Harry Potter stood in silence, staring out the window at the Weasleys’ garden, filled with people, and the mix of auburn, purple, and twilight blue that made up the sunset overlooking the Devon countryside. It had been a very good day, and he was not happy to see it coming to an end, but he knew all too well that nothing lasted forever.
Bill and Fleur were happily married and would be leaving for a brief honeymoon in Bermuda in an hour or so. The only real rough point of the day had been his close proximity to Ginny Weasley, which became more and more difficult to bear as the day went on. It was so easy to laugh with her, to talk with her; but those things made the desire to pull her to him all the stronger. To hold her, kiss her, run his hands through her hair...and all of those things he couldn't do.
He was not going to give Voldemort any more of an excuse to hurt her than he already had. Full stop.
It would be easier, he thought, when he, Ron, and Hermione were on their own in Godric's Hollow. Harry reckoned people would have tried to come along if they'd known he was going...but they didn't. Harry had sworn Ron and Hermione to secrecy on the matter. It had been the subject of several long arguments over the course of their week-long stay at Privet Drive – an interesting affair to say the least – but Harry had finally won them over. They wouldn't be telling anyone they were going, though Ginny already knew, and they would be leaving letters behind so as not to worry anyone more than necessary.
They were travelling light – several changes of clothes, plus Hedwig, Pig, Crookshanks, their wands, and a few odds and ends Harry had bought from Fred and George. Harry felt certain Hermione would try to smuggle along a book or twelve, but he could put up with that, given that it had been she who'd booked and paid for rooms at a Muggle bed and breakfast in Godric's Hollow.
"Oi." Ron's voice cut into his thoughts.
Harry turned around. "All of your things packed?"
Ron nodded and pulled the three heavy rucksacks out from under Ron's bed. They had decided against taking their Hogwarts trunks, those being too cumbersome and harder to grab and go on a moment's notice.
"Have you said good-bye to Ginny?" Ron asked.
Harry sighed and shook his head.
"Look mate, don't you at least owe her a–" Ron started, but Harry cut him off.
"What I owe her is to stay the hell away from her so that Voldemort – grow up – so that Voldemort doesn't get any ideas. You know this. You agreed with me at Privet Drive; I don't see why you've changed your mind since then."
"I haven't," said Ron. "I mean, you know I don't want my sister to be any more of a target than she already is... I just think she might appreciate your saying goodbye. Even as...even as friends."
"You don't think I want to say goodbye to her?" Harry asked, exasperated. “You don't think I want...to be with her?" he asked more softly. "I wish to anything I could, but I can't."
"You won’t." Ron emphasised, glaring at him. "And you can say good-bye to her without kissing her."
Harry winced. "No. I can't.” This, the real reason behind his being up here and not downstairs with the others. "That dress. I can't take her wearing that dress.” The rumbling creature within Harry thought there were any number of things he could do with her in that dress...or witho– Harry stamped on it and came back to himself.
Ron was smirking at him. "She's got you bad, mate."
Harry threw up his hands. "Do you not UNDERSTAND how dangerous that is? I want to snog her every time I see her, and in THAT dress, I–" He broke off at the look on Ron's face.
"You might want to keep that to yourself, mate."
Harry gulped. "Well...that's the point, isn't it? If I'm away from her, I don't think about those kind of...well, I do," he corrected, as Ron's expression turned incredulous. "But the point is, I can't act on them if I'm not near her, and also nobody will see me tempted and divine the truth."
"Well, Cho was obvious enough, and you don't see the Death Eaters kicking down her door to use her as leverage."
"You weren't happy with Cho," said Ron.
"That's beside the point," said Harry.
Ron sighed. "I just think it would be decent to say goodbye to her."
"I won't," said Harry. "And that's final."
Ron fell silent and glared at him.
"Look, we ought to get changed," said Harry, indicating the dress robes they were wearing.
Ron shook his head. "When Bill and Fleur leave. The party will start to wind down a bit then."
"Look, the more people here, the less likely it will be noticed when we leave," said Harry.
"It's my brother's wedding day, Harry. I'm not leaving until he and Fleur do." Ron glared at him again, turned on his heel, and walked out of the room.
Harry sighed in frustration and went back to staring out the window.
It was some time later when a knock came at the open door. Harry half-turned to see Ginny standing in the doorway.
As with the first time he'd seen her that day, the breath was sucked out of him like a Bludger to the gut. Her dress was a pale gold, made up of a soft velvety fabric that illuminated her skin and hair in such a way that Harry found it extremely hard to concentrate. It was not terribly revealing, as dresses go, but he had never seen her looking so beautiful.
"They're missing you downstairs," Ginny said softly.
Harry opened his mouth to speak, but words escaped him.
Ginny smiled. "Mum thinks you fancied Fleur and are up here pouting about the marriage."
Harry's jaw dropped. "What is she...I mean doesn't she know..." he stopped just short of saying "about us," as that would have hurt too much. Being in the same room with her was agony enough.
Ginny gave a humourless laugh. "We weren't together over a holiday or anything, how exactly was she to know?"
Harry shrugged. "I...I just assumed, I guess."
She looked him the eye, an inquisitive expression on her face. "Would you like to talk about whatever's bothering you? I could tell, even at a distance..." She took a step forward.
Harry felt his pulse quicken. This was not good.
She looked at him earnestly, expecting him to finish.
He didn't know quite how it happened, but in the next instant he had closed the gap between them and they were kissing.
They broke apart a long moment later.
"I wasn't supposed to do that," Harry said. "Damn it. I really wasn't–"
Ginny hushed him with a finger to his lips. "For luck," she said, then stepped out of his embrace and quietly left the room.
Harry stood still in the darkness for some time after that.