Harry was brushing his teeth as he finished getting ready when he heard Ron complaining about his Dress Robes. He just smiled to himself. He knew that Ron would hate him for getting Ginny all that stuff, but to be honest he didn't care. Ginny was too special, and he loved being able to get gifts for her.
His robes matched perfectly with hers, and he even had a gold chain that had a stag pendant. The two chains were actually his parents and had been sent to him by Sirius Black, after he told him that he had invited Ginny to the ball. Sirius seemed to be excited by that and had already commented in a letter just how much like his parents they were. Harry didn't really mind being compared to them; it was an honor for him.
It was finally time to head down to the ball. Ron and Harry made their way down to the entrance hall to meet their dates, Ron was talking about Hermione being up in her room crying when he spotted Fleur standing there with her date. As normal when Fleur was around, Ron started acting like a fool; luckily Padma Patil arrived and dragged him off before he could embarrass himself too much.
As Harry waited for Ginny, he noticed that Viktor was waiting too, so he walked over to greet him.
"Good evening, Viktor, are you waiting for your date?" Harry asked.
"Yes, she should be here soon. I assume are you waiting for your date as well?" Viktor replied.
"Yes, I expect she will be down in a moment," Harry replied. As he did, he looked up the stairs and was stunned. Standing there at the top was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen; Ginny wasn't just pretty she was absolutely gorgeous. She slowly made her way down towards Harry, and she was pleased to see his reaction when he noticed her. The effort had been worth it, and the evening had only just started.
"Wow, you look amazing Ginny. Here is your last gift," Harry said as he presented her with a beautiful corsage of fire roses. She took the corsage from Harry and blushed when she thought about how much effort Harry had gone to for this evening. Just going with Harry was enough, but he had gone way beyond that.
"Thank you, Harry, these are beautiful. You know that they are my favourite flower don't you?" she asked as she took his offered arm.
"No, I didn't know that; I just liked how much they reminded me of your hair, I am pleased they are though. So are you ready to face everyone?"
"As ready as I will ever be; I am just worried about my brothers, especially Ron. You know what he can be like," she replied a little nervously.
"Don't worry about them, Ginny, I don't think even Ron is stupid enough to do anything in front of the whole school." Harry replied as they headed towards the doors and the other Champions.
Just then, Harry noticed that Hermione was standing there with Viktor. He couldn't believe how beautiful she looked too. This was a side of Hermione he had never seen and was pleased to see that she seemed to be enjoying herself.
"Wow, Hermione you look nice, I can't wait to see the look on everyone's face when we all walk in," Harry said as they stood next to them.
"Oh, Harry, this is all so amazing, I can't believe what you did for Ginny; that was so nice," Hermione replied.
"Thank you, she is worth it all, I can't believe how lucky I am that she agreed to come with me."
"Well, it just shows that some boys are not so clueless when it comes to girls as some others are," Hermione said with a slight frown before going back to talking with Viktor and Fleur. Harry and Ginny both noticed that expression and wondered what she meant but that.
As the four champions and their dates stood outside the Great Hall talking, the rest of the students were already waiting for them inside. They were told to form a receiving line so that the champions could enter. Ginny was still very nervous; what if she made a fool of herself when she walked in. The last several months had been amazing; all the attention that she had gotten from people because of Harrys gifts, had been a little overwhelming, and she knew a number of girls had been very jealous because of them. The only other person who knew the identity of her date had been Hermione, and that wasn't a secret anymore anyway as she stopped right in front of her with Viktor Krum.
Finally, Professor McGonagall appeared and announced that they were ready. The doors to the Great Hall slowly swung open to reveal the completely transformed room. It was amazing and didn't look anything like normal. The teachers had done an amazing job converting it into a wonderful ice palace. As Harry escorted Ginny into the hall, it was clear that everyone was shocked; not only by the fact that her date was Harry Potter, but just how beautiful they looked together in their matching robes. They slowly made their way towards the head table, Harry being careful to watch his step. He was nervous too and didn't want to embarrass himself or Ginny.
The shocked looks on Ron's and the twins faces had been better than expected; Ginny was silently rejoicing that they had managed to deceive her brothers so spectacularly. She was looking forward to reminding them just how successful they had been in the future. She could tell that Ron was angry, but the twins actually looked pleased, almost as if they approved of Harry escorting her. Maybe they thought he would treat her like a sister; she certainly hoped that he didn't think of her that way.
They heard several comments, typically from the Slytherin's in the room, but didn't care. Nothing was going to ruin this night for them, not even the stupid childish comments.
They made their way to the head table; to their surprise, Percy was sitting there. They could tell he wasn't too please to see Ginny with Harry, but he had the decency not to say anything about it. Once everyone had arrived at their tables, Professor Dumbledore greeted everyone; the meal proceeded smoothly with Harry making sure to pay attention to Ginny without fussing over her. He didn't want to swamp her with too much attention and he didn't want her to feel like the odd one out.
Most of the conversation revolved around the tournament. Harry was a little worried at one point when Professor Moody commented on how many people had died in the past. With his ability to find trouble, he was bound to run into something nasty during the remaining tasks. Oh well, tonight was about having fun with the beautiful young lady sitting next to him. He would worry about the second task another day.
After the food had been served, the Champions where invited to the dance floor to begin the ball. Thankfully, Professor McGonagall has explained this to Harry, so he was prepared.
Harry took Ginny's hand and led her to the floor. She didn't know what to expect but was excited that he was at least trying. As they started the first dance, Ginny was amazed that not only did Harry know how to dance but he was actually very good.
"Wow, Harry, I have to be honest, I never expected you to be so good at dancing?" Ginny said quietly to him as they continued to move across the floor.
"Ah, well, I wanted it to be a surprise. I asked Professor McGonagall if she could arrange for lessons and she was only happy to help."
"I don't understand why you went to so much effort, Harry, not that I don't appreciate it," said Ginny nervously, she knew what she wanted the answer to be.
"Because I wanted this evening to be perfect for you," Harry replied before spinning her around. They continued to dance together for several more songs without saying anything. They were just enjoying each others company. Ginny was contemplating what Harry had said, and Harry didn't want to push to fast before telling her how he really felt about her.
Almost an hour later they both needed a break to get some refreshments, so Harry led Ginny over to the table where Hermione and Viktor were also taking a break.
"Hey, guys, how is it going?" Harry asked as they got to the table.
"Very well, Harry, how about you two?" replied Hermione.
"Great, thanks, I am just off to get some drinks," Harry said as he moved away from the table. Viktor joined him leaving the girls to chat.
"So, Ginny, how is it going? You two look so good together," asked Hermione after the boys had left.
"Oh, Hermione, it has been so perfect. Did you know that he took dance lessons with Professor McGonagall just to make the evening perfect for me?" replied Ginny with a silly grin on her face.
"Wow, I didn't know that. That is so thoughtful; he must really care about you, Ginny, has he said anything?"
"No, he hasn't said anything yet. I am not sure if I want him to; what if we get to the end of the evening and he just says, thanks for the date, Ginny, now run off back to your friends?" said Ginny very sadly.
"Come on, Ginny, do you seriously think that he would do that? Look at what he has done already for today: he got you a lovely set of robes and a matching set for himself, he gave you a very nice necklace, a charm bracelet, your favourite flowers, twice, and he took dance lessons. Doesn't that tell you something?" said Hermione almost in a jealous voice.
"Wow, I didn't even consider all that. So what does it mean? Do you think he really likes me as more than just a friend? I am not sure I could take being let down if that is all he wants."
"Somehow, I don't think that is going to happen, Ginny; just enjoy the evening and see what happens." Hermione said as the boys returned with drinks.
The evening continued in the same fashion for Harry and Ginny. They spent most of the time dancing, occasionally with other people but most of the time together. Harry and Ginny noticed a small disturbance near one of the tables and headed over to see what was happening. When the got there, they found Ron and Hermione having a massive argument.
"Hermione, don't you see that Krum is using you to find out more about Harry," shouted Ron.
"How dare you, Ron? The only time Viktor even talked about the tournament was at the table, and Harry was sitting right there," Hermione said as tears started forming in her eyes.
"Hermione, you are fraternizing with the enemy; anyway he's too old for you," replied Ron with a smug look on his face.
"The whole point of this tournament is to foster cooperation between the different schools and start building friendships," said Hermione as her anger started to rise.
"Well, we all know what type cooperation Viktor is after, don't we?" Ron said in reply. Before he knew what had happened, Hermione and Ginny had both slapped him very hard across the face.
"Just because you are jealous doesn't mean you can attack everyone else. Maybe next time you will ask me before it is too late." with that she stormed off back to Viktor.
"That's completely irrelevant," said Ron before he noticed everyone else had walked away except for a very angry Professor McGonagall.
"Mr. Weasley, please return to the Gryffindor common room. As Miss Granger said, this evening is about cooperation, and we don't need your comments. Just be thankful I haven't deducted any points for your behavior."
As it started to get late, more and more people left the hall to return to their dorms. Neither Ginny or Harry noticed as the room started to empty; they were so happy dancing together and neither wanted the evening to end.
"Ginny, will you come for a walk with me?" Harry asked a little later.
"Of course, Harry," she said with a smile.
Harry took her hand and they went outside and just sat on a bench. Despite how cold it was, neither of them even felt it. They just sat and looked up at the stars.
"I love looking up at the stars at night," Ginny said a few minutes later. "I often wonder what is out there; so many different points of light, so many wonderful patterns."
They continued to sit and look at the stars, occasionally tracing a pattern with their fingers. Harry was starting to get cold and cast a warming charm over them, and Ginny snuggled in closer to him to keep warm.
Harry finally broke the silence between them. "Ginny, I wanted to thank you for coming with me tonight."
"Harry, I should be the one thanking you; tonight has been amazing, it has been perfect," she said.
They looked into each others eye's and Harry was not surprised to see the love and tenderness that shone there, however Ginny was very please to see that Harry's eyes showed just as much of those tender emotions. She could look into those eyes forever and it wouldn't be long enough.
"I knew the minute Professor Dumbledore announced the ball who I wanted to take. I have to be honest with you, Ginny." She looked a little nervous at that comment but let him continue. "I started to see you differently even before the announcement."
"What do you mean, Harry?" she was still nervous this could still go either way at the moment.
"I had a lot of time to think over the summer. Last year, every time I saw you I always thought of you as Ron's baby sister, I realized that is exactly what Ron had wanted me to think. But when I looked past that, I noticed the real you. The fun, loving, vibrant, mischievous, beautiful person that you truly are, but deep down something held me back."
"Let me guess, there are six of them?" she said with a slight smirk.
"Actually eight, if you include your parents," he replied with a smirk.
"But, yes, I wasn't sure how everyone would react. As I thought about it more, I decided that it really didn't matter what they thought; what mattered was what each of us thought. I was trying to find an opportunity to ask you out when Dumbledore presented the perfect option. That's why I didn't hesitate to ask you the same day, I didn't want there to be any chance that someone else would ask you."
"I can't deny I wasn't shocked when you asked me, Harry, I have liked you for so long and it seems funny that just as I was about to give up on liking you, you ask me to the ball. I was so nervous; initially I thought that you just wanted to get it out of the way and took the first opportunity you could so that everyone would know you had a date and wouldn't hassle you. But then you insisted that it be a secret," replied Ginny.
"And then, on top of that, you got me the robes and all the other gifts; I thought maybe you were trying to buy my affection. I wasn't sure what to think, but Hermione told me there was no way you would have written those notes if you were. She told me that there was no way someone who was desperate for friendship would have thought to write those. I started to think maybe there was a chance for more, but I had waited for so long that I didn't want to get my hopes up." Ginny said as she blushed.
"Then you told me this evening that you wanted the evening to be perfect for me, that you had gone to all that trouble for me, made me realize just how special you are. I know that you made all the other girls jealous when you sent the gifts. I know Hermione was when I told her you even had dance lessons for tonight."
"Yes, I wanted this evening to be about us, no one else, not the stupid Triwizard cup, nothing but us having a great time together as friends." As Harry said friends Ginny's heart fell, after all that he had said and done, did he still only see them as friends.
They sat there for a few more minutes without saying anything. Ginny was trying to understand; how could Harry only want friendship. Little did she realize that Harry was trying to get the courage to say the next part of what he wanted to say.
"Ginny, has Ron ever told you about my life before I came to Hogwarts?" Harry asked.
"Only little bits, like when they rescued you in your second year," she said clearly shocked that Harry could change the subject so easily. This was not going as she had hoped.
"I don't want to upset you by telling you what it was like, except to say that before I met your family at King's Cross, and became friends with Ron, I never even had a hug from anyone. I was never allowed to have friends; was beaten and called a freak if I did well at school, or did accidental magic. What I am trying to say is that I never experienced kindness or love, until I met your family. The first time your mum hugged me was like a dream come true. I had always felt left out, or hated, and there she was, she barely knew me and she gave me something I had never felt before. Then, over the summer, I started to realize that what I felt for you was different even from what I felt when your mum hugged me. It was deeper, more intense. Whatever it was, I realized it was good."
Ginny was speechless, what was Harry trying to tell her? Was he really about to tell her the one thing that she had always dreamed of hearing from Harry Potter, or would she suddenly wake up and realize it had all been a dream? She didn't know. She was soon pulled out of her thoughts when Harry continued.
"Ginny, what I am trying to say is that I Love You."
Ginny just sat there staring into his eyes once again. She could tell that he was being absolutely serious with her. This wasn't some random feeling or a whim, this was true love. Her heart was racing and her mind spinning, she almost pinched herself to make sure it was real. Harry Potter, the boy she had dreamed about since her parents told her the story of the boy who lived, had just told her that he loved her. She didn't know what to say or do; she could see that Harry was waiting for her to say something, she took several deep relaxing breaths before responding.
"Harry, when I first met you I already thought I loved you, but I realized later it wasn't you that I loved, it was the hero, Harry, the boy who lived. That was why I was so nervous around you at first. I had heard all about you since I was six years old. Finally, I got to meet the boy, and he wasn't anything like I imagined." Ginny said.
"I remember running after the train when I found out who you were, I wanted to see you so desperately. Then Ron didn't stop talking about you over the summer. All those adventures in your first year sounded so unreal. If it hadn't been for the fact it was my brother who was involved, I am not sure I would have believed any of it. It was almost like you were the hero, but I could tell that wasn't really what you were about. You did those things because they needed to be done and no one else stepped up to do it."
"You weren't some hero who charged in to rescue the lady in distress then she thought for a minute. well, actually, you were. No, the Harry Potter that sat at the breakfast table before my first year was a mystery. I realized as time went by, that you were so much more than the hero in the books. There was something about you; you almost seemed scared of people. Now of course I fully understand what it was. I imagine you were scared after the treatment you got from your relatives."
"It wasn't until the end of my first year, when you rescued me from Tom and the Chamber, that I realized that I was over my crush on the boy who lived. I started to fall in love with the real you, the person who risked everything for a silly little girl who wrote in a cursed diary; the boy who risked everything a year later to rescue his Godfather and Buckbeak from certain death. The person who just told me the three words I always hoped to hear from Harry Potter, and I can say with absolute certainty that I Love You too, Harry."
Neither of them realized, that as they had confessed their love to each other, a golden aura started to surround them, an aura that had not been seen in nearly two thousand years. As they sat there, Harry slowly leaned in towards Ginny and she did the same. As their lips met and they slowly kissed, a burst of pure love swept out from them, at the exact same moment, the cry of a Phoenix was heard high above the grounds of Hogwarts castle. The golden aura around Harry and Ginny continued to intensify as they kissed, several minutes later the young couple collapsed to the ground from exhaustion, the aura still surrounding them.
Back in the Great Hall, Professor Dumbledore was about to retire to his quarters for the night, all the students had left and returned to the dorms, Professor McGonagall and he had just finished cleaning up for breakfast the next morning, when a burst of pure love hit them. They had never felt anything like it before. After they recovered from the shock of what had happened, Professor's Dumbledore and McGonagall quickly moved towards the area the burst had come from. As they got outside they could see a golden aura off to one side and carefully approached. The sight that greeted them filled them with fear, for lying on the ground surrounded by the aura where Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. As they got closer, the aura flared a pushed them away.
All of a sudden, a blue and gold Phoenix flew down and settled on the ground next to Harry and Ginny. The Professors could hear the music that was coming from the bird; Professor Dumbledore had heard it on many occasions from Fawkes. Dumbledore realized that there was only one way to get any answers about this situation, and with that, summoned Fawkes. A second later, Fawkes flashed into the courtyard.
'Ah Fawkes my friend, we seem to have a situation that I have never seen before. Can you please find out what is happening?' asked Dumbledore.
'Yes, my friend, I will find out,' Fawkes answered.
He landed next to the new Phoenix, and after several minutes of what could only be determined to be a discussion, Fawkes finally took off again and landed on Dumbledore's shoulder.
'Albus, the new Phoenix is Xavier. It would appear that Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley have Soul Bonded,' Fawkes explained. He then proceeded to tell Dumbledore that this had not happened in nearly two thousand years. He explained that it was a result of the pure love between them, and that one of the results was the birth of Xavier.
'What is the golden aura around them and why can't we approached them,' asked Dumbledore.
'The bonding process is still happening. Their own combined magic is protecting them and stopping anyone from attempting to stop the process. If they did, the result would be instant death for both,' explained Fawkes.
'Xavier and I were able to speed up the process, never before has a second Phoenix been present during the actual bonding. It is an honor to witness it. Typically, the process can take several days, but as they are both still young and with Xavier's and my help, the process will be completed in the morning.'
Dumbledore asked if they could be moved to the infirmary, to which Fawkes and Xavier agreed. As Dumbledore moved forward to levitate them, Fawkes stopped him and explained that only Xavier could move them whilst the bonding was still happening. Dumbledore then asked Fawkes to take him and Professor McGonagall to the infirmary so that they could prepare Madam Pomfrey for their arrival, and make sure that no one else was there.
When everything was ready, Fawkes disappeared again and a few seconds later return with Xavier following. Harry and Ginny were placed on the enlarged bed, and the room was secured. Fawkes and Xavier sat guard over the pair for the rest of the evening as the Professors and Madam Pomfrey left for Dumbledore's office.
Meanwhile, back in the 4th year boys dorm room, Ron Weasley was becoming very annoyed. Harry Potter had secretly taken his baby sister to the ball and had not yet returned. Ron had spent three years brainwashing Harry into seeing Ginny as his baby sister, and despite all his efforts, Harry had invited her to the dance, and it was clear by the gifts that he had brought her, that it was more than just a brother/sister friendship that Harry wanted. Ron had already spoken to the twins, and they agreed, that if Harry did anything to Ginny, they would all deal with him.
An hour later, when Harry had still not returned, Ron decided enough was enough. He was going to find Harry bloody Potter and explain to him just how inappropriate it was for him to be out this late at night with his baby sister. Deciding that he needed backup, Ron quietly walked up to the twins room and woke them up.
"What the bloody hell is wrong with you, Ron, it is two in the morning?" asked a very angry Fred.
"What is wrong with me? How about the fact that Harry bloody Potter has not returned from the ball, and the last time I saw him he was dancing very closely with our baby sister," said Ron a little louder than he needed to.
A minute later all three Weasley brothers were out of their dorm looking for Harry. They asked Ron about the map, but he told him it wasn't in Harry's trunk. They spent the night searching the castle trying to find Harry and Ginny, but without any luck. Before they went back to bed they decided to owl the remaining brothers to explain that Harry had taken Ginny to the ball and then had not returned. They were concerned what Harry may be doing with her at that time of night.