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Harry kissed her. The girl who had pined after him for over five years. The girl whose fiery temper matched the color of her hair. The girl who could hex you into oblivion if you did her wrong. The girl who had given up on him. The girl who had finally gotten what she wanted, and lost him all in a matter of weeks. The girl who was determined never to cry in front of him, no matter what.
A year later, that girl was now, Harry saw, a woman. The War had made sure of that. Harry watched her rest her head on her mother’s shoulder, silently mourning her dead brother. He stood silently in the doorway of the Great Hall, watching them all. Most of them mourning friends, family, and loved ones. Some just sobbing over the fact that it was finally all over. Nobody, not one, noticed him standing there, and in his opinion, that was perfectly fine. He didn’t need the thanks and congratulations from all of these people, no. Not when he was the cause of all their pain. But he wasn’t here to wallow in his misery, even if he was supposed to be joyful. The one person who had wrecked everything in his entire life was gone, and here he was, thinking of anything but himself. Just her. She was all that mattered right now.
He walked over to the Gryffindor table with all of the courage he could find, walking as fast as he could without running. Ginny must have heard him amongst the sobs, or perhaps she just felt someone there, but whatever the reason, she turned around and placed her red, puffy eyes on his calm green ones. Suddenly, everything was swept from his mind. His eyes took on a look that only crossed his face when he saw Ginny, and his smile was much too broad to be normal. Her face took on the same look, although she controlled her smile, failing to control her blush as it crept up her neck, turning her face a light red color. Why his look did that to her, she’d never know.
Unknown to them both, another person was watching them. Molly Weasley viewed the couple with a look that crossed between knowing and sadness. She knew the look that was on both of their faces, for she’d seen it one too many times the past two summers at the Burrow. But this one expression was developed, if you will. It had a tenderness that couldn’t be described in words, it was love, and any mother could spot it from a mile away. She sighed quietly as she watched her one and only daughter stand up and hug the boy she had watched grow up into the fine young man he was today. She watched, again, as he kissed the top of her head and led her out of the Great Hall, her hand in his. It wouldn’t take long for them to be married, she told herself. She glanced down the table at her sons, and sighed once more. Harry was good for her, and Ginny was good for him. In spite of the loss of Fred, she realized that she would not be losing a daughter as well, she would be gaining another son.
Ron Weasley was sitting further down the table when Harry approached his little sister, for some reason he seemed to feel someone else’s presence, or perhaps it was just from years of sneaking around with Harry that made him keen to hear soft noises. Whatever the reason, he looked up, and what he saw made him feel slightly indifferent. His best friend was hugging his baby sister, whispering something in her ear. He couldn’t help but feel protective over Ginny, but with Harry, for some reason, he felt they were just right together. He couldn’t ever get mad at Harry for dating his sister, but that couldn’t stop him from killing him if he ever hurt her. He ran a hand through his hair in frustration as the couple walked out of the Great Hall hand in hand, deciding that if Harry and Ginny were serious, like he had feared in his sixth year, that they had better get married. Though he had never said it, Harry was like a brother to him. He loved him like one, and if Ginny loved him too, they’d all be a family.
Family. Harry had never had one of those, but the Weasleys were the closest thing to it. He smiled at the thought of calling his best friend his brother, and turned his attention to the small, bushy-haired girl beside him.
She smiled up at him fondly, hoping to get a smile in return. He gave in to her gesture, as usual. For some reason, whenever it came to Hermione, everything felt right, even if they did argue incessantly. She patted his knee under the table, and he took her hand in his carefully. Maybe if things worked out well enough, Hermione would marry him. Then they’d all be family, and after all they’d been through, they should be.
Yeah, he thought, we should be.
Out on the grounds, Harry was trying to figure out how to put his thoughts into words. He had so much to say, so much to tell her, he just didn’t know where to start. He phrased the only words that could come to his lips, “I’m sorry. I can‘t think-” He broke off suddenly, not knowing how to say it.
They were standing close together, Ginny looking into his face, reading it carefully. Her hand was still holding his, and she squeezed it gently after he spoke, urging him on.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t take the time to make sure you were okay. It was stupid, I should’ve done something, anything. I’m sorry for not telling you about what we had to do earlier, it wasn’t that I didn’t trust you, I promised Dumbledore. I should’ve - I - I don’t know what I should’ve done.” He stopped for a second, thinking he was rambling. “On second thought, I do know what I should’ve done. I should have told you how I felt before I left you. That day - in your room - when your graceful brother burst in on us, I wanted to make him leave, just to go away, I wanted time with you. I should’ve told you then. I knew, I knew, then. But you turned away from me! I guessed you were crying, and I couldn’t do anything about it in front of Ron, but I should have. Ten months I was gone, and every chance I could I would pull out the Map and check your dot to make sure you were okay, to see where you were. I’d stare at the dot so hard, I’d think it would make you think about me, remember me in some way. Just that tiny reassurance that you were sleeping soundly in your bed was enough to let me sleep easier. I was stupid, Ginny, because I should have told you I loved you then, and not waited until now to finally come out with it.”
There was a long silence after this. Ginny was still watching him, scrutinizing him, so he just looked back into her eyes, trying to say everything else he couldn’t with his own.
She suddenly scrubbed at her eyes furiously, and she muttered something that sounded like, “I promised myself I wouldn’t cry again…”
Unfortunately for her, Harry heard it. She made a move to turn away from him, but he grabbed her wrist. “Harry, let me go.”
“I won’t.” He was determined to get her to talk to him. “Not until you talk to me.”
“I am talking to you, you git, now let me go.”
“Ginny, you don‘t have to love me back, I just want to talk to you!”
“Harry,” She looked at him pleadingly, “let me go, please.” Her voice broke.
He reluctantly let her go. She turned around to him, surprised. She wasn’t expecting on that. Now she was faced with debating on whether or not to leave. She stood for at least a minute, looking from the castle and back to Harry. When Ginny came to her conclusion, it took Harry very off guard.
Ginny punched him in the gut. Hard. “You. Stupid. Noble. Prat!” She emphasized each word with another punch to his chest or stomach. When she finished, she was breathing heavily, her hair blowing in the wind.
All Harry could do was rub his stomach, looking down at his dirty trainers. Then, suddenly, she jumped at him, throwing her arms around his neck and burying her head into the crook of his neck. Ginny was sobbing, whispering to him, “I was so scared. You left me and I didn’t know whether or not you were coming back!”
Harry wrapped his arms around her waist, rubbing her back gently. “I know, Ginny, I’m sorry.”
“You know? You don’t know! You don’t know how sick I felt when Hagrid came out of the Forest carrying your body, Harry. You don’t know how I wanted to curl up and die, right there.”
They stood in silence then, Harry not knowing what to say, and Ginny hiccupping and wiping her tears on her sleeve.
“I love you, Harry.” She said, breaking their silence. “But if you ever do something like that again, I’ll hunt you down and kill you.”
He chuckled then, pulling her closer to him and taking in the scent of her vibrant hair. She leaned into him for a moment, before pulling back and looking at him. She had that all too familiar blazing look on her face, using it to study him, his eyes, nose, hair, and then lips. She felt drawn to them in some way, and didn’t feel the need to fight the sudden urge to smother them with her own.
He gave a little start at the touch of her lips to his, practically forgetting what it had felt like in that long time he was gone, but quickly adjusted to the feeling and pulled Ginny closer. Their kiss was frantic and searching, making up for all of the things they hadn’t said and everything that had happened during the time he was gone. They must’ve stood there, wrapped in each other, for hours before the need to breath finally overcame their desperate emotions.
Harry placed his forehead on hers, staring at every aspect of her face. Ginny’s eyes were boring into his, full of emotion. “I missed you.” He told her simply.
She smiled, though somewhat sadly. “I missed you too.”
He got a distant look in his eyes, then, thinking about something important. He opened his mouth, and closed it suddenly. Ginny tried to coax it out of him, wrapping her arms around his waist and rubbing his back soothingly.
“You really don’t have to say anything, Harry, but if it helps you to get it off your chest, then maybe it’d be for the best.” Her hands wound up back around his neck, playing with the hair at the nape.
He nodded slowly, still debating in his head whether it be best to say anything. Ginny began studying him again, the dark stubble on his cheeks, his shoulder length hair. She decided he looked better with shorter hair, mostly because her mum wouldn’t allow another Bill or Charlie. She was still analyzing him when he leaned in suddenly, catching her mouth with his own.
She wasn’t complaining.
When they broke apart this time, Harry let her go and looked down upon the grass gently blowing in the breeze. He sighed deeply and began what was probably the hardest thing he’d said in a long time, if ever. He retold his story of the Horcruxes, everything he could remember, down to what they ate from day to day. She had to know, he had told himself, it was the only way he could come to terms with everything, reliving it. When he came to the part where he returned back into the Forest, however, he found his voice cracked.
He shook his head and grabbed Ginny’s hand. “I don’t think I can talk about the rest of it. Right now, at least.”
She stood on tiptoe and kissed him on the cheek. “It’s fine, Harry. You can tell me when you’re ready. Take your time.”
He yawned widely, nodding his head in response. “For right now, I think I just want to sleep.”
Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley spent that night in Harry’s dormitory bed in all innocence. It was the first time in a long while Harry had felt at peace, and that was all that mattered. Now was the time for family and friends alike, and he had a lifetime to spend with them.