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Coastlines

Coastlines

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Published by A'Lee'Ray
Harry Potter Fanfiction. I don't own. It's all from harrypotterfanfiction.com. So Enjoy!!!
Harry Potter Fanfiction. I don't own. It's all from harrypotterfanfiction.com. So Enjoy!!!

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Published by: A'Lee'Ray on Jul 28, 2009
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Maybe it was a better idea to go to the Great Hall with the others before he totally sank into depression

. But then again, Harry didn’t think he would be able to stand the accusation. Were they upset at him? Probably, he reasoned. Probably don’t want to even see me anymore. After all, it was his fault that so many people died, right? He should’ve finished Voldemort off faster. He should’ve been quicker. Tonks, Lupin, Fred. Dead, and will never be seen again. They were his friends. And he, Harry, had let them die. He was no hero, no saviour. He was just as bad as Riddle.

He stared around the dormitory and then sat on the bed that used to be his. There would be funerals tomorrow. He was expected to go to them, perhaps make a speech. Could he do it? Harry doubted he could face George after what happened to his twin. He wouldn’t be able to look in Mrs. Weasley’s eyes, not after she had treated him as if he were one of her own sons. Apologizing wouldn’t be enough and he knew it. But then what should I do? He needed to somehow make it up to them, somehow make it alright. Though he knew saying sorry wasn’t enough, it was definitely the first step. Maybe they would tell him what to do to make it up to them.

Maybe they would tell him to just pack up and leave this place forever. But could I actually do that? He would never see Ron and Hermione again. He would never see Ginny. But it’s not like they wanted to see him anymore. They were all angry at him, he was sure of it. But where would he go? Go abroad or stay in the United Kingdom? But those were details, and Harry couldn’t be bothered about that just yet. Leave the country. Forever? Maybe he should just go now; it would

save them the fuss of telling him he had to leave. They were good people and Harry didn’t want to make them feel guilty because of him. So that was his plan. Leave the country, Harry repeated trying to make himself believe it. Never see Ginny again. Never see Ginny again. Never see Ginny again. It was amazing how much he missed her. Her hair, her personality, her whole being. He lay down on his bed and waited for reluctant sleep to come. * Ginevra Weasley couldn’t stop crying. She surveyed the scene around her.

People were huddled around their dead family and friends. There was a circle of crying people in the middle of the hall, reminiscing about lost loved ones. She was sitting by Fred’s side. George was beside her, holding Fred’s hand and assuring him that he would continue Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. “I’ll try, but I don’t know if I can do it without you. You’re my brother and my best friend. You always will be. I love you... we all do. It’ll never be the same with you, Fred.” Another tear ran down his face and he clutched Ginny for support.

“Nothing will ever be the same,” Ginny added softly, weeping quietly. She buried her face into George’s already tear-soaked shirt and he put his arm around her. The Weasley clan plus Hermione were all gathered round Fred’s lifeless body. It had been like this for hours. Each in turn had spoken to him and said their goodbyes. Strange perhaps, but it was their way of trying to mend their broken hearts and souls. One of their number had gone forever and they couldn’t change that. It was a hard fact to deal with; they would never hear another one of Fred’s jokes.

After a few more minutes, Mr Weasley advised them to go to bed. And as Ginny dragged her tired feet up the staircase, it occurred to her that Harry had not joined them in their mourning. She climbed into the portrait hole and wondered where he could have been. He’s hiding. She was sure of it. But where would he be hiding? And if she knew him well enough, he was probably beating himself up for something. She squinted around the Gryffindor Common Room in her fatigue. He obviously wasn't there, so she ventured up the staircase to the

boys Dormitory. And then Ginny saw him. Harry was lying fast asleep, fully clothed on top of his four-poster bed. She sighed with great sadness, and leaned against the frame of the door with her arms crossed. Why was he here all alone? Why had nobody found him and dragged him into the Great Hall? She creped toward him and tenderly took off his glasses, then placed them on the bedside table along with his wand. She kissed his nose lightly and whispered soft words of comfort as tears began the flow from under his closed eyelids. And then before she departed for her own bed,

she gently brushed them away. * Harry didn’t sleep well that night. He had nightmares and horrible dreams about Riddle. About Riddle killing everyone he cared about and loved. It was terrible, and in the morning he had a terrible suspicion that he’d been crying for most of the night. How am I going to get through today, he mused as he washed out his eyes with cold water. Am I expected to go to all the funerals? He would crack for sure, because there was bound to be a lot of people angry at him today. Maybe he

should just take it. He deserved it, didn’t he? He was no coward; he would not hide in his dormitory all day. And why was his dormitory so empty in the first place? What about Dean, Seamus, Ron and Neville? Where were they? Avoiding me, I expect. He heaved a deep sigh and got dressed. He would leave for France later today. Pay his respects and go. Just leave. He had a lot to think about anyway. What did he intent to do with his life after Voldemort, anyway? He’d been fighting him for 7 years and now suddenly he was gone. Instead of relief he felt rather lost.

His stomach was rumbling. He hadn’t eaten in hours because of his fear of going to the Great Hall.I’m not a coward, he repeated as he slowly descended down the spiral staircase to the Common Room. Whispers followed him as he marched to the Great Hall alone. The house tables had been set up again, though nobody was following them. The bodies had been moved into a great tent pavilion on the castle grounds for their burials later today. Harry glanced upward toward the sky and saw that it was raining. How typical, he thought. He saw Ron and Hermione sitting at one of the tables and

hesitantly went to join them. “Alright, Harry?” Ron asked uncomfortably. “Fine, thanks” Harry replied easily. How could he be fine with what happened last night? And then Hermione turned on him. “Look Harry. We know that you’re feeling guilty about something or the other so just spit it out. Don’t you understand that there was nothing else that we could’ve done.” There was no question in her voice as

she rambled on. “We did the best we could and people should be satisfied about that. They are satisfied, if you’d care to listen to any of them. They want to thank you but think it’s best to leave you alone. Think you need your privacy. And do you have any idea how worried we’ve been about you? Plotting to kill yourself or something drastic like that, I expect” She was on the verge of tears now and looked to Ron for support. He quickly looked down to his kippers and when she didn’t get any response from him, she continued with her ranting.

“And don’t you dare leave us Harry! Because after all we’ve been through we can’t afford to do something stupid like that. D’you think that we could deal with that?! We’ve already lost Fred. Ginny’s been a complete mess! Crying not only over Fred but you as well! She needs you, Harry! And you’re too much of an idiot to see it!” Hermione paused to look at him with a pained anguish. She took a deep breath and continued more softly. “Listen Harry, we’ve always been in this together and now it’s finished

and-“ “-And you’re our best friend and always will be. There’s truly no point in beating yourself up over this. Hermione’s right, we did the best we could. You did the best you could.” They looked at him in a kind of fierce pride though Hermione looked a bit putout from her lecture being shortened. He looked back at them and said, “I’m sorry that I’ve caused you such a fuss. But I do need to be alone. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do now that

Riddle’s finally gone.” His response didn’t show how much gratitude he felt for them. Was it true what they were saying? Did people not hate him as much as he’d thought? “I suppose you’re right. It’s time for you to take a well needed vacation,” said Ron thoroughly relieved that this had ended so well. “What about Ginny?” Hermione frowned at Harry. “Never mind Ginny, she’ll be alright,” said Ron, not giving Harry a chance to

respond, “We should get going. I don’t want to miss anything.” * When they reached the tent it was obvious that several people had left during the night. Rather then burying their dead on the battle field, they had decided that they wanted to do that back where they lived. They could see Mrs and Mr Weasley standing by Fred’s body a little away and proceeded toward them. “Oh, Harry,” Mrs Weasley took Harry into her motherly arms when she saw him, “We just knew they’d knock some

sense into you. You mustn’t blame yourself for Fred, dear. If it wasn’t for you, none of us would be here.” “I’m sorry, Mrs Weasley.” He was uncomfortable with her hugging him like this. Though he was happy that they weren’t angry with him, he still felt rueful. “Sorry to disturb, but we should get going. Tonks’s and Lupin’s funeral is about to begin.” George. He looked the worst out of all the Weasley’s; like he hadn’t slept at all last night. And without waiting for any of them, he took off in the direction of the

ceremony. “Let’s go,” muttered Mr Weasley as he led them out into the rain. They were soaked to the bone by the time they reached the far grounds. There was a small podium set before twenty chairs. Beside the podium, there was a large wooden rectangle of a box and beside that was a large dug out hole. The coffin had been nailed shut and a bouquet of slightly withered yellow lilies had been placed on top of it along with a picture of Remus and Tonks. There were a number of people sitting in the fold up chairs: Most of

the remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix, Andromeda who was holding a squealing Teddy, and a few other people Harry assumed were relatives. Harry searched for a seat at the back but it was too late. He’d already been spotted. “Alright, Harry?” It was Kingsley. “Do you think you could do me a favour? Can say a few words about Dora and Remus? I know it’s all a bit sudden, but you seemed the most suitable.” “Kingsley, I don’t re-” “Thanks, Harry. You should go sit at

the front; you’ll speak when the minister calls you up.” And with that, he trotted off to sit in the chair that Harry had previously been eyeing. Shivering from rain and nerves, he went to sit in the spot that Kingsley had asked him to. The minister began talking, and Harry wondered what he was going to say about Remus and Tonks. What would he talk about? What would be enough to justify the gut wrenching guilt that he felt? Could he run away now? But he squashed that thought immediately. I am no coward. And Tonks and Lupin deserved to have something good said about them.

“...and now Harry Potter would like to share a few words about Nymphadora and Remus,” the minister of the service concluded and stepped away from the podium. Whispers followed Harry as he shakily got to his feat and paced toward the lectern. “I first met Remus Lupin in my third year at Hogwarts. Umm, and then we became friends.” He stared at the staring audience in desperation. Now what? “Later, I found out the he was one of my dad’s best friends when he went to

school and I suppose that helped build our friendship. The fact that he was a werewolf never really seemed to bug me but it did to him.” What am I going on about? “And it didn’t bother Ton- Nymphadora either. Because she actually fell in love with him in my fifth year. And, umm, Remus fell in love with her. But he didn’t want to admit it because he thought that he was, err, too dangerous for her. But eventually he gave in. I’m not sure I even remember how it happened so, umm yeah. And then they had a baby named Teddy a couple of

months ago but they died shortly afterward which is.... why we’re here.” People were looking at him strangely. “So... umm. I just wanted to say that Tonks, I mean Nymphadora, and Remus were good people and we should remember them because... ummm... they were good people. I’m sure that we will all miss them, especially Teddy. Err, thanks for listening.” Face burning, he slumped back into his chair. There was an awkward second or two of silence before people started leaving. “Brilliant speech, mate.”

Harry looked up from his hands and saw Ron standing over him, grinning. “I know. Freaking amazing, right?” He heaved himself out of his seat and saw Hermione was running toward them. “Let’s get out of this rain. I’m s-ssoaked!” She shivered as her teeth chattered. And indeed, the weather wasn’t getting better. The eerie sounds of thunder rumbled in the distance and flashes of lightning lightened up the sky in intervals. A cruel wind wiped at their

faces as they ran back to the castle to dry their clothes before the next funeral. * The next services passed by in a whirl of rain, tears, guilt and Harry distinctly remembered violently vomiting after Fred’s. There had been much crying, though the funeral itself was more jolly then any of the others. People seemed to understand that Fred had died a hero and that he wouldn’t want so many people crying over him. It was dinner time now, and Harry, Ron and Hermione were discussing plans for the

summer. “Aww, c’mon Harry! You need to come to the Burrow before you leave!” “Yes, please Harry? It’ll be so much fun now that Riddle’s finally gone.” Harry resigned. “I’d love to. Are you sure it’s okay?” “Yeaah! Hey Mum!” he bellowed to her from the other side of the table. “Harry said yes!!” “Shut your mouth while you eat,

Ronald!” He rolled his eyes at her then turned back to them. “Just wait ‘til you see what I have in store. Mum and Dad have to go to a wedding in Wales this week. Ginny and I have been planning an End-of-War party without them.” Ron snickered evilly. “It’s gonna be bloody wicked.” ~ There were very few people left at Hogwarts by the next morning. No one was particularly keen to stay in a

place half ruined and full of such terrible memories and ghosts. The Weasley’s, Harry and Hermione had planned to leave that morning too. “Come on, come on!” Mrs Weasley shouted at them in a fluster, not wanting to forget anyone or anything. “We must get going. There’s so much to do at home. I don’t even know whether the chickens are alive anymore, haven’t been fed in ages. And I think I’ve left the dishes unwashed...” “It’s alright, Molly. Come on dear, you first.” Arthur handed her a fistful of Floo Powder which she chucked into the

Common Room fire. “The Burrow!” And then she disappeared. So it was until there was only Mr Weasley, Harry and Ginny left. “I’ll go next; I trust you’ll come after me.” He disappeared into the flames leaving Harry and Ginny alone in the Common Room. “So, umm, you can go next,” he muttered awkwardly to her but Ginny didn’t seem to notice his discomfort. “Oh noo! I think I’ve left my book in the dormitory! You can go, Harry. I’ll

be right there.” She sprinted back up the staircase to her room. He gave her retreating back one last glance before stepping to the fire. After the usual discomfort of Flooing, he fell out of the fire covered head to toe in soot. As he brushed the dust off, he wondered why Mr Weasley had left Ginny and him alone like that. But before he had time for any major brooding, something rather heavy landed on top of him. “Ahhh!” “Hey, why didn’t you move out of the

way?” Ginny reluctantly detangled herself from him. “Didn’t I tell you I was coming?” She rolled her eyes and smiled at him. “C’mon, get up.” She held her hand out to him and he gratefully pulled himself up. Ginny threw the book she had forgotten onto the coffee table. “Did Ron tell you about the party?” she asked. He laughed. Sometimes it was so easy to talk to Ginny. “He’s been talking about it ever since last night. Still can’t believe you’re actually doing this... Who’s invited, anyway?”

“Everyone, I expect. Ron told everyone he knew about it and their all supposed to bring their friends. The party’s going to be amazing, we’ve-” “What party?” And there stood Mrs Weasley in her apron holding the box of chicken feed. “Umm...” Harry and Ginny glanced at each other and then hurriedly looked away. “See Mum, Luna’s having this party but I don’t think we want to go.” “That’s right,” said Harry, cottoning on, “It’s supposed to be really good,

but umm.... no one we know is going so...” “So you’re not going?” Mrs Weasley sniffed. “She’s your friend, isn’t she? Oh well, not really any of my business about your friendships.” And then she walked into her kitchen and started preparing the lunch. “I hope you know that I trust you!” she called from the kitchen, but Ginny and Harry had already scurried upstairs. “Harry,” she called to him from the landing of her room as if remembering something. He had started going up the

stairs the Ron’s room. “I need to tell you something.” He stepped down onto the narrow landing beside her. What was he so afraid of, anyway? And when he looked at her face, he knew. Her mood had changed from happy to angry in about two seconds. He gulped. “What’s wrong, Ginny?” “Don’t you ‘what’s wrong, Ginny’ me.” Her glare was almost identical to Mrs Weasley’s. When he didn’t answer her, she whispered, “I’ve received intelligence that you’re planning to go

on a trip.” He understood now. Well not really, but enough to brave an answer. “Right. You don’t want me to go?” “On the contraire, Potter. I demand that you take me with you.” She poked at his chest causing him to back into a wall. “Really?” “Really.” She stared blankly at him and crossed her arms.

“Oh.” “Well...?” “Umm, d’you think that your Mum would let you?” he asked her honestly. “You’re not even of age yet, Ginny.” “Will be soon,” she answered. Slightly crestfallen, she dropped her pushy attitude and hesitantly stepped closer to him. “Do you not want me to come?” “No! No... Come off it. I do want you to come. But don’t avoid the question, Gin. Your Mum and Dad would never let you.”

So now Ginny was coming with him to France. So much for being alone, but Harry wasn’t complaining. “What did you just call me?” she smiled. “Gin,” he replied before repeating his question, “What are you planning to do about your Mum and Dad?” “Oh, never mind them. I’ll just leave a note or something. It’s not like we’re doing anything bad.” “Sure...” He raised his eyebrows. “Just

going to France for a few weeks... alone.” “France?!” she squealed excitedly. “Where in France!?” “Uhh, I dunno yet,” he said comfortably, “I’d like to stay out of Paris, though. Too much press. Mind you, it’s a miracle they haven’t found us yet.” “This is so exciting!” she screeched loudly. “I can’t wait! I’ve never been anywhere out of Britain! We should go straight after the party! Mum and Dad won’t be home so we don’t have to

bother with all that stupid sneaking out stuff! Makes me think that we’re doin-” “Shhh!” He placed his hand firmly on her mouth and glanced around suspiciously. “If they find out about where we’re going, we’ll be screwed for sure.” He withdrew his hand thinking it was safe but she only laughed hysterically and took a step closer to him. “I’ve missed you, Ginny,” he told her in all seriousness as he took her hand.

“’Course you have.” She didn’t feel like telling him that she had missed him as well. It was too obvious that she had. Ginny didn’t consider herself a romantic; she had grown up with seven brothers after all. She couldn’t lie, however, about the butterflies that had erupted in her stomach when he leaned his face down to hers. “What are you doing?” It was Ron. “D’you seriously want to know?” Harry

scowled at him, thoroughly ruffled. “No,” he reasoned, “C’mon, I’ve been looking for you. We need to get planning. Mum and Dad are leaving tomorrow and we still don’t know what to do for food and drinks.” He followed the steps up to his room without waiting for them. “Stupid prat of a brother,” Ginny muttered before taking Harry’s hand and dragging him up the stairs with her. They arrived to the room to find Ron, Hermione, George and Charlie sitting in deep discussion. Harry found it oddly

incomplete because of the absence of Fred. “-But if you go to buy drinks and food today Mum’s going to ask questions.” George reasoned with Charlie. “She’s going to ask questions tomorrow, too. She’s leaving in the evening, remember? There won’t be enough time to go out all the way to Diagon Alley,” said Ron to George. “What about Muggle beer?” asked Ginny, taking a seat on the edge of Ron’s bed. “I’m sure there must be some late night shop open that we can run to when they

leave.” They agreed with her though no one was too pleased about Muggle snacks and drinks. But if you were making a party that huge a secret, then you had to make sacrifices.

*

The excitement was almost tangible. Mr and Mrs Weasley were leaving in about an hour. The party was scheduled to begin half and hour after that. Molly was in the kitchen, preparing

sandwiches and barking orders to her children. “Ginny, you’re in charge of the chickens! We can’t afford to buy new ones!” “Sure, Mum!” She bellowed back at her, distracted. Ginny was currently in the sitting room trying to rid it of anything breakable or valuable. “Charlie! You’re the responsible one here; make sure nobody gets up to any mischief!” “Right, Mum!” He was sitting in the corner of the room beside George

debating the best tactic of how to get to the store as quickly as possible. She bustled out of the kitchen and placed the large plate of sandwiches on the table. “Come on, Arthur! We need to go, don’t want to be late!” She fixed her hair and took Mr Weasley’s arm. “We’re going now!” she called to everyone who cared to listen, “We should be back day after next in the morning. Take care. Don’t forget that I trust you.” And then they Disappartated away. “Oh crap,” moaned Charlie, “We need to

get going, George. We only have a few of minutes left. Ginny, you know what to do.” And then they sprinted down the road to the village. Harry and Ron trampled down the stairs, locking doors as they went. Hermione was lagging behind them, carrying a large oldfashioned Muggle boom box that had belonged to Mr Weasley. “I still don’t think this party is a good idea,” she gasped for breath as they went outside into the warm summer air. After much debate yesterday, they had decided that the party was to be held outside. They locked doors as a precaution, not wanting anyone in the

house. A table had already been set up, and Hermione placed the radio on it. Harry noticed the problem. “We have no music!” he exclaimed, but Hermione was too busy hanging the “Voldemort Sucks!” banners they had made last night to care. “Harry! Dad might have some old Muggle music in the garage! I guess we’ll just have to use that!” Ginny yelled from the other side of the pond where she was hanging lights. Harry took off in the direction of the garage and burst through the door. He

gazed around the garage looking for the music and after a few moments, he found it. He shoved the desk drawer open and seized a few of the CDs. When Harry returned, he saw that Fred and Charlie had returned from the shop laded with crates of imported Muggle beer and bags stuffed full with crisps. “Hey,” he asked them. “Does your Dad seriously listen to this stuff?” He held up a CD entitled, “80’s and 90’s Smash Dance Hits”. They laughed, but had no time to explain. People had started to show up and were knocking on the front door.

* Loud, terrible music filled the air and the smell of alcohol lingered in the humid atmosphere. At least a hundred people had shown up, each bringing some kind of beverage. There were people who had broken into the house. And on the far side of the pond, others were smoking something fowl smelling. Harry didn’t even want to know what it was. No one seemed to care anymore, though; they were having too much fun notice. Charlie could be seen charming some girls, Hermione and Ron were in one of

the bedrooms doing what people did at parties in bedrooms and Harry, Ginny and George were dancing in the middle of large group of people. “Harry!?” “What, Fred?!” “I’M GEORGE!” “You’re George?! Whatever... Same thing!” he slurred, sniggering. “I need to talk to you, Harry!” And then he went to sit by the side of the pond.

He grabbed Ginny’s hand and they stumbled off toward Fred. “So, what’s up brothaa?” Ginny asked him as she and Harry took a seat beside him. “Umm, you must promise that you won’t tell anyone.” But Ginny had seemed to have fallen asleep on Harry. “Sure, Fred,” Harry answered for her. “Well, Harry. I think I'm gay.” He

looked down at his hands in shame. “S’okay!” he snickered, drunkenly thinking that it was a joke. “As long as it’s not for me. Are you gay for me?” “I don’t think so. Maybe. I’m really confused right now.” Harry snorted with laughter. “You are so funny, FRED.” And then he passed out. * Harry awoke with a pulsing headache. “Arghh...” What had happened last

night? Broken memories came flooding back to him. The party, beer, music, dancing... Wait! What was that noise? Someone was beside him? Ginny. Ginny? Right. They must’ve fallen asleep or something. He reluctantly opened his eyes to the blinding light. It was indeed Ginny that was beside him. Relief flooded through him. She was still fully clothed; he’d been worrying that they’d done something they would later regret. He extracted her arm from him, sat up and surveyed the scene around him. It was around midday and the place was a

mess. Banners were floating in the water, and cans of beer were littered everywhere. Luckily, there was no one outside but them. George or Charlie must’ve sent them all home. With a sigh, he nudged Ginny awake. She would kill him for waking her. * Mum & Dad, In case you’re wondering where I am, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve gone to France with Harry. I’m not exactly sure where in France yet, but if you send Errol I think he should be able to find me. We plan to be back in

a few weeks time, I promise. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you at first but I was too worried that you would just say no and that would spoil the fun. I’ll make sure to be safe and everything. Don’t worry; I’m with the saviour of the Wizarding world so nothing bad should happen to me. I hope that the wedding was nice, and that you’re not too angry. -Ginny

Ginny hastily read back the note she had scrawled and placed it on her pillow. It was about 6 o’clock in the morning and she was pumped. Harry had

woken her an hour ago and told her to get ready. She checked her small bag once again. “Pack light” he had told her and pack light she had. She bounced around her room with excitement. She was quite ready for another adventure. A small rock clattered against her window. With a small frown, she went over and wrenched it open. “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” he whooped up to her. “What are you on about, Potter?! What’s a Repun-sal?” She tried to figure out whether he had insulted or complimented her.

“C’mon,” he called to her laughing, “I want to show you something. Get your butt down here!” Giggling madly, she banged the window closed not too quietly. Ginny seized her backpack and slung it across her shoulders as she ran down the stairs and outside. Once outside, she saw something that made her stop dead in her tracks. “What the bloody hell is that thing?!” She felt her mouth slide into a large comical ‘O’.

“It’s my new car!” he answered excitedly. “D’you like it?” And she did. Ginny thought that the car bared a striking resemblance to an overlarge black beetle. Unlike the automobiles she had learned about in Muggle Studies, this one was missing a roof. Now she understood why she had been told to have so little baggage, the vehicle held only four tiny seats and almost no trunk. “I thought this would be more pleasant then using a Port Key,” he told her nervously, “so I just went out and bought it. We can still Appar-“

“Harry,” she interrupted him, “I love it. It’s the most amazing thing ever.” She paused for a second. “Why doesn’t it have a roof, though?” He looked at her seriously. “No idea.” “So... do we still not have any idea where we’re going?” she asked happily. “Where the road leads us, I suppose. Come on, we should get going.” But Ginny seemed to have other plans.

She dropped her bag into one of the back seats before jumping onto him. “What are you- AHHH!?” She had tackled him to the ground. And before Harry knew what was happening, they were kissing more properly then how they had in months. They stayed like that for a few more moments before Harry reluctantly pulled away from her. “We do need to leave soon, Ginny,” he got to his feat and helped pull her up. “If anything, your brothers are going to wake up and murder me for snogging you like that.”

“Coward,” she answered cheerily. “You’re right, though. Let’s be off, then.” * After nearly four hours of zooming through the English countryside, they were nearing the outskirts Folkestone. Ginny noticed a problem. “Harry, how are you intending to cross the channel?” she called over the wind. “It’s kind of obvious, Gin!” he laughed.

“No, not really,” she said, confused. “Well... how else? The channel tunnel.” “There’s a tunnel over water?” she asked, amazed at what Muggles could think up. “No, it’s under the water. You’ve never heard of it?” “ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT THERE’S A TUNNEL UNDER THE ENGLISH CHANNEL AND YOU’RE PLANNING TO TAKE ME THROUGH IT!?!” “Well, yeah. I’ve already booked the

tickets,” he gave her a sideways glace, “but if you’re too scared-” “Not scared,” she interrupted nervously as the car slowed down, “Just... a little worried.” “Sure,” he laughed at her again. “Anyway, we’re at the terminal now.” He drove the Volkswagen behind the line of vehicles waiting for a security check. “Right.” They passed through it with no

problems, and then proceeded toward yet another line of queuing cars. “So now we wait,” he sighed as he turned off the car. Harry turned in his seat to look at her. She had her Muggle sunglasses on her lap and her hands were fidgeting with them. When he received no response from her he said, “Look, Ginny,” he told her, “if you seriously don’t want to go on the shuttle, we can turn back now and go on a ferry or something.” “No.” She looked up from her fidgeting. “Boats make me sick.”

“Ginny?” “Don’t worry, I’ll be alright.” She forced smile and said, “Do we have to wait here for an hour or can we go explore the terminal?” “Sure,” he said, still looking at her in a concerned way, “why not?” “Look, I’ll be fine. It’s just shock, or something,” she said as she put her large sunglasses back on, “let’s go find some food, I’m starving.” They got out of the car and Ginny took

Harry’s arm, further reassuring him that she was (or would be) fine. * Sooner then Ginny would’ve liked, she found herself sitting in Harry’s car again anticipating the ride in the shuttle train to France. Harry had explained it all to her in the café at the Eurotunnel terminal; apparently you were supposed drive straight inside the train and then you were to get out and sit in a passenger carriage. It took only half and hour, he had assured her. Harry turned the car on again as the

line had begun to slowly move. “Sure your okay?” he asked again, as a security person waved them into the train. “Fine. Just fine!” she answered, trying not to hyperventilate and think that this was the last time she would ever see daylight. He slowly nudged the car through the opening and stopped it behind a large grey van. “Let’s go find a decent place to sit,” he told her.

“Right,” she gasped nervously. Harry wrapped his arm round her shaking shoulders and led her into the passenger carriage. He pushed her down onto a seat near a slightly opened window and sank down in a chair beside her. Ginny searched around for a seat belt as the train began to accelerate. “Why aren’t there any seat belts?” Ginny asked Harry anxiously. “I doubt you’ll need them, Gin,” he calmed her and pulled out a France guild book he had purchased at the terminal from his backpack, “why don’t

you decide where our first stop is going to be?” She took the book from him, slightly distracted, and looked through it for a few minutes. “Corsica,” she read, “is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia.” “Corsica?” he asked her jokingly, “we’ll have to take a ferry to get there. Are you sure you want to deal with that?”

She rolled her eyes at him and said, “I’m sure I’ll be fine.” “So we’re going to cut straight through France,” he said, tracing the route with his fingers. “It’s so efficient,” she added happily. “You know that your parents are going to kill us for doing this. Honestly, we kind of took off to France without telling anybody,” said Harry, slightly concerned. “We don’t have to face them in months, so why bother worrying now?” she told

him. “Months?” he asked, grinning. “Well, school starts again in September and it’s May right now...” “I doubt we’ll stay in France for four months. Maybe we can pop into Italy as well.” “Ooh, and I’ve always wanted to see the Greek islands.” He had meant it as a joke, though Ginny didn't. She turned the pages to a map of Europe and showed him what she meant.

“Santorini?” he asked her, seeing the tiny inscription. “Mum told me about it, she said Dad and her went on their honeymoon there,” she explained to him. “You should’ve see the pictures. It’s so beautiful.” “Okay, so we’re going to France, Italy and Greece?” asked Harry, feeling that maybe this wasn't such a bad idea. “Yup.” Then she looked out the window into the darkness of the tunnel and said, “You know what, Harry? This isn’t so bad.”

“The train?” “Yeah. I thought that I would be dead by now but it’s been,” she checked Harry’s watch, “twenty minutes and nothing that interesting has happened.” “What did I tell you?” he laughed and examined the map of France again. “Maybe we should go into Paris,” he said, confused. “Maybe it would be worth the risk of media.” “I’d love to see the Eiffel tower,” she leaned in to get a closer look at the

map too, “but the press would have a field day if they found out. Especially about the car.” She chuckled. “Yeah, maybe” he said, before making a snap decision, “we’re going.” She cheered loudly causing the Muggles on the train to look at them strangely. “Maybe we should get going,” he checked his watch again, “we’ve got about five minutes ‘till we reach the French terminal.” And indeed, they could feel the train beginning to rise. They got out of their seats and followed the other

Muggles back to their tiny car. * “Go round once,” she instructed him as he turned drove into the roundabout. “Then take the 2nd exit off.” “Why would you go round once?” he asked as he headed for the exit off to Rue de Jacques. “I dunno, that’s was the map thingy says.” “Right, so which way now?”

“I’m not sure,” and then she pointed vaguely off to one direction and squinted at the map. “Are you sure?” he asked and frowned, “Maybe we should go onto the highway.” “Great idea, Harry” she chucked the map away with relief, “what’s a highway?” “Never mind...” and then he took toward the ramp leading onto it. “Paris,” she read from a passing green sign, “two hundred and ninety kilometres.” She noticed the gathering traffic. “Four hours, right?”

“I can make it three,” he said, and then lowered his foot on the gas pedal. ~ “Hey, Ginny?” he asked her a while later. “Can you open that glove compartment in front of you?” She opened the compartment. “These are music CDs, right?” Ginny picked up an interesting looking one. He laughed and said, “I don’t think you’d like that one. You might not be

ready.” “Try me.” She grinned and stuffed the CD into the hole she guessed was the player. The sounds of hard rock soon filled the air as the first song on the album began to play. And as Ginny listened to the lyrics, she burst into rambunctious giggles. “I told you!” he yelled over the music before turning it up even more. “CAN’T LISTEN TO THIS QUIETLY!” he explained. “YOU’RE CRAZY, HARRY POTTER!” she

screamed over her dancing. And dancing she was, or at least as much as you could while sitting down. “NOT AS CRAZY AS YOU.” As the song continued, it was a wonder that they didn’t crash the car. The last bang of music soon echoed through the warm late afternoon. “Play it again.” And play it again he did. *

Ginny woke up from her deep slumber, confused and slightly punch-drunk. At first she’d thought that she had just awakened from a very, very nice dream. She opened her eyes slightly and a ray of sunlight hit her face from the window opposite her bed. She shifted in her sheets and yawned. She looked at the empty bed in wonder. Where had Harry gone off to? But there was a small note written in hotel paper placed on the pillow beside hers.

Ginny, As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not there. I’ve gone in search of some

coffee from the hotel cafe. I didn’t want to wake you, as you looked so peaceful when you slept. When I get back, we can go find something to eat. –Harry (: He’d ended his note in a smiley face. How strange. But nice, all the same. She reluctantly got out of bed and smoothed her rumpled floaty turquoise skirt. Ginny gazed across the lavishly designed room at the bed that was supposedly hers. Although he had booked a room with two beds, she had successfully sneaked into his during the night. It was weird, she had decided, that they couldn’t sleep in

the same bed. They hadn’t been engaging in any... undignified activities. Just sleeping. Anyway, Harry had probably been the reason of why she had slept so well. And judging by his smiley face, he wasn’t complaining about her spending the night in his bed. Ginny went over to the window and dragged the curtains fully opened. The beautiful Eiffel Tower met her eyes. She had apparently not noticed that it was so close when they had arrived so late last night. Harry’s two hour plan hadn’t succeeded, because they had been pulled over be a Muggle police officer for speeding. It was quite a shock for

Ginny, when she first heard the police siren gaining on them. She went over to her bag, took out an old hairbrush and dragged it through her hair a few times. She heard the door being opened from behind her. “I see you’ve finally wakened up.” “Yup,” she went over to kiss him as a good morning, “I’m assuming this is mine.” Ginny took a mug of something nice smelling from his hands and tipped half of its contents down her throat. “So ladylike,” he smiled at her, “C’mon, Paris is waiting for us.”

She placed down the already empty cup on a nearby table, took his outstretched hand and followed him into the lift. “Going down?”asked a concierge in a slight French accent and once Harry nodded at him, he pushed a down button. “How can you afford this place?” asked Ginny, staring at the gold framed elevator door in awe. “I can’t,” he joked. “Ground level,” recited the bellboy as

the elevator ticked to a halt. He led her out of the hotel lobby onto the already busy street walk. “So where do you think looks good?” he asked her, noticing all different colourful restaurants. “Closer to the Eiffel Tower, I think. I want to admire its beauty. Which direction would it be in?” “No idea,” said Harry, disoriented. “How about that way?” she said looking down the street, guessing randomly.

“Maybe we should ask someone?” he said, gesturing back to the hotel lobby. “Aww, c’mon! Where’s your sense of adventure?” she asked him joyfully, before taking off down the crowded street. As was expected, they had gotten lost rather fast. They wondered through the old town, admiring the beautiful architecture of France. “Look,” Ginny said awhile late, adjusting her new French beret in the unusual heat, “doesn’t that look like

an entrance to a tube station?” “Le metro,” he read from a sign. “So the metro, right?” The descended the steep steps down toward the station. They bought tickets from a booth and waited for a train to come in the direction that they were traveling in. Harry looked at a nearby map. “Amazing,” he muttered and beckoned to Ginny. “See, remember where we started? If went the opposite direction of where you wanted to go we would’ve ended up

straight at the Tower.” “So never trust my sense of direction,” she giggled rather guiltily. “Look, the tube’s here.” * “It’s so epic,” she muttered as she lay down on the grass, staring up at the Eiffel Tower. “It is,” he agreed as he stretched out on the grass. “Why d’you think they built it?”

“I’m not sure; I think it’s a broadcasting tower.” “It’s not held up by magic, is it?” “No, it was built by Muggles, remember?” said Harry, chuckling. “Amazing,” she repeated. “Ginny?” he asked after a few minutes and turned his head to look at her. “Yeah?” “I’m happy that you’re here with me.”

“Really?” she turned to smile at him. “Yes.” He returned her smile. “Harry?” she snickered. “Yeah?” “I think I’m falling in love,” she declared without thinking. And it was true that she did. Ginny has been suspecting so for years. “Really?” “Yes.”

“Good,” he said and looked back up at the sky. “Well...?” she scowled him. “What?” he asked innocently. “Do you think that you might possibly, maybe love me?” “Sure.” “You’re so romantic,” she said sarcastically but she knew him too well to take his lack of response seriously.

“D’you want me to be?” he asked her, another grin spreading across his face. “I suppose it would be nice sometimes.” He cleared his throat and looked into her eyes. “Ginevra Weasley, you are the most-” “No, not now!” she interrupted him, “You have to spring it on me randomly.” “Oh?” Ginny broke out into giggles and turned on her side to look at him properly.

“You’re so tactless, Harry.” But before he could retaliate, the water sprinklers had switched on. “What the HELL?!” yelled Ginny, as she sprung up from the ground. “Water sprinklers,” he explained, positively snorting with laughter as water poured on them. “Let’s go.” “They ruined the moment,” she huffed, while they walked down the sidewalk back to the tube.

“C’mon,” he pulled on her hand, urging her to go faster, “at least we’ll have more time for the Louvre. You wanted to go there, didn’t you?”

*

“Beautiful,” sighed Ginny. They had been standing in front of the same painting for over twenty minutes and Harry had started to feel regretful about his decision to visit the

gallery. “How so?” Harry tilted his head sideways trying to understand its apparent beauty. “Look... look at the... man... his face...” She seemed totally engrossed in the painting. “It’s a man?” “Yeah, see: that’s his face, and those are his eyes.” “Ohhh... I thought it was-”

“Don’t say it.” And then she moved onto the painting next to it, dragging a bored Harry after her. “Ginny, wait,” said Harry, bewildered, “is that Ron and Hermione?” “Where?” she asked, looking around quickly. “Over there, in that crowd of people!” Hermione’s bushy hair was very obvious next to Ron’s.

“Hey, Hermione!” Ginny called her. The couple turned round and saw Ginny and Harry. Hermione’s mouth dropped and she and Ron rushed over to them. “What are you doing here, Hermione?” “It was Ron’s idea,” she beamed at them. “Right,” said Ron, slightly embarrassed. He scratched the back of his head and explained, “We’re going to Australia tomorrow morning to find Hermione’s parents. I thought we’d stop by in Paris.”

“And what luck!” Ginny exclaimed. “I can’t believe we met you!!” “Sorry ‘bout not telling you where we were going before we took off,” said Harry. “No worries,” said Ron, grinning. “About us, at least. Mum was in a proper state about you two.” Ron imitated her, “‘Just wait till I get my hands on them! How could they not tell me they were leaving!?’” Ginny laughed nervously.

“Oh never mind,” said Hermione breaking the silence, “D’you want to come to dinner with us? Ron was just saying how hungry he was.”

*

“So how did you guys escape The Burrow?” asked Harry once the laughing had ceased from their tiny table outside the restaurant. “Well...” said Hermione, going slightly red in the face.

“We left a note,” said Ron. Ginny and Harry burst out laughing. “You thought she’d say no, right?” “Yes,” said Hermione tiredly, “I know she wouldn’t let us leave if we asked her. I’ll bet she’s angry at the lot of us now. I feel so guilty about George, though. He’s left alone with Mrs and Mr Weasley.” “But he went out with Angelina the other day, didn’t he?” “He’s still going out with her, then?”

asked Ginny, curious. “Yup,” said Ron, “though he looked really upset when he came back.” “I hope he didn’t break it off with her,” said Ginny worriedly. “He deserves to be with somebody,” said Harry, “He wanted to tell us something at the party, didn’t he, Ginny? I wish I could remember, it was probably important.” “That’s right,” Ginny searched through her memory, “What was it though?”

“I’m sure you’ll remember eventually,” said Hermione. Ron burst out sniggering. “Okay,” he sputtered out laughing as the others looked at him, “Funny story! Mum almost found out that we had the party, Harry. It was hilarious.” And then he launched into a hysterical story about Mrs Weasley, Charlie and an enchanted boom box. * Ginevra,

I am so angry and disappointed that you went off like that without telling anyone. How could you just leave like that? It’s Harry’s decision whether he goes or leaves because he’s off age. But you, Ginevra, are not. You’re only sixteen, for Merlin’s sake! Your little escapades have been all over the news. I am disappointed in you. I sincerely hope that you don’t intend to marry Harry at such a young age but you are most surely NOT raising this baby alone. I expect you home as soon as you get this letter, so we can have a proper talk. Enjoy your vacation while you can. ~Mother

“What baby?” sputtered Ginny as she read the letter the next morning. “Never mind that,” said Harry, reading over Ginny’s shoulder, “What does she mean by ‘all over the news?’” “I don’t know,” said Ginny nervously, “Someone probably took pictures of when we were out yesterday.” “D’you think so?” “Look, this must be it,” she said, noticing something else that had been

attached to Errol’s exhausted leg. It was a Witch Weekly magazine article.

Harry’s Romantic Vacation in Paris Written by Gina O’Hara and photographed by Bozo Smith A few days after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter, 17, and Ginny Weasley (a stunningly pretty red-haired girl), 16, left for Paris to enjoy a romantic weekend. “They booked a room with two beds,” says a source, “but only one looked like it had been slept in.” We can exclusively reveal that a positive pregnancy test was found in the hotel room’s bathroom...

And on and on the article went, twisting everything Ginny and Harry had done that day. It was complete with pictures of the hotel room, a positive pregnancy test and a zoomed in picture of Ginny’s hand. There was a circle around a finger, which seemed to have somehow gained a huge diamond engagement ring. “What the hell is this?” whispered Ginny in denial. And Harry just stood there, looking shocked.

“How could they do this to me? She’sshe’s- she’s made me into some kind ofof tart, that O’Hara woman!” “Maybe we shouldn’t have gone to Paris...” “No!” said Ginny fiercely, “I am not going to regret anything. I am not going to put up with this. I am not going to- to- to surrender.” “Surrender?” he laughed, “It’ll be okay, and most of this is going to be proved untruthful with time.”

“I was planning to act like Michelle Obama!” fumed Ginny, not listening to him at all. He stared at her. “Gin-” “My reputation is ruined forever!” she yelled, tears filling her eyes. “I am ruined, Harry! Absolutely ruined!” She collapsed sobbing into his arms. “What a role model, I am! Harry Potter’s effing girlfriend is an effing prostitute that’s pregnant at sixteen!” “You’re pregnant?” he asked her,

bewildered. “NO!” she cried. “People will know that you’re not eventually. We’re not planning to get married anytime soon, and we’re definitely not planning to have a baby. It’ll be okay...” he tried soothed her. “Are you sure?” “Yes,” he took her face into his hands and kissed her. “What should we do about Mum?” she asked after a few moments.

“I don’t know. D’you want to go back?” “Not really,” she sighed. “Is writing a letter back to her truly enough?” “If she wants us to come back...” “I’m not going back,” she said stonyfaced, wiping her eyes with her sleeve, “My mother isn’t going to ruin our fun. I’ve been waiting to be with you since I was nine years old.” “Oh?” he raised his eyebrows suggestively.

“You must’ve noticed, Harry. I was kinda obvious.” He sniggered. “You were. But you liked me since you were nine?” “I’ve been planning our wedding for seven years,” she joked. “We should get working on that letter,” he sighed and ran his hand through his hair. She took the letter and started to scribble a note on the back. I’m not pregnant. I’m not engaged. You

don’t have to write letters because I’m not going to answer them. I’ll be back in a few months. I can’t believe you would believe that crap she wrote about me. I thought you were smarter then that. Harry stared at her as she tied the letter to Errol’s leg. “You’re unbelievable, Ginny,” he told her. “Thanks,” she answered. “She’s gonna be peeved off at you, not me,” he rolled his eyes and smiled.

“Anyway, I need a disguise. We need to somehow lose that Gina woman when we leave Paris.” He looked fruitlessly around the room. “Get sunglasses like me!” “I think she’ll recognize me anyway.” “Ooh, what about a hat, then?!” she led him toward the elevator. “I can’t believe you convinced me into this,” said Harry after a few minutes. Harry stared at his reflection in a small mirror. He had on a pair of large

sunglasses that fit over his regular glasses. And as if she didn’t think that he looked enough of an idiot, Ginny placed a kind of white fedora on his head. She tilted it slightly. “Sexy,” she said as she surveyed him with satisfaction. “Oh, no.” “Oh, yes.” He caved in. “You’ll pay for this later, Weasley,” he scowled at her as they left the

shop. “You know you love it,” she teased him. He didn’t answer. The entered the hotel garage and retrieved the car. Ginny leaned over the seat and picked up the neglected guild book from the back seat floor. “We’re taking the ferry to Corsica from the port in Nice, right?” “If you say so,” he manoeuvred the beetle through the city onto the high way.

“Nine hundred kilometres,” she told him. “And what a nine hundred kilometres it will be,” said Harry, charming his hat in place so it wouldn’t blow away. * “I raise my hands and I surrender!” howled Ginny along with the radio. He laughed madly at her. Being in the wind this long truly was exhilarating. “How do you even know this song?!”

“I don’t wanna res- ! Oh, I dunno, I guess they play Muggle music on the wireless too! How do you know this song?!” “I don’t!” “That’s all right- you should sing too!” “I do not sing!” “I bet you do!” “No, I don’t!” “You do!”

“No!” “Baaay-be!” “I raise my hands and I surrender!” “So you do sing!” He chucked a crisp at her and fought to keep a straight face. “I knew you could sing,” she chuckled at him. “Just wait ‘til Gina finds out. I can see the headlines now: Boy-WhoLived- Savvy Singing Sorcerer. Are you recording any new albums, Harry?”

“Shut up and look,” he pointed to the coast and city that had just materialized behind a turn. “The famous French Riviera.” “Finally,” she sighed, abandoning her teasing, “After seven hours.” “Nope, we’re not there yet,” he said. “That’s Marseille. We’re going to Nice.” “Well get off the highway at least,” she said, slightly putout. “I’m sick of it.”

“Right, it’ll take longer though,” he took an exit off and headed toward the coast. “That’s okay... Look at how nice it is. The sun’s just about to set.” “D’you want to stop some place and watch?” “I’d love to,” she sighed, gazing across the Mediterranean Sea. He pulled the car over to a nearby beach and drove it into the sand. “How are you planning to get this out

of the sand?” “I dunno...” he murmured, pushing the reluctant car further and finally stopping it. Ginny removed her shoes and got out of the car. “C’mon,” she giggled, taking his hand as he appeared by her side. “Where are we going?” asked Harry, looking around the deserted beach. “Here,” she said, dragging him to sit down near the waves.

They sat in comfortable silence while the sun moved down the sky. The waves softly rocked back and forth against the beach. The water was a pleasant greenish-blue, glimmering slightly in the sunset. It seemed to beckon to Ginny. “Let’s go swimming.” And before Harry could properly respond, she had stripped off her clothes and bounded into the warm sea, red hair billowing behind her. She was more then beautiful, he decided. But the question was what he should do now.

Well, that’s easy he answered himself. Hesitating slightly as she dived between the waves, he removed his shirt and trousers before wadding into the water after her. “Joined me, have you?” she asked from somewhere behind him. “AHH! How did you do that?” “Do what?” “You were just over there.” He vaguely pointed in front of him. “I swam,” she said matter-of-factly.

He glanced awkwardly at her then hurriedly looked away. He could tell that this was his chance. But what should he say? “Ginny?” “Yeah?” Say it. Right. Say it now. Say what though? “Ginny...” he repeated.

“Spit it out, Potter.” “You’re really beautiful, Ginny. More then beautiful.” He recognized the corniness and scolded himself internally for the unoriginality of his own words. She looked at him. He looked at her. “I- ” “Gi- ” He looked down into the waist deep water, wondering why this was so hard

for him. He would tell her that he loved her. That would be enough. He could see their feet on top of the sea floor through the clear water. He took a deep breath and began again. “You’re more then beautiful, Ginny. I love you. And I think I always will. And now you’re here with me and I’m with you and we’re together and that’s probably all that matters. I always want us to be together. So I’ll never leave you again, Ginny. I swear. Never again.” “Never again?” she repeated.

“Never again,” he assured her. She opened her mouth as if wanting to say something. She hesitated slightly. “What is it?” “Kiss me, Harry.” She recognized the corniness. But not before he wrapped his arms round her and lowered his lips onto hers. And then whole world just seemed to melt away for Ginny. She forgot that they were standing half-naked in the Sea. She forgot the weird awkwardness. Suddenly she was melting into him, and

wrapping her damp hands around his neck. This was all she wanted really, just to stay like this forever and ever. Love was meant to be like this. She pulled herself away slightly. “Wow,” she gasped breathlessly. “I didn’t even know you could kiss like that.” “You ain’t seen nothing yet,”he snorted impatiently as he pulled her back to him. ~ “Our ferry gonna leave without us,”

said Harry She scowled, pulled her arms off him and crossed them. “I’m not letting you book anything ever again.” He laughed as they walked back to the shore. “You better not,” Ginny threatened him as she adjusted her weather beaten skirt. “Because you know that I’m going to have my way with you eventually.” “Uhh...”

“That’s right. You better be afraid.” * “I think I’m gonna be sick.” It was now completely dark. A few minutes ago, Harry and Ginny had boarded an 11 o’clock night ferry from Nice to Ajaccio. They were scheduled to arrive in Corsica in seven hours. Ginny was not pleased. “Maybe Corsica wasn’t such a good idea,” said Harry as he watched her lean over the railing from a nearby

bench. “Maybe we should of just magiced ourselves over,” she said as she walked shakily to sit beside him. “Someone would probably steal the car, though.” “Right,” she sighed. “So what do we do now?” he looked around the dark deserted boat. “Ichh, what about try not to be sick?” A slight green tinge erupted all over

her face. It was very obvious, even in the dim lights of the ferry. “Let’s go inside, maybe not looking at the water is a good idea. It’s probably just all in your head. The boat’s not shaking that much anyway.” “Right,” she said again. “It’ll be fine,” he told her when she clutched his arm as they walked from the deck. When they entered the great ship, it was evident that many people had gone to sleep in the decks bellow. The room

was filled dozens of comfortable seats as like in an aeroplane, and an old French movie was playing in the background. “Muggles are crazy,” said Ginny, collapsing into a chair. “Don’t you know it,” said Harry cheerily, sitting next to her. “Clever though, how they get on without magic,” she said appreciatively. “You’re turning into your dad.” “My dad’s gonna kill me.”

“Haha, me too.” They stayed silent for a few minutes and Ginny started watching the movie. It turned out to have English subtitles. “We’re not going to sleep,” said Ginny, reading his thoughts. “Why not?” he asked yawning. “Because I won’t be able to fall asleep. And you’re not leaving me here alone,” she added, seeing him open his mouth.

“Fine,” he said and settled into his chair “Noo! OH JACK! NO, NO, NO! They killed him, Harry! They killed him!” she cried a few hours later, only to find that he was fast asleep. She must’ve not noticed when he had dozed off. Ginny checked his watch; it said two in the morning. She yawned. It was still four hours until they would be in Corsica. Ginny fidgeted slightly in her seat, now with a new fear. This boat was going to sink just like the one in the movie. Well, maybe not. There were probably no icebergs in the

Mediterranean Sea. But if the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic could sink, so could this boat. This ship was probably no safer then Titanic. She giggled nervously to herself and glanced around the empty hall. Maybe she should try to sleep. * “When this ships docks... getting off with you...” “Wake up, Gin,” Harry tried to nudged her awake. “Mmm...”

“C’mon, we seriously need to go. The ship’s just about to dock.” “Noo...” Ginny properly awoke with cramp in her neck. She stretched. “Yes,” he stood up, “let’s go.” Ginny followed him, pale faced and tired, back to the convertible. She thought about going back to sleep, but then she noticed the scenery. The sun was just rising from above the water and the ship was drifting into the port of Ajaccio. The colourful umbrellas of cafés stood out against the pale

coloured houses and restaurants. Many high hotels littered the coast, and Ginny didn’t like the looks of it all. Beautiful, she was sure. But they would get spotted for sure. The city bear the unmistakable marks of a resort town... and of many vacationers. “I don’t like the looks of this,” said Ginny once they reached the car, voicing her thoughts and crumpling her nose. “Why not?” asked Harry, as the ferry docked. “We’re going to get seen,” said Ginny,

“Just look at this place. If not by Gina O’Hara, then other reporters.” “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” “Why d’you mean?” she asked him, not understanding. “I mean that I don’t care about the press anymore. They can all kiss my ass,” said Harry easily. “So we’re just going to ignore them?” “Yeah,” he said as he steered the car along the beach.

“So where are we staying this time?” she curiously looked at him after a few minutes. “I dunno. Somewhere nice, I s’pose,” said Harry as he drove up to a elegant looking building. Somewhere nice was an understatement. A fancily dressed concierge opened the car door for a shocked Ginny. As she stepped out of the car, he offered her his arm. “Your arm, Mademoiselle?”

She took it, and the man led her through the elegant glass doors. Ginny turned her head back to Harry and gave him a shocked look. He gave out a mute snort of laughter and followed behind them with his hands in his pockets. The lobby was even more sophisticated then the one in Paris. It seemed to have a colour scheme of a crème colour and chocolate brown. Exquisite bouquets of white roses were placed on tables and there was a soft waterfall fountain played in a corner. The sound seemed to blend into the music of a piano player who was tinkling on his instrument in the middle of the lobby. Ginny stared

up at the unusually high ceiling and saw an expensive looking chandelier that seemed to be draped with diamonds. How is that even possible? “Mister Potter, I presume?” asked someone behind the desk. “Right,” said Harry, and he walked over. The two exchanged a few words before he handed Harry a key. “C’mon,” he called Ginny over from the fountain which she was examining, “I’ve got the key.”

She walked over to him, took his hand and began to walk toward an old fashioned lift. “Wait!” called the plump man behind piano and ran over to them. He seemed to have just made his mind up about something. “Monsieur Potter!” he said breathlessly as Harry turned around. He hesitantly held up his hand as if wanting to shake Harry’s. “Thank you... for... you know...” he whispered, colouring slightly. Harry shock hands with the man and looked curiously at him.

“Pardon me, but who are you?” “I am a squib,” muttered the man, going slightly red in the face, “Jean St.Lange. You’re here, oh mon Dieu. I heard about what you did. Merci... merci beaucoup.” He did a kind of half bow then rushed back to his piano, hoping his boss had not noticed their exchange. “That was strange,” grinned Ginny while they rode the lift up to their room. “Yeah...” he frowned.

“I thought he was going to kiss your hand.” He let out a short chuckle. “Me too.” The lift stopped and opened up. They walked down the hallway which was decorated as lavishly as the lobby. Harry pushed the key into the door and it swung open. “OH MY FU-“ “Don’t say it,” laughed Harry. The room looked like some kind of penthouse suite. The first thing that

Ginny noticed was the huge wall-toceiling windows on the far wall; they offered a magnificent view of the Corsican shore. A huge Muggle television was mounted on a wall before a large comfortable looking sofa. A fake looking fireplace sat beneath the TV, and elegant chairs surrounded a small table in a corner. “Nice, isn’t it?” asked Harry, throwing both their bags on the couch. “It’s amazing! It’s unbelievable!” replied Ginny, going over to smell the stalks of lavender that had been placed on a kitchen counter. “We need to go

buy a camera so we can take pictures!” “Food first,” he said, “I’m famished. We didn’t eat dinner, remember? “ “Sure, sure,” murmured Ginny, looking out the window onto the ever stretching coast. “C’mon then,” he said impatiently, taking her hand and dragged her out of the room. “So where are we going to eat?” she asked him, now fully playing attention. “I don’t know,” he said, “but we are

not getting lost this time.” She giggled as the lift traveled down the shaft. “Sorry, Harry,” she smiled innocently at him. They walked out the fancy hotel, and onto the boardwalk. “It’s so nice here,” said Ginny blissfully, “See how nobody’s outside yet? It’s like we have the island to ourselves.” “You’re right,” he said swinging their

hands and looking around, “It is nice here.” “How about we eat over there,” she said pointing to an outdoor café, “It looks like its open.” “Okay,” he answered and they walked toward it. “So,” said Ginny settling into metal chair, “what’s new with you?” “Oh, nothing much really,” he told her, “I’m in Corsica and loving life.” “It’s amazing, right?” she gushed

joyfully, “The war is finally over. Riddle’s gone! And we’re here and we don’t have to worry about anything like that anymore.” “Except your parents,” he sighed guiltily. “Ohh, it’s okay,” she told him. “Seriously,” she said, seeing his raised eyebrows, “If we plan it right, we won’t even have to be there that long.” “What d’you mean?”

“See, we’ll be here ‘til August, right? And seeing as the Hogwarts Express leaves September 1st we can just come back the last day of August. Like at night, or something.” A waitress came and took their orders. “So that won’t give them a chance to properly get angry,” said Harry, understanding. “Right!” “But what exactly are we planning to do Italy and Greece for three and half months?”

They sat in thoughtful silence for a few moments and the lady returned with their food. “We can go to some other country,” suggested Ginny through a mouthful of bacon. “Hmm...” mused Harry. “Let’s go to Spain.” “Spain?” her jaw dropped. “Spain,” he answered seriously, “Now your turn.”

“Oh God. My turn? This is so crazy.” “Well? Where do you want to go?” She thought for about half a second. “Morocco.” “That’s in Africa.” She laughed wildly. “Africa,” she repeated. “Let’s go to Africa.” “Casablanca.” “Casablanca?” “We’re going to Casablanca! This is

crazy.” “Truly is. And you know what?” she said and leaned over in her chair to get closer to him. She propped her chin up with her hands. “What?” “We’re crazy,” she grinned at him, “and this is turning out to be the best summer of our lives.” “I’m getting sick of lying on a beach all day,” yawned Harry, stretching out on a towel.

It was their seventh day in Corsica. Harry was right to be sick, seeing as the only thing they’ve done in their time there was lounge around on a variety of different beaches. “I suppose it is a bit boring. Maybe it’s time to move on to somewhere else.” “Where would that be?” he turned his head to look at her. “Italy!” she smiled widely. “Sure,” he said, squinting slightly in the sun at her, “I was thinking...

we’ll have to criss-cross it or something if we want to see everything.” “Everything?” “Genoa, Rome, Naples...” “Venice,” she added longingly. “Harry, I can’t wait.” “There’s nothing that much to see in Venice. A few churches, palaces and canals. I don’t see what the big deal is about that place.” “It’s not just that!” she gasped at

him, “It’s like the whole atmosphere of the place. I’ve heard that it’s just this feeling that comes over you...” “Who’d you hear this from?” “Luna.” “Figures. She’s been there?” “Her dad and her went Nargle hunting or something.” “Right-oh,” he said good naturally, and then pulled out a camera they’d bought at a gift shop.

“Oh no, not this again,” she hastily covered her face with her hands. “C’mon,” he sat up and pointed it at her, “Smile, Ginny!” “Stuff it,” came her muffled voice. “C’mon, it’ll be proof that you’ve been to Corsica!” “I think I’ve got enough proof, thanks.” And then before Harry could snap a picture, she got up and ran in the direction of the water. Not pausing to

think, he threw the camera down onto the towel leaving it completely exposed. Harry took off and chased her into the water, causing a rather large water fight. * “Goodbye, France,” sighed Ginny as the ferry left the port in Bastia the next morning. In four hours, they would be in Italy. She hung onto the railing on the back of the ship, gazing at the slowly retreating Corsican coast. Harry came up from behind and snaked his arms around her middle.

“I have a feeling we’ll be back,” he said softly into her ear. She shivered slightly as she felt his breath on her neck and his sudden closeness. “Really?” “If you want to,” he muttered. “We could come back every summer.” Wait...WHAT?! Did this mean what she thought it did? Did he still intent to be with her after a year? Wait, every summer? Every summer as in forever? Was he serious? He couldn’t be serious. She had a fleeting vision of herself in a rather

ugly, lacy white dress. Wait! No. What? How did she get that from him saying he wanted to go to France with her again next year? “Ginny?” “Sorry,” she shook herself a bit. “Right,” he rolled his eyes and turned her body so she was facing him. Unhesitatingly this time, and with probably no idea of what she had just been thinking, Harry kissed her. She

felt herself smile as she tangled her fingers into his hair. He was going to ask her to marry him. She doubted that it would be anytime soon, but he would. He would and Ginny was sure of it. * The sun was shining pleasantly, small clouds littered the sky and the smell of the sea hung around in the air. They’d left the port of Imperia a few hours ago, and were scheduled to arrive in Genoa very soon. “Italy is prettier the France,” commented Ginny as she rested her bare

feet on the dashboard of the car. “It all looks the same to me,” he answered easily as he rested his arm on the car door. “AHHH!” she screamed suddenly. “OH MY GOD! WATCH OUT!” She flung her arms in front of her face as if bracing herself of the impact to come. Harry swivelled the car inexpertly to the other side of the road as a car came out at them, honking madly. “I keep forgetting we’re not in

Britain,” he said unhappily, quite unruffled at the near death experience. “NO DIP, SHERLOCK!” screeched Ginny, staring wide-eyed at the narrow Cliffside road. He laughed at her. “You know that you almost killed us, don’t you?” she glared at him. “Yup,” Harry said pleasantly as he yawned. “You’re mad. I’ll kill you myself if you do that again.”

“I’d like to see you try,” he answered somewhat suggestively. “D’you seriously want a piece of me? Because I can totally take you right now.” “Uhh...” “C’mon, Potter. Stop the car. I can fight you without magic if you like.” “Err... As much as I’d love too, it looks like we’ve arrived in Genoa. You know that you’re really attractive when you’re angry?” said Harry, successfully

changing the subject. “Ooh, are you...” she giggled and provocatively jerked her skirt bottom higher up her thigh, “...turned on?” He gave her leg an inconspicuous sideways glance. “No,” he said, determined to keep a straight face. “Sure,” she laughed and fixed it back to her knees. “Look, this place is so much more charming then Nice or Ajaccio.”

“It looks exactly the same,” repeated Harry with a sigh as he parked the beetle. “It does not,” said Ginny as she hoisted herself out of the car without opening the door. “It does,” he told her as he joined her on the boardwalk. “The buildings look exactly the same, Gin.” “Maybe to someone as incompetent as you,” grinned Ginny as they started to walk. “First the disturbing paintings, now

this,” he muttered as he wrapped an arm around her waist. They looped around the rest of the boardwalk in comfortable silence before heading back toward the street where they had left the car. “You’re quiet sure that we left it here?” she asked Harry upon further inspection. “Yeah,” he answered, puzzled. “I’m definitely sure it was here. What happened to it?” “Didn’t get towed, did it?” she asked,

looking at a nearby sign. “No, no, it’s Sunday,” he pointed at the notice, “You don’t have to pay today, see?” She gazed around the swiftly darkening street in worry. “What happened to it, then?” “Stolen, probably,” he said, realization sinking in. “Oh NO,” she gasped, clutching her face in horror. “And we left our wands... we left our wands in the car!”

“...Shit.” He sunk down onto the sidewalk in resignation. “So,” she said as she joined him, “we have... nothing?” He searched through his pockets and pulled out a lone, rumpled twenty Euro note and the plastic camera. He smoothed out the bill and handed it to her. “Just the clothes on our backs and this.” “How are we expected to get to Casablanca with only this?” she asked, crumpling her nose.

“I think our greatest concern right now is getting back to Britain.” “No, we can’t let this spoil the adventure! My mum, Gina O’Hara and now this! We can go on without money! It’ll be more exciting this way, now that I think about it.” “I think Muggles call it backpacking,” Harry told her lamely. He looked around the now completely dark street. Graffiti was sprayed on the walls, trash was littered everywhere, and the place had the unmistakable stench of urine. Stupid,

really, that he had left his beloved car here; it had no chance of not being stolen. “I think...” Ginny exclaimed suddenly as she jumped up, “that this is going to be freaking fantastic!” “What do we do now?” Harry stared blankly at her. He looked as if someone had just shot his dog. “Ahh... we’ll go to a train station?” “We have no money,” he reminded her, sighing.

“We’ll –err- sneak onto a train.” “A night train, a night Muggle train?” “Yeah, why not? Should be the same as the Hogwarts Express, shouldn’t it?” A dark look crossed Harry’s face as he stood up. “Let’s hope so.” The train turned out to be very different from the Hogwarts Express. In fact, it was almost the opposite in looks and feeling. “What’s the worst that could happen?” she asked him and nervously stared

around the gritty compartment. They hadn’t purchased tickets. If someone came round to check them, they were screwed. “Mugged,” he muttered darkly, “murdered, robbed of everything we have left, raped.” “I doubt anyone would want to rape you, Harry,” laughed Ginny anxiously, stretching out on one of the seats. “It’s not me I’m worried about,” he said wearily as he sat opposite her. The lights flickered eerily in the otherwise empty compartment.

Ginny stared out the dirt lined window. There was only darkness as the train rattled loudly and uncomfortably through the countryside. They’d been one of the few who had boarded the Genoa – Venice night train. Ginny hadn’t thought to search for suspicious characters; she’d been too busy being nervous about sneaking onto the train. But surely no one would try to assault her, she was with Harry. Saviour of the Wizarding World. Dark Lord Vanquisher. Boy Who Lived. But Muggles probably didn’t know, and probably didn’t care to know about this. And Harry, she reflected sadly, was no Arnold

Schwarzenegger. She laughed aloud at the thought. “Does your impending doom amuse you?” Harry asked her irritably. “No,” she giggled, “try to imagine yourself a bodybuilder.” “Eurgh, that’s revolting,” he said, completely repulsed. “Please keep your sick fantasies to yourself, Gin.” “Why would anyone want to fantasize about you?” she asked him, smirking. He considered the question and then

answered, “I killed Voldemort. But you liked me before I did. A lot of people did. Why would that be?” “I dunno,” she said happily. “I’ve got no idea what I see in you.” “That’s a comfort,” he grinned. “Well... what do you like about me then?” “I’m supposed to spring romance on you randomly, remember?” “Oh yeah,” she yawned tiredly and settled into the uncomfortable seat.

~ “Wake up, sleepy!” she nudged Harry awake after a few hours. The train had squeaked loudly to a halt, they’d arrived in Venice at last. He ignored her and attempted to turn away. “Harry, we’re in Venice! Get up, get up!” she dragged him into a sitting position. “Venice!” “It’s still dark outside...” he muttered, rubbing his eyes. It was

dark, though obviously it was nearing the end of the night. “Get up, get up!” she screeched joyfully yanking him to his feet. But the train had started to move again, edging on to its next destination. “AHHH! COME ON, we need to get off!” she yelled, losing her head completely she seized his hand and took off down the corridor of the accelerating train. “We need to get off! I want to go to Venice!” “I know,” he uttered irritably as she dragged him along.

He wrenched the door open and looked expectantly at her. She hesitated as she looked down at the rapidly giving away platform. “Jump!” he urged her. So Ginny jumped, not too gracefully, from the quickening train onto the tiled platform. She swayed, attempting to regain balance. Harry landed a few feet from her. “I miss Alice already,” she told him. “Who’s Alice?” he asked curiously.

“Oh, right. I didn’t tell you, did I? It’s what I christened the car,” she explained matter-of-factly. “You named my car Alice.” “Yup, it suits it doesn’t it? Now can we please go properly experience Venice?” “Sure, sure. What choice do we have?” “Absolutely none at all,” she smiled at him. “You are not going to spoil this for me.”

They left the spinning glass doors of the Venetian train station. The sky was starting to develop a slight pink tinge. Tourists had not started swarming yet, and Venice was still asleep. They went in a random direction, hoping to avoid any major landmarks. It would be difficult to not get seen today. “I like when you smile,” noticed Harry after a few minutes. “Oh, do you?” she asked, a pleasant tingle running up her spine from his words.

“Yes, I’ve decided it’s one of the things I love about you,” said Harry, absolutely determined not to look at her. He had to find another way of telling her these things. “Is there anything else?” “Not yet, it’s not random anymore.” “That’s just fine,” she said eagerly as they turned into a narrow canal lined street. “Tell me anyway.” “Hey, you told me that I should be random.”

“And I’m starting to regret that I did,” she replied grumpily. “Just tell me.” “In exchange for what?” She sped up and moved in front of him, thinking. What could he possibly want? Struck by sudden, mad inspiration she spun around so that she was facing him. “Sexual favours!” she said devilishly, walking backwards. “Sexu- what?” “Yes, that’s right. Anything – GAH!”

she broke off suddenly, comically stumbling over a box she had not seen while walking backwards, affectively ruining her master plan of seduction. “Watch out!” he said swiftly, swooping in impulsively to catch her before she hit the ground. She swung her head back, laughing loudly in his arms. “That was so clichéd. I fell and you totally just caught me.” “In Venice,” he added happily. She beamed as she leaned her face up to

kiss him. * They’d roaming round the city streets for hours and hours. The exhaustion had passed for Ginny, and had been replaced with some kind of strange madness. “I can feel this city!” she declared loudly from the on top of the bridge. “I can feel it running through my veins! I can smell it!” He followed her tiredly up the steps. Well, he could smell it for sure. And it didn’t smell too pleasant.

“I can taste it!” she called, throwing her arms into the air. “And you know what I want to do?!” “What?” he asked wearily as she spun around the bridge with her arms in the air. “I want to find PASSION!” she shouted quite passionately before stumbling into a stern looking elderly man. She toppled slightly to the side, laughed, and then took off spinning down one of the streets in the opposite direction, singing complete nonsense into the melody of an Italian song that she had

heard during the day. “Sorry,” he told the bewildered man. “We were just, um, looking for passion.” He followed Ginny down the street. The girl was crazy. What had he gotten himself into? And where was she, anyway? “Boo!” she yelled from behind a wall, jumping onto his back. “Christ, Gin! You’re insane... Touched in the head.”

“You luuuurve me,” she called from the top of her lungs. “Now go! Passion awaits!” He adjusted to her weight and started to walk. “And where do we find this passion?” “Oh, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea,” she said unexpectedly. “Where would that be?” he asked innocently, knowing exactly what she was implying. “Well, you-”

But she stopped suddenly. They’d reached yet another bridge, though this one wasn’t populated with so many tourists. “Ahh, l’amore,” a male voice sighed from somewhere behind Harry. He turned round in alarm. A short, plump, middleaged looking Gondolier stood behind him beside a moored Gondola. Ginny let out a small exclamation of delight and jumped from Harry’s back. “Young love,” sighed the man again. “They had told poor Fabio that no one would come to his bridge. But yet here you are! Come, come friends, you are my

first customers in weeks,” he smiled expectantly and mentioned to the boat. She started toward it, though was stopped by Harry’s evil look. “We have no money,” she told Fabio disappointedly. “Oh,” his smile faltered then slowly turned away, “No ride then.” “We’re newlyweds!” she cried suddenly in desperation. She would have her ride and Harry wouldn’t stop her. Fabio looked at her, torn. “Uhh, our parents didn’t want us to be together,” she

invented wildly, looking at Harry for support. He gave her an exasperated look and stayed silent. “But he couldn’t keep his hands off me, could you Harry?” she said, panicky, and nudged him more sharply in the ribs then she intended. “Ou- I mean, right.” “Oh, alright,” said Fabio sadly, tearfully gesturing them to the gondola. “I cannot resist.” Ginny let out an excited whoop and vaulted onto the boat. Harry stepped smartly onto it from behind her.

“You seem eager,” he said as he sat beside her on the gondola. “I thought that boats made you sick.” “Oh no, I think I’ve gotten over that,” she said in a suddenly muffled voice as Fabio pushed away from the dock. His voice struck a soft mournful tune as he began to sing; he wasn’t as bad as his appearance suggested. “I thought people only sung on these things in movies.” “Shhh!” she hushed him in a whisper. “Venice!”

So he shut himself up. Harry supposed that this wasn’t as bad as he had thought, perhaps Luna had been right. The place did have a kind of strange atmosphere. And if there was a time to use the phrase ‘there was magic in the air’ it probably would’ve been now. “Say something nice to me,” whispered Ginny. “Why are we whispering?” he shot back. “Say something nice to me,” she repeated impatiently.

“Uhh...” he trailed off. He wasn’t expected to suddenly start reciting Shakespeare, was he? “Doubt thou the stars are fire, doubt the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar but never doubt thy love.” “What?” she asked astounded. “Where did that come from?” “Hamlet,” he whispered back and then shrugged. “The book was on the bookshelf and one day I just decided to read it.” “Right, sure Harry,” she muttered sarcastically but then added after a

few minutes, “What else do you know?” He chuckled as another phrase popped into his mind. “What about: I must be cruel, only to be kind.” “That’s not funny. That’s just weird reasoning.” He didn’t even try to explain it to her. “Who talks about Hamlet quotes on a gondola in Venice?” “Apparently, we do.” She laughed quietly and then said, “Take my picture; I definitely want proof of this.”

He searched through his pockets before pulling out the camera. He aimed at her, but then she said, “Oh, c’mon, you’ve got to be in it too,” and she pulled him, if possible, even closer to her. “Alright,” he said cheerfully, carefully pointing the camera at them again; there were only a few pictures left. But before he could take it, she had crushed her lips to his, kissing him full on. He pushed the button in surprise. “Typical,” he growled at her as he

pulled away and looked at the camera in disgust. “Real great. If somebody finds this, we won’t look so innocent.” “Oh yes, it is so very graphic,” she quietly laughed cynically and pulled him back. “And we simply must keep up our chaste reputation...” “You were the one how wanted to act like the American President’s wife,” he stifled a loud laugh. “You’re so –” “Ravishing? Gorgeous? Amazing in everyway that you thought possible?” she asked scornfully.

“That’s right,” he said and grinned at her. “I love you, Ginny.” “You’ve got no idea,” she said before kissing him again. And in the way that she did probably would’ve been deemed inappropriate, seeing as they were in public, if they were anywhere but Venice. But it seemed that these things were accepted, if not embraced, in this city. “So I will take you back to your hotel, eh?” asked Fabio, smiling knowingly, once they had broken apart. “Erm, we actually don’t have a

hotel...” said Ginny, turning in her seat to look at him. “Can you just take us back where we got on?” “Newlyweds! And with no place to stay!” cried Fabio dramatically in his Italian accent, not having any of it. “Then you will stay with me! Mama will be so pleased!” She stifled her laugh and answered the middle-aged gondolier, “That’ll be great. It’s very gracious of you; I hope it’s not a problem” “No problem at all!” he exclaimed, still smiling in a bemused sort of way.

Again, he started his serenade as he steered the gondola around. “Well, what other scheme of accommodation did you have planned for us?” she asked after a few minutes, correctly interpreting Harry’s lack of response. He didn’t answer, but yawned blissfully. It was strangely quite, and the only thing that could be heard was the distant touristy music and Fabio’s singing. “So this is nice,” said Harry contently after awhile. “Very nice,” agreed Ginny happily,

nestling her head on his shoulder. ‘Nice’ did seem to be the most appropriate word. More in habit then anything, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. It was wonderfully comfortable. She looked sideways and noticed something. “You’ve got stubble,” she tittered. She didn’t even know why she said it. He reached up to feel his jaw line. “I do, don’t I?” Ginny turned her head away and halffell out of her seat in boisterous giggles.

“Are you feeling okay?” he asked her in bewilderment. “I’m fine,” she chocked out though peels of noisy laughter. Harry Potter. With stubble. She had no idea why she found it so amusing. He frowned at her in concern. “Are you sure?” “Quite alright,” she said, fanning her face with her hands. “Uh, right...”

“Mountain man!” she burst out again, collapsing onto him in a shaking pile. He looked confusingly down at her. Harry couldn’t tell whether she was laughed or crying anymore. “Are you... on drugs?” She took a deep breath. “No,” gasped Ginny as she composed herself, giggling slightly at the look on his face. The gondola drifted to a halt beside a cosy looking Venetian house. “It’s just that,” she said subtly into his ear, “I realized a moment ago that I find stubble very attractive.”

And with that she stood up and jumped onto the harbour as if she had said nothing at all. That late afternoon, the inevitable happened. It started to rain. Ginny glared at it out the window of the guest room. Wasn’t there supposed to be some kind of festival tomorrow? She’d seen the signs on the street, and had been sincerely looking forward to it. Ginny wouldn’t be pleased if it was cancelled because of downpour. Maybe it would stop by tomorrow; the rain wasn’t coming down that hard. It looked like

it was just that warm kind of light summer drizzle. But still, she was doubtful. She heard the door quietly open and close behind her and turned around to see Harry. “It’s raining,” she commented lamely. “And it’s muggy,” he added with a yawn, sprawling out on the undersized single bed in the middle of the room. “And unusually hot, or is that just me?” She giggled absentmindedly, still thinking about festivals and racing gondolas. “D’you want to take a walk?”

“It’s raining,” he yawned again, echoing her. “Oh, that’s alright. Nobody’s going to be outside then.” “Don’t you understand,” he asked, still not rising, “that I slept for about three hours on a rattling train and then followed you round Venice for most of the day?” “What do you want to do then?” she asked wearily. “Come here and I’ll show you...”

Breath caught in her throat, she froze. He did not just suggest what she thought he did. Her pupils dilated, and she stared at him, mouth agape. “You’re serious. What? You can’t be serious.” “No, I’m not Sirius,” he frowned at her, misunderstanding. “What do you mean you’re not serious?” “Do I look like I’m Sirius?” “Well, yeah. I thought you did,” she said, feeling very humiliated. “You seriously thought that I looked

like Sirius?” Harry asked her, seriously confused. He looked like Sirius, compliment of insult? “Thought that you looked serious,” she said disappointedly, correcting his grammar. “What?” “I thought that you looked serious...” “One cannot look – ooh, riiight.” It was as if a light bulb had gone off in his head. “You thought that I was serious. As in serious. Not Sirius.”

She stared at him. “Sirius Black,” he explained. “I thought that you thought that I looked like Sirius.” “So you’re serious about...” “Uh, yeah?” “Okay!” she exclaimed happily, although the mood seemed to have left for her. Easily fixed. “Now say what you said before again in a seductive voice.” “Say what?”

“Come here and –” “Oh, alright.” He cleared his throat and said in a would-be sexy tone, “Come here and let me show you.” So she bounced over from the window and flung herself onto of him. “Sorry,” she giggled into his chest upon hearing his loud ‘ooof!’ at her landing. But he only seized her around the waist and crushed his lips to hers. Absolutely determined not to start giggling again, she squirmed around trying to remove her shoes without having to part lips with him. Difficult

work, seeing as the bed was obviously meant for one person. He attempted to flip her, stubbornly wanting to unclothe her himself. A short giggle escaped her mouth she pushed him away slightly, positively ripping at the buttons of his shirt. He was just about to help, when a soft knocking issued from the other side of the door. Panicking, she bolted out of the bed at once, completely shoving him off her. Almost comically, he let out a short cry of surprise as he fell to the floor. The door opened slowly, as if hesitant.

“Err, I apologise, was I disturbing you?” asked Fabio, surveying Harry as he jumped up from the cool, tiled floor. “Oh no, no, of course not,” he laughed breathlessly, casually buttoning up his shirt back up. “Yes, well then” he said kindly, obviously deciding to forget what he might’ve just witnessed. He clasped his hands together enthusiastically. “Mama says dinner is ready. I have come to call you down; she has made her trenette especially for you!” He left the room promptly, humming happily to

himself. Ginny laughed awkwardly once the door had closed and turned to look at him. “Sorry I pushed you away, panicked is all.” He jokingly rolled his eyes. “This isn’t over,” he warned as he grasped her hand and walked toward the door. She giggled again, and then noticed she had been doing that a lot lately. Strange really, how this trip had distracted her from reality. She had given almost no thought to Fred, or any other people who had died or even the war. A surge of guilt passed through

her, but she brushed it away. Fred would’ve wanted her to enjoy herself, not sit around crying over his dead body. Though doubtlessly, Fred wouldn’t want to enjoy herself the way she had just been doing. They descended the narrow stone staircase into the kitchen. If it was hot upstairs, it was nothing compared the sweltering kitchen. The humidity, combined with the cooking fumes and sweaty people, made the room positively boiling. Fabio’s mother, Loretta, was stirring something in a pot on the stove. Along with Fabio there were also two others in the kitchen, an elderly

woman and man. The man hastened to introduce himself upon seeing them walk it. “The name is Valentino,” he said in a very businesslike fashion, shaking Harry’s hand solemnly. He could’ve easily passed for a mafia boss in his crisp white suit and half unbuttoned pink dress shirt. “Valentino Moretti. My wife,” he gestured loftily to the short woman beside Loretta, “Gina. We are the neighbours of Fabio and Loretta. We traditionally share the dinner with them on Monday nights. It is a great pleasure to meet you.”

He might’ve been a bit serious, but Harry liked him well enough. “Harry Potter,” he said easily, appreciating the fact that these were Muggles and his name meant nothing to them. “Ginny Weas- Potter” she said, kissing both his cheeks in greeting, once he looked questionably at her. Ginny Potter. Had a nice ring to it, didn’t it? Ginny Potter, Ginny Potter, Ginny Potter... Harry seemed to be thinking along the same lines as her. A small smile played across his features as he shot her a

suggestive glance. She blushed slightly as she smiled back at him from the other side of Valentino, who seemed to be passionately ranting on about something, unknowing that they weren’t listening to him. “... so then I said to the man, I said, ‘that cannot be correct, because my baccalá have been-” “It is time for dinner,” Gina interrupted him as she laid a bowl of noodles on the tiny table. “Always going on about his fishing business,” she told Ginny, shaking her head, as everyone seated themselves around the

cramped table. Then she smiled goodnaturally, pushing her curly, greying hair out of her eyes. “It would be like we did not have better things to discuss.” “So tell us, Ginny, about the wedding...” added Loretta. She chocked a bit on her trenette. “Uh... well, it was very small,” she said slowly. Ginny hated lying to these people; they had treated Harry and her so well and this was what she repaid them with? “Details, details!” the two women

exclaimed as one. They were very friendly, though one couldn’t help but feel a bit intimidated by their Italian accents. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat and moved a noodle around her plate with her fork. “Uh, yeah, it was a really small ceremony. Just a few friends. It was...uh, outside, in a beautiful little garden with lilies and tulips and all sorts of- of different flowers and things...” Gina let out an exclamation of delight. “Already it is better then the wedding of me and Valentino! We had big

wedding! Almost too big! It was very crazy, there were so many people. And in a church, because he had firmly insisted on it!” “I most certainly did not insist on it!” he told her, abandoning his usual cool demeanour and mopping his sweaty brow upon his sleeve. “If I remember correctly, I merely suggested it.” “If you remember correctly!” she retorted, laughing. They reminded Harry of Ron and Hermione. You could almost taste the love emanating from them. It made him smile as he took another bite of the pasta.

“Are they always like this?” he asked Loretta quietly over the still arguing couple. “Always,” smiled the aged lady. “For the twenty five years that I have lived here, they have argued like this. But do not be deceived, they love each other very much.” Upon hearing this, Fabio, who was sitting opposite them beside Ginny, burst into a dramatic Italian opera. Maybe what Loretta had said had made him remember it, or maybe he just liked singing this much. He spooned second

helpings onto his plate, still crooning in his baritone voice. Nobody seemed to notice but Harry... and Ginny, who seemed to find this outburst amusing and leaned in to tell him something which caused his voice to falter slightly because of laughter. He heard Loretta sigh from beside him. “He was such a good accountant,” she told him sadly. “But then! He gives this up to be a gondolier! He is crazy, I have said this many times.” “He’s amazing though,” replied Harry. “Isn’t there something else that he could do? With a voice like that, he

should be famous.” She shook her head sadly, but a smile was breaking out across her face. “It is his passion. He was so very happy when he got accepted into the job. They didn’t seem to think that he had the... how do you can it? ‘Look’?” “Loretta,” asked Ginny from across the table, licking a finger clean. “What’s in this sauce?” It was Valentino who answered. “Clams,” he said proudly. “Had them caught them just yesterday. I made this myself.”

Ginny froze suddenly, colour slowly draining out of her face. She whipped her finger out of her mouth, white face rapidly turning into green. “Are you okay?” asked Fabio concernedly, abandoning his singing. Ginny shook her head faintly. “I’m allergic to clams,” she said with despair before springing up from her chair and sprinting upstairs as the first wave of nausea hit her. Running a hand through his barely-there white hair, Valentino turned to Gina and said, “I put too many clams?”

“No, voi idiota, ha detto che era allergica ai molluschi!” Gina snapped. “Is she going to be okay?” she added more lightly to Harry. “Yeah, I think so,” he said worriedly, looking up the staircase she had disappeared up and trying to recall whether or not she had mentioned this piece of vital information before. “I’m sure she’ll throw up a few times, and then be alright...but I think I’ll go see if she’s okay anyway.” He jumped up from his chair and hastened toward the bathroom.

The sounds of violent retching greeted his ears. He reached toward the doorknob, only to find that she had locked the door. Harry knocked, but received no reply. “Ginny?” he called softly, worry noticeably multiplying. “Go away!” came her hoarse voice. “Are you well?” he asked concernedly, pressing his face and hands to the door as if he was trying to melt through it. He cursed his useless wandless magic abilities.

“Go away!” He ignored her. “Can I come in?” “NO!” her voice sounded from the other side of the door, followed by another bout of retching. “Why not?” “...BECAUSE I’M REALLY UGLY RIGHT NOW!” “I. Don’t. Care. How. You. Look,” he said furiously, getting seriously frustrated. “Every boy says that until they

actually see the girl,” she retorted. Harry had had enough. “Alohomora!” he angrily commanded the doorknob, wildly waving his hands at it. Nothing happened. “Uhh... what are you doing?” asked a voice hesitantly from behind him. He turned, and seeing Fabio carrying a glass of water, dropped his rapidly wind-milling arms. “I was...” he trailed off, trying to think of the best excuse for shouting nonsense at an uncooperative doorknob.

“Convincing her that she is beautiful?” he asked sympathetically. He must’ve only heard the ‘I don’t care how you look.’ Fabio handed the glass to him along with a small medicine bottle. “Give this to Ginny, it should settle her stomach. Valentino and Gina just left, they told me to tell you goodbye. I think I am going to go to sleep as well. Good night, Harry. Get well soon, Ginny! ” he added to her and proceeded into one of the rooms down the hall. “Did you hear that, Ginny?” he asked her slowly once he had left. “It should settle your stomach...”

“Leave it outside,” she said stubbornly, “stop convincing me that I’m beautiful, and go to sleep.” He sighed as he placed the glass of water and medicine outside the door. “Are you at least going to be okay?” he asked irritably. “Sure, sure,” she said, trying to keep the bile down and then added after she didn’t hear his footsteps away, “What are you still doing out there?” “Are you really sure?” “YES! I said sure, didn’t I?!”

“Alright...” he said with a yawn. “’Night, love.” “Goodnight, Harry, dear” she answered in a singsong voice. Not know how else to stall this conversation, he sighed, and shuffled his tired feet toward the guestroom.

* * *

If you could believe it, the nausea had finally begun to fade. She lifted her

face from her arms and slowly unfolded her knees. Completely uncurling herself, she stood up and glared at her reflection in the mirror above the sink. Well, at least her face wasn’t green anymore. Now, it was just unpleasantly blotchy. Allergic reactions to molluscs would be the death of her. She moaned quietly and scrubbed the imperfections away as well as she could with cold water. Unlocking the door, she quietly ambled through the sleeping house toward the bedroom. She slipped through the door and silently shut it behind her. She saw the outline of Harry in the bed, on

his side, and judging by the unvarying rise and fall of his bare chest, asleep. So now Ginny was faced with a dilemma. She could either sleep on the floor... or she could somehow sneak in beside Harry without him waking up. Ginny chose the latter. And if he woke up, well... he would just have to deal with it. Sneakily, she twitched the thin sheet aside and snaked herself in beside him. She froze for a moment, looking at his sleeping face, nose an inch from his, but he only grunted slightly. Breathing a silent sigh of relief, she closed her eyes, trying to fall asleep before the growing numbness

of the arm she was lying on overcame her. “So are you okay now?” he muttered as he opened his eyes. Her heart skipped a beat at the sudden sound of his voice. “I thought you were asleep,” she whispered weakly. “I was,” he whispered, rubbing sleep out of his eyes as he looked at the moonlit face so close to his. “I’m a rather... light sleeper.” “Since the War?” she asked quietly, entwining their legs together. And

intimate gesture, though completely innocent; Ginny felt more comfortable at once. He nodded mutely and continued his vigil of her face. Silence, except for the now steadily hammering rain on the window. It was uncanny, seemingly adding to the sober mood. “Harry...” she whispered, almost so that even she almost couldn’t hear it, “what happened?” He tensed noticeably. “What happened when?”

“When you... when you left last summer to go fight Riddle.” She studied his face intently, judging his reaction. His green eyes were piercing, and Ginny could tell that he was seizing the situation up. He knew that she had the right to know... but either he wanted to spare her from whatever horrors he might’ve faced or he just didn’t want to relive them. He closed his eyes and sighed deeply, decidingly. “You seriously want to know?” he asked faintly, knowing fully well the answer. “Only if you’re... ready to tell me.” She attempted what she hoped was a

comforting smile, curiosity at what had happened increasing more and more since the end of the War. She’d been burning to ask the question for ages. “Well, it’s... it’s...” he whispered, struggling, “it’s scary,” he finished lamely. “I think I can handle it,” she said quietly, cappuccino coloured eyes reassuring him that she indeed could. And so he launched into his thrilling tale of Horcruxes and Voldemort, feeling that maybe, just maybe, telling Ginny was a good idea.

* * * When Harry woke up the next morning, his heart felt lighter then it had in... years? No, probably his whole life. It was like poison had somehow been drawn out of an infected, bleeding wound. A wound he had been distracted from though had always been there, throbbing quietly in the background. His guilt had been eased greatly, and Ginny had been mostly to blame for that. Although his mind didn’t believe half what she had told him, his conscious seemed to have different ideas.

Brimful of some very unHarryish happiness, he opened his eyes to discover that he was alone again. He frowned, sleepily propped himself up with his elbows and squinted around the room. Why did he always wake up alone? Where did Ginny go? He yawned and let his head fall back again. Well, she’ll come back eventually. Smiling vaguely to himself, he closed his eyes and waited for sleep to take him once again. Just drifting back into a slumber, he heard the door swing open with a loud bang. “Wazzgoinon?” he asked loudly, half-

asleep. “Harry!” Ginny exclaimed happily. “VAGALONGA!” “Vaga- whaa?” he muttered, throwing his arms across his face. “Loretta told me the name of the thing that was supposed to be today! It’s a rowing tournament!” “Rowing tournament?” he asked with another yawn, not coming out from under his arms. “How exciting.” “That’s the spirit!” she said

enthusiastically, missing the sarcasm. Almost skipping, she wrenched the curtains open. “It’s a simply ravishing day! See look, it stopped raining!” “Go away, I’m sleeping,” he said, trying to turn away from the sudden early morning sunlight that was leaking out onto the bed. “Why do I always have to wake you up?” she asked happily. “Because you want me to die of insomnia,” he said, finally waking up properly. He sat up, throwing the sheet off him and swung his legs over the

edge of the bed, muttering profoundly to himself. “Of course not!” she scowled at him from the other side of the room. “I happen to be in love with you, you lazy git.” “And I with you, my beloved girlfriend!” he sung dramatically, throwing his arms up in resignation as he stood up and walked toward the bathroom door. “Desperately! Involuntarily! Irrevocably! Perpetually!” “Hey, get back here, Potter!” she said

irritably. “Um... are you forgetting something? We still haven’t properly snogged today!” “What did you just say?” he asked, looking scandalized. He turned around, just in time for her to fling herself onto him, tossing her arms around his neck and kissing him on the mouth. And he responded with such an unexpected intensity that she had not experienced from him yet, lifting and spinning her around on the spot. A bit giddy from lack of oxygen to her brain, she wrapped her legs round his waist in growing hunger. Suddenly terribly unbalanced, he stumbled forward into a

near wall, doubtlessly crushing Ginny even closer to him. She didn’t seem to notice, being busy with positively eating his face. Suddenly, reluctantly, she broke her lips away. “Breathe,” she gasped breathlessly, hastily untangling herself from him. She tried to calm her racing heart, which seemed to be beating rather faster then usual. He released her at once, eyes widened, and backed away slowly; seeming coming back to earth. Looking shocked at himself, Harry said, more to himself then her, “Must... control...

teenage... hormones.” She nodded solemnly in agreement, though a smile was breaking across her face. “What?” he asked, a few meters away, trying to regain his composure. “I think that might’ve classified as a proper snog.” “Uh, right? Well, err, I’m going to go... to the bathroom now to... get ready?” he said nervously, sidestepping her and fleeing from the room.

“Right,” she repeated to herself, disappointed seeping in yet again, after the door had snapped shut. ‘This isn’t over’ indeed, she thought scornfully. Well it wasn’t. She huffed in indignation, crossing her arms and scowling at nothing in particular. The next time a situation of this nature occurred... she wouldn’t be taking no for an answer. * * * She dragged him through the crowded, touristy streets of Venice toward the starting line of the rowing tournament. Ginny’s greatest concern was being able

to see, while Harry’s was fear of being separated. He clung to her hand as she weaved through the noisy throngs of people, shoving them away when necessary. “AHA!” she exclaimed suddenly, pointing toward the boat crowded Grand Canal. “There! Over there! Britain’s over there!” “How can you tell?” he asked, squinting at the cluster of boats. “The flag, you blind child, can’t you see it?”

“Well, I can now,” he said, and then shook his head sadly. “Blind child? Could I be detecting that you’re running out of insults?” Her retort was lost in the noise of people around them. “Bets! Place your bets here!” cried a nearby, official looking street vendor, jingling a bag of coins in his hand. Ginny stopped dead in her tracks, causing Harry to crash into her from behind. She toppled slightly, clutching the front of his shirt to prevent falling, almost absentmindedly.

Inspiration was blooming. “Gamble.” “What?” “Gamble money on boat,” she said, still staring at the vendor. “And lose all the money we have left?” he asked. “No, we would win... I’m sure of it...” “How can you be sure of it? Look, we need to go watch, it’s almost about to start.”

“Because we’re magic, that’s why we’re going to win,” she said, annoyed. “Now give me the money, Harry.” She stretched out her hand and stared at him, expectant. He rolled his eyes and pulled out the meager fifteen Euros that was left. She grinned at him as she seized it from his hand and rushed over to the vendor. He watched the confused exchange between Ginny and the vendor. They better win. Because if they didn’t... well, Harry didn’t even want to think about it.

“So who’s our money on?” he asked curiously once she returned with a slip of paper. “Boat sixty-two.” “And who would that be?” he asked as the continued closer to the starting line. “Someone from Norway,” she said simply. “Patriotic much?” he snorted, laughing. “Oh, who cares really? Sixty-two’s my lucky number. And I’m positive it’s going to come in sixteenth, which is

what I bet.” He sighed hopelessly. “The odds...” “The odds are amazing,” she huffed, pompously sticking her nose in the air. “Stop being so pessimistic.” “Alright,” he sniffed, watching the different boats get ready for launch. “But I still don’t see how this is going to work out.” He located boat 62, which turned out to only be a scrawny blonde haired man in a kayak. A blast fired in the distance, and suddenly the boats were off, starting

their circuit through the Venetian lagoon. Much screaming from Ginny ensued. “OH MY GOD, WHY ISN’T HE SPEEDING UP!? HE’S ALMOST LAST! HE CAN’T BE LAST! WHY. ISN’T. HE. HURRYING?!” “It’s not a race,” he answered. “Why the bloody hell not?” she screeched, red hair dancing round her as she jumped up and down, trying to follow boat sixty-two’s progress. “Because the Vagalonga is an act of love toward Venice and its lagoon. A

protest for not using motor boats,” he explained soothingly. She looked murderous. “How do you know this?” “I’m just awesome like that. So what do you want to do for the rest of the day?” “Wallow in depression. I just lost our money,” she said, looking very crestfallen. “Ah, well... we’ll manage.” He added passionately, “Hope is not yet gone... maybe he’ll do it.”

“Maybe...” she sighed, as she watched the canal clear of boats and tourists slowly dispatch in their different ways. “Oh come here,” he muttered, taking her into his arms once seeing she still looked upset. “I’m not angry with you, so why are you so sad?” “Being silly,” she muttered dully, still angry at herself. She snaked her arms around his middle. “Let’s go find somewhere to snog.” ~~~

Chapter 6 | Utterly Pointless Bickering

“Is snogging all you think about?” “Well... you know, maybe it’s not exactly only snogging...” He stared down at her. “Screeeeeew me!” she sung jollily, deciding to get straight to the point. Completely flabbergasted, he jumped away from her, sputtering incomprehensibly. “Great pickup line,

Gin. Real subtle.” “Screw- ?” “Don’t say it again,” he snapped, still shocked at her outburst. How unexpected. “It sounds so animalized.” “You and me baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel!” she burst out suddenly, waving her arms in the air and rotating on the spot, earning many shocked glances from passersby. “See, listen to yourself! Where’s this society going to?” He shook his head in

distaste. “Love... aren’t we in love? Why do you have to resort to such desperate measures? I seriously need to romance you or something.” “Oh, don’t act so innocent. You seemed rather... eager last night, didn’t you?” she shot at him, smirking. “That was before I completely thought it through.” “Okay fine then. Woo me, Harry.” He opened his mouth, though no words came out.

“Exactly,” she said triumphantly, revelling in her victory. “Hold on.” He scowled, thinking furiously. Woo indeed. For what felt like the millionth time, he found himself in this situation. She stared at him, fighting the grin that threatened to take hold of her face. “I’ll do it in the right moment. And when I do... well, you’ll see what happens.” “Sure... okay, yeah. I really look forward to it.”

“Oh, you can be laughing now. But,” he smiled suddenly, “you’ll see who’s the one laughing when I seduce with you with my seducing... um... words.” “Sure,” she repeated sarcastically, rolling her eyes. “So... what do we do now?” “I guess we should wait until our Norwegian kayaker finishes his loop around the lagoon, don’t we?” She snorted unhappily. “And watch him come in seventeenth or something? God, I seriously didn’t think that through, did I?”

He grinned. “Not at all.” She sighed suddenly. “So this is the part when we leave Venice.” “Are we going on another train?” he asked curiously as they started to walk toward the station. “I guess so... although I think I’ve rather lost my fondness for them,” she said dully. He only laughed. “So when is this wooing going to

start?” she asked after awhile. “I told you... the right moment. Don’t be so impatient.” “Well, I’m feeling particularly more lust crazed then usual today,” she grumbled, taking in the last sights of her beloved and lovely Venice. She was so sad to leave, but Harry had said that they would go back one day. “Oh really? I wouldn’t’ve noticed if you hadn’t told me.” “You know you want it,” she retorted at once.

“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t,” he said, eyes dancing mischievously. She found it unbearably annoying. Huffing angrily, she wrenched her hand from his and crossed her arms round her chest. Stupid romance, she’s been a right idiot for suggesting it in the first place. She glared at him, but he only grinned back. She turned her eyes away, seeing a lost cause. They’d reached a sort of vast parking lot beside the station. Missing Alice deeply, she stalked, trying to lose Harry, toward the entrance of the

station. He half pranced to catch up to her, seizing her around the middle. Effectively stopping her, he pushed her back into a shadowy doorway of a closed looking shop. His cheek brushed against hers as he leaned in. “I love you, Ginny,” he intoned quietly, hands now resting lightly on her waist. Involuntarily, she felt her anger dissolve as if it never existed. And how strange... seeing as they hadn’t solved the problem. Really strange actually. Maybe this was his way of romancing her. It was working.

“When?” she breathed, willing his mouth to hers. The place where his fingers touched her skin smouldered slightly, unnoticed. His lips traveled up her neck, feather light, almost not touching at all. “Very soon.” Her breath caught in her chest and felt heat rising up toward her face. She wouldn’t be able to stop if they started this whole touchy-feely-heavybreathing thing again. ...Especially here.

“What are you doing, then?” “I’m wooing you... didn’t you notice?” he murmured in an oddly deep voice, taking her hands into his own, moving in to kiss her. “How could I not?” she asked softly, putting a finger to his lips. “Stop doing this to me, it isn’t fair.” He didn’t move away, but looked tenderly down at her. “That’s like me asking you to stop being so beautiful,” he told her, grinning. She felt her eyes flutter close. “When

is this ‘very soon’?” “Very soon is very soon,” he said mysteriously, sidestepping back onto the street and holding out his hand to her. She took it again, feeling very windswept. Maybe she was overreacting to this whole ordeal. A sudden noise disrupted her thoughts. “Harry,” she said abruptly, enthusiastically. “Let’s catch a ride with those people!” “Catch a ride...” He laughed. “With whom?”

She pointed to the source of the noise: a group of rambunctious looking Muggles crowded around a dark blue farm-ish looking truck. “Uh, are you sure?” He raised his eyebrows. “I don’t think that hitchhiking is very safe- “ “The worst they can say is no,” she interrupted impatiently, moving toward them at a fast pace. “I don’t want to go on a train. Let’s test out luck.” He looked nervous as he jogged behind her.

“Chow,” she greeted happily, Harry behind her, bouncing nervously on the balls of his feet. “Ciao,” answered a smirking brown haired man, leaning against the car. Looking very Italian, cigarette in mouth, he added, “Come va, bambina?” “Do you speak English?” she asked undauntedly, more boldly then she felt. “Umm, sí... yes,” he said slowly, smirk faltering slightly. He removed the cigarette from his mouth and threw it somewhere behind him.

“So where are you guys off to?” she asked innocently, staring around at the group of people. “Nerano!” came a rowdy chorus of voices. A blond haired, bewildered looking girl exclaimed suddenly, “Hey! You... come wit’ us!” And then Ginny couldn’t believe her luck. Who cares where or what a Nerano was? They had a perfectly legal source of transportation to get to there. Before she could even respond, shouts of agreement sounded from around the

crowd and the Italian looking man gestured them to the back exposed part of the truck. The Muggles clambered into their strange car thing, with the exception of the blonde girl, who joined Harry and Ginny in the back. “My name is ALFREDA!” said Alfreda exuberantly, smiling widely at Ginny as the truck roared to life. “We are going to Nerano!” “Yeah, I know!” grinned Ginny, matching Alfreda’s enthusiasm. “You’ve already told us! I’m Ginny, by the way. What’s Nerano?”

Alfreda dropped her unnaturally large mouth into a big ‘O’ of surprise. “YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT NERANO IS, GINNY?!” she yelled dramatically, flailing her arms in a slightly alarming way. “Uhh, no? I’m sorry, is it a place?” she asked hesitantly, believing that Alfreda was genuinely angry with her. Alfreda dropped her arms, and threw her head back with sudden wild laughter. “Of course it is a place, Ginny, in the region of Campania!” “Campania?” asked Ginny questioningly.

This lack of Italian geography knowledge seemed to scandalize Alfreda even further. “Campania, Ginny!” she gasped, “Do you not know of the region of Campania, Ginny!? Of Naples or Ravello!?” And so Ginny finally understood. “Oh, I see. So we’re going to Nerano, which is close to Naples, which is in Campania?” “Sure!” Alfreda smiled her overly large smile. “Yes we are, Ginny! You know what? I think I’m going to take a nap, Ginny; it’s really hot isn’t it? So I’m going to take a nap.” And with that, she sprawled out on the other side of

the truck, and in seconds was visibly asleep. “She’s so awesome, isn’t she?” asked Ginny fondly to Harry. He jumped slightly at the sound of his name, seemingly snapping out of a heat induced trance. “A bit random. I like it. I wonder how she fell asleep so fast.” “Oh yeah...” he said sleepily, rubbing his face wearily with his hands, “Sure. I think she might have ADHD or something.” “ADHD?”

He laughed faintly. “It’s nothing. So we’re going to Nerano... I’ve never heard of it. But what about Rome?” he added. “Rome,” she snorted, “is for prats and tourists; everyone goes there.” “Everyone goes to Venice,” he pointed out. “That’s different - you can’t go to Italy without going to Venice,” she said slowly, as if explaining this to a rather stupid child.

“You can’t go to Italy without going to Rome!” he exclaimed, taken aback. “Aren’t you supposed to be wooing me?” she snapped suddenly. “Aren’t you supposed to be making wooing you easier for me?” retorted Harry. Ginny puffed her chest up. “Well it wasn’t my idea for you to fawn over me! I never asked for it! ...Well I did. But then I renounced it!” “Oh yeah, well... well...” he trailed off pathetically.

“You’ve got until we get to Nerano,” she snapped in a finalized tone. Crossing her arms, followed by her legs, she stared at him expectantly from the other side of the back. He let out a long breath, cheeks puffing up comically. Alfreda’s light snorts could be heard over the billowing wind. Ginny was looking anticipatorily at him and he still didn’t know what to do. Harry was the only known survivor of the killing curse. He had faced dragons, Death Eaters, a Basilisk and who knows what else. In comparison to the task he was

faced with now, defeating Voldemort was easy. Romancing his girlfriend (who was already sufficiently in love with him) was impossible. He braced himself for the foolishness that he was about to expel. Now that he thought about it, he really had no idea why he was putting himself through all of this idiocy. “So Ginny.” She stared blankly at him. “I have decided that I’m better person because of you.” “Uh, Thank- ?”

“SHH! I’m not done. I’m lost with out you. I’m nothing without you. My love is unconditional. You are an angel from God, a candle... in the burning light.” “...Excuse me?” She was falling into the impression that he was taunting her. “Sorry, I meant ‘night’,” he laughed, though stopped abruptly. He slapped his hand passionately to his chest. A little too hard, it hurt.. “You are the only reason that I am ALIVE! You’re absolutely wonderful and amazing and beautiful! Ginny Weasley?!”

It took her awhile to realise that he wanted an answer. Quite alarmed, she responded, “Yes..?” “Will you m- ?” Oh. Where did that come from? Silly mistake. “I mean – I’m... I’m in love with you.” He looked away. He could’ve been asking her to marinate his steak for all she cared. The latter mattered. “I love it when you say that.” He shook his head at her and reached out for one of her feet. “You know I actually did mean what I just said.”

“About how I’m a candle in the burning light?” she asked, giggling. She saw his reaction. “Oh no. Sorry. Wrong answer. Umm... so you really do love me?” Undaunted, he continued, “Yeah. I don’t think I would’ve made it through the war if I wasn’t sure that you would be there at the end. Waiting for me.” “‘Waiting for me’. Honestly, Harry. The way you said it, you’d almost think I wouldn’t.” She rolled her eyes and smiled. “You make it sound so poetic.”

“I think I might've stolen that from a Muggle movie.” He shrugged, and traced patterns on the sole of her foot. “War films: I’ll take you to see one when we get back. That is... if you’d want to.” “I would want to.” The places were his fingers touch the ball of her foot tickled a little. It wasn’t a bad feeling, she reflected happily. “I love Muggle films. Wizards don’t make them, obviously.” There was silence for a few moments. “Sometimes,” Harry blurted suddenly, “I’m not sure if you’re really real.

That something this good could happen to me, you know? I keep thinking someone’s going to steal you away from me, everything will return to normal, and I’ll go to live with the Dursley’s again or something.” He looked up at her “...Soon I’ll wake up and be back in Privet Drive, almost as if this was just a really good dream or something.” She, almost reluctantly, removed his hand from the things they were doing to her foot, and scooted over so that she could hold it in her own. “I can assure you, Harry, that this is real.” She giggled uncomfortably. “And this is the part where I would kiss you

suggestively, except that would be really awkward... seeing as we’re riding on the back of a – what is this?” He chuckled. “Some kind of farm truck thing?” “Right... And, the road is really quite bumpy even though we’re going so slowly.” “Oh yeah,” he nodded in mock agreement, “definitely a reason not to snog.” She giggled, moved back into her original spot opposite him, and stuck

her foot at him in expectation. “What?” “Rub please.” He grinned. “Why would I do that?” “Why do I have to convince you into everything?” she countered, almost comically nasty. She skived off her mood swings to sexual frustration. He snatched her foot from where it was hanging in the air in front of him. “You don’t have to convince me into doing everything.”

She shrugged noncommittally. “You don’t make decisions fast enough. You have a serious lack of impulsivity; it’s a crucial flaw in your character.” “Well, you... you- you have commitment issues!” She raised her eyebrows. “What?” A short laugh escaped his lips, immediately stifled. “No, you don’t, I’m sorry. It was the first thing that popped into my head.” “Thanks,” she spat bitterly.

“You know I love you, Gin.” She pursed her lips and looked away. “What’s the point of this conversation?” “I’m trying to point out your character flaws!” “You’re supposed to be wooing me!” she interrupted, feeling very annoyed. “Ahh, not this again. We’re going in circles.” “Maybe I should look for a relationship

that doesn’t go in circles,” she snapped, glaring at him. He seemed to be fighting the urge to laugh. “Maybe you should find someone who’s able to romance you.” “Maybe I will,” she said in a finalized tone of voice. “Maybe I should just ditch you now.” “Maybe... you should?” He was still cradling her foot in his lap, inexpertly massaging it. “Fine. Consider yourself ditched.”

“Good.” “Great.” “Fantastic.” “Hold on, we’re not really breaking up, are we?” “Of course not.” And they left it at that. * * * Ginny was bored out of her mind. They had been in this rattling, clattering

truck for God only knows how many consecutive hours and its unbearably slow speed frustrated her out of her mind. The scenery (somewhere in Tuscany, judging by the unforgettably picturesque rolling hills) might’ve been beautiful, but she had gotten tired of its perennial olive and sunflower gardens rather fast. Alfreda was still fast asleep, and Harry was insufficient company, playing with the plastic camera and keeping silent. She sighed loudly, obviously. “Stop sighing,” he said with the same boredom evident in his voice. He didn’t look up at her. “It’s really annoying.”

“I’m annoying!?” she exclaimed to the sky. “Yeah, and it’s really distracting.” She snorted, snapping her head back to him. “Distracting from what?” He sighed hypocritically and put the camera down. “How am I supposed to know?” “I don’t know, Harry. Maybe-” She shook her head. “I don’t know! Let’s... do something to distract this, uh, tediousness.”

“Right,” he stretched his arms and stifled a yawn, “let’s play a game then.” “Yeah, that’s going to be so interesting,” she said sarcastically. “Don’t be pessimistic,” he said knowingly. “It isn’t a desirable quality. Okay, so, uhm. I just realized I don’t particularly know any good car games.” He looked at her expectantly. “Well, don’t look at me. How would I know?”

Settling on an overly used children’s game, he ignored her and sung with a usually high pitched voice, “I spy with my little eye that is... red.” She stared around, finding nothing particularly red on the Italian countryside. “A tomato?” she asked hesitantly. “No.” “An apple?” “No.” “Ruby?”

“No, where would I see that?” “OH! I’ve got it! It’s a strawberry, isn’t it?” He shook his head. “...No.” “I give up,” she huffed impatiently. “I can’t see anything red.” “Looooser!” he teased happily. “It was your hair.” “Stuff it Potter,” she said with an obvious roll of her eyes. “I doubt you can match my show tune knowing skills.”

“Show tune knowing skills?” he laughed. “I think you’d be surprised.” She cleared her throat with a very Umbridge-y ‘hem hem.’ “I am sixteen, going on seventee-” “Easy,” interrupted Harry smugly. “That’s the most obvious one you could pick, it’s from The Sound of Music.” “I’d like to see The-Boy-Who-Lived come up with something better,” she snapped, annoyed once again. “It’s spriiingtime for Hitler and

Germanyyy...” “The Producers!” “Do I even want to know how you know that musical?” “Probably not.” She laughed awkwardly. He stared at her in newfound wonder. Ginny shook her head suddenly, as a dog would when wet. “I’m next.” She grinned, and tucked her legs under her, singing to the sky, “I’m going to wash that man right outta my hair. I’m going to wash that man right outta my hair!

I’m going to wash that man –“ She was disappointed when he interrupted her, as she was just getting into it. “Okay, I don’t know that one.” He boomed a laugh. “South Pacific. HAHA, I win! Who’s the loser NOW?! ...And why, again, are we singing Muggle show tunes?” “Because!” he said exasperatedly. “This is so insanely boring that we have to reduce ourselves to idiots to keep ourselves entertained. You were the one who suggested it.”

She ignored the last jibe. “Yes, watching The Chosen One sing show tunes is very entertaining,” Ginny teased, laughing. “I think that you’ve got a very prosperous career ahead of you, Harry,” she added in all seriousness. “No, no, we should start a band. We’ll call it Harry and The Chosen Pygmy Puffs or something like that.” “Or Harry and The Pygmy Puffs Who Lived.” She roared with laughter. “And we’ll get Ron and Hermione to join as well. This is going to be the next big thing to hit the Wizarding world.”

“Yeah, definitely,” he said idly, yawning. “So d’you think that Hermione’s found her parents yet?” “I’ve truly no idea, but I bet their having fun wherever they are,” she said, grinning. “If we sent them a letter, d’you think the owl would find them?” “Probably,” he reasoned, “but we’d have to find an owl first.” “Oh yeah...” she said, slightly crestfallen. “There’s always some kind of problem, isn’t there?”

“That’s life, I guess,” he said lamely. “First Voldemort comes back and we have to get rid of him, then our car gets stolen, and now this.” He exhaled dramatically and pompously shook his head. “What, oh what, are we going to do?” “Be serious or I’ll smack your face,” she snapped harshly, bad mood returning once again. “Honestly, Harry.” “Yoou! You be serious! You would not actually hit me.” Ginny puffed up in indignation. “Try me,” she said nastily, glaring daggers

at him. What was he playing at? Perhaps it was the boredom, and if so, she was feeling it too. They had nothing better to do but snap at each other all day. How unutterably pathetic. “What if I don’t want to try you?” he retorted angrily. Her brown eyes flashed: always a danger sign. “What if you do?” “What if I don’t?” “Do.” “Don’t!”

“DO!” “DO NOT!” She threw her arms in the air in frustration as she heard Alfreda stir at the sudden loud noises. And she was in no mood to talk to her. “We’re going in circles again!” she exclaimed resignedly, quieter then before. He turned his eyes away and crossed his arms. “Sorry,” he grumbled, not sounding sorry at all. “Okay,” she said calmly. “Now sound

like you mean it.” Shaking his head tiredly, he said more lightly, “I’m sorry, Gin.” She grinned. “I’m sorry too.” “Hold on... what am I supposed to be sorry about again? Not wanting to fight with you?” And that was when she realized how preposterous all of this was. “This is ridiculous. Why are we arguing about nothing?” “Because there’s nothing better to do,”

he said dully, stating the obvious. He was tired, exhausted with no reason of why except the unforgiving heat. By the end of the day, he would be lucky to only get off with sunburn, if not sunstroke. He could practically feel the exposed part of his legs, his calves, baking slowly, roasting under the sun. “I think I liked it better when you were wooing me, rather then arguing.” “Me too, Ginny, me too.”

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