The Ritual

Harry sat at the table in the Burrow having his breakfast. He glanced at Ginny who was sitting across from him and made a small motion at the back door, indicating that he wanted to speak privately with her.

Ginny nodded her head before looking at their breakfast companions, Harry's two other friends, her brother Ron and Hermione Granger. They were involved in another one of their endless spats and were totally oblivious to anything else.

Harry finished his breakfast and seeing that Ginny wasn't quite done, he mouthed, "Take your time," as he deposited his dirty dishes in the sink and headed out back.

He strolled the back garden, enjoying its naturalness as opposed to the cookie cutter gardens of Little Whinging. They felt so artificial where here the setting was of an abundance of life and peace.

Standing with his eyes closed, his face turned to the rising Sun, enjoying its warmth, he felt someone come up next to him, knowing it was Ginny by her flowery fragrance.

He smiled, never opening his eyes. "I'm glad you agreed to meet me," he murmured.

Ginny's eyes widened in surprise. She knew he hadn't looked at her and she wondered how he knew it was her. Sure, she'd agreed to meet him but it could just as easily have been Ron, Hermione or both of them that approached him.

"How'd you know it was me?" she asked with a puzzled look.

Harry smiled and turned to look at her. "Ah, now, that would be telling," he replied with a wink.

Ginny was taken totally by surprised, thinking, "Could Harry be flirting with me?" As much as she hoped it was true, she still had a hard time convincing herself that he was.

"So what did you want to talk to me about?" she asked a little uncertainly, her mind trying to figure out what he was up to. While she had gotten closer and friendlier with him recently, she hadn't thought he was noticing her in "that way" and she didn't want to spoil what they had at the moment.

Harry glanced back toward the house before turning his attention back to her. "Will you take a walk with me?" he asked hopefully.

"Sure," Ginny replied guardedly. She was still uncertain about Harry's motives but was willing to give him the benefit of her doubts. She still hoped that one day he'd see her for who she truly was and not just Ron's younger sister.

They walked down toward the pond at the back of the Burrow's property and once they were out of sight of the house, Harry glanced at Ginny and sighed softly.

Ginny shot him a glance and saw that he was looking at her intensely. At first she bristled at little, wondering why he was staring so hard and she almost quipped, "What, do I have something on my face?" but she managed to stifle herself.

"Ginny, I need to ask a favour of you," he began hesitantly.

"All you need to do is ask and I'll let you know if I'm agreeable or not," she replied, refusing to commit herself without knowing more about what he wanted her to do.

Harry sighed heavily, realizing she wasn't just going to give him a blanket okay. While he found that a bit annoying, he knew he should have known she would react that way.

"The thing is, I'm hoping I can convince you to sneak off with me this Friday afternoon," he explained, glancing at her unsurely.

"What? Wanting to get me alone?" she teased, being uncharacteristically bold. While she was being somewhat hopeful, she really didn't want Harry to realize that. Though she had told Hermione that she was done pining over the raven haired young man, she still had her secret hopes.

Harry stared at her in shock. "What? Ginny! I. . . ah . . . that is," he sputtered.

Ginny burst out laughing. "Oh, you're too easy, Potter," she howled, clutching her sides.

"It wasn't that funny," Harry said with a scowl. The thing was, he really wished he could take her away to be alone with her and do the things that haunted his dreams, and his waking hours if he wanted to be truthful with himself.

Ginny quickly reined in her laughter when she saw the look on Harry's face. She felt her stomach lurch as she saw something flash across his features. Could it have been a look of longing?

She shook her head and stared hard at him, but whatever it was, was gone and it left her feeling confused. Could he secretly have feelings for her? If he did, why was he hiding them?

She metaphorically slapped herself on the back of the head. "Why indeed, could it be perhaps her over protective brothers who threatened anyone who showed even the slightest interest in dating her?

If so, he should know that she wouldn't care but then again, he would care. He wouldn't do anything to jeopardize his standing with her family, one that he had adopted as his own, just like they had adopted him as an unofficial Weasley.

She vowed to keep closer attention on him to see if she couldn't figure out if he was harbouring feelings and if so, she just might have to take matters into her own hands.

While she had been thinking they had continued their journey toward the pond. Harry appeared to have calmed down, mostly. He still had a small frown on his face and appeared deep in thought.

Ginny sighed and reached out and placed her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry," she said contritely.

She was surprised when he jumped slightly and though it was hard to see, she noticed he blushed lightly, getting that slightly panicky look on his face once more.

He recovered quickly. "It's okay, Ginny," he finally muttered, trying hard not to look at her. Something that he failed miserably at as his eyes kept darting to her face.

As they arrived at the pond, she saw his face change and he huffed loudly.

"Look, can we just get back to why I wanted to talk to you?" he asked, sounding slightly flustered.

"Of course, Harry," Ginny replied softly.

Harry sighed deeply as they sat down on the old log that served as a bench under the huge old willow tree at the edge of the pond.

He turned to her, searching her eyes for a moment. "The thing is . . . I, ah, want to try something and I need someone to watch my back," he explained hesitantly.

Ginny contemplated what he said for a moment, processing the implications. "I take it whatever you want to do is something that most people wouldn't approve of," she stated with a fair amount of certainty.

Harry nodded his head. "Yeah," he replied softly.

Ginny looked thoughtful for a moment. "Why me?" she asked, giving him an intense stare. "Why not Ron or Hermione?"

Harry rolled his eyes, giving her a patronizing look. "Here I thought you were supposed to be rather smart," he stated slightly humorously.

"I think it's a valid question," Ginny countered with a challenging look.

Harry sighed as he shook his head, knowing that he'd have to spell it out, even if she suspected his reasons.

"The thing is, Hermione's out as she wouldn't approve and she'd go right to your parents or Dumbledore to stop me and Ron can't keep anything from her if he tried," Harry explained with a sigh. Then he looked up into her eyes. "And the thing is, I trust you," he stated firmly, staring at her intensely.

Ginny's eyes widened slightly in surprise. While they had become closer and better friends, for Harry to openly admit that he trusted her was a huge thing to her.

"Thank you," she replied sincerely.

Harry gave her that small crooked smile that made her insides twist and her legs go weak. "You've earned it," he said warmly.

Ginny knew she couldn't deny him. "Okay, I'll help," she stated with a smile.

She saw Harry sag in relief and he smiled at her. "Thank you," he murmured happily.

"Since I'm going to help, are you going to tell me what you're up to?" she asked.

Harry sighed. "Would it be okay if I told you right before hand?" he asked hesitantly. "It's not that I don't trust you but I can't risk it getting out even by chance," he added tentatively.

Ginny thought hard for a moment but she knew what her answer was going to be already. "I can live with that," she stated with a smile.

"Thanks Ginny, you're the best," he replied as he reached over and took her into a warm hug.

Ginny felt her insides flutter, having Harry's arms around her felt so good and if the hug lasted a bit longer than was considered correct for a friend thanking another friend, she tried not to read anything into it.

Her emotions where given another test when it appeared that Harry had reached to take her hand as they started back to the Burrow and she felt herself become disappointed when he quickly stopped himself.

The rest of the week flew by, especially for Ginny. She found herself constantly trying to figure out if Harry was doing things on purpose to get her worked up or if it was all circumstantial and only in her mind.

By the time Friday rolled around, Ginny was in a fine state. She felt so worked up that she briefly considered backing out of helping Harry.

But she knew she couldn't do that to him, he was counting on her help for whatever hair-brained scheme he was up to. She wanted to be there as much to keep watch so he didn't do anything foolish as well as to watch his back.

When the time to leave finally came, Ginny was ready. The thing was she had a secret. A big secret. She had inadvertently found out what Harry was planning.

Tuesday evening she had gone back down-stairs to get a drink of pumpkin juice and while doing so she had glanced into the parlour. Sitting on the end table was a book that she recognized as the one Harry seemed to have been reading a lot recently.

Curious, she went over and picked it up. Using a trick she had learned from observing the Twins, she held it spine side down and let it fall gently into her lap.

The book fell open at the spot that had been most used. What Ginny read told her what she needed to know.

Forewarned, she spent the next two days doing a little research. Now while Hermione was well known as the best researcher, she wasn't a slouch and before long she found what she needed to know.

"Oh, Harry, you stupid git," she breathed sadly. The thing was, the part of the book Harry had been reading left out one important fact and because of that he was doomed to failure.

That was unless someone was able to help him. That left the petite redhead with a dilemma, would she let Harry fail or would she make a sacrifice and help him.

She knew what her gut instinct told her to do but there were ramifications to her helping that Harry might balk at, that was if she could convince herself to go through with what she would need to do to help.

Though still undecided, at least in her head, she did some more research so she could be prepared if she decided to do what was needed to be done.

So it was that when she met Harry down by the pond shortly after lunch, she was afraid that Harry might have gotten an inkling of what she had discovered and cancelled their trip.

As it turned out, her fears proved groundless, as Harry gave no indication that he knew what she had discovered.

Ginny smiled softly when she saw how nervous Harry was when he spotted her.

"Hey, Ginny, are you ready?" he asked anxiously.

"As I'll ever be," she replied with a smirk, something Harry missed as he dropped his gaze.

"So are you going to tell me what you're up to?" she asked, making sure to keep her features neutral so as not to give anything away.

Harry took a quick look around. "Not here, but I promise to tell you as soon as we're where we need to be," he replied, acting like he didn't want to be overheard.

"Okay, but you'd better tell me right away or I might just change my mind about helping," she threatened.

"I promise," Harry replied, appearing afraid she might not help.

Harry turned and led her beyond the Burrow's wards. "Grab on and I'll Apparate us where we need to go," he announced, looking at her unsurely.

"Relax Harry, I trust you," Ginny murmured with a reassuring smile.

"Thanks, Ginny, that means a lot to me," Harry replied softly, relaxing quite a bit.

Ginny wrapped her arms through one of Harry's and gave him a smile as she nodded to indicate she was ready.

Harry placed his off hand on top of hers and Apparated them away.

Ginny gasped in surprise when they finally settled on their feet when they landed. She looked around in wonder, taking in the tranquil setting.

"Where are we?" she asked in a hushed tone, not wanting to shatter the peaceful setting.

As Ginny looked around, soft sounds began to filter through, causing her to smile. She didn't think she'd ever been anywhere so peaceful, even her favourite spot down near the pond paled in comparison.

Off in the near distance she could hear the soft sounds of water falling into a pool. It was accompanied by the sweet melodies of birds and the buzz of insects, all adding to the serenity of the place.

"While over the centuries it has been known by many names, I'm fairly sure this is Merlin's Spring," Harry replied, looking at Ginny to watch her reaction.

Ginny looked at him in surprise. "Really? I thought its location had been lost," she replied, slightly wide-eyed.

"That may be but I researched hard, even sneaking into the Restricted Section on quite a few occasions and finally found a very old book, written by Merlin himself," Harry informed her, still watching her intently to see if she believed him.

Far from questioning his research, she glared softly, "What, and you didn't invite me along?" she teased, her eyes sparkling.

"I, ah, didn't know you as well back then," he replied shyly.

"So, what's the plan?" Ginny asked, wanting to change the subject. Harry's shy, embarrassed response made her contemplate what it might mean and she really didn't want to get into that right now. If what she suspected was true, things were going to get a whole lot more embarrassing soon enough.

"Well, the spring is in a grotto and can only be approached from this side. I want you to keep watch while I go and do what I need to do," he explained, his face colouring once more.

Ginny found she couldn't help herself. "What's the matter, Potter? Do you have to bathe in the pool starkers or something?"

Harry's reaction almost made her lose it because his face turned redder than her hair and his eyes widened to the size of saucers.

"Oh, Merlin. I was just taking the mickey out on you," Ginny said in shock. Though in reality it was mostly an act.

"I'll just leave you to it," she said softly, turning her back.

Harry sighed deeply and headed off toward the pool of water that he could just make out through the trees.

Once he arrived, he glanced back toward where Ginny stood, half hidden amongst the trees. If there had been anyone to see, they'd have seen the somewhat sad, wistful look on his face.

With a sigh, he turned his attention back to the spring and began to disrobe. Even though it was in the middle of the summer and it was just passed one, the air surrounding the spring in the grotto was quite cool.

As he removed his last article of clothing, Harry stood there for a moment, contemplating just how cold the spring water was going to be. Closing his eyes and gritting his teeth, he walked quickly forward into the pool.

He gasped as his foot stepped in but he kept going, grimacing when the water approached his waist. He felt his bits protesting their immersion into the chilly water but he ignored it as best he could and kept moving forward.

He felt hopeful because he could feel a small tingling sensation that he associated with magic as he walked further into the pool.

When he was standing in what appeared to be the deepest area, the water came up to a couple inches above his navel.

He closed his eyes, thinking "Here goes," and he submerged himself completely. He lay back, relaxing as much as possible, trying to reach out with his magic but he was disappointed when all he felt was the penetrating cold.

He stood back up and sighed, thinking that he'd either gotten the information wrong somehow or that the magic just wasn't accessible any longer.

"It didn't work, did it," he heard behind him.

Spinning around, he was shocked to find Ginny standing on the bank of the pool, staring at him.

"Ginny! I'm starkers!" he protested.

"So I noticed," Ginny replied with a mischievous grin. "And oh, by the way, you have a really cute arse," she added, her eyes flashing impishly.

Harry's eyes widened at her audacious comment and he hunched down until the water was up to his chest. He ignored the cold as he eyed Ginny.

"No, it didn't," he murmured sadly.

"I didn't think so," Ginny sighed, still staring at Harry.

"What? How did you even know what I was doing?" he asked in confusion.

"What can I say, I'm sneaky," she admitted with a shrug, her lips curling up slightly. "You left your book in the parlour one night and I was able to determine what you were reading," she explained.

"Okay, I can understand that but how did you know it didn't work?" he asked, fighting the penetrating cold.

Ginny sighed, shaking her head. "You didn't read the whole book, did you?" she asked instead of answering his question.

Harry gave her a puzzled look. "No, but what does that have to do with anything?" he asked, feeling more and more confused.

Ginny gave him a patronizing look and then with a sigh, she began to unbutton her blouse. "If you would have read the beginning you'd have found out that virtually every one of the rituals are for couples," she explained nervously.

"You mean . . . ?" Harry asked wide-eyed as he stared at Ginny.

"Yes, they're all based on love, well sex really but love only strengthens the ritual," she continued as she tossed her blouse aside and loosened her belt before undoing the button to her jeans.

She slowly unzipped the zipper, sliding her jeans down and off, leaving her standing in nought but her bra and knickers.

"Ginny . . ." Harry breathed out huskily.

Ginny paused, taking in a deep calming breath before she unclasped her bra and let it fall. She hooked her thumbs in the waistband of her knickers and pushed them down over her hips, letting them fall to the ground, kicking them off along with her trainers.

Harry found it difficult to breathe and it had nothing to do with the cold water. He stared at Ginny, totally in awe. She looked like some ethereal water goddess or nymph standing there in nothing but she was born with.

"Ginny, I can't ask . . ." he began.

"I know you'd never ask, but it's my choice," she stated firmly as she began walking toward him.

"Merlin, that's cold," she gasped as she stepped into the water.

Harry stared mesmerized as Ginny approached him and he stood without even realizing he was doing so. His eyes travelled over her body, first taking in the tuft of fiery nether hair before it was submerged in the water.

His eyes travelled up to her pert breasts, her nipples hard peaks from the cold. Finally he looked into her eyes, awed by what he found there.

Ginny stopped mere inches from him, unabashedly staring into his eyes.

"Harry, I've loved you for years and I'm pretty sure you're finally returning those feelings," she whispered softly, raising one hand and caressing his cheek.

"I . . . I," Harry stammered, his heart pounding in his chest. Unable to vocalize what he was feeling, he reached up and grasped her head with both his hands and crushed his lips to hers.

Ginny moaned into his kiss, feeling his love for her swirl about her. She stepped forward, closing the distance between them, moulding her body against his.

She wrapped her arms around him, running her hands up and down his back.

Harry slid one hand back into her hair, loving the feeling of her silky tresses as it slid through his fingers. His other hand slid down to the small of her back, pulling her tightly against him.

He was amazed when he felt himself hardening, in spite of the penetrating cold water.

He gasped when Ginny dropped her one hand, taking his hardness into her grasp. He moaned deeply as she slowly began to stroke him. Her other hand she wrapped around his neck, holding on firmly.

Ginny brought her one leg up, wrapping it around Harry's waist as she lined him up with her centre. Then she brought her other leg up and squeezing her legs, she drove herself onto his manhood.

She winced slightly as he removed the barrier, taking her virginity.

Harry moaned as he felt Ginny's hot sheath envelop him, the contrast from the cold water startling. He felt her tense slightly as he entered her and he was astounded that she had given him her most priceless gift.

He dropped his hands, cradling her arse cheeks and began to slowly thrust into her.

They both moaned deeply, crushing their lips together, adding to their joining.

Ginny wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned back, drawing Harry with her. They slipped under the surface of the water and as they did so, they felt a surge of magic.

It filled them completely, swirling through them, drawing them even closer together. They felt their love grow and flare like some wildfire bursting into life.

They spun and twisted, moving together, giving and receiving pleasure from one another.

Time lost all meaning, all that was important was the one they were with, loving and being loved, joining spiritually as well as physically.

The magic surrounding them continued to increase, the very air above the pool crackling with the intensity.

Finally they came in a crescendo of pleasure, Harry pouring his essence deep into Ginny.

Ginny gasped and moaned as she felt Harry's essence fill her and she felt a spark of magic deep inside. She wasn't sure what it was, all she knew was that it made her happier than she'd ever felt before.

Slowly their ardour died back and they had to surface to breathe. It was then that they realized they'd been submerged far longer than should have been physically possible.

Harry kept his arms wrapped tightly around Ginny, holding her in place, their bodies still connected.

He looked loving into her eyes, his misting slightly. "I've been such a prat," he whispered.

"You can't help it, you're a bloke," Ginny giggled teasingly.

A small smile broke out on Harry's face and he shook his head lightly.

His eyes drifted shut and he moaned softly when he felt Ginny squirm a little. Opening his eyes, he staring into Ginny's, his blazing with desire once again.

Keeping a tight hold on her, he made his way to the bank of the pool and laid her down in the soft, warm grass, crashing his lips to hers once more.

Ginny moaned, clutching to him as she kissed him back passionately, loving the feeling of him moving inside her once again.

She couldn't believe at how much better it felt as she had thought nothing could compare to their first time.

They made love slowly, taking the time to give each other as much pleasure as possible.

As they lay snuggled together after making love several times, Harry sighed and stirred.

"We should head back. We've been gone much longer than I had planned and someone is sure to have noticed by now," he sighed with regret.

Ginny reached up and caressed his cheek. "Don't worry, everything will work out," she murmured lovingly.

Harry smiled down at her, grasping her hand and kissing her palm. "I love you, I hope you know that," he murmured.

"I know, I could feel it," she giggled. "And just for the record, I love you too."

Harry rose and offered Ginny his hand to help her rise. Once she was standing next to him, he looked over their bodies. They were slightly dirty and had the remains of their sweat along with bits of grass, seeds and other minute debris stuck to them.

Harry winced, staring at the pool. "As much as I hate to say it, we're going to have to rinse off," he sighed reluctantly.

Ginny took in a deep breath and blew it out. "We'll, waiting isn't going to make it any better," she muttered, pulling him forward by their clasped hands.

They were both surprised when the water didn't feel nearly as cold as it had before, in fact they found it quite refreshing.

They exchanged puzzled looks but neither mentioned it.

After washing one another with their hands, something that tested their resolve, they exited the pool and Harry cast drying charms on Ginny.

"Thank you," Ginny said demurely, her eyes feasting on Harry's still nude form.

Harry blushed as he cast a drying charm on himself, and though embarrassed, he couldn't help but to study Ginny's body.

She smiled softly as she began to get dressed. "Don't worry, we'll see each other like this again," she teased impishly.

Harry refused to admit to her that he had wondered if he'd ever get another chance to see her in all her glory. If anything, she looked even more beautiful now than when he first laid eyes on her nude body.

As he dressed Harry couldn't help but think about how much easier it had been to cast the drying charms and he grinned, knowing that performing the ritual with Ginny had definitely increased their magical power.

He watched as Ginny finished getting dressed, sitting down to tie her trainers. He went over to her and held out his hand and she smiled up at him as she took it, letting him pull her to her feet.

He pulled her into his body, hugging her tightly. "I know we've just . . . you know," he stammered sheepishly.

"You don't have to say anything, Harry. I feel the same. By performing the ritual together, we've bound our magic together and in doing so, we've bound ourselves to one another too," she explained with a soft smile.

She dropped her gaze, appearing guilty. "I probably should have told you that before-hand and I hope you don't hold it against me that I kind of trapped you into binding yourself to me," she added fearfully.

Harry gently lifted her chin with his hand, staring into her eyes. "I ought to be mad but I'm not. I've secretly had a crush on you for some time but it never seemed like the right time or circumstances to tell you. In a way I'm glad you did what you did, it certainly takes the difficulty of all that dating and wondering out of things," he chuckled with a humorous grin.

"Prat," Ginny stated softly as she swatted his arm, but they way her lips were curling at the ends let Harry know she wasn't really upset.

He leaned in and captured her lips in a tender kiss. "I couldn't be happier," he muttered softly, his eyes filled with his love.

Ginny snuggled in closer, resting her face against his chest. She breathed in, taking in his scent, something she found calmed her and made her feel safe.

"Umm, I wish we didn't have to go," she murmured, gently rubbing her face against him.

"While I agree with you, if we don't show up at the Burrow, I'm sure your mum or brothers are going to kill me," Harry joked warmly.

"I wouldn't let that happen as you're going to be the father of my children," she giggled.

She felt Harry stiffen and she raised her head to look at him. He had a wide-eyed, shocked look on his face.

"You're . . . you're not . . . pregnant, are you?" he asked shakily, his face turning almost pure white.

Ginny gave a little shrug. "I'm not sure but I did feel something the first time when we made love in the pool. There was some sort of a spark of magic deep inside of me," she said unsurely. "Are you against us having a child?" she asked hesitantly.

"Merlin, no. I just didn't think about it and it's quite a shock but all I've ever really wanted was a family of my own. I know we're young but I do love you and if you're having my baby, we'll deal with whatever comes," he replied fervently.

Ginny cuddled back into his chest. "That's reassuring to hear because we Weasleys tend to be a rather fertile lot and the odds are I am pregnant," she sighed contentedly.

Harry tightened his grip around her, kissing her on top of her head. "Like I said, we'll deal with it if it becomes an issue," he said softly.

He paused for a moment, thinking hard. "Um, Ginny," he said unsurely.

"What Harry?" she asked in reply.

"Maybe we should get married, just in case," he finished tentatively, dreading her answer if she didn't agree with him.

Ginny sighed. "Yeah, we probably should," she eventually replied. "I know mum will throw a wobbly but the easiest thing I can think to do is slip off to Gretna Green and tell everyone once we get back and the deed is done," she said firmly, her mind already made up.

"You mean that village in Scotland?" he asked questioningly.

"Yeah, that's the place," Ginny reassured him.

"When should we go?" he asked, his mind working a mile a minute.

"Next Friday after dinner. We'll slip away and come back for Sunday dinner, after that, you'll be taking me on our honeymoon," she insisted firmly.

"I'm glad you have it all worked out cause I'm still trying to think of how we can slip away unnoticed," Harry chuckled.

"Oh, that will be a piece of cake, just leave everything to me," she giggled.

"Yes dear," he replied a bit cheekily.

"Get used to saying that," she laughed.

"Yes, dear," he repeated with a smile, much to Ginny's delight.

Ginny wrapped her arm around his waist and sighed, though she had a small smile on her lips.

"Take us home, love," she said softly, glancing up into Harry's eyes.

Harry met her eyes, giving her a soft smile, loving the way it sounded when she said 'take us home'.

"Okay, love," he replied, feeling happier and more optimistic about the future than he had ever felt before. Having Ginny beside him seemed to make a huge difference and while he might not have chosen the route they were now on, he wouldn't change a thing even if he was able.

Holding Ginny tightly into his side, he Apparated them back to the Burrow, hoping he survived till next Friday so he could marry the girl of his dreams.

Harry and Ginny

A/N: Another one shot that came to me and demanded to be written.

I hope you enjoyed it, if so, I'd appreciate a review.