A continuation of the Harry Potter series after the demise of the Dark Lord. What happens in the 19 years before the epilogue? How do the two new couples deal with new responsibilities and one more year of school before them? (Mostly Canon compliant)

Author's Note: The Potter universe and all it's characters, places, names, etc. are not my creation, all credit belongs to that genius of a British writer. All ideas for this continuation are my own, but that's not to say that someone else hasn't already used them in their own story.

While this story follows the books and what J. K. Rowling herself has said about what happened after the series ended, I *will* be changing some things and making it my own, to a point. Please, remember this before sending me messages saying that I've 'done it all wrong'.

This story was orginally posted in 2014 on , and I am currently editing the story to fix problems and set up stories for the continuing series.

Chapter 1 - Guilt

"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead - "

"This is my last warning - "

"Not Harry! Please… have mercy … Not Harry! Please - I'll do anything…"

Harry awoke with a start, sitting straight up in bed. It took a moment for him to unfog his mind from it's sleepy state, while he winced in the sunlight that was streaming in through the window. He rubbed his face with his palms, then shook his head a few times as he tried to clear the nightmare from his mind. With a sigh, he reached over to the bedside table and put on his glasses, looking around.

He was in Ron's bedroom at the Burrow, and the incoming sunlight was playing harshly on the vast amount of orange-colored Chudley Cannons posters in the room. Another wince crossed Harry's face, and he focused on the one non-orange item on the bedroom walls; a calendar pinned to the wall next to the door. He stared at it for a moment, until he remembered what day it was.

May 6th. Only four days ago Harry, Ron, Hermione, the Weasleys and hundreds of others had stood up to Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts. To Harry it seemed as if it had been years ago, and just yesterday at the same time. With a soft sigh, he turned a bit and leaned against the wall and closed his eyes, thinking. A lot had happened in the last 96 hours.

After repairing his own broken wand and leaving Dumbledore's office, he and Ron and Hermione made their way to Gryffindor tower. They walked slowly, taking in all the damage to the school they had called home for so long. Harry walked a bit behind his two best friends, the thoughts and memories of everyone who had died consuming him.

Just before they got to the Fat Lady's portrait, he noticed that Hermione had dropped her head onto Ron's shoulder as they walked, quiet sobs escaping her. Ron put his arm around her and Harry couldn't help but smile, though it was muted. Even through all the horror that they had experienced, something good was happening in front of him.

"About bloody time, those two…" he muttered quietly to himself.

That night passed too quickly for any of their liking. They all slept in the boys old dormitory, Hermione in Seamus' old bed, not wanting to leave each other alone. Sometime during the night Hermione had crawled into Ron's bed because there they were in the morning, holding each other in their sleep.

The next two days were rough on everyone. The reality of what had happened was sinking in to everyone. There was still joy and satisfaction in everyone's eyes when the trio showed up for meals, but thoughts still lingered on the nearly 60 people who had died.

The three kept to themselves for the most part, finding different spots around the castle and grounds to just sit near each other and think, or talk softly. Harry had been blaming himself for everything; all those people had died, Fred, Lupin, Tonks, for him. To give him time to find what he needed to find. If only he had been able to do everything sooner. If only.

George had eventually gotten through all the sorrow Harry was feeling. It was strange, but out of all of the Weasley family George seemed to be taking Fred's death the best. Over a beef stew dinner in the Great Hall two nights after the fight, he looked pointedly at Harry and spoke up.

"Harry, no one here blames you for anything, most of all me. Everyone who came to help made their decision, and they knew there was a chance they wouldn't be here celebrating at the end of it all. You didn't kill anyone Harry, it was all Voldemort and the Death Eaters."

The surviving twin kept his strong gaze up, and looked at his whole family. Mrs. Weasley had tears falling out of puffy red eyes that hadn't cleared up in days, and he put his hand on top of her's.

"If Fred was here, he would be appalled that we were all sitting here crying." All of the Weasley children nodded in unison, imagining what Fred would be saying, small smiles appearing on their faces.

Ginny had looked at Harry then, a slight smile and a look on her face that told him what she was feeling. She wanted to talk with him, Harry knew, but she would wait for him, until he was ready to. He smiled back at her and nodded slightly, silently thanking her.

Harry and the Weasley's had all left Hogwarts together on the 5th. They didn't go straight home to the Burrow however. Every one of them was there at the funeral for Remus and Tonks, and throughout the wake and service Harry could not stop watching Teddy Lupin; Remus and Tonks' baby boy, and his godson. He felt guilty, knowing that the little boy would never get to know his parents, just like himself. Before they all left and Apparated for the Burrow, Harry swore to himself that Teddy would have a loving family growing up, and that he would be there to tell the boy all about his parents.

That night, they all gathered in a circle around the grave that had been dug for Fred, up on a hill close to the Burrow that the Weasley family owned. The mood was somber, until it was George's turn to speak. He and Fred had apparently discussed what they each wanted in case of their untimely deaths, and with a wave of his wand George turned each of their robes and dresses into different sharply contrasting colors.

Those weren't the only changes to their attire though. From inside Ginny's pockets there was small pink hearts trying to escape, from Mr. Weasley's pockets spilled different sized batteries. Each family member in turned started laughing and smiling as they took it in turn to find what was hiding on them, but they all had a roar of a laugh when a small colony of spiders marched out of Ron's pocket. Even Mrs. Weasley had a chuckle at that, not even looking at George with a scowl.

They had all stayed up pretty late that night, sitting in the living room of the Burrow and drinking Firewhiskey in toasts to Fred and all the others. Harry couldn't remember what time he and Ron had made their way up to the room, but he was sure it was very late in the night and his head agreed. All he wanted to do was lay down again and fall back asleep, but he knew it wouldn't be possible.

With a sigh, he got out of bed and pulled on some clothes. He made his way quietly down the staircase, stopping at the door to Ginny's room. Not hearing either Ginny or Hermione making any noise in there, he continued down onto the main floor.

He could hear Mrs. Weasley starting to make some breakfast in the kitchen and the back door opening but his eye caught a bit of long, red hair in the living room and he doubled back to look in.

Ginny was there, sitting on the corner of the large sofa and looking out through a window. He smiled and walked into the room behind her, careful to make some noise so that he wouldn't startle her. Once he got close, she turned around to see who it was, and a smile crossed her face. She was still wearing her pajamas, a loose light green t-shirt and flannel pants. Patting the seat next to her, she cleared her throat a bit.

"Hi, Harry," she said softly, "do you want to come talk?"

Harry nodded, moving to sit next to her, but Mrs. Weasley walked into the room just then.

"Ah, Harry. Good, you're awake. You have a visitor," she said to him quickly, motioning to the kitchen. "Ginny, would you be a dear and go wake Hermione and Ron? They should be here for this too, and breakfast is almost ready."

With that, Mrs. Weasley walked out of the room and back into the kitchen, her voice carrying a bit as she talked to the visitor, asking if they wanted anything to eat. Harry and Ginny both sighed at the same time. They smiled a bit at that, and as Ginny got up to go upstairs, Harry took her hand in his and squeezed it gently, looking at her. No words came out of his mouth, but she nodded back to him with a smile.

"Later," she said softly, "we can talk later."

Harry just nodded back to her and watched as she bounded up the stairs. After a few moments he made his way into the kitchen to see who it was calling on them this early in the day.

As he turned the corner into the kitchen, he could see an older witch taking a seat at the table and taking off her black hat.

"Are you sure you don't want anything to eat Minerva?" Mrs. Weasley asked her.

Harry stood still for a moment, wondering why Professor McGonagall was sitting there at the kitchen table, and what she wanted from him, Hermione and Ron. Realizing he was going to look foolish just standing there, he walked over to Mrs. Weasley and helped her bring some plates over to the table.

McGonagall was shaking her head, but smiling upwards at Mrs. Weasley. "Thank you Molly, but I'm alright, really. I ate before coming over."

Harry took a seat across the table from her, and she nodded at him. "Good morning Harry," she said kindly, with a small smile on her face. "Don't let me keep you from your breakfast, We should wait for the others to join us, I have news that you'll all want to hear."

He nodded back to her, not saying anything as he piled a few sausages and some toast onto his plate. From up above he could hear the sounds of doors opening and closing, and within a few minutes, Ginny had reappeared with Hermione and Ron in tow. All three had changed into something nicer than their nightclothes.

McGonagall nodded at them. "Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley," she said in her normal greeting voice, motioning for them to take seats at the table. She looked up at Ginny who hadn't left, and there was a thoughtful look on her face.

Harry finally spoke up. "Professor, Ginny might as well stay. We were going to tell her everything that you told us anyway." He looked pointedly at his teacher and Head of House. "I'm also assuming that you wanted to ask us what exactly we were doing this past year," he said, seeing that he got a nod in response. "It's about time we told Ginny and Mrs. Weasley what happened, so if it's all the same…" he asked trailing off.

McGonagall thought for a moment and nodded. "Very well. I don't suppose that you three want to keep repeating what has to be a long and interesting story over and over."

Ginny put a hand on Harry's left shoulder and squeezed it in a sign of thanks, taking a seat next to him at the table. Mrs. Weasley sat down at the table as well, setting down a mug of tea in front of their guest, and Harry started recounting their story, looking to Hermione and Ron from time to time for support.

It took quite a while for the three to explain what they had been through, starting with their run-in with the Death Eaters right after Apparating away from Bill and Fleur's wedding, to camping in the woods each night. Ron got around to telling about the part where he had left the other two to go back home, and because Harry already knew what Ginny's reaction would be he was able to stop her from reaching around his back and beating up on her brother.

Mrs. Weasley's face had a mixture of shock at her daughter for her behavior and shock at her son for what he had done, but Professor McGonagall couldn't resist letting out a very soft and short chuckle at the scene in front of her.

Harry quickly went on with the story, making sure to mention that if Ron hadn't had left them, he wouldn't have been able to save Harry in the lake where they had found Godric Gryffindor's sword.

When the story was done, it stayed quiet in the room. Everyone, even Mrs. Weasley who had started crying a bit during the last bits was looking at Professor McGonagall. The new headmistress took a few moments to process all that information, then nodded.

"Thank you," she said quietly, "that answers many questions."

She lifted her mug of tea to take a sip, but then realized she had drained it while listening. Mrs. Weasley immediately pointed her wand at the tea kettle and it levitated over the mug, pouring gently.

After clearing her throat, the older witch looked at each of the four students in front of her. "Well, I did say I was bringing news, so here it is. The school's Board of Governors met last night, and it was agreed that Hogwarts should reopen in the fall, provided that we can repair all the damage done to the castle in time."

McGonagall paused. "From the outpouring of promises to help, I don't believe opening the school on time will be a problem," she said, noticing everyone's smiles. "Now, for the main part of why I am here. I assume that you, Miss Weasley will be returning to start and finish your seventh year at Hogwarts," she paused as she got an emphatic nod from Ginny, "but I would also like to know if you three would consider returning this year to finish your education as well."

Harry, Hermione and Ron all looked at each other, from the looks of it none of them had thought about it.

McGonagall continued. "We are offering all of this past year's seventh year students the chance to return to school again to either start or finish their N.E.W.T. courses. Merlin knows that between all the expulsions, no-shows, and students hiding in secret rooms for parts of the year, not much learning was had."

"Also," she continued, "if you do choose to return to Hogwarts, I would ask each of the four of you for some extra help."

The trio looked at each other quickly. It was apparent to everyone in the room that Hermione wanted to return for her N.E.W.T.s, and Mrs. Weasley's stern look at Ron pretty much answered the question for him.

Harry had honestly not thought about the possibility of returning to finish seventh year, but after thinking for a minute, he nodded.

McGonagall looked extremely happy at this news, and continued on. "Very well then, if it is alright with everyone present, then I would like to offer the roles of Head Boy and Head Girl to Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger. Additionally," she said quickly, seeing the surprised look on everyone's faces, "I would like to offer you Mr. Potter and you Miss Weasley the roles of Head Prefects, and of course, Joint Captaincy of the Gryffindor Quidditch team."

Seeing the look of confusement going around the room, Professor McGonagall smiled. "Yes, I did say Head Prefects. Hogwarts has never before offered this role to any student, but I dare say, with all the work the teachers will be needing to do this coming year, it would be helpful to have two extra pairs of hands if need be. I do hope you all accept these roles," she said carefully.

"It would help build confidence in the school again throughout the wizarding community to see heroes such as yourselves there this year, and I dare say that you will all have the respect of most every student. Not to mention," she said with a proud look on her face, "having four of the best duelists around, just in case the remaining Death Eaters decide to take a chance at the school again."

All four smiled wide, not even having to look at each other and nodding at the same time.

"Very good then. As you know, each year the Head Boy and Girl receive their own suite of rooms to use privately during the school year. As I am sure there will be questions upon questions from all direction aimed at the lot of you this fall, I will allow Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley to also have access to the Head's suite of rooms, if you so wish."

Harry smiled, grateful for the offer. "Yes, it would be more private, thank you Professor." There were smiles abound at the table.

Mrs. Weasley couldn't have been more excited. "Oh my!" she kept exclaiming over and over, "another Head Boy in the family, but really…" she said, beaming down at them all. "Even though you aren't my children Hermione, Harry, you ARE part of this family, and the thought of you all being asked, oh dear!..." she said, standing up and releasing all her excitable energy by making more food.

The laughter couldn't be contained, and even McGonagall joined in on it. As they all calmed down, McGonagall reached for her hat and nodded at everyone. "Very good then. I'll see you all again this summer, I'm sure. Thank you again for your hospitality Molly, but I do need to get going. The Ministry is sending over a few dozen re-builders and Charms experts this afternoon to make plans for rebuilding the school and I should be there."

She stood, and Mrs. Weasley walked with her out into the yard, as the four friends looked at each other with big grins on their faces. Hugs and handshakes were passed all around, though the hugging was a bit more tender and noticeable between the two pairs.

Mrs. Weasley walked back inside, still all excitable, and this brought another round of laughter into the room.

The rest of the Weasley family learned of the quartet's new roles over the rest of that morning and afternoon. The news seemed to spread beyond the Burrow, however. Just as everyone was cleaning up after lunch, a large and very proud-looking tawny owl bearing the sash of the Ministry of Magic swooped in through the open kitchen window and landed on the counter in front of Mrs. Weasley.

After reading the note quickly, Mrs. Weasley looked up at everyone with a bemused look on her face. "It's from the Minister…" she said as everyone looked over. "Kingsley's asking if it would be alright to stop by for dinner tonight… oh dear," she said, getting into an excitable mood again, "two important visitors in one day…"

Harry grinned at Ginny, who had been putting clean dishes away. She rolled her eyes but giggled softly behind her hand. She'd grown up with her mother's moods and was used to them.

During a break in Mrs. Weasley's verbal planning, Harry interrupted and let her know that he would reply to the Minister, and she nodded back at him, before setting everyone a long list of chores and things to do to get ready. Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, and Percy, who had not gone into the Ministry to work that day, all sighed quietly, knowing that they'd be working right up until dinner.

Harry walked outside through the front door and pulled out his wand, focusing on the spell and message he wanted to send with his eyes tightly closed, and when he opened them, he saw his stag Patronus erupting out of his wand. It took a few leaps and bounds around the yard, and then shot straight upwards in the air towards London.

Feeling a hand on his shoulder, and a whiff of a flowery scent, he smiled. "Hi Gin," he said quietly, not even looking back.

Ginny smiled. "That was pretty good Harry," she said, "I didn't know you knew how to send a message via Patronus…"

Harry stepped down off the concrete step and onto the grass, turning and pulling Ginny down with him as he leaned against the side of the house. "I didn't, actually…" he started, looking into her eyes with a smile. "I just thought of it, and somehow I knew that I could pull it off, " he said with a shrug.

He pulled her into a close hug, wrapping his arms around her. "I've missed you Gin," he said quietly. Ginny nodded into his shoulder, not saying anything then but breathing a large sigh of relief.

It felt good standing there, Harry thought. After everything that had happened, he had survived, and so had Ginny, and now they had more time with each other. Forever, he hoped.

A bright flash broke him out of his reverie, and his eyes snapped to the source. Down the lane leading to the Burrow's front door, he could see a few people gathering, some with cameras. With a sigh, he stood up straight, motioning to the reporters. "It seems we have company, again." he said with an irritated tone. Mrs. Weasley chose that moment to come outside as well, her wand drawn.

"Well I never..." she exclaimed, raising her wand to the sky and muttering some incantations, setting certain protections to the wards around the property. "We've lost people, been through hell and back, and all they want to do is sell copies!"

Ginny met Harry's gaze, and both agreed silently that it would probably be best to slip inside and get to work on the chore list before they caught her mother's rage as well.

The sky was dark outside as the whole Weasley family and Kingsley Shacklebolt finished the rather large dinner that Mrs. Weasley had worked on nearly the whole afternoon. The new interim Minister had brought along a few bottles of Firewhiskey, and so as the dishes were cleared away, two of the bright red bottles were floating along the wide table, filling everyone's glasses.

"Thank you again Minister, for joining us," Mr. Weasley started, stopping when he saw Shacklebolt's hand rise.

"Please. No formalities, no sir's, no Mr. Minister, not from anyone here," he said pointedly as he took a sip from his glass. "This family has saved my life countless times, and we've worked together so long that I am nothing more than your friend Kingsley," he said with a smile. "Now, for the reason I'm here, though dinner was a treat in and of itself Molly."

Mrs. Weasley beamed.

"I've come to ask a few favors of a few of you," he said slowly, watching as everyone perked up and paid attention. "Arthur, I know you like your job in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office, but I would like to promote you to Head of the Magical Cooperation department. The way that department was run even before Voldemort's lackeys got in there was horrible, and I have plans to get it back on the right track. It'll mean a lot more work, but I need people I can trust to help me rebuild the Ministry."

Arthur nodded, a big smile evident on his face. Everyone within reach surrounded him with pats on the back and hugs before Shacklebolt continued.

"Charlie, I know you love your work with dragons at the reserve, but I was wondering if an offer to head up the Department for Regulation of Magical Creatures would be enough to have you move back home permanently," he asked with a smile. "And Percy, you've been at the Ministry for a long time, but it's time you stopped being everyone's assistant. Any job you want, it's yours, except for mine of course," he said, laughing loudly and shaking hands with Charlie and Percy as they agreed and accepted.

"Now, George, I know I won't get you to leave your joke shop, but I know that you have quite a bit of items there that aren't all about humor. I'd like to work out a contract between you and the Ministry to provide the Aurors and support staff with certain items that can help with self-defense and the search for any remaining Death Eaters."

George smiled widely and nodded, reaching his hand out to shake Kingsley's. "You have yourself a deal Minis-, I mean Kingsley." When the minister brought his hand back, everyone had a giant laugh; George had somehow turned his whole palm a bright shade of neon green. Mrs. Weasley almost started in on him for the joke, but she was waved off by Kingsley who was laughing deeply.

"Lastly," he started, looking at Harry, Ron, and Hermione in turn, "I would also like to offer the lot of you jobs at the Ministry, but I was told earlier today that you all are returning to Hogwarts this year." He continued as each of them confirmed this.

"A wise choice, but my offer will still stand. Harry, Ron, I know that you both wanted to be Aurors and if that is still the case next year, I will personally see to it that you are accepted. So much of our Auror force has been depleted in the last few years that having you two there will help quite a bit, and seeing as you've had years of training and experience already, there would be no trouble accelerating you through the normal training process."

"Now Hermione, I've heard of your brilliance and especially your work at promoting S.P.E.W. When you've finished at Hogwarts, come talk to me and we can work on finding you a position in Magical Law, or whatever strikes your fancy. I know that wherever you decide, you will be a credit to the Ministry."

All three had a stunned look on their faces, but they turned to smiles as they looked at each other. These were the jobs they had been talking about for years, and being told that the jobs they wanted were theirs was extremely exciting.

The dinner party went on for a while longer, the conversation turning to a range of topics from plans for rebuilding Hogwarts, to how the England/Ireland Quidditch league was going to look this year.

In the middle of all that, Harry caught Ginny's eye, and the two of them excused themselves and left the table, walking outside into the cool night.

A light breeze blew through the evening air as Harry and Ginny made their way down the back path from the Burrow's back door. They walked close, side by side, but even with the short moment they had earlier in the day the situation now felt awkward to Harry. He knew that they were about to have a long discussion, about what they were feeling and what they wanted, and he hoped that Ginny was feeling the way he was.

They stopped after a minute or so under a large oak tree near the swimming pond. Neither of them had said anything yet, but their choice of location came easily enough. They had talked here a lot the previous summer, before Harry had decided to leave on the hunt for the Horcruxes.

Harry sat down with his back to the large trunk, and Ginny did the same, her hand coming to rest on his leg. The smell of flowers wafted over to him as she laid her head on his shoulder. With a smile, he took her hand in his and squeezed it gently.

"I've missed you Ginny," he said quietly as he looked down at her. "The whole past year, I… well let's just say that I thought about you every day, every night. I wanted the whole thing to just be a nightmare that I could wake up from and just be with you."

Ginny nodded on his shoulder, a small smile on her face. "Funny, that's pretty much how I felt…" Lifting her head, she maneuvered around Harry's legs so that when she was finished, she was sitting cross-legged between his, looking across at him and still holding his hands.

"Every day I woke up with this deep sense of dread in my stomach," she continued, "hoping that I wouldn't be hearing news that you'd been captured, or killed. A little piece of me died a few days ago, when Hagrid brought you out of the forest and Voldemort said you were dead, Harry."

There were tears in her eyes and she looked close to breaking down and sobbing, but she continued. "Harry, I don't want you to ever leave me again, and I don't want to let you out of my sight until you promise m-me…" she sputtered out, and the tears started to flow.

Harry wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in closer. Ginny buried her face in his chest, letting herself have the long cry that she'd been keeping in over the last few days. He could feel a large spot of tears forming on his shirt. Not really knowing what to say, he ran his hand up and down her back, trying to comfort her. He let his chin rest on top of her head lightly, kissing the top of her head every so often, and taking in that sweet smell of flowers that he had come to love about her.

After a few minutes, Harry looked down and put his hand under her chin, lifting it up slowly. Ginny looked up at him with puffy eyes and tears on her cheeks. With a gentle smile on his face, he slowly wiped away her tears. It pained him to see her like this, but there was something beautiful about the way she looked when she cried. He knew then that he would do anything to make her happy, and to be there for her when things went wrong.

"I promise you Ginny," he said softly, planting a kiss on her forehead, "I will never leave you again. Wherever I go, I'll take you with me. Whatever I do, I'll make sure you're right there beside me. You'll know exactly where I am all the time," he looked down at her with a gentle smile, as he held her close, "and I'll be there every morning when you wake up."

Ginny smiled weakly and sniffled, before she reached a hand up to the side of his face and leaned in to kiss him. It was a short kiss, a thank you sign, but as their lips parted and they looked into each other's eyes, they both leaned in for another.

It was tender and thrilling at the same time; this kiss wasn't driven by heavy hearts and sadness. Their noses flared every so often as they took breaths, both sets of eyes closed to enjoy everything. Harry felt her tongue pressing against his lips as she wrapped her arms around his neck, and he gladly let her in, their tongues exploring hot and steamy mouths for what seemed like forever.

When they finally came up for air, Ginny laid her head back against his chest, one hand up on the other shoulder. "I'm going to hold you to that promise, Potter," she said with a smile, and snuggled into him some more as they sat there in the night, letting the light breeze wash over them.

Inside, most of the Weasley clan had trudged off to bed and Ron had just walked into his and Harry's room, sitting on the bed heavily. His mind was running around in circles with all that had happened the last few days, and all the news he had received.

Head Boy in the fall, and possibly an Auror in the future. It was a lot to consider, but somehow his mind kept bringing him back to Fred. Even knowing what Fred would have said to jest with him about it all didn't help, and he slowly sunk into a deep pool of gloominess. He closed his eyes and fell back, laying on his bed.

He didn't even hear the small pop! a few moments later as Hermione apparated into his room. She looked at him laying there, and the tears that had started in her and Ginny's bedroom continued to come. Hermione had hoped to come up here for Ron's comfort, but it seemed like they would have to help each other.

"Ron, are you ok?" she asked softly.

His eyes opened quickly as he felt Hermione sit down on his bed and put her hand on his leg. Seeing who it was, he made room for her and tried to clear his face a bit, not wanting to cry in front of her. As he noticed her tears, he couldn't help but to smile. She looked beautiful; her hair was straight and long, with a gentle wave or curve to it. Curves, she had those too he thought. After so many years of knowing her, he wondered how he had never seen how wonderful she was until the past year or so.

"Why are you smiling Ron?" she asked softly, knowing that he had to be in as much pain, or even more than she was.

"I'm smiling because we made it, and we're here together. I'm smiling because even when you're crying, you are beautiful, and I can't help it."

She sniffled a bit, her heart touched by his words. Without any words, she lifted his head a bit and shifted around so that his head was in her lap. Clearing her face a bit, she looked down at him with a small smile. "Do.. do you mean that?" she asked.

Ron nodded, taking her hand in his and playing with it, their fingers intertwined. They sat like that for a while, looking at each other and thinking. Hermione found herself playing with his hair idly. It had gotten fairly long in the last year or so. "I like your hair like this," she said with a smile. "You look good."

He looked up at her with a smile. "Oh yeah? And why should I listen to you on the matter?" he asked, in a teasing voice.

His answer came in the form of Hermione leaning down and kissing him. There had been a lot of kissing in the last few days for them, but this one was by far the most passionate. They could feel each other's nose breaths on their cheeks, and after a bit they let go gently.

Their eyes connected, and he smiled. "Well, erm, that's as good of a reason as any…"

Hermione grinned and nudged him playfully. "Cheeky bugger."

Ron sat up and leaned against the wall, pulling her closer to him so that she was sitting between his legs, her back against him. They sat there silently for a bit, enjoying each other until Ron spoke up.

"Hermione, I… ok this might not come out right, but…" he started, trailing off.

She took his hand, squeezing it. "What is it?"

"Well, I guess I just wanted to know what I am to you… I like you, a lot really, and I wanted to know if I should just be treating you like a friend, or something more?" he asked, quietly with a trace of timidity in his voice.

Hermione smiled to herself. "Ron, you will always be my friend," she started, feeling his shoulder slump a tiny bit, "but yes, I do want this to be something more…". She squeezed his hand again. "Can I call you my boyfriend, Ronald Weasley?"

Ron nodded and smiled, though she couldn't see it. "Yes Hermione," he said, kissing her neck, "you can."

They kissed again, and again, for what seemed like hours. As they both started drifting off to sleep, Hermione removed her sweater and laid beside him in her pajamas, curling up next to him so they were face to face. Ron wrapped his free arm around her, and rubbed her back lightly until they both were asleep.

Morning broke out over the Burrow, and the sunlight woke Harry again this morning, peacefully though. He blinked a few times, then looked around. He could feel something in his lap and looked down to find Ginny laying there, asleep and with a smile on her face.

They had stayed up talking for a long time the night before. After coming back into the house from outside, and realizing everyone had went to bed, they got comfortable on the couch, not wanting be apart and still having a lot to say to each other. Somewhere along the way Ginny had laid down on the couch and he had been playing with her hair, and they both fell asleep that way.

The smell of bacon and french toast wafted into the living room, and Harry realized that Mrs. Weasley was up, and had probably seen them. He noticed a blanket over the two of them as well, and was puzzled until she walked into the room.

She must have seen the panicked look on his face, because her face melted into a very warm smile. "I came down in the middle of the night and found you two there," she said with a whisper. "It's perfectly fine dear, I know nothing happened. You two belong together anyway," she said, putting a hand to her heart as she looked at Ginny sleeping peacefully. "Breakfast will be ready soon, if you want," she said, nodding at Harry before going back into the kitchen.

Harry smiled and leaned his head back on the couch. It felt good to have Mrs. Weasley's approval, he did love Ginny like nothing else but also didn't want it to cause an issue with her family.

Ginny shifted in her sleep, and Harry realized quickly that she was about to fall onto the floor. He quickly grabbed her hip and pulled her back, but the motion woke her up. As he finished pulling her onto her back, she smiled up at him with a sleepy face and yawned a bit. "Good morning," she said softly. The way she said it brought a wave of love and warmth through Harry, and he knew that he wanted to wake up like this for the rest of his life.

Suddenly, Ginny realized how they had slept, and where. She sat up straight and panicked. "Oh Merlin," she said, looking all around. "Mum saw us, didn't she…".

Harry couldn't help but chuckle, and Ginny looked at him with a stare and poked his cheek. "Why aren't you a toad? Mum said she'd turn anyone who tried to take advantage of me into a toad, and I'd be locked up in my room for ages…"

She was rambling, and Harry just put a finger to her lips. "Gin, it's all right…" he said, motioning towards the kitchen. "Your mum said so… and where do you think the blanket came from overnight?" He smirked and kissed her on the cheek. "Although, if you want me to be a toad, I guess…"

Ginny looked around again, blushing and then grabbing a throw pillow to hit him with. She had this wild look in her eyes, a cross between amusement and wonder at her mother's actions.

Harry saw it and smiled, loving the passion inside her. He got up and offered his hand to her. "Come on, breakfast?" he asked.

She smiled and hit him with the pillow one more time, aiming for his rear, before taking his hand and standing up. Harry pulled her into himself, and leaned in for a kiss. It wasn't a very long one, but not short either, and when it was over, Ginny smiled up at him. "Well Potter, you've kept your promise so far…" she said, and with that she grabbed his hand and walked into the kitchen with him.