked from the outside, but he knew that it was probably utter chaos on the other side of the door. He could already imagine George convincing Ron to try of his new items him and Lee made for the joke shop, which would probably end with Ron breaking out with something, changing colors, or getting extremely sick, Mr. Weasley probably talking to Hermione about some new Muggle item, Ginny hiding from her Mum, and Mrs. Weasley shouting orders at her kids trying to make the place look perfect for the party. She always took pride in making her guests feel welcome, like they were part of the family. That had been one thing that Harry had always loved about the Weasleys: No matter what kind of trouble he was in or how many mistakes he had made, they always had accepted him as part of their family.
Harry opened the door and walked in slowly, making sure to remove his shoes and cloak. As he crossed the sitting room, he could hear Christmas carols being sang over the wireless, as well as Hermione and Mrs. Weasley, both instructing Ron where to place the ornaments on the tree. Right before he entered the living room, he heard the wooden floor squeak behind him.
"Took your time, didn't you?" Ginny asked in a joking tone.
Harry turned slowly as if he had been caught sneaking around Hogwarts pass hours. "I hurried as fast as I could."
Ginny slowly folded her arms and took a standing position that was quite similar to the one Mrs. Weasley would do when she was very unhappy with someone.
"I honestly did hurry. Diagon Alley was just insane… I thought the Ministry was going to have to send law enforcements to make sure there weren't any riots," said Harry in a joking tone.
Ginny's face turned pink as if she wanted to say something that she couldn't hold anymore but instead words of anger a giant roar of laughter shot out. "You're too easy!" she said trying to catch her breath. "Did you honestly think I was mad."
"I dunno… You looked a lot like your mum whenever she found out Ron didn't clean his room," said Harry with a soft chuckle. "It was pretty convincing."
Still laughing, Ginny walked over to Harry and gave him a soft kiss on the lips that was followed by a slow hug. "I just like giving you a bad time. If I were you, I would have shown up an hour later after everything is ready for tomorrow; that way Mum couldn't find you any jobs."
"The thought crossed my mind," replied Harry. "But I missed you and had to deliver these." Harry finished while raising the bag filled with gifts.
Ginny just smiled and locked her arm with Harry's and walked him slowly into the sitting room. "Look who I found trying to sneak in."
"Sorry it took so long, shopping was a little more difficult than I thought it would be," stated Harry while handing the wrapped gifts to Mrs. Weasley.
"So do you have a good excuse why you didn't make any purchases at the best gift shop in all of the land?" replied George taking a seat near the Christmas tree. "Honestly Harry, all you're going to do is disappoint everyone if none of these gifts is from the shop."
"I doubt that," replied Mrs. Weasley reappearing into the room with a plate of cookies and a floating cup of milk following her. "Unless people wanted to spend their Christmas at St. Mungo's."
"Precisely… It's not the holidays without any of those experiences," chuckled George.
"I meant to step in for a bit but I didn't feel like fighting through the crowd," said Harry while taking the floating glass of milk and a couple of cookies from the plate that Mrs. Weasley placed on the table.
"I must admit the store is quite busy around the holidays. Lee and I had to hire three new helping hands just to keep everyone under control," replied George.
"So Harry, how's the Auror program been treating you?" asked Hermione pointing Ron to another place to hang an ornament on the tree.
"It's been alright," answered Harry. "I'll be relieved when we take our finals after the holiday though."
"Have you been preparing?" asked Hermione in a concerned voice.
"Yeah, a little," replied Harry thinking of how unprepared he was.
"It doesn't matter, Hermione. Kingsley would be mad to fail Harry," snorted Ron. "I could already see the headlines… Ministry fails The Boy-Who-Lived, that would make them look good." Hermione just looked at the back of Ron's head as if she wanted to send a small flock of birds at him like she had done their sixth year in Hogwarts.
"I'm really not too worried about it, Hermione. Ron and I are practically the only ones with real field experience. We should do fine," answered Harry honestly. "Most of the Aurors-in-training only real experience is the few simulations that we have done in class."
"There will be plenty of time to worry about that later; for now let's just enjoy the evening," Mr. Weasley said while sitting up and taking his wife's hand, asking her to dance to the slow Christmas song playing on the wireless.
The rest of the evening went by quite smoothly after they had finished preparing for the party, for most of the night they sat back and listened to Mr. and Mrs. Wesley talk about their first Christmas as a married couple and what a disaster it had been. After the story had finished, Harry caught Ginny sitting on the other side of the room next to George nodding her head to the kitchen. Harry slowly stood up, making up an excuse that he had to use the bathroom. A moment after he had exited, Ginny followed him into the kitchen holding a gift.
"Sorry about that," stated Ginny
"About what?" asked Harry.
"Mum's and Dad's story, they kind of get carried away once they start," she answered.
"Oh, don't be. I love your parents' stories. They're brilliant,"
"Well I know they think so," laughed Ginny. "Anyway, I wanted to give you your gift a bit early."
"Ginny, I don't mind waiting till tomorrow."
"I know you don't, but I wanted you to myself when you opened it and with all of the people that Mum has invited for tomorrow, I think it will be pretty hard for us to single off." With Ginny's words, Harry realized that he had another major flaw in his plan for Christmas night: How would he get her alone long enough to ask her the most important question of his life?
Harry put this thought away for the meantime and took the gift from Ginny and started to unwrap the paper carefully. After he had taken the paper off he noticed that it was a book that looked quite similar to the photo album that Hagrid had given him during his first year at Hogwarts, but instead of a picture of his Mum and Dad on the front it had a picture that had been taken at Harry's birthday party the day before Bill and Fleur's wedding. On the small photograph you could see him, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred, George, Bill and Fleur, Charlie, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Tonks and Remus, and finally Hagrid, all standing behind the giant snitch cake that Mrs. Weasley had made for him. Harry then slowly turned through the pages, realizing that it held pictures of him and everyone he had met and cared for at Hogwarts. As he gazed through he saw Neville, Luna, Collin, Oliver Wood and the rest of the Quidditch team he played with his first year, some of the professors, and many more people he had been close with. Harry could feel his eyes sting from the burning tears that were building: This had been one of the nicest gifts he had ever received. He wanted to tell Ginny how much it meant to him, that he couldn't have asked for a better gift, he wanted to tell her that he loved her but he was lost for words.
" Err… if you don't like it I could alwa-" Ginny started to say in a panicked voice noticing Harry had not said anything but he interrupted her.
"I love it," said Harry stopping at a photograph that had been taken of him, Cedric Diggory and Dumbledore his fourth year for the Tri-Wizard tournament. "How did you get all of these?" he said, realizing that it must have taken months to find all of these photos.
"Well I had to track down most; I got quite a few from Colin's dad, and all of the other ones I had help with from Ron and Hermione." With these words, Harry put the book down on the kitchen table and wrapped his arms around Ginny, the girl that meant more than the world to him, the girl he couldn't hug, kiss, or be with for so long but now nothing was in their way.
"It's the best gift I've ever gotten," whispered Harry.
"I'm glad you like it," replied Ginny while pulling away far enough to find his lips.
"Oi! I don't see any mistletoe above you two," interrupted George while walking into the kitchen.
"Bugger off," replied Ginny while letting go of Harry.
"It's okay, I better be getting home anyway; I need to check up on something," said Harry while grabbing the book and his cloak. "Tell everyone bye for me will you? I'll see you tomorrow at the party."
"Don't forget to wear your dress robes, I was suppose to remind you and Ron for Mum," said Ginny while giving Harry another short hug. "Don't make me wait all day to see you tomorrow like you did today, okay?"
"I promise I'll be here on time. Night Ginny." Harry then walked out of the door and with a crack had vanished.
As Harry walked back into Grimauld Place and hung his cloak up, he knew it was the moment of truth.
"Master?" answered Kreacher walking from the kitchen.
"Were you able to do what I asked?" asked Harry.
"Yes, Master Harry. Kreacher went to Hogwarts and talked with Professor McGonagall," answered Kreacher while taking the low bow that Harry had asked him to stop doing repeatedly.
"Great, you did wonderfully, Kreacher!"
"Does this mean that Kreacher will have a new Mistress in the house of Black to serve?" asked the elf. But as Kreacher said that, Harry remembered that Ginny had never liked Sirius's old house. It had a feeling of sorrow and pain to it that always reminded her of all the dark times they had gone through. Harry knew that if Ginny was to say yes then she would not want to live here because it wouldn't feel like home. Harry also knew that Ron wouldn't live here without him either: Ron had been hesitant to move in to begin with after they all had finished their seventh year at Hogwarts. The house would be deserted and probably forgotten, but then it dawned on Harry what he could give Kreacher for Christmas.
"Actually, Kreacher, if everything goes well I don't think we'll move into this place," stated Harry. As he said this, he thought he could see a bit of sadness in Kreacher's face.
"Will you sell my old Mistress's home?" asked the elf in a shaky voice.
"Never, Kreacher. Actually, I had a different idea. If Ginny and I get married I will need to leave this place to someone who cares for it, someone who would treat it like their own," with these words Kreacher face started to show more emotion that was similar to the face he had made when he repeated the memories of Sirius's brother. "I'd like you to have this place."
Kreacher's face erupted with surprise after Harry had finished. "Master doesn't know what he's saying?" he stated in shock.
"I'm serious, Kreacher. I can't think of anyone else who would care for this place more than you. I think it's what the Blacks would have wanted. It's yours, Kreacher, if you want it, but you'll have to wait till Ginny and I get our own place and Ron moves out."
"Master Harry is too generous… Master Harry… is a great Wizard." With these words, Harry was reminded of how Dobby use to speak to him. He knew that any contention that had been between him and Kreacher in the past was now gone forever.
"Kreacher, if you'd like I could also give you your freedom with your old masters' home."
"Never!" shouted the elf while tears of happiness dripped from his face. "Kreacher used to serve the proud family of Black, but now it will be an honor for Kreacher to serve the great family of Potter."
"Well if you should ever change your mind, just ask and your freedom is yours. Happy Christmas, Kreacher," said Harry while he walked up the stairs.
"Happy Christmas, Master Harry," bellowed Kreacher, his tears running thicker than before.
When Harry reached his bedroom, he noticed that a box had been put on his nightstand, as he had asked Kreacher. He changed into his pajamas and sat on the side of the bed while he picked up the box and opened it. Inside of it laid a small, golden ball, with wings that were folded down like a bird: The first Snitch that Ginny had caught when she replaced Harry as Seeker when Snape had put him in detention. The small ball also had the little engraving on it that Harry had asked for; it read Love knows no locks. He closed the box, crawled into bed and thought of Ginny till the night took him over.
Harry awoke to a hard knock on his bedroom door. "I'm coming in," bellowed Ron while opening the door. "So did you get it down to the dot?"
"I think so," answered Harry while handing the box to Ron.
"Well I must admit this is original but I think I would have stuck with the traditional ring you know?"
"No, you git, the ring is inside the Snitch," Harry said while letting out a soft chuckle. "It's the Snitch she caught when she played for me sixth year. I got the idea from when Dumbledore left me the stone in the first one I caught," he added while sitting up on his bed.
"Nice. She'll be surprised when you hand her the box. She'll think for sure it's a ring but as soon as she sees that Snitch she'll probably hex you from being so disappointed," laughed Ron while handing the box back to him.
"You think she'll say yes?" asked Harry nervously. "We had never really discussed marriage before."
"I don't think you need to worry about it, mate," said Ron taking a seat on Harry's bed while putting his hand on his friend's shoulder. "Everyone notices how she gets this glow as soon as she sees you and honestly, I don't think she's ever really thought there could be anyone else but you."
"Thanks Ron," replied Harry feeling some of the anxiety leave him.
"Anyway, I came in here for other reasons than this. I thought I'd give you this in private," said Ron while handing Harry a small book. "Didn't think Mum or Dad would appreciate it." Harry looked at the book and read the title 12 Things that a Married Wizard Should Know. "It's written by the same blokes who wrote the one Fred and George gave me; should come in handy."
"Does Hermione know you got this for me?" asked Harry with a smile.
"Hell, no. She would have cursed me into next week. But I did tell her that you were going to ask Ginny to marry you after you left last night."
"She cried, didn't she?"
"Yep, like Moaning Myrtle. She could barely get a word out she was taking so much air in between sobs. It was a good thing George left right after you did or I think he would have guessed why she was crying," said Ron while standing up from Harry's bed. "But we have a while before the party starts so I thought I might take the Floo to Bill and Fleur's and give baby Victoire her gift."
"Yeah, I need to start getting ready too. I told Mrs. Tonks that I'd stop in to see Teddy before the party. So I guess I'll see you at the Burrow."
"Guess so, and don't worry about tonight it will go great," said Ron while walking out of Harry's room. "And don't forget to wear your dress robes or Mum will kill both of us."
Harry then cleaned up and dressed in the new dark green dress robes that he had bought to wear at the many ceremonies and balls that had been held after Voldemort's defeat. He then grabbed Teddy's and Mrs. Tonks gifts and started to walk down the stairs.
"Does Master Harry want any breakfast?" asked Kreacher as he stepped from the last stair.
"No, Kreacher. Kind of a hurry this morning. Besides, I gave you the holidays off," said Harry.
"Kreacher wanted to make sure Master Harry was ready for his big night," said Kreacher while walking Harry to the door.
"Well I think I pretty know what I've got to do, so yeah I think I'm ready," answered Harry.
"Then here is Master's Christmas gift," said Kreacher as he handed Harry a small vial that had some bright yellow light inside of it. "It's a Holiday Star. Master Harry should let it free as soon as Master's Lady says yes."
"Thank you, Kreacher." Harry then headed to Mrs. Tonks.
Harry knocked on the door of the small cottage gently in case Teddy was sleeping.
"Do come in Harry," said the soft voice of Mrs. Tonks.
"Happy Christmas!" said Harry as he walked in to give her a small hug. "How've you been?"
"Oh, quite fine," said Mrs. Tonks while urging Harry to take a seat. "I've just been trying to clean up the small mess Teddy made over there," she said while pointing at a bunch of boxes and wrapping paper. "It seems he was more entertained by the boxes and paper than the actual gifts." Harry just laughed as she said this.
"Where is my Godson?" asked Harry while handing Mrs. Tonks the two gifts he had gotten her and Teddy.
"He passed out with exhaustion from playing," she said laughing gently. "He reminds me so much of his mother, every Christmas we would have to wake up before the break of dawn so she could see what she got and would only make it half way through the day before the early morning caught up with her."
Harry just laughed some more. "Well, just so you're warned I got him a small broom with anti-collision charms on it," said Harry pointing at the bigger of the gifts. "So he should be pretty safe on it."
"Oh, he'll love that," she said while putting both gifts under the tree with the rest of the unwrapped presents. "So you're going to the Weasleys' party tonight?"
"Could tell by the robes, huh?" asked Harry with a small smile.
"Well, you've never dressed so handsomely for Teddy or myself, so I just figured," said Mrs. Tonks, letting out a small chuckle. "Teddy isn't looking forward to putting on his new little dress robes for tonight so I'm not sure if we'll be able to make it. Could you tell everyone Happy Christmas for us just in case?"
"Oh, no problem. I hope you can come. I'd really like to see Teddy and I know Mrs. Weasley really wants you to meet her new granddaughter."
"Oh, I know. She has been telling me so much about her. I've been wanting to set up a play date for Teddy and Victoire but I haven't had much time," said Mrs. Tonks while flicking her wand at the small pile of boxes and wrapping paper, making it disappear from the room. "But anyway, how's the training going? If I remember right, Nymphadora finished with the training program around this time of the year."
"It's been going well. I'm just ready to finish; it will be a relief when I no longer have homework," said Harry jokingly. "I am a bit nervous for the final exams though."
"Well, don't be. Nymphadora said that the written part was cake. It was the field part that shook her up. Her hair was grey for two weeks after she took it."
"I've heard stories about the field training part of the exam. Nothing with details but you can tell by the older Aurors' faces that it must be quite tough," said Harry thinking of Kinsley's pale face while explaining the second part of their final exam.
"Well I'm sure you'll do great, Harry.You have more backbone than most of the Aurors working for the Ministry," finished Mrs. Tonks.
"I guess we'll see, won't we?" replied Harry.
Harry spent the next two hours talking with Mrs. Tonks just about the simple and small things that had been going on at the Ministry. When the clock hit five, he bade his farewell and left to the Burrow.
The sun was slowly setting behind the mountains and cast a small shadow over the Burrow. Harry knew that he had to prepare for tonight before he was seen by any of the Weasleys. He pulled his wand out of his green dress robes and began to clear a path toward a small hill that gave anyone that stood on it a breathtaking view of the valley. Once he had reached the top of the hill and placed the strongest warming charm he knew, he began to wonder what the future held for him. When he was younger, he used to think that every moment and every action led him to that final moment when he had had to face Voldemort for the last time, but now he realized that it wasn't true. Every moment and every action lead him here, to the moment that he would ask the woman he loved to marry him.
As Harry continued to think of what life had in store for him he kept on preparing for the night. He transfigured two boulders into a small loveseat that he and Ginny could both fit on and a blanket large enough to cover both of them in case his warming charm weakened. He was excited and frightened at the same time, and it was now that he understood what Dumbledore meant when he told him that love could be the most happy or the most terrible thing in the world: If Ginny said yes, he knew that his happiness would be beyond words but if she said no… Harry wondered how he'd carry on. It was moments like these that he wished his parents, Remus, or Sirius were still alive. Harry still thought of them constantly; the night he saw their faces when he was going to sacrifice himself to Voldemort was branded in his mind. No one but Ron and Hermione knew that he saw his family and friends that night, it was personal to Harry and he didn't want anyone to go looking for the stone. He wished he had the stone now so he could ask for their strength to help him, but he knew deep down that they were standing with him on that hill and he knew that they would want him to take the risk.
Realizing that he had spent more time on the hill than he would have liked, Harry hurried to the Burrow to avoid upsetting Ginny and jeopardizing his chances. He opened the back door quietly, trying not to alert anyone he was there as he hoped to be able talk to Mrs. Weasley before being noticed. Luckily for him, he had guessed right that Mrs. Weasley would be in the kitchen preparing dinner.
"Hi Mrs. Weasley," said Harry softly, trying not to scare her.
"Harry!" she said, embracing him in a solid hug. "I didn't know you had arrived yet."
"Well, I was trying to stay low so I could talk to you in private for a moment," stated Harry in whisper.
Mrs. Weasley must have known that it had something to do with asking Ginny to marry him because she nodded her head and cast a silencing charm around the kitchen so that no one would be able to overhear them from the front room. "What is it that you wanted to discuss with me?"
"Well it's about tonight. I'm going to take Ginny outside on the hill behind the Burrow to propose and I was wondering if you could make sure that no one follows us up there," said Harry thinking of George.
"Of course dear. Did you get the ring?"
"Yeah I did," replied Harry while pulling out the white box from inside of his robes. "I wish I could show you but you'll have to wait."
"Oh it's fine, Harry. I'm sure it's lovely," said Mrs. Weasley with a small sniffle.
"Er.. Are you okay?" asked Harry, noticing the small tears building inside of her eyes.
Mrs. Weasley then grabbed him in another bone crushing hug. "Harry, I've never been happier," she whispered in his ear. "Is there anything else you need?"
"No," said Harry, returning the hug back with the same amount of strength. "You've done enough."
"Well, you better get in there: They all might start worrying about you if you wait any longer," she said, pushing Harry towards the front room.
As Harry entered the room, he saw George and Lee chatting up with two very cute witches that he guessed to be their new hired hands. Bill and Fleur, both wearing light gold dress robes, were playing with their child. He also saw Ron in his dark blue dress robes, playing chess with Charlie in the corner of the room, while Mr. Weasley and Hermione were in what looked like a deep conversation, probably either about Muggle items or problems at the Ministry. To his left, Luna and Neville were discussing something with a very large man that Harry could never mistake as anyone but Hagrid. He felt a warm sensation turn in his stomach: The last time he had been surrounded by so many of his friends was a year ago, and he cherished moments like these. However, he did not see the person he had been looking for and quickly did another scan till he heard a gentle voice clearing her throat.
He turned slowly to the stairs and lifted his head to see Ginny. She was wearing a white dress that went to her knees and showed all of her lovely curves. A light yellow jacket was covering her shoulders and arms, and her hair was curled and placed perfectly so that you could see her beautiful face. Ginny always looked beautiful even when she hardly wore any make up, but tonight she was breathtaking: Her skin seemed tanner, her eyes brighter, and her lips shined with red lipstick that made him want to kiss her very badly.
"You look amazing," said Harry, staring in her eyes. She turned a light shade of pink when Harry said these words; he loved it that he still had that effect on her after all these years.
Ginny slowly walked down the stairs but stopped on the last one so she was nearly the same height as Harry. "You look pretty amazing too," she replied, placing her hands on Harry's shoulders and pulling him in for a kiss. When their lips met, he wrapped his arms around her waist while shivers of joy ran up his back. It wasn't a long kiss but it was filled with happiness.
"Want to take a quick walk before dinner?" he asked, nodding his head toward the door.
"I'd like that," replied Ginny while grabbing his hand.
They walked out the door unnoticed by everyone but Mrs. Weasley, who still had the shimmering tears in her eyes. They went silently up the path Harry had made, both looking at the sky, watching the stars appear in the night.
"How's the testing going?" asked Harry, knowing that Ginny had been testing out some new brooms for Nimbus while she sat on the reserve team for the Harpies.
"Oh, it's going well; they still need to work on the braking a bit but I think eventually our broom will outperform any other," stated Ginny as they reached the top of the hill. "Looks like you've been busy," she said while pointing at the small couch and the blanket.
"Well, we never get any time alone these days so I thought it would be nice to have you to myself for at least a moment," stated Harry while he and Ginny both sat on the chair and covered themselves with the blanket. "I think this is one of my favorite spots here," he added, lifting his arm and placing it around her so she could rest her head against him.
"We'll it certainly does have a wonderful view," replied Ginny while rubbing her hand up and down Harry's chest.
Feeling some of his courage fleeing, Harry decided that if he didn't do this now he might not get the chance. "When I was up here earlier, I was thinking of the past," he said, looking down into Ginny's wonderful brown eyes. "When I was younger, I never knew what real happiness was. The Dursleys never treated me as if I was part of their family and I never really had friends either. I can't remember ever feeling so alone."
"They didn't deserve you, Harry," replied Ginny while grabbing his hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze.
He smiled at her and continued. "Then one day something remarkable happened and I met you lot," he said, swallowing the lump in his throat. "You all treated me like I belonged, as if I had always been part of the family; you made me feel wanted. I wasn't The Boy-Who-Lived to you guys, I was just me."
Harry could feel warm tears roll down his face and land on the hand that was holding Ginny's. She slowly raised her other hand and wiped the tears away. "You always belonged with us, Harry. It just took a while for you to find your way home," she replied, now wiping always her own tears.
"Then I learned about that prophecy… neither can live while the other survives. It made me feel like it was my only purpose in life, that the sole purpose of being here was to rid the world of Tom Riddle." Ginny remained silent as Harry finished the last sentence; he knew that this was one of her ways to encourage him to continue rather than push him for more information. "I felt more like a tool than a person those few months at the Dursley's after Dumbledore told me that," Harry continued. "And then I started to fall for you. It was the greatest yet the worst thing that happened to me at the time, because I had never been so happy in my life, but the thought of dying and losing you made it so much harder to continue on to what I knew had to be done. Then my worst fear came true, I learned I had to die. I had to leave my friends, my family, and you."
"You must have been so scared," replied Ginny while Harry collected himself.
"I was, but when I had finally reached Voldemort in the forest and knew that I was moments from death there was only one thing on my mind…" Harry stopped to give her time to answer.
"What was it?" asked Ginny, feeling his hesitation.
He slowly brushed a small strand of hair that fell in her face behind her ear and gave her a small kiss. "You," he said in a strong voice. "You're also the reason I came back."
Small tears fell from both Harry and Ginny's face while they stared at each other. Harry then sat up, pulling his arm from Ginny so he could grab the small white box from his jacket. He then pulled it out and handed it to Ginny. Her face lit up and she rushed her hand to cover her mouth. Harry now thought of what Ron said and hid a small grin the best he could.
"Harry, what is this?" she asked slowly while holding the box.
"Well you'll have to open it to find out," he stated with a smile on his face.
She then slowly opened the box and pulled the small fluttering, golden ball out. Once she realized it was a Snitch, her shoulders fell slightly, as if she had been expecting something else. "It's the Snitch you caught when I couldn't play Seeker in sixth year. I thought it was something you might always want to remind you of our first night together," said Harry while rubbing her arms. Ginny smiled and leaned over and kissed Harry on the lips. "I love you, Ginny."
"I love you too, Harry." As she said those words a small light released itself from the Snitch and it opened up. Caught by surprise, she looked at it and slowly pulled out the ring contained within. Harry then took it from her hand and went down on one knee, holding her left hand.
"Ginny, life has kept plenty of secrets from me, more secrets than I've liked, but I thank God everyday it didn't keep you a secret from me. I know I was a prat our first years in Hogwarts and barely noticed you. But, Ginny, now you're the only woman I will ever notice till I die. I know now that every moment, every decision, every thing I have ever done didn't lead me to defeat a Dark wizard… it led me here, to be with you. If you let me, Ginny, I'll spend the rest of my life holding your hand, kissing your lips, and loving you with all my heart..." Harry hesitated, knowing that there was no going back now. "Will you marry me?"
With these last words Harry's insides exploded. He looked into Ginny's eyes and saw that she still had small tears dripping down her cheeks, but these weren't the same she had shed at Fred's funeral; these were different: Each drop shined like the few stars that lay in the sky.
"Yes!" shouted Ginny, wiping her eyes again.
"Yes?" replied Harry, almost surprised.
"Of course yes!" said Ginny with a huge smile. "I love you Harry!"
"I love you too," replied Harry before kissing her. When they finally stopped, Ginny had a huge smile on her face, as if she knew something that Harry didn't.
"Harry, if it's okay with you, I'd like to wear my ring," she stated with a short giggle, having noticed that Harry had totally forgotten that he still was holding it.
"Sorry," he replied quickly. "I was kind of nervous." He then took the ring and slid it on her left ring finger. Immediately, the phoenix tear erupted into colors of sky-blue with a hint of a light yellow in the center. Ginny's face was taken over by awe and surprise at the change.
"It's a phoenix a tear. It changes into a different color for anyone who wears it," said Harry at her surprised expression.
"It's beautiful," she replied with a sniff. She then stood up and helped him to is own feet. "I feel something else though, something wonderful inside me."
"It's the phoenix song. Only people who are truly in love can feel it," replied Harry, putting his hands around her waist. She then put her arms around his shoulders, pulling him closer, And they slowly danced under the stars, both letting tears of happiness drip from their face.
After dancing for a while, Harry remembered Kreacher's gift. He freed one of his hands, pulled out the small shining vial out of his pocket and pulled its cork. Hundreds of small lights flew from the vessel surrounded them, as if they were dancing in the night sky, amidst small shining stars. Ginny let out a soft sigh as she looked at her surroundings and leaned her head onto Harry's chest.
"Harry?" she said while continuing their slow dance.
"This is perfect," she added in a soft whisper.
"I couldn't think of a better word," he replied while resting his chin on the top of her head.
As the stars started to dim, Harry realized that his warming charm had faded as well and that they should have been back for dinner probably ages ago.
"We should get back, everyone is probably waiting for us," he said.
Ginny slowly pulled away from him but found his hands. "Yeah, we probably should," she replied with a huge smile on her face.
They slowly walked back down to the lights of the Burrow, hand and hand, both lost in their love for each other. Once they reentered the house, they noticed everyone sitting at the table, engaged in discussions with their neighbors.
"Oi! It's about time," stated Ron. "Mum wouldn't let us eat until you got back."
Harry just smiled at him and glanced at everyone sitting at the table till he caught Mrs. Weasley's eyes, still shining with sparkles of what looked like the building of small tears.
"What were you doing out there anyway? I thought Lee and I were going to have to send out a search party to find you," said George with a small smile on his face. With these words a giant smile took Harry's face over and he caught Ginny looking at him as if she was asking for permission to tell them all what had just happened. He simply nodded his head and looked at the ground.
Ginny slowly raised her left hand and showed the ring to her family. "Harry and I are getting married!"
The table erupted in a roar of chatter. People were yelling their congratulations and asking questions right and left. They all fell silent after Ron interrupted them. "Can't we eat and talk?" Harry let out a small laugh and he and Ginny took a seat at the table. Mrs. Weasley then pointed her wand at the kitchen and plates of food flew and landed softly in front of everyone.
Before anyone could resume their congratulations and questions, Mr. Weasley stood up, tapping his spoon on his glass filled with elf wine. "A toast! To Harry and Ginny!"
Everyone then lifted their glasses and said together, "To Harry and Ginny."
The rest of the night went by in a blur. The women all let awes out as Ginny told her story and the guys would just look at Harry and smile. She then passed her ring around the table so that everyone could see what color the stone would take for them, while Harry told them its story and how it came from Dumbledore's phoenix.
After dinner, they all went into the sitting room and danced to Christmas carols that were playing on the wireless. Slowly, the night went on and people started to leave for home till the only ones left dancing were Harry and Ginny.
"I think I could do this forever," said Ginny, swaying with Harry to the soft music.
"We can if you want," he answered, brushing his hand on the soft fabric of her dress. "Although I think I should be getting back to Grimmauld Place pretty quick: Someone has to keep an eye on Ron and Hermione."
Ginny giggled and pulled away from him. "Will you walk me to my room before you leave?" she asked while looking up into his eyes.
"Of course," he said, allowing his fiancée to pull him toward the stairs that led to her room.
Once they reached her door, Ginny turned to face Harry. "This has been the best night of my life."
"Mine too," replied Harry.
"I can't believe this is all happening. I've dreamt of this day since I was a little girl."
Remembering what Ron had said about how girls planned their engagement since they learned what a wedding was, Harry felt a balm of anxiety take him over and hoped he had not duffed it up too bad. "Is it close to how you imagined it?" he asked.
"No," said Ginny with a smile on her face. "It's better than what I thought it would be." And with these last words she pulled Harry into a fierce kiss. They soon broke apart after they heard movement in Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's room. "I think Mum is trying to spy on us," said Ginny, making Harry laugh.
"I should go anyway," he said Harry, giving her a hug. "Happy Christmas, Ginny."
"Happy Christmas, Harry."
With those last words , Harry gave her one more kiss and walked out of the Burrow and home.
Ginny didn't think that her heart would ever slow down while she pulled her covers over her. He had finally asked her! It hadn't seemed that this moment would ever come and now that it had, she could hardly believe it wasn't a dream. She held her left hand up in the moonlight so she could see the ring that he had slid on her finger. It was a remarkable stone and the story of where it came from only made it so much more special. She couldn't help but giggle while thinking of how nervous he had acted when he had asked her to marry him.
I can't believe he actually thought I'd say no she said in her head, replaying his face when she said yes. She had known that, when Harry worked up the courage or thought it was the right time, she'd say yes when he asked; she had just hoped it wouldn't take too long, but the wait had been worth it. He hadn't only outdone himself with the proposal but also her own dreams of how that engagement would play out. It had been perfect, everything about it had been much more than she expected. Although it nearly killed her when he told her everything that had happen the night he defeated Voldemort; every time she thought of the part when he walked out to meet his nemesis and saw her without saying a word broke her heart. The noble git… she knew why he didn't reveal himself, she knew that he wouldn't have been able to say goodbye and she knew that she probably wouldn't have let him go.
None of that mattered now though. It had been more than two years ago, but she often thought of everything she lost and gained that night. Her thoughts never strayed too far from losing Fred but she always found herself reliving the moment that she and Harry had finally been able to be together again.
The Great Hall had been filled with emotions of joy, gratitude, excitement, and sorrow. She could still remember comforting her mum, standing above Fred's body when the crowd erupted because Ron, Hermione, and Harry reappeared from whereever they had gone to. Harry had been swarmed by the crowd; so many people had wanted to be near him, near the young boy that had been The-Boy-Who-Lived, near the young man that had been The Chose One, and was now The-Man-That-Triumphed, but Harry hardly noticed those people. He was searching the crowd for someone else. She still remembered how she felt when his deep green eyes finally found her.
He looked tired and exhausted, but his eyes gleamed full of life. She looked at her mum who had noticed Harry as well. She remembered how she turned her face to look down at her with a small smile and said, "Go to him," and without hesitation Ginny took off in as much of a jog as she could manage through the mass of people. Both Harry and her fought the crowd as they drew closer and closer to each other until they finally met. The emotion that showed on his face was full of determination and love. As his shimmering green eyes stared into her own hazel eyes, she felt that he was searching her soul and filling it with love. They didn't speak for a few moments, only staring at each other and speaking through their eyes.
"You haven't given up on me yet, have you?" Harry asked still looking into her eyes.
"Never," she replied while Harry wrapped his arms around her waist. She quickly draped her arms over his shoulder and placed her hands on the back of his head, loosing them in his untamed black hair. He then parted his lips slowly and closed the gap between them.
Ginny was lost in this feeling; she could feel her knees weaken as tears filled with love escaped the corner of her eyes. They parted slowly, resting their foreheads against each other. Harry never opened his eyes as if he was scared that once he did that this moment would escape him and never be found again. Ginny slowly moved her hands from the back of his head and pulled them slowly to his cheeks. Harry opened his eyes and wiped the few tears from her face and said "I love you, Ginevra Molly Weasley."
A few more tears escaped her eyes, that he once again wiped away gently. "I love you too, Harry James Potter," she said while pulling him in for another kiss. The hall exploded with applause and catcalls as they kissed. Ginny finally pulled away and said to him, "Never leave me again… from now on, no matter what, it's you and me to the end." She expected his face to fill with disapproval, fueled by his desire to protect her from everything and anything, but was surprised to see understanding and pride instead.
"My thoughts exactly," he replied while she rested her head against his chest and he placed his chin on top of her head. She knew he meant what he had said and felt that nothing would come between them again. They were in love.
Ginny rolled over on her side and let sleep take her over as she started to slip from the memory that she would never let escape her.
A/N Another big thanks to the readers and of course to my wonderful BETA! I hope you enjoyed this chapter.