Harry was worried about that look on the twins’ faces. He had a horrible recollection of a dangerous looking instrument they had once threatened Zacharias Smith with. He barely contained his urge to swallow nervously.
“Gin go away for a minute, we’d like a word with young Harry here,” Fred said. He and George stepped either side of Harry and made to start walking with him.
“Why?” Ginny asked, crossing her arms and looking at her two brothers.
“We need to have a little talk with the bloke that’s dating our sister. Set the ground rules, you know,” Fred explained. Both he had George still wore that evil grin.
“Right,” Ginny’s arms were still crossed and her eyes were narrowed. “I’ll agree to this but —“ she uncrossed her arms and reached in her pocket, pulling out her wand, “- If I hear you’ve done or said anything that I don’t like —“ she was holding her wand in her right hand and tapping it slowly in her left, “ — I will have to hex you.” The grin now on her face was just as evil as Fred and George’s.
“Right-o,” George said, Harry noticed the twins cringe as Ginny had threatened them.
“Well must get on, as we say, time is galleons,” Fred said. He and George each grabbed one of Harry’s arms and frog marched him away. They walked into the paddock, usually reserved for Quidditch games.
“We did want to have a little chat about that exhibition you and Ginny put on, at platform nine and three-quarters.”
“Er . . . OK,” Harry said slowly. He had entirely forgotten that all of Ginny’s brothers had been there, and that it had been Fred and George that had shouted. They didn’t look pleased Harry and the twins usually got on quite well, but would that still be the case if he was going out with their baby sister?
Fred and George glared at him for a moment, looking as though they were on the verge of hitting him. Harry, for the second time in three days, made ready to duck. Noticing this, the twin’s grins returned.
“Don’t worry Harry, we’re not going to hurt you,” George spoke first.
“Well, not yet anyway,” Fred joked. “We just needed to show Ginny that we haven’t forgot our brotherly duty.”
Harry tried to smile, but thought it probably looked more like a grimace.
“She’s done worse,” George looked Harry over appraisingly as he said this. He pretended to grimace, “That Michael Corner idiot, sore loser at Quidditch,” he really did grimace this time. “And Dean Thomas? What was she thinking?”
“Yeah,” Fred agreed. “At least she’s smartened up a bit,” he turned to look at Harry. The same evil grin that spelled trouble was back. “You know, she’s at least chosen the hero,” He put particular emphasis on these last two words. Harry felt himself go red. He hated being called that. “Be that as it may, she is still our sister. No matter how great a bloke you are, if you hurt her we will have to kill you. No matter if you’re the Chosen One or not.”
“I’m not —“ Harry started to tell them that he had no plans of hurting Ginny, but Fred held up his hand.
“You can’t keep that promise so don’t make it.” He wasn’t angry, but firm. “Mum and dad told us about how You-Know-Who knows about you and Ginny.” For a moment both the twins looked uncharacteristically grave. “Ginny seems to like you a lot. So just make sure you don’t do anything stupid, OK,” Fred finished.
The mood, which a moment before had been playful and cajoling, was now completely serious.
“Good, that’s all we ask. The rest of your . . . er . . . problems Ginny can deal with.” George quipped.
“Yeah, you don’t ever want to be on the receiving end of one of her hexes, I can tell you,” Fred joked.
The three of them had started making their way back to the house when a sudden snapping noise in the trees nearby caused them to stop. They drew their wands.
They crept stealthily towards the noise. Harry, heart thumping hard, was half-expecting to see a masked Death Eater pop out from one of the trees. What they found was not a Death Eater but Ron and Hermione, who were taking full advantage of their solitude.
“I don’t believe it,” Fred and George whispered in unison a second later. “Ron and Hermione?” they whispered together again, looking at each other shocked. They turned to look at Harry, who nodded, a smile on his face. He knew that this spelled trouble. The last people in the world that you would want to walk in on a scene like this were Fred and George Weasley.
“Well done Ron,” the twins catcalled, whooping and cheering. Ron and Hermione broke apart, both red in the face again. If they got embarrassed when Ginny and I walked in on them, Harry thought, how are they going to handle the twins reactions? He chuckled as he thought of the inevitable pranks the twins were sure to play. Leaving his friends to fend for themselves Harry set off to find Ginny.
The repercussions were far worse than Harry would have thought. Bill had come across the twins, Ron and Hermione before they had left the patch of trees. He, Charlie and the twins teased Ron incessantly as they and Harry made a trip to Diagon Alley to pick up their dress robes for the wedding. Ron was seething with rage and embarrassment and kept telling them all to ‘shut up.’ This, of course, spurred them on.
Harry had to admit he felt little sympathy for Ron. He didn’t join in the teasing, but he couldn’t help but smirk when his friend started to get angry. Ron was a good target for jesting because he showed how much it bothered him. Harry tried to tell Ron this, but as he was obviously fighting back a laugh Ron didn’t listen to him.
They got theirs though.
Walking into the house Bill was still ribbing Ron and said, “so . . .we’re going to have some bushy little red-heads running around here soon, eh?”
“WHAT?” Mrs. Weasley shrieked, dropping the armful of flowers that she had been carrying. “RONALD WEASLEY EXPLAIN YOURSELF!”
Ron glared at Bill as an irate Mrs. Weasley dragged him off to the house. Everyone, including Hermione and Ginny who had both just come outside, were laughing uproariously. Ron was probably being lectured in there on how irresponsible he was, even though he hadn’t actually done anything wrong.
He appeared a few minutes later, looking extremely put upon. The laughter died away at once. He strode over to where his four brothers were sitting with Harry, Ginny and Hermione. Stopping in front of them he glared at Bill and the twins again.
“Thanks to you three -” he said pointing at each of them in turn, “- she’s making dad and Lupin have a talk with us. All of us, including you, Harry,”
“Ah, well that should be . . . educational,” Ginny replied, barely able to control her laughter. “You’ll have to fill us in.” She was looking at Harry, who had gone red when he realized what kind of talk Ron had meant. He wondered now why he had ever laughed at Ron’s predicament.
“Mum is dragging Tonks in to talk to you two as well,” Ron told Ginny and Hermione, a smug grin on his face. Ginny stopped laughing and groaned. Harry was quite sure that this was going to be the most embarrassing birthday of his life.
* * * * * * * * *
It was a good thing that Bill and Fleur’s wedding was two days after Harry’s birthday. If the Weasleys, Harry, Hermione, Lupin and Tonks hadn’t been so busy they might all have sat in an embarrassed silence for the whole next day.
Fleur and her mother arrived at the Borrow at the crack of dawn. Mrs. Weasley’s voice calling up the stairs for Ginny and Hermione woke the rest of the house shortly thereafter.
Never having been to a wedding Harry had no idea how much planning and preparation had to be done. He, all of the Weasleys, and the Delacours ran around the Burrow trying to put the finishing touches in place. Tempers among the bride and groom and their parents were hot, and more than once Fleur burst into hysterical tears and Bill stormed off.
Things were so chaotic it appeared nothing was getting done despite the constant activity. Mrs. Weasley was screaming continually for Ron, the twins and Harry to come and do this or that. Among other things they set up rows upon rows of folding chairs. As they did this Harry wondered if Fleur had invited all of France. There were enough chairs to fit the whole country. They didn’t have to set up these chairs in the Muggle way; they were able to use magic. This should have saved a lot of time, but as Fred and George were there it didn’t. They kept bewitching all of Ron’s chairs to fold back up. It took him about fifteen minutes to discover the cause.
Ron, still angry and embarrassed about what the twins had walked in on the previous day, was on a short fuse. The twins’ antics with the chairs finally pushed him over the edge. He rounded on Fred, his wand pointed at him and yelled, “LEVICORPUS.”
Fred was instantly hanging upside down by his foot, clearly shocked that his younger brother had done this to him.
“Ron, let me down,” Fred said, crossing his arms. He seemed completely relaxed, as though he were leaning against a wall.
“No, I don’t think I will. You can just hang around for a while,” Ron grinned. Fred and George were both silent for a minute, then they too broke into wide grins.
“Ron, we’re so proud. We never would have expected this from you. We thought we’d lost you when you were made prefect. And yesterday when we found out about you and the Mrs., -“ Fred and George were both giving their brother and impish grin, which widened when Ron blushed, “- we gave up all hope. But now here’s ickle Ronniekins, finally showing his true Weasley colors.”
Fred, who was still hanging upside down, held out his arms as though inviting Ron to hug him.
Harry laughed right along with them. He didn’t even get angry at the fact that Ron had used a spell invented by the Half-Blood Prince, the foul, murdering, slimy git that called himself Severus Snape.
It was late when at last everything seemed to be prepared for the next day. Mrs. Weasley, who had collapsed into a chair looking completely exhausted, said, “that was more efficient than I thought. We made good time today everyone.”
“Yeah, now all we have to do is get married,” Bill said from the doorway to the kitchen. He had his arm around Fleur and gave her a little squeeze as he talked. She had her head resting on his shoulder. She looked like she was going to drop from exhaustion.
Watching them standing there, Harry marveled at how good Bill and Fleur looked together. Yes, he thought smiling to himself, those red and gold haired children were definitely going to be cute. And seeing as Bill was a Weasley there was likely to be a lot of them.
“Well, I suppose we should all get to bed. Tomorrow is going to be another long day,” Mrs. Weasley commented. She had a sad expression on her face. She sighed as she watched her eldest son walk his bride-to-be to the door(Fleur and her parents were staying at the inn in the village.)
No one objected to Mrs. Weasley’s suggestion of bed. It really had been a long and tiring day.
Sleep eluded Harry for another night. He didn’t feel depressed or anxious about the unknown road that was ahead of him. For the first time all summer he actually felt happy. He was back at the Borrow, he was with Ginny, everyone here was happy. They weren’t worried about the horrors that the Death Eaters were perpetrating all over Britain. Yet, he couldn’t sleep. He felt like he had forgot to do something.
After an hour of tossing and turning Harry finally gave up on the idea of sleep and decided to go downstairs and have a cup of tea. Getting carefully out of bed, so as not to wake Ron, Fred or George, Harry left the room and made his way downstairs.
He wasn’t the only one that was having trouble sleeping it seemed.
When he entered the kitchen, Ginny was already there. She hadn’t heard him come in. She was sitting in a position Harry knew well. Ginny had her hands wrapped around a steaming cup of tea with her head down. She appeared to be lost in thought.
“Couldn’t sleep either?” Harry asked quietly, causing her to jump.
“God Harry, you scared me,” she said, and then smiled. “No, but you try sleeping with Hermione up there prattling on about how beautiful and romantic —“ she grimaced, “- this wedding’s going to be.”
“You know I never would have taken Hermione to be some big romantic,” Ginny continued.
“There’s something in the air,” Harry supplied, using the phrase he had heard Mrs. Delacour use earlier. Ginny raised an eyebrow quizzically. “So I hear,” he added.
He sat down beside her at the table and stared into her cup of tea, not yet having made one for himself.
“So whose snores are keeping you up?”
“No one’s actually, I just couldn’t get to sleep,” Harry explained. “Too much excitement today I guess.” He didn’t think he could put into words that nagging feeling of forgetting to do something.
“Yeah, speak for yourself. I wouldn’t call it exciting having to listen to Phlegm moan on and on to her mother in French. As if I can’t understand her.” It was Harry’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “OK so I can’t,” Ginny confessed, “but I got the gist anyway.”
“Ah well, you should get used to Phl — er — Fleur. After tomorrow she’ll be family,” Harry joked backing away in case she felt the need to punch him again.
Ginny smiled, either at his remark or the fact that he was a little scared of her; Harry wasn’t sure which.
“Tea?” she asked.
“Sure.” Harry watched her get up and start making the tea. As she moved around the kitchen that same sense of needing to do something came back to him. He couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was though.
He didn’t take his eyes off of her as she poured the water into the teapot. Something had just occurred to Harry. Ginny looked different. It wasn’t a difference that he could put a finger on. She hadn’t done anything different with her hair for instance. Well, it didn’t look like she had done anyway, he never was good at spotting that sort of thing. No, as far as Harry could tell it definitely wasn’t any physical change in her appearance.
Harry continued to watch her as she came and sat down beside him again. When she looked at him, he realized what it was. It was her eyes. They were usually full of mischief and playfulness, sometimes anger, and on rare occasions, fear. Never before had Harry seen sadness in her expression.
“Gin, what’s wrong?” he asked quietly, taking the cup that she handed him.
“What?” she asked distractedly, not looking at him as she reached for the sugar bowl. “Nothing’s wrong,” she added a second later, still not meeting his gaze. The tone of her voice was the same as when she had tried to avoid telling him that Uncle Vernon blamed him for Aunt Marge’s death. It was completely transparent. Things weren’t fine. They were far from fine.
“Yes it is,” Harry said, watching her add more sugar to her tea.
“I don’t know where you got that idea. I’m fine. Everything’s fine. Tomorrow’s going to be great. I’m just a little tired from today, that’s all,” Ginny stated rapidly. More sugar found it’s way into her cup. She still would not look at Harry.
“No it isn’t,” Harry said grabbing her hand, which was just about to add the eighth teaspoon of sugar to her tea. “Gin, you’ve just added a pound of sugar to your tea, and you’re avoiding me. That’s definitely not how someone acts when they’re fine.”
“I told you, I’m just tired,” Ginny snapped as she turned even further away from him. When he tried to get her to talk to him again she stood up. “I’m going to bed,” she said shortly and stormed from the room, leaving Harry sitting there wondering what he had done.
* * * * * * * *
It was another busy day. From the minute Mrs. Weasley’s cries reached their ears they were on the move. Harry was wrong in his belief that they had finished all the preparations for the wedding the day before. He didn’t mind it that much, at least it kept him from dwelling incessantly on Ginny, and what he could have possibly done to make her so mad at him.
Harry wanted to talk to Hermione; she was always so much better at this relationship stuff than he was. She was busy running around for Fleur though, and didn’t have a free moment to talk. When they passed on the stairs he made one mention of it.
“D’you know what’s going on with Ginny?” he asked quickly and quietly. “Last night she —“
Hermione, who was making her way back up to Ginny’s room (which had been commandeered as the Bride’s room for the day) with their freshly pressed gowns looked at him pityingly for a minute. “Harry, you really are hopeless sometimes,” she said before rushing off.
The wedding was taking place in the early afternoon. By one o’clock all of the men were dressed and were milling around in the kitchen or out in the yard. None of the women had made an appearance yet. Guests started to arrive shortly after one. Ron and the twins, who were acting as ushers, showed them to their seats.
Bill was pacing back and forth, looking pensive and nervous. He kept shooting worried glances at the house.
“You don’t think that she’s changed her mind, do you?” he asked the crowd of men more than once. Mr. Weasley would smile sympathetically when his eldest son did this.
“Wedding jitters,” he explained to the other boys who were standing there looking at Bill as if he had gone mad. Mr. Weasley put his hand on Bill’s shoulder. “Son, I’m sure everything’s fine. Fleur’s probably upstairs, worrying over the same thing.” This didn’t seem to comfort Bill. It was a great relief to everyone when Mrs. Weasley finally poked her head out of the door and said that it was time to start.
Harry found Hermione and they took their seats. Ron, Charlie, the twins and Ginny were all part of the wedding party.
“So can you tell me now what Ginny’s problem is?’ Harry asked his friend.
“No, actually I can’t.” Hermione wasn’t looking at him, but around the yard, which had been transformed.
The house stood to their right, looking as magnificently crooked and ramshackle as it always had done. Otherwise the Burrow was unrecognizable. The garden that Harry liked so much because of its disorder was, for once, neatly trimmed. He couldn’t see any garden gnomes poking their heads of the peony bushes. The grass was cut, and all the weeds had been pulled. The chickens that usually strayed around the yard at their leisure had been put in a coop.
The guests were sitting in the white folding chairs that Harry, Ron and the twins had set up the day before. Once they had been set up, Fleur and her mother had come out and bedecked the back of each chair with ribbons, and a single white rose (according to Hermione). At the front stood a white trellis, which had been covered in the same flowers as were on the chairs. In the middle of the chairs was the long white aisle down which the bridal party would walk. Harry thought this looked rather dangerous, walking down a thin piece of fabric. Wouldn’t they be likely to trip? When he asked Hermione about this apparent lack of logic she impatiently said,
“Of course not. It’s been enchanted with an anti-tripping charm,” as if that were the most obvious thing in the world.
The rest of their conversation was interrupted by the start of music. Over to the left of the makeshift altar a set of violins were playing of their own accord. This was the signal for the start of the ceremony. The crowd turned around in their seats.
Coming down the aisle was Fleur’s younger sister Gabrielle. She was wearing robes made of a gold silk-like material. Her hair was pinned up in lavish curls, and she was carrying flowers that also matched the ones on the back of the chairs.
“Oh she looks so beautiful,” Hermione gushed. Gabrielle walked slowly down the aisle in time to the music. She had almost reached the front when Harry saw another flash of gold.
Ginny stood at the start of the aisle. She looked amazing. She was wearing the same dress robes as Gabrielle, and was carrying the same flower arrangement. She too started to walk slowly down the aisle. Her expression was impassive and her eyes were darting around the attendees. Finally, she spotted Harry and a smile appeared on her face, albeit a sheepish one.
Harry couldn’t take his eyes off her. She looked so beautiful standing up there. Just now she was the only thing on his mind.
Everyone, including Harry turned a moment later to watch Fleur as she started to walk down the aisle. She looked pretty too, but Harry didn’t really notice. He was too busy watching Ginny. She was rolling her eyes at the reaction some of the male guests were having to the bride.
It looked like Fleur (whether intentionally or not wasn’t clear) had turned on her Veela charm. The reaction of some of the Weasley and the Delacour guests were quite amusing. One man, a guest of the Delacours had actually stood up and started dancing a crazy jig, obviously hoping to catch Fleur’s attention. This was what had caused Ginny to roll her eyes.
Bill and Fleur smiled broadly at each other when they finally met at the altar.
“Welcome friends and family, to this blessed event,” said their bonder.
Harry had been surprised to learn that wizards didn’t have normal weddings like Muggles. They didn’t exchange rings and say vows. Instead they had to touch their wands together. When Bill and Fleur did this a bright blue-white beam of light came from each wand.
“This shows the purity of your love,” the bonder explained, smiling at the bride and groom. “The brighter it glows, the stronger your relationship is. This bond can only be broken by death, or loss of the love you share. From today going forward when you put your wands together you should see this light,” he explained. “It makes you stronger, for we are always more powerful united than divided.”
Harry stared at the two wands. This reminded him horribly of the beam of light that had connected his wand with Voldemort’s that night in the graveyard. Realizing that something pure could share similarities with something so sinister was disturbing. This was apart from the revulsion he felt at sharing any connection with Voldemort at all.
The last part of the ceremony was the kiss. Harry and Ginny looked at each other again both with huge grins on their faces. Harry didn’t know what Ginny was thinking, but it seemed obvious to him that both Bill and Fleur were enjoying this a little too much. Apparently wizards hadn’t seen the need to do away with the most physical part of the marriage ceremony.
“It’s not like that,” Hermione said waspishly. She had asked Harry what he was grinning about, so he had told her. “It’s the final part of the ceremony. It’s required to complete the bonding and marriage,” she recited quickly as though she were reading the information from a passage in a book, which was no doubt where she had got it.
“They‘re taking it really seriously,” Harry joked. He looked at Ginny again. She was yawning widely and obviously. When she noticed that Harry was looking at her again she chanced another glance over at Bill and Fleur, who were still ‘completing’ the ceremony.
As the newlyweds didn’t really show any sign of surfacing soon, chatter began to break out. Then people started to get out of their seats, and mill around, discussing the ceremony, and other current events.
As they stood up, Hermione excused herself and went to go find Ron. Harry and Ginny made their way over to each other.
“Hi,” Harry said uncertainly. He still didn’t know what he had done to make her angry with him the night before. They had seemed almost back to normal during the ceremony, but he wasn’t sure how she was going to be with him now. He figured it would be better safe than sorry.
“Hi,” she said. That same sheepish expression she had given him as she was walking down the aisle was back on her face. “Harry I —“
“Ginny, come here please,” Mrs. Weasley called. Ginny rolled her eyes again and made a disgusted noise before she told Harry she’d be back. Her mother had called her over for pictures. Harry watched as more and more photos were taken, the air behind the camera tinged purple from the smoke that would appear after each flash.
Harry felt a little annoyed too. Ginny had something important to tell him. It seemed like every time someone wanted to tell him something major they were interrupted. He was seriously considering starting to give people a disclaimer whenever they tried to talk to him. ‘Beware, if you have something momentous to say you are likely to be interrupted.’
Harry and Ginny didn’t get a chance to talk for several more hours. In fact, it wasn’t until after dinner that they got within two-dozen feet of each other. Before the meal was served Ginny was being dragged around by her mother and introduced to the eight thousand people that seemed to be in the Burrow’s garden. During dinner, Harry and Hermione were at a table together, while Ron and Ginny were at the head table with the rest of the bridal party.
Still feeling a little irritated at not having a chance to talk to Ginny all day, Harry didn’t move from his table when the dancing started. He didn’t really like to dance, so it wasn’t that big a deal. Ginny, he could see, was standing over in a corner talking to the twins. She kept looking at him, but didn’t come over.
Mrs. Weasley came over to the table where Harry was sitting alone.
“Enjoying yourself dear?” she asked taking a seat. She looked exhausted again. Harry shrugged and took another swig of the bottle of Butterbeer that he had been nursing for the past hour. Mrs. Weasley grabbed her own bottle off the table and opened it. She was watching Bill and Fleur. That same sad expression Harry had seen the night before was back on her face. She noticed Harry watching her, with concern in his eyes.
“Oh, it’s nothing dear,” she said, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye. “It’s just, you all grew up so fast. It feels like yesterday that I was changing Bill’s diapers, and now he’s married.” Mrs. Weasley smiled as she sniffed. She watched her son and his new wife for a few minutes. “They do look happy, don’t they?” she asked, still in that same sad voice.
“Yeah they do,” Harry agreed looking at the newlyweds. Bill and Fleur were completely absorbed in their own world. They didn’t notice the jealous looks that they were getting from both men and women. Bill, despite the scar on his face from the werewolf bite, still attracted a lot of female attention. And of course Fleur with her Veela heritage garnered a lot of notice from males.
Mrs. Weasley stayed in her seat for a few more minutes, watching Bill and Fleur and Ron and Hermione. Harry had been quite surprised when Ron actually led her onto the dance floor. They were probably the worst dancers on the enchanted floor, but were enjoying themselves in spite of that. Harry noticed that Ginny was watching Ron and Hermione too. She was wearing a sad expression again. It was also one Harry had seen the night before.
Mrs. Weasley had spotted her daughter, and looked from her to Harry. “What are you doing sitting here?” she asked in a chastising voice. “Ginny’s over there, you have to dance with her at a wedding.”
“I . . . don’t dance,” Harry said quietly, looking away from both Weasley women.
“Nonsense,” Mrs. Weasley said. She pulled Harry to his feet and, pulling him by the wrist, brought him over to where Ginny was standing. “You two have to dance,” she told the pair of them. Standing behind Harry she pushed him a little closer to her daughter.
Harry looked at Ginny, holding out his hand a little reluctantly. Would she shun him? She didn’t, she just nodded and put her hand in his. They walked out amid the other dancing couples. They didn’t take their eyes off each other for a second.
As they started to dance they were a little awkward. Soon they were over that and seemed able to read each other’s minds, they didn’t have to speak. A few turns around the dance floor and they moved a little closer to each other. A few more turns, and a little closer. Soon they were wrapped tightly around the other, as though never wanting to let go again. Harry felt that way in any case, and from the way she was clinging to him, he was sure that Ginny felt the same.
When the song ended they left the floor and decided to take a walk around the yard. Harry and Ginny both knew that they needed to talk. Neither wanted to start. They were quite far away from the other guests at the wedding before Harry spoke up.
“Gin, what’s wrong? Have I done something to make you mad?” She sighed as she looked at the ground. She didn’t say anything for so long that Harry was sure he was going to have to ask her again.
“Yeah, you’re you,” she stated, raising her head to look at him. Harry noticed the sadness that he had seen in her expression last night was back yet again.
“What exactly is that supposed to mean?” he asked, crossing his arms. They had stopped walking.
“Well . . . like I said before. I knew that you were not going to be happy unless you were hunting Voldemort.”
“And so now you’re mad at me about that?” Harry asked in frustration. What was she playing at? At first she said she understood about Voldemort, and accepted what Harry told her. Then she said she didn’t agree. Now she was back to her first position, but was still made. How did that work exactly?
“No, I’m not mad,” Ginny answered quietly. “I — I’m scared,” she admitted. When she uttered the last two words she looked away as though she was ashamed to allow herself to feel that way. Suddenly Harry knew what was wrong.
“Gin, I know it’s scary. Voldemort’s a scary guy. But please believe me when I tell you that we are doing everything to make sure that you’re safe,” he smiled, hoping that it would reassure her. Instead of looking relieved she let out a growl of frustration.
“Not for me, for you,” she explained furiously. She was looking at him again and the fear and sadness that he had noticed in her eyes ever since he had arrived back at the Burrow was clearly evident there.
“Oh come off it. Don’t try and play innocent with me,” Ginny snapped. “It’s you Voldemort’s really after.” She looked away for a second and then at him again. Harry was shocked to see that her lip was trembling. He was sure she was about to cry, but was fighting it. “It’s always you that he’s been after. And now you’re heading on a path straight for him. What’s at the end of this?” She, like Ron weeks before, was asking a rhetorical question. She answered it herself. “One of you is going to end up dead by the other. That’s why I’m scared. I don’t want it to be you.”
“Yeah, but . . . “ Harry wasn’t sure what he was going to say. She had just unwittingly said the words of that prophecy nearly verbatim. It threw him a little off to hear Ginny say something so near to what Trelawney said, especially given that the prophecy was largely responsible for his current course of action. “Its going to be OK,” he said. He didn’t even believe this himself. He wasn’t sure how things with Voldemort were going to turn out. He still had three more Horcruxes to find and destroy before even considering facing that huge battle.
“No it isn’t,” Ginny said. She didn’t look like she was going to cry anymore. She looked like she was starting to get angry. “Not for a long time anyway. You’re going off on some mysterious quest to bring him down. Who knows what’s going to happen to you along the way. And all you can say to me is to stay at home because I’m protected here.” She was really angry now. She wasn’t shouting, but her face was red.
“I can’t take you with me,” Harry said, also a little angry and annoyed. What was going on with her? She had told him that day on platform nine and three-quarters that she didn’t want to go with him. Now she was mad about that very thing?
“That’s not what I’m saying,” she shot.
“So what exactly are you saying then?” Harry fired right back.
“I’m saying . . . I don’t want you to go,” Ginny said. From the look of shame on her face, Harry was quite certain that she knew he would go no matter what she said. Nevertheless he had to make sure that she understood,
“I couldn’t do that. Even though I want to. I have things that I need to do.”
“Yeah, these mysterious things,” Ginny snorted quietly. Harry stared at her astonished. This was not the Ginny that he knew, the one that he had left down by the lake at Dumbledore’s funeral.
“What is wrong with you?” he asked. “Why are you trying to make this hard on me?”
“This isn’t just hard on you. Its hard on me too you know. Waiting here on pins and needles just to hear whether you’re even still alive. How do you think that makes me feel? This isn’t all about you Harry,” Ginny said loudly. She had started walking back towards the house and the crowd of people.
“I never said that it was,” Harry’s voice was a little louder than hers had been a minute before. “But you make it sound like we’re going to be out there having a brilliant time or something.”
“No you’re going out there trying to get yourself killed,” Ginny shouted.
“No, I’m trying to prevent everyone else from getting killed,” he shouted back at her. “Is that OK with you, or would you rather I just stayed here and waited for Voldemort to come and massacre us all?”
“That’s a little overly dramatic,” Ginny said, a little quieter than before, but still much louder than necessary given that they were standing a mere two feet apart.
“Really? The papers making it all up, are they?”
“Why does it have to be you?” Ginny asked frustrated. “Why not the Order? Or the Ministry?”
“It has to be me,” Harry said, not able to meet her eyes. He knew she was going to ask why, and he couldn’t tell her. “I have to be the one to finish him,” he admitted in little more than a whisper.
“It just does. Don’t ask me for more than that,” Harry told her. He hoped that she would be satisfied with that information. He had a feeling she wouldn’t be. And he was right.
“Yeah it’s just this stupid saving people thing that you have again.”
“No its not. There’s a lot more to it, but I can’t tell you.” Harry really wanted to get off this topic of conversation. He figured she wouldn’t take that statement well. He hadn’t when he had been in that position. He had hated it when he was given tantalizing hints about what Ron and Hermione were doing during their fifth year when he was stuck at Privet Drive. Yet he felt if he tried to direct their talk to another topic Ginny might just explode.
“Fine, don’t tell me!” Ginny cried in exasperation. “Just go and do whatever it is that you need to do. Don’t let me keep you.” She turned to go. Harry still wanted to know exactly what was going on with her. She was obviously scared. He didn’t doubt that she was scared for him. But . . .
“Let go of me,” Ginny said, struggling to get out of the grip Harry had on her wrist.
“No. Not until you tell me what’s really wrong,”
“I’ve already told —“
“I want the truth not this selfish rubbish that you were just spouting,” Harry told her, forcing her to look at him. Ginny defiantly closed her eyes so she didn’t have to. “Ginny, you can talk to me.”
She managed to wriggle free but didn’t walk away.
“What exactly do you want me to say Harry? That its OK that you might get yourself killed? That this might get my brother and Hermione killed too? That you come back for two days and then don’t even tell me that you’re planning on leaving? Who knows when we’ll even see each other again? Or did you really want to hear of how I’m scared to death of all of those things? Tell me what you want to hear?” she asked angrily, spouting all of these questions in rapid succession.
When Harry didn’t say anything, Ginny just walked away. As she did he heard her say bitterly, “fine, I’ll be your good little girl and stay here. You obviously don’t trust me or think that I can take care of myself.”
Harry watched her walk a few feet closer to the other guests.
“Is that what you think?” he called after her. “You’re mad at me because you think I don’t want you with me?” He caught up to her and planted himself in her path. “Gin, I want you with me more than anything. And I do trust you. But I promised Dumbledore that I would only tell Ron and Hermione. And with all the extra security around here it’s where you’re safest.”
“Yeah, and what good’s that going to do if you get killed?” she asked, crossing her arms, and looking annoyed.
Harry, annoyed himself that she still didn’t get how important her safety was to him, ignored her question. More than ever he had that feeling that there was something that he was forgetting to do, and it was causing his frustration to increase.
“I don’t care about me, I care about you. If anything happened to you because of me . . .”
“We’ve been over this,” Ginny said wearily. “Harry, I don’t get why you’re
“Because I love you,” he burst out suddenly. He hadn’t meant to say it. He hadn’t really even thought about it. As soon as the words were out of his mouth though, he knew they were right. He had also hit the nail on the head when it came to that thing he thought he was forgetting to do.
“What?” Ginny asked, her eyes wide.
“You heard me, I love you.” How this confession had come so easy was as shocking to Harry as to Ginny.
“I . . .I love you too,’ she said meekly, blushing, and looking at him shyly.
“AWWWWWWWW,” a collective group said.
Then a woman with a heavy French access said, “see, zair is something in zee air, at zes weddings.”