DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter is really cool, isn't he? So are Ginny and Neville, I think. Oh yeah and Lee Jordan. Who else is in my story that I haven't mentioned? The Weasley's and Hermione...I think that's everyone. Yes there is a point and I'm getting to it.

They're not mine.

A/N: Here's the next installment of Ginny's Whirlwind, I had fun writing this and so I hope that you enjoy it...even if just a little bit. I want to thank my readers and reviewers, I would not be writing fan fiction if it weren't for you!

Thank you SO much to dafalcon for being my sounding board, you are truly an awesome person to know :u)

"I don't want to go back in through there," said Ginny, as she and Harry drew closer to The Leaky Cauldron. There was no way that she could stomach another scene like that – she had more than met her quota for bearing witness to them in her opinion.

"You can go back alone if you'd like, I can just Apparate," Harry said reluctantly. He had quite enjoyed this evening with Ginny and didn't want to end it this soon, although he didn't quite know how to tell her that without sounding desperate.

Ginny looked at him in disbelief, "There is no way I'm going back in there alone at this hour, are you mad? Looks like it's time to break the rules, we're due for that if I'm not mistaken."

Harry would have felt bad that they had to take an alternate route home if a smile hadn't accompanied that statement. "And who are we to mess with karma?" He hesitated a moment before adding, "Gin, I really am sorry for causing such a ruckus, especially when those I'm close to have to see it."

Ginny only shrugged and, realizing they were still holding hands, let go of him and gave a half smile. "Harry, stop apologizing will you? If I haven't gotten used to this by now, then something must be wrong with me. I would be lying if I said that what happened today hasn't changed my perspective of what you deal with on a daily basis, but I'm not going to stop talking to you because of it...give me a little bit more credit than that at least."

"Yeah, okay, but it's not exactly a comfortable situation when it happens is all...from either side. Well...you ready?" he inquired with a raised brow.

"I guess...where should we do it from?" Ginny looked around them and as far as she could see, they were alone, but she didn't want to take any chances. A burst of cool night breeze flew her hair in every direction and she shivered as it made contact with her bare skin. "Knew I should've brought a jacket," she muttered as she crossed her arms over herself.

"I think if we just stepped into the entry way of The Leaky Cauldron, we can Disapparate from there and not have to worry about getting caught. Here, are you cold?" Without a second thought, he took off his jacket and held it up so she could easily maneuver her arms into the sleeves.

"Oh, Harry, you don't have to do that, I'll be fine," she said, but cursed herself a second later when another uncontrollable shiver proved that she had lied straight through her teeth.

"Stop being stubborn for two seconds and put this on or I'll force you into it," said Harry with as much authority as he could muster.

"Sounds like that would be a fun time," Ginny grinned at him. She brought her hands up and her face took on a contemplative look, "Willingly or with force? Tough decision..."

"Ginnyyy," said Harry sharply, looking at her over his glasses.

"You're such a party pooper," she mumbled before putting her arms inside the jacket Harry offered to her. She breathed a deep sigh once she was enveloped in the warmth that he had already created. "You're the best, thanks," she said softly. "I'm swimming inside this thing...back at Hogwarts we were practically the same size. You've filled out rather nicely for a scrawny little underachiever," she said teasingly while squeezing his muscular arm.

Harry laughed outright, "You know how to make a man swoon, Gin...keep those compliments coming and I'll be at your feet in no time."

"Again, sounds like a good time. Come on, let's get out of here before we have nothing better to do than stand here all night." Ginny linked her arm with his and they strolled down the sidewalk in comfortable silence.

She hadn't felt this relaxed in awhile, she admitted to herself with a wistful smile. Harry's scent permeated her nose and she found herself having nothing but all-consuming thoughts about him. She looked over at him secretively and felt her heart beat a little faster. I can't believe that after ten years, he still has this affect on me. No one else stands a chance. The revelation both astounded and depressed her and she almost tripped over her feet. Friends...we're just friends...friends...friends. I can't do this to myself...not again. "Harry." She said his name out loud, not fully intending to do so.


She swallowed the oversized lump in her throat and kept silent, wondering if she should ask him and whether she wanted to know or not. As confused and frustrated as she was over Harry, she realized that it wasn't worth it to spend her life lying to herself. Bloody hell. From the moment she saw him, she wanted to take him home and keep him all to herself. She wanted to forget the fact that he was one of the most famous wizards in the world and that she saw his face almost every day on a magazine or newspaper cover. She wanted to rant and rave about how unfair it was that, somewhere along the way she had fallen in love with him knowing that she never stood a chance.

"Coming up with anything interesting?" Harry inquired at her thoughtful expression.

She looked up at him again and opened her mouth, then closed it again. She couldn't do this. There was nothing that Ginny could give him that he didn't already have and she had nothing to offer him but herself. She couldn't put her heart on the line again when she had no idea what he was thinking or feeling, and especially when he wasn't totally unattached. The vague memory of seeing a picture of Harry and that blonde American on the cover of 'Witch Weekly' made her slightly sick to her stomach, and she thought that maybe she should not have drank as much as she did.

"Oh, Ginnyyyy," said Harry in a singsong voice. "I distinctly remember you saying my name and so normally I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, that it would be followed by a question or even another one of those compliments you're so good at dishing out. Or even telling me to go away would be acceptable." He gave her a discernable glance, feeling somewhat uncomfortable at her silence. A cool gust of wind blew through her hair and he found himself wanting to tuck it behind her ear. She really looks beautiful tonight, he thought. As he was back in Hogwarts, he felt complete and happy when he was with her, and had the nonsensical notion that he could do anything.

"I don't want you to go away," she said softly. How about you stay forever, Harry? She realized they had stopped walking and she looked blinkingly up at the tattered, well-concealed door to The Leaky Cauldron. "Here already, huh?" She was reluctant to go in there again but, seeing as how there really was no other way, she sighed and pushed the door open. "Try to blend in," she said jokingly. They stepped inside, stopping in the entryway and Ginny wrapped the jacket even tighter around herself. The noise volume had drastically increased in the last couple hours and it made her flinch. "Let's go home," she mumbled toward Harry.

"Can you believe this, Inka? This ain't the same gal he was with a while ago!" a gruff voice yelled across the room.

"Sure idn't, but you surpris'? You can't 'spect someone o' his status to take 'sponsibility o' committin' to one gal. Not to mention one wit' a bun in th' oven! Just ain't right, Val...downrigh' scandalous if you as' me!"

"You don't know what you're talking about, Ink, it doesn't matter if he's the King of England! Any honorable wizard knows his priorities in life, and he's honorable...in fact, I bet you fifty Galleons he'll be proposing to her by the end of the week!" The bartender went back to wiping the counter after putting his two Knuts in.

"What are they talking about?" whispered Ginny. She squinted into the depressingly dark climate and saw that almost all of the patrons were bunched together and conversing over what she suspected to be newspapers.

"Not sure and I'm not sure I want to know," said Harry, clearly not interested in the goings on within the pub.

"I bet a hundred Poootter's gonna deny ever knowin' 'er! Pershonally, I think tha' 'Merican's juss' out fer his money! He doesn' need her, anyway, I can take good care o' him!" The drunk witch from earlier nodded her assent before lifting her tankard for another drink.

Harry's breath caught in his throat and he froze where he stood, feeling as if a ton of bricks had settled down in his stomach. What the hell..? The feeling of dread only intensified each second they were there.

"Harry?" Ginny's face had gone pale and she looked up at him, obviously waiting for him to say something.

"Get yer head outta yer arse, Matilda, Harry Potter's never run away from responsibility a day in 'is life! If it's 'is, there ain't no way he'll not do ev'rything he can to do right by 'er."

Harry had stopped listening by now, feeling physically sick at what he would see staring back at him on those newspapers. He felt Ginny tug on his arm and he looked down at her blankly.

"Harry?" Ginny whispered, not quite believing that her world had just up heaved itself within a matter of seconds.

He heard a few gasps and he turned his head back to the dank room to see that people were finally realizing that he was there. He felt even sicker at the glances he was receiving and he turned to look at a stricken Ginny. He swallowed convulsively before finally forcing himself to gain control of his limbs again. He withdrew his wand, pointed it at the crowd and croaked, "Accio newspapers." Seven different sizes and shapes of paper flew at him and he caught each one in his arms. "Gin, can I...can I go back to your place? Please."

Ginny finally seemed to come out of her trance and she caught Harry's pleading look. She opened her mouth to respond, although no words came out, so she just nodded. Her gaze flickered to the offending newspapers and her heart pounded even harder. This can't be true...this just can't be true...

Harry nodded sullenly and a moment later he Disapparated, leaving a confused and horrified Ginny behind. She felt all of the blood rush from her head and she swayed on the spot, her vision becoming dim. No, Ginny, get a grip on yourself for Merlin's sake! She took a few deep breaths and closed her eyes, not caring that everyone was staring at her with unabashed interest. It was only when they started to have whispered conversations amongst themselves did Ginny open her eyes and glare at them before Disapparating herself.

She reappeared outside the door to her apartment and looked around to see Harry sitting on the swing she had placed in the miniscule patch of grass that was included with the shop. She quietly walked over and sat down next to him, shock still preventing her from talking. Harry had not bothered to read what the papers said, they were clutched tightly to his chest and he was staring down at the ground as if in a daydream. They sat in silence for a while and Ginny began to fidget at the heaviness in the air. "Come inside, Harry," she said finally and stood up to unlock the door. She had to prompt him again before he got to his feet and shuffled over to her like a weight had been placed on his shoulders. She gestured him inside and he obeyed without making any kind of argument. She saw the rigid outline of his face and she couldn't make out exactly what he was thinking or feeling at that moment – he was keeping it well hidden. She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and he jumped, "Let's go up, I'll make some tea."

He nodded subtly and mechanically followed her up the stairs and inside to the kitchen area. He dropped like a dead weight onto the chair and the newspapers fell out of his arms and scattered on the tabletop. "I..." he swallowed with difficulty.

"Harry...what..." Ginny stopped, not quite knowing where to start or even begin to comprehend what was happening. So she began to straighten up her kitchen and go about getting the teapot out to heat up water. Normally, she would just wave her wand and have it be over with in five seconds but there was just too much energy within her to expel. She turned the stove on and went to get cups out of the cabinet when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned to see Harry looking at her with a pained expression and she stared back, not quite knowing what to say to him.

"Harry, I...I don't understand...do you know what they were talking about?" She already knew the answer judging by the look in his eyes. "Did you...? Is it that woman...? Is she really...?" She broke eye contact with him when she felt her face begin to heat up. She needed to keep her personal feelings out of this and concentrate on Harry's obvious distress, even if for just a few minutes. "Just tell me if there is any or could be any truth to this, Harry," she said with her eyes closed. She heard him breathe loudly and then a rustling sound as he drug his hand through his hair. She turned her back to him and put her hands on the counter, gazing at the steam that escaped the teapot.


Ginny gulped and closed her eyes again, not quite prepared for that answer. "Yes, it's true or yes, it could be true?" she asked tightly.

"It...I think it could be true. I..." she heard him gulp. "I haven't seen her in about six months, though."

Ginny's breath caught as she inhaled and she leaned down further on the counter until she was resting on her elbows. She was certain that she couldn't handle to hear another word about his relationship with a woman who was possibly pregnant with his...his child. "This is a nightmare," she whispered.

"I'm so sorry, Gin, but I'm just as confused by this as you are..."

"Let me see one of those newspapers...please," she said morosely. She wanted to get this over with as soon as possible, knowing that prolonging it would only cause her pain to be even more devastating.

He hesitated before going to retrieve the first paper he touched and brought it back over without reading it. He set it on the counter in front of her and then leaned back to stare at the opposite wall. He didn't have to read anything to know what the papers already said, he had heard enough in the pub. He crossed his arms and leaned his head forward to wait for Ginny to get done reading. He didn't think he would ever understand how their evening together had started out so comfortably and then ended with him feeling like his life was crashing down around him. How could this have happened and how did the press get a hold of something this life altering before he even knew anything? Ginny was right, this was a nightmare and it was worse than any that Voldemort had caused back in school. Most of all, on top of the complete embarrassment of the situation, he felt ashamed at what Ginny must be thinking about him at the moment. Anna would never do something like this...would she? She would have told me about this way before now...The thought of what the newspapers were implying hit him full force and he leaned over as far as he could and tried has hard as he could so as not to start hyperventilating or pass out. "This can't be happening..."

Ginny ignored him and took a deep breath before opening her eyes to begin reading the words that acted like a knife to her heart the moment she set eyes on them.

Boy Who Lived: Father Who Lived?

by Constance Bunchkin

It has come to this reporter's attention that Harry Potter, a.k.a. The Boy Who Lived and Quidditch Seeker extraordinaire, is going to become a father to a little witch or wizard in just a few short months. The mother is said to be Anna Scott, an Unmentionable in the New York based Ministry of Magic who just recently headed the Mackey-Lochen project.

When asked about the state of her relationship with our young protagonist, Miss Scott only said that, "Harry and I are very close and I wish him well." The respected source of this newfound information indicated to this reporter that Miss Scott is now in her second trimester with her first child and has gone to great lengths to conceal the father's identity.

Upon Mr. Potter's travels to the United States as Seeker for the Lincolnshire Beckhams, he often frequented Miss Scott's flat in Manhattan's upper west side, and have even been spotted exchanging affections at the more trendy eateries downtown. "You could surmise that they are more than just friends if you ever saw them together," says a close friend of Miss Scott's. "Personally, I think they make a cute couple and Harry would make an excellent father."

Is it time for The Boy Who Lived to hang up his Quidditch robes and finally settle down? Having been in the spotlight for the better part of his life, most of his fans are well known to the fact that Mr. Potter's penchant for flightiness might have something to do with his notably private past and the defeat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, which marked a milestone in the young man's continued list of accomplishments (for more details on the fall of the Dark Lord, please consult page A4). After the war was over, he went on to become a world-renowned Seeker for the Beckhams and one could say that he took on the life of a carefree bachelor.

"One who has lived the kind of life such as he, has the tendency to set aside their morals and virtues for an undeterminable amount of time and they tend to shy away from responsibility, most likely due to events stemming from their childhood," states Star Lyndon, author of 'How Your Past Defines You'. "Eventually, their actions catch up with them and they find themselves being held accountable for more than they are prepared for."

Not being able to read another word, Ginny tore her eyes away from the article feeling a lot worse than when she started. She looked over and saw that while she was engrossed in reading, Harry had taken the teapot off the stove and poured each of them a cup. He was now sitting back at the table staring absentmindedly at the wall while doodling on the table with his fingers. "Harry..." she felt her heart clench in her chest and she went over to sit down across from him. "You...you aught to go to her," she said thickly.

"How, Ginny? I...I don't know if I can. Is it...is it as bad as I think it is?" He asked, referring to the article Ginny read.

"Compared to others that I've read, it's not the most flattering. This isn't like any other article I've ever read, though. Harry, you really need to go, you need to find out for sure. It's the right thing to do."

"I haven't seen Anna in six months, I don't understand how I could be..." he froze then as a wave of dizziness passed over him. He bent down again and put his head between his knees. "I can't believe this, Ginny...whether it's true or not, it's still a private matter. I've never felt so violated; it's humiliating."

Ginny couldn't disagree with him as even she knew that he was right, no one had the right to know about something this personal. Before she could think about what she was saying she blurted, "Did you use...protection?" She felt as if she were about to be sick and even sat on the edge of her chair to run for the bathroom if need be.

Harry brought his head up and looked at her like she had just grown two other heads. "Of course we did!" The awkwardness of the conversation was too much for him and he stood up, walked into the living room and began pacing back and forth. "I can't go to New York now, she works at night so she's not even home." He worked his hands furiously through his hair and let out a curse. "Megan's not here, is she?" He didn't want anyone to watch him while he was in the middle of a mental breakdown.

"No, she went out with a couple of her girlfriends to dinner and the theater in Muggle London," she said flatly.

"I can't be a father, I'm only twenty two years old!" he said wildly. "If it were even true that I am, why didn't she try to contact me? I can't believe that it was Anna that would do this to me...she wouldn't! This is nobody's business! My life and my private affairs are NOBODY'S BUSINESS! I can't do this anymore, Ginny, I'm done! I can't walk down the street without someone knowing about it, nothing that I have is my own and it's always been that way! This isn't just about my getting a new broom or a...a...a new hairstyle, this is about me possibly becoming a bloody FATHER, and how do I find out about it? Through a bloody NEWSPAPER! No, not even that, it's more like the drunk patrons of the bloody LEAKY CAULDRON! I can't face anyone right now or I swear with everything that I have that I will curse every single last one of those gits that have nothing better to do than write about my pointless existence! Put me in Azkaban prison, do you think that I care?! At least then I will finally get some privacy, I won't have reporters knocking at my door to inquire about what I'm going to do next!"

Ginny sat staring openmouthed with shock at Harry as he treaded on her carpet, gesturing ferociously with his hands and yelled heatedly. She had never seen him act like this and, if the circumstances were not so grave, she would have laughed out loud at the fact that he would never have done this when he was younger.

Harry stopped dead and sat down on the couch, sighing in resignation. He leaned forward and put his head in his hands, calming his rampant breathing. "What am I going to do, Ginny?" he said in an almost scared voice.

Ginny quietly got up and went to sit next to him. Setting her own feelings aside, she laid a comforting hand on his shoulder and leaned forward to lay her cheek against his back. "Honestly, I can't tell you what to do. But I do know you, Harry, and I know that you can't let this go until you know for sure. It doesn't matter what the papers say, you have always been true to yourself and to those that you care for. You may not be prepared to handle something as big as this right now, but I know that you will do everything in your power to do what you can. Whether you believe it or not, you are a tremendously strong person and you can handle a lot...unfortunately, at times it has been more than you should have to deal with. But you will get through this, you're not alone, you know that?"

She saw him nod, although it did nothing to change his downcast face and rigid posture. "Harry, look at me." She waited a few seconds before raising her hand up and forcing him to look at her. Her eyes softened when she saw the fear that resided within his green depths. "You are not alone, you have family and friends that are behind you always. Screw the press and the newspapers, that is not what you are and you know that. I can't say that I know how frustrating it is to have your life mapped out for the world to see, but you can't let that get to you, it's not worth all of this anger that you have built up inside of you."

"You don't get it, Ginny. So many things have been written about me that aren't even true and sooner or later, people get so confused about what is fact and what is false. I'm tired of having to explain myself to everyone with everything that I do, half of it gets misconstrued and I end up looking like one of Voldemort's followers. And ten years down the road when someone writes something about me, it will all be drudged up and the vicious cycle starts all over again. This isn't something that I can just 'let go', it affects me too much to ignore. I don't even know who I am anymore and I can't even begin to explain how much that terrifies me."

"Then I can offer you this little bit of advice. Figure out who you are, Harry, and I promise you that you will never look back. The biggest mistake that you can make is to go through life believing what the papers tell you or what anyone else thinks about you. There can be a whole periodical devoted to you, but you know what? I could write it and it would still never be one hundred percent accurate. Each person has the right to a life and they have the right to live it...they have the will to choose how they are going to live it and it's nobody else's business. Those papers...it's purely for entertainment purposes, they don't care how much those articles impact you, they only care about how much business they can get. If you let it affect you that much, then some soul searching is obviously in order. You're such an amazing person, Harry...you have a good heart with a strong head on your shoulders. You're so much more important than what those rubbish excuses for gossips say and, one day, I hope that you realize it."

Harry sighed deeply and looked at Ginny's searching eyes. "I meant it when I said that I don't think I can do this anymore. More often than not, I have wished that I could be somebody else, even if for just a day. That's pathetic, isn't it?"

"No, I've thought the same thing about myself...it's more common than you think, actually." She thought back to her days when she was hopelessly enamored by Harry and wished that she could have been Cho Chang, the girl he had been infatuated by in his fourth and fifth years. She shook her head at the absurdness of it, but at the same time, felt that she wouldn't have changed a thing regarding her actions and thoughts toward Harry.

"I'll go see her tomorrow," Harry broke into her thoughts with a strained voice. "You're right, I have to do this...thanks for always being there for me." He grabbed hold of her hand and held on tightly, as if afraid that she would slip away. He felt somewhat at ease now that he had more or less forced her to listen to him and the mere fact that he was just there with her.

"Erm...Harry? Is Anna your...uh...girlfriend?"

Harry didn't feel at all like Ginny was prying and he found himself answering her without hesitation. "She was...the break up was amicable, we decided that it was just too much to maintain such a long-distance relationship."

"Where did you meet her?" Ginny didn't know why she wanted to know so much about her but she felt intrigued by the woman that had managed to catch Harry's attention like that.

"At a Ministry event in New York. While I was over there for a Quidditch match, I received an invitation to it and I accepted. She was one of the speakers and she was so passionate about her speech that I just found myself wanting to get to know her better. The papers, of course, made her out to be 'just another one of my quests'," he said, holding his hands up in quotation marks, face screwed up in disgust. "I just can't believe that she would do this," he pointed to the papers lying haphazardly on the table. "It's just not something that she's capable of...I don't understand why she would keep something of this magnitude a secret from me, though. Maybe I'm not the...father." The word sounded foreign coming out of his mouth but he said it with a grain of hope, and he kept it within him; it was the only thing that was keeping him from losing it completely.

"She sounds like she's really special to you," she said so quietly, he had to strain to hear her.

"I think that I'll always appreciate the time that we had, but that part of my life is over with. I will go see her tomorrow and...I'll deal with whatever happens. Ginny, can I...can I stay here tonight? I can't face anyone right now, I just don't think I would be able to control myself."

"Of course, you can stay as long as you want," Ginny gave him a small smile and squeezed his hand.

"Thank you," he sighed in relief. He looked over at the newspapers and pulled out his wand, saying clearly, "Evanesco!" He felt a semblance of satisfaction the moment the pile disappeared from sight and looked over at Ginny with a genuine smile.

Ginny found herself smiling back and they sat for a good minute in silence, staring at each other and she felt that feeling again, as if something had changed between them. "Ahem...well, I'm going to go change...you don't have anything to sleep in, do you? I may have something I think, we can just alter them if needed."

He nodded, "Sure...I'm sorry if I'm being a burden-"

"Nonsense, I don't want to hear those words come out of your mouth again, got it? You never were and you never will be a burden."

An overwhelming feeling of gratitude surged through him and the next thing he knew, he had wrapped Ginny in another embrace much to her surprise. "Whoa!" she said good-naturedly and he felt her tighten her arms around him. He buried his face in her hair and took a deep breath, losing himself in her exotic scent. He felt his heartbeat quicken at how near she was to him, but he thought that he wanted her to be even closer. He knew he wasn't in his rational mind but it was too far gone for him to find it and get it back, and so he bent his head down nearer to hers. "You smell good," he murmured close to her ear.

Ginny shivered when his warm breath caressed her ear and she knew she should have moved away to a safer distance, but she was too mesmerized by him to think clearly. "Thanks," she whispered, burying her face in his chest and losing herself to nothing else but the two of them and the heat coming off of him and into her. "So do you." He smelled better than good – she was tingling from the sheer pleasure of his masculinity. This isn't such a good idea, Ginny; thinking about him like this doesn't get you anywhere. She found herself not caring. His strong arms were around her and she never felt as safe as she did at this moment. She didn't think it possible, but her love for him grew even stronger and she wanted to protect him from everything that made him feel insecure and scared.

They both pulled back at the same moment and their eyes met as if magnetized to one another. Harry looked down into her cinnamon depths and counted his blessings that she had not turned him away as he had expected. He had always admired her and her family for having stuck by him through the years, even when they had been put in danger. As close has he had gotten to them, Ginny had always been the one that remained a permanent comfort to him and he would remain in her debt until he parted from this world. "Gin..." he brought his hand up and ran his fingers through her hair before tucking it behind her ear. "I missed you so much when I was away."

Ginny saw his emerald eyes turn even darker as they continued to gaze at each other and after awhile, she realized that he was allowing himself to remain vulnerable to her. She was humbled by the trust he placed in her and she smiled with a hint of melancholy. "Me too," she whispered, and brought up a hand to feel the smooth skin of his cheek. She wanted to tell him so much what she was feeling but knew that it wasn't the right time for it. Perhaps the right moment would never show itself, but she was now certain that she would never feel for anyone else what she felt for Harry.

"Do you wish sometimes that things would have been different?" Harry asked suddenly.

The question was so general that anyone else would have been confused by it, but Ginny had a notion that he was referring to their relationship toward the end of school. She had almost thought that Harry reciprocated her feelings and felt that he had been on the verge of telling her when Voldemort returned with a vengeance. It was at that point that Ginny had become incessant with helping in any way possible to bring Voldemort down. She had given Harry his time alone that she knew he needed and although he never pushed her away, things had never gone back to how they were before. She missed that more than anything but didn't know how to express just how must she longed to get that back.

"Yes and no," she admitted. "I believe that if things hadn't happened how they did, that we probably wouldn't be standing here. There are always going to be good and bad times and things are always going to happen that are unexpected, but I like where I am now. And you're here standing in front of me, alive and in one piece," she smiled and ran her hand to his neck. "You still carry this scar with you," she reached her hand up and touched his forehead with the lightest of touches. He didn't shy away or even bat an eye under her ministrations, having allowed her to do it before. "It symbolizes what you have lived through and the strength and courage you have that enabled you to overcome it. It's not a curse anymore, it's a part of you now...only you."

He grew warm at her touch and couldn't tear his eyes away from her as she spoke every so softly to him. He lifted his arm up and took hold of her hand, brought it down to his lips and kissed her palm.

Ginny's eyes widened at the contact and almost moaned at the powerful sensations that small gesture produced. Her heart felt as if it were about to pound out of her chest and yet she couldn't pull herself away. His lips moved over her hand agonizingly slow until it reached the pulse in her wrist and he placed another kiss there. "Harry..." she managed to get out.

He looked at her without removing his lips from her skin and saw the raw emotion, which encouraged him to lace his fingers with hers. "I wished that one thing could have been different, Gin..."

"I'm not sure you should tell me," she said breathlessly.

He stepped a little closer to her until they were barely touching and he kept his gaze pinned on her. "Do you know what it is?"

She lowered her eyelids slightly and swallowed painfully, closing her fingers around Harry's convulsively. "I think so...I wasn't wrong, then," she said, almost to herself.

He brought up his other hand and ran it through her hair again, memorizing the softness as it flowed like red wine over his fingers. "No," he whispered.

She let out a small sound like a sob and closed her eyes at the swelling of rage toward Voldemort for having destroyed their chance with each other, her chance at being happy. "Life is so unfair, sometimes," she looked at him, eyes bright with unshed tears. "You can't imagine how long I wanted...yearned for you to take some kind of interest in me. It's a good thing Voldemort is gone, because I would kill him again with no qualms," she said with no trace of humor.

"You said that everything happens for a reason...maybe it just wasn't the right time." He moved his hand down to her bare shoulder and ran his fingers slowly down her arm. "Do you think it will ever be the right time?"

She shivered under his caress and became so engrossed by him that she didn't answer his question until it registered with her after a few moments. "I..." Should she tell him the truth or give him a safe answer for the both of them? "I don't know, honestly...while I'm still being honest with you, I'm not thinking too clearly with you doing that."

The intensity of their exchange moved up another notch and he gazed intently at her. "I suppose I should ask you that question again when we're both of sound mind, then..." He moved his hand to her cheek and lifted her face gently until their eyes met once more.

"I really don't think this is a good idea, Harry," her voice trembled. They were both just dealt an emotional blow and she didn't think that taking advantage of the situation was the smartest thing. Yes, she wanted it more than anything, but what would happen tomorrow when he left? His future was uncertain, and he had so much to figure out about himself and the new revelation that she knew he was not ready to accept her into his life like she wanted.

"No...no, me neither." He ran his thumb over the soft skin of her bottom lip and he moved his eyes to where his hand was, and his breathing became labored. You can't do this. This is definitely not a good idea in any way, shape or form. The desire thrumming through his veins muffled out the logical voice in his head and he inched closer to her beautiful face. "I've been wanting to do this since I was sixteen, Ginny. There's no use in being angry over what could have been, but you can do something about it as soon as possible. It may still not be the right time, but I think we've both waited long enough."

Harry wanted to kiss her and she was fairly confident that she wanted it even more but something still tugged on her subconscious. "Promise me that no matter what happens, you will never regret it. I...I don't think I could handle it if you did."

Harry's hands came up to her face and cupped it, "You're so beautiful, Ginny. Your heart is beautiful...you've always been there for me, even when you hardly knew me. You watched after me, didn't you?"

Ginny felt her eyes burn with tears that threatened to overflow but she squelched them down and swallowed the heavy lump in her throat. "Why are you telling me these things?"

"I'm trying to tell you that these are the reasons that made me want to be with you, it's what made me want to hold your hand and to kiss you. I will die before I ever regret having the privilege of knowing you or doing this." He was done talking and, before either of them knew what was happening, his lips were on hers.

Having not recovered from Harry's words, she kept still for a moment as she got used to the feel of his lips. They felt exactly as she had always imagined – warm, soft, yet strong. Only when he moved his mouth over hers, did she finally respond by encompassing his neck with her arms and moving in closer until their bodies molded together.

Harry let out a soft groan at the contact and he splayed his hands on her hips to feel as much of her as he could. He had waited so long to be able to do this that he was going to make sure that it lasted as long as possible. He put more pressure on her mouth until she opened to him and he deepened the kiss.

Ginny's head was spinning and the longer the kiss lasted, the more she felt as if she were floating on air. All thoughts of reality were swept away in the sensations that they were causing together and she moaned when he deepened their kiss. She unclasped her hands and took his glasses off without breaking contact and threw them in the direction of the couch. She then fisted his hair and moved in even closer to him, wanting to feel as much as she could. She kissed him back with all that she had, conveying with her mouth how much he meant to her. The air surrounding them seemed to crackle and it made the hair on the back of Ginny's neck stand up, but she ignored it as Harry's mouth moved expertly with hers.

Harry tore his mouth away to explore further but Ginny moaned in protest and held his head firmly in place, mating her mouth to his again almost aggressively. He moved his hands to her back and started to travel lower—


With that, Harry and Ginny parted with gasping breaths and they turned in unison toward the door Megan had just walked in a second ago. All three stood there in silence as two of them tried to bring their heads back under the clouds and the third just watched on in amusement. "Looks like you two had a good time...well, excuse me, I'm just going to go to my room." With a smile she walked passed them and quietly closed her door behind her.

"Wow," whispered Ginny as she sat on the edge of the couch.

Harry just stared at the space he thought Megan was standing in a moment ago, not sure if he had been seeing things or not. Not a sound could be heard except for their breathing as it returned to normal and Ginny finally stood up just for something to do.

"Okay, uh...I'll go get you some pajamas then. Extra blankets and pillows are in the closet over there." Without waiting for a response, she went to her room and began looking through her dresser drawers for clothes that were not going to embarrass Harry if he wore them. "Oh, Ginny, what the bloody hell are you going to do, now?"