At the Burrow, Ginny was anxiously waiting for Severus's Patronus. That evening, Severus was going to tell her the location of Voldemort's hideout. Armed with that crucial information, the Order would strike, and the War would probably come to an end, for better or for worse.
Ginny was apprehensive, but determined. She knew that Severus was willing to die. What was more: Severus didn't have any desire to survive the end of the War, not just because he knew he would go to Azkaban if he survived, but because he believed only his death could atone for his crimes.
Ginny didn't want to hear any of that.
As if out of the blue, the beautiful silver unicorn appeared in front of her, bringing a message with the address of the place where Severus was waiting for her. When Ginny finished reading the message, the piece of parchment vanished in the air, and the silver unicorn disappeared too.
Ginny took out her wand and Apparated into an old deserted house in Knockturn Alley. A wand was lit, and Ginny found herself in front of Severus. "Hi," she whispered.
She still wasn't used to the sound of his rich voice calling her by her first name. Every time he did that, her heart jumped. It had been he who had started it. When she had countered by calling him Severus, he had admonished her, saying he was much older than her. She had ignored him. "Do you have the information?"
"Yes. It wasn't safe to send it through my Patronus."
Ginny narrowed her eyes at him, not because of the darkness, but because that was the most flimsy excuse she had ever heard from Severus. He had called her because he wanted to see her. "So... this is the last time we'll see each other before D-day."
"This is the last time we will see each other," he said gloomily.
He was so close. She reached out and held his shoulder. "Don't talk like that, Severus."
"Listen, Ginevra, I want you to stay at home with your mother, when the Order attacks."
Ginny sighed, but didn't let him go. "Women must stay at home. Is that what you're saying?"
He shrugged her hand off. "You are just a child."
Oh, this was a low blow, and hurt. But she held her head high. "I'll be of age in two weeks. I grew up with six boys. More than that: I grew up with Fred and George, and managed to survive. When I was eleven, I was possessed by Tom Riddle, and survived again."
Severus grabbed both her shoulders firmly. "Wasn't it enough? You ought to be careful. You shouldn't be so reckless."
"If I followed your advice, I wouldn't be here now."
"I know. You don't have to throw that in my face."
"After what happened in my first year at Hogwarts, I thought I'd never be able to trust anyone again. But something inside me told me I had to move on. I had to get out of my shell again and have confidence in life and people."
Severus loosened his grip, but kept holding her. "Ginevra..."
"Now I see I was right. I feel rewarded for having trusted you."
He framed her face with both hands and leaned down. His lips brushed very lightly across hers. Severus was going to kiss her, for the very first time! Ginny recalled how it was to be kissed, but that remembrance faded away as soon as Severus's lips moved on hers. Severus's taste, Severus's scent, Severus's heat... this was all about Severus. And this kiss, their first one, might also be their last. Ginny wrapped her arms around his waist and heard a moan coming from Severus's throat. Ginny pressed against him and parted her lips. A warm tongue came to meet hers. The kiss became passionate, desperate. She felt a shudder go through her, as though something long denied had found its release. She caressed his shoulders tenderly, holding him close.
When their lips parted, he stared at her intently, then pulled her into his arms again and whispered in her ear, "Stay at home. Please."
"I can't. Harry's future will be decided." Ginny felt him tensing and trying to pull away from her, but she held him tightly. "My father, my brothers and my friends will be in the battle too. But even if all of them decided to stay at home, I'd go just because you will. Do you think I'd be able to stay at home, knowing you'll be in danger?"
"If I see you there..." he faltered. "Your presence there will make me vulnerable."
"I'll protect you," she said, smiling but unwavering. "No matter what happens."
"Sweet Ginevra... Do you really want me to live as much as that?"
All she could see was a spark deep in his eyes. "There's nothing
I want more. I want you to live, and I want to be with you again."
Feeling relieved and victorious, Ginny captured Severus's lips again.
Ptyx, July 2006