Kiss of Death
"Congratulations!" I exclaimed, throwing my arms around my brother.
He blushed slightly as he stared at his new bride. "Thanks, Gin."
"Better you than me," George remarked, smirking. "I don't know how on earth you can stand her!"
Ron punched him in the shoulder. I left them to their bantering and went to Hermione, who was deep in conversation with Professor McGonagall—something having to do with the changes a body has to overcome to be an animagus.
When she saw me, she beamed. I don't think I've ever seen her that happy in all the years I've known her. I guess they really were a good match.
"Gin, isn't it wonderful?" she said, glancing at Ron sideways. "Just think—you and I are sisters now!"
I grinned. "Strange, isn't it?"
She laughed. "Not at all! I've always felt we were sisters at heart."
I had to agree with her on that one. Even though she could be insanely annoying at times, she was still my most trusted confident and friend. I wrapped her in an embrace before searching for the best man.
He was leaning silently against the wall, smirking slightly as he watched his friends from afar. I could tell he'd been thinking about Dementors again, and that was most definitely not a good sign. I didn't want him to be worried about anything in the little time we had together before I left—I wanted to have fun.
He didn't see me until I stopped only a few feet away from him. I put my hands on my hips and he smiled.
"Well, what do you think?" I asked, presenting the pink bridesmaid gown in the most flirtatious way I could.
He laughed and wrapped me in an embrace. "You look absolutely stunning, as always."
I held on to him tight. It was moments like this that I lived for, moments when I knew he loved me as much as I loved him. I let him caress up and down my spine as we swayed back and forth.
"I don't want to go back," I whispered.
Harry let out a sigh. "I don't want you to go back either."
I lifted my eyes to stare into his. "So don't let me."
Harry hesitated a moment before responding. "You need to go back, to learn more, be more prepared for what's out there—"
"I'm already prepared," I interrupted, trying hard to not sound annoyed. "You prepared me. There's nothing I could learn at Hogwarts that you haven't already taught me."
He smiled down at me, the smile that meant he was again thinking of me as a child. "But you haven't learned any technique. Besides, you don't want to leave your friends behind, do you?"
"I don't care about who I leave behind," I grumbled, pressing my head against his chest. "I just want to be with you."
I heard him sigh again and pull me tighter. In the distance, we heard Hermione laugh as Ron led her into a romantic dip. The laughter was cut off by his lips.
Harry stared in their direction, his eyes longing. Everyone knew that he wanted to marry me just as much as I wanted to marry him; what we couldn't figure out was what was holding him back.
"I'm seventeen," I whispered.
His eyes left his friends and met mine. "You're still young."
"I'm an adult. I can make my own decisions."
He shook his head. "This is one decision you can't make on your own."
I frowned and brushed back a loose lock of his hair.
"Why won't you make it with me?"
Harry chuckled a little and looked back at the bride and groom.
"I don't know."
"You have nothing holding you back except your stubbornness," I pushed, knowing I had the edge.
He smiled and laughed again.
"I guess you're right."
"Of course I am," I responded, hoping against my better judgment that he was about to change his mind.
He just smirked and kissed my forehead.
"But I'm really stubborn."
I sighed and let the conversation drop. It was no use trying to reason with him; nothing could ever sway him to go against his first decision, no matter how little sense his reasoning made.
The night went by quickly. Speeches were given, toasts were made, and presents were opened. Ron and Hermione left for their honeymoon on some obscure island in the Caribbean somewhere around 21:00. The rest of us were left to clean up the mess from all of the celebrations. Much to my mother's dismay, George and Charlie had decided to send the newlyweds off with a fantastic display of fireworks. While they were beautiful and entertaining, they were also extremely messy.
As everyone else set to work, I felt Harry's arms around me and heard him whisper in my ear. "I have something to show you."
Eagerly, I followed him into the trees. The previous summer, Harry and I had carved our names into a tree in a clearing not too far away from the Burrow, much like muggles do. It was to this clearing he led me, and when we arrived I saw a mirror I had heard so much about, but never actually looked into. Staring back at me from the Mirror of Erised was Harry dressed in a tux, his arms around me in a white dress. I smiled.
"What do you see?" he asked sarcastically.
"I think you know," I responded, smirking slightly.
"You're going to finish school," he said as he knelt down next to me. I held my breath as he conjured a ring in his hand.
"But that doesn't mean we can't take the next step."
I was speechless. I honestly didn't know what to say to him! He laughed as he stood and pushed the ring onto my left hand ring finger before kissing me tenderly.
When we parted, I laughed and threw my arms around him, excited. Even though we wouldn't actually get married for a while, having the ring seemed to make it seem a little less far off. Going back to school was going to be much easier for me now; all I'd need to do to think of Harry would be to look at my left hand.
Overcome with emotion, I placed my lips against his once more. He pulled me tighter and ran his hand through my hair. I caressed his neck as we stood there, completely absorbed in each other.
Eventually, I realized that both of us were shivering, not because of our emotions, but because the air was getting cold. We parted, and Harry took out his wand precautiously. With a start I realized that I had left mine on a table when Harry and I slipped away. I couldn't believe I had been so careless!
Slowly, I felt an overwhelming sense of fear and sadness overcome me. I saw Harry's eyes widen and knew he was feeling the same thing.
"Dementors," I whispered.
Harry grabbed my arm and we started running towards the Burrow. By the time we realized the feeling was getting stronger, it was too late for us to turn back. Four of them appeared in front of us, blocking our path. Three came up behind us, and they began closing in.
"EXPECTO PATRONUM!" Harry yelled. The Dementors around us fled, but we could feel more coming in our direction.
"GINNY, RUN!" he screamed.
I did so, not paying attention to the direction I was running in or whether or not Harry was behind me. I heard him repeat the spell several times, and each time he sounded more distant. With a start I realized that he had stayed exactly where he was and was trying to fight off every single Dementor that came through. I turned around, hoping to find that Harry was, in fact, following me, and my ears were playing tricks on me; instead, I came face to face with one of the creatures.
I gasped and fell to the ground in fear. I didn't have any way to defend myself against this creature, and there was no way Harry was going to get here in time…
As the Dementor approached, I felt myself go completely rigid. In my mind, I heard the mocking voice of Tom Riddle from my first year at Hogwarts, heard myself screaming as I was taken down into the Chamber…
Cold, clammy hands grasped my shoulders. There was nothing I could do to stop them. The Dementor lifted me off of the ground and pulled my face close to his. It was the most horrible and sickly thing I had ever laid my eyes on, and somehow, I managed to scream.
Suddenly, I felt something being violently ripped from my body. I tried to resist, but there was nothing I could do. The feeling ran through my legs, up to my heart, and out of my open mouth. I was vaguely aware of someone screaming my name, but all of my senses were dulled. My vision was slowly disappearing, the world around me becoming a blur of indescribable shapes and colors. Everything seemed to blend together, and I felt my body go completely limp.
The last thing I saw was what I could only assume was Harry, his wand outstretched. He yelled something, and there was a bright flash of light.
Then, everything went black.
A/N: What did you think? The next chapter's where it really starts getting interesting...as I writer anyway. If you're curious, review!!