It began when she was only a small child. Growing up in a large family, and being the youngest of them all, hadn’t always been the easiest role to play. Just because she had been the only girl didn’t mean that she received special treatment by her brothers. Sure, her parents saw her as their little angel; yet, to the boys, she was nothing more than someone to tease. They were constantly nagging her, playing pranks on her, and toying with her stuff. And they certainly knew how to take advantage of her eagerness to be one of the grown ups by offering her something they knew she wanted -mainly their respect- as long as they were compensated in return. Ginny loved her brothers dearly and had chalked it up to just boys-being-boys years ago. However, that didn’t change the fact that they had been the first ones to introduce her to the unfairness and greed that came with living life. There was no giving without taking.
Everything came at a price.
Ginny had always been told that the way she saw relationships was generally the way that most blokes did. During her years at Hogwarts she’d gone from boyfriend to boyfriend, never settling down for too long and never growing too attached. If anything it was the boys whom she dated that pushed for more, not her. Even so, she had always figured that love would be the one thing that was free. That there was no price tag on. Maybe she really was just a hopeless romantic deep down, though. It was unlikely.
She hadn’t gotten into her first real relationship until after the end of the Second War. It had almost been too good to be true, really. Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, had been her not-so-secret crush ever since she had first seen him when she was ten years old. Their brief interlude at the end of her fifth year had only paved the way for what was to come once he was finished saving the Wizarding World. Ginny had immediately been swept up in his adoration for her and need to be loved in return. Harry had never hidden the fact that he thought that she was the one for him. His “forever.” Unfortunately, after two years with him, she learned that he wasn’t the one for her.
That was when the hits really started coming. Harry, after all, was an honorary Weasley. He was at her childhood home for dinners once a week, best friends with her brother Ron, and the apple of her mother’s eye as long as he didn’t go along with too many of George’s pranks. It was like her family was his rebound following their break up. Ginny was surprised her father didn’t get down on one knee, give the man a ring, and ask him to be his adopted son. It truly made things awkward for her, what with one family member or another constantly looking between her and the black-haired man with emerald eyes as if they couldn’t be more ashamed of her for breaking it off with the most perfect guy in the world. He wasn’t the most perfect guy in the world, though. They just wouldn’t except her own definition.
“You’re not done getting ready yet?” a voice asked from just behind her, his warm breath tickling the back of her neck from where she stood in the middle of their bedroom. She smiled warmly, tearing herself from her thoughts, and leaned her head backwards to rest against his shoulder as his arms slid around her waist and drew her closer. The palm of his hands sent a wave of comfort through her body as he rested them against her belly.
“I’m standing in nothing but a bra and knickers,” Ginny said slowly, “And you’re asking if I’m ready yet?”
He laughed and pressed a light kiss against her forehead. “True. Though, the blame would probably be somehow placed on me if you wanted to go to dinner looking like that so you‘re more than welcome to, pet. I don‘t see how I can make them dislike me more than they already do. That‘d be nearly impossible. Then again . . .”
“It doesn’t matter,” she sighed, gently stepping out of his hold and turning around to meet his eyes. “You know I don’t care what they think, Neville.”
“I’m going to go wait downstairs,” he said, unsubtly changing the topic just like he had done numerous times when they’d spoken of the Weasley clan together. His shy deterrence to the issue never failed to make Ginny’s stomach drop in annoyance. She bit her tongue about it, though, like he did many other times when one of her own less appealing traits grated his nerves. “Do you think you’ll be finished in another ten minutes?”
“Fifteen,” he stated, narrowing his eyes playfully before kissing her cheek. “You look beautiful in anything.”
“You’re just saying that so I’ll have sex with you,” she teased, crossing her arms over her chest and watching him as he made his way out of their room.
Neville chuckled, pausing in the doorway to glance over at her once more. His eyes wandered lazily over her body from her head to her toes, passing slowly over her chest and legs. A confident smirk spread across his face, causing her face to heat up as she tried to remember a time when he was merely a nervous teenager. He could still be that person every now and then, but generally with her he knew his place. She’d never given him a reason to doubt himself in their relationship.
“What can I say?” he shrugged, “Making a living in Quidditch does wonders for a certain fiancée of mine.”
“Mmm,” Ginny responded, bending down to pick up a discarded jumper from the floor before throwing a wink over her shoulder at him. “You think that now, but just wait for our wedding night.”
“Tease,” he whispered in mock appall, putting a hand to his chest and dropping his mouth open in his best “bloody hell” expression, which he had learned from years of sharing a dormitory with Ron during their time at Hogwarts.
Pulling the red jumper over her head, Ginny laughed and turned toward Neville just to see the look in his eyes that she knew would be there. It was something that never failed to take her breath away. That pure, unadulterated love that reflected back at her in those warm pools of blue. If they could get married right then she would gladly do it without a moment of hesitation. Only at Neville’s grandmother’s wish did they decide upon having a long engagement. There was just one flaw to that plan now.
“I love you,” Ginny murmured, smiling his way as her hand ran gently over her stomach before reaching up to toss her vibrant red hair out of her face.
Neville automatically took a step towards her and then hesitated for a moment. A flash of doubt entered his expression causing him to look much more like the boy he had been before the Second War had taken place and threw his life for a loop. In a heartbeat, though, the look was gone. His eyes softened and his lips turned up into a content smile. Ginny immediately closed the distance between them, loving how his arms instinctively opened to accept her into their warm embrace. Her own arms were flung around his neck, using his body to hold her up as she stood on her tiptoes and drew his lips down to hers.
Sighing against her mouth, Neville trailed his hands down the sides of her body and drew soothing circles into the bare skin of her hips. Ginny pushed against him, causing him to take a step backwards in response. She never had been one to be submissive, instead choosing to push him until he broke out of his more reserved shell and pushed back. Hanging onto his shoulders, she pressed against him once more until Neville felt his back collide with the wall opposite their bedroom doorway in the upstairs corridor of the small, yet comfortable, cottage that they had shared together for the last year.
“We can’t,” he reasoned, dropping his mouth to the spot just below her ear that he knew from experience made her weak at the knees. His eyes remained closed and he pulled her body against his as much as possible, obviously not putting up too much of a fight.
“How about we skip dinner this week?” Ginny whispered, her head falling backwards at the sensation he was creating within her.
“Your mum would kill us,” Neville chuckled, the vibration causing her to shiver as his lips moved like a whisper across the pale skin of her neck. She unconsciously arched into him and clutched distractedly at the dark blond curls at the nape of his neck.
“I’ll follow you wherever you go, even in death.”
Her words, said on a sigh, drew his eyes up to her own. She met his gaze with sincerity and undeniable love in her smile. She was known for saying things without thinking, but never did she say an untruth to him. Everything she said, regardless of it being thought out in advance or not, was genuine. It was one of the things he had first fallen in love with.
“I love you,” he breathed out, dropping his head forward until his forehead rested on hers.
“Forever?” she smiled.
“And always, pet,” Neville nodded. He bent down to kiss her softly once more before dropping his hands from her sides and allowing her to step away from him. “I’ll be downstairs waiting. You’d better finish getting dressed or we’ll be late.”
“Again,” Ginny added as she turned around and made her way back into their room. “We haven’t actually arrived on time since that one Friday two months ago.”
“Well, if my fiancée stops jumping me before we can even get out the door than we might even get there early,” he called out, shaking his head at the sound of her laughter as he made his way down the stairs to wait.
“I’m really sorry, Mum, but we got caught up,” Ginny sighed, rolling her eyes at her mother’s scowl. She couldn’t remember the last time the woman had opened the door for them with a smile.
“What was it this time?” Molly asked, her eyes narrowed on Neville accusingly as he helped Ginny shrug out of her coat and then pointed his finger towards the living room in a sign that he’d go put their coats away. His hand rested on the small of Ginny’s back for a moment comfortingly before he walked off. Molly watched with a frown as her daughter’s eyes followed his movement until he was completely out of eyesight.
“What was it this time?” she repeated, her tone making Ginny jump somewhat.
“Oh, er, I broke the doorknob to my closet,” she lied, pushing her fringe back from her face and meeting her mother’s eyes directly in an effort to hide the blunder.
“And it took forty minutes to fix?”
“Yes, well, we can’t all be as gifted with charms as you are,” Ginny smiled, hoping flattery would let her off the hook this time.
“Harry is incredibly gifted in that area,” Molly said as she raised her eyebrows in that all-knowing way that she had.
“In your eyes there’s nothing Harry’s not gifted in.”
“In everyone’s eyes except yours, you mean.”
“Mum, can we please not get into this today?” Ginny asked, throwing her arms up into the air in aggravation. That little skit had gotten old the second time, never mind the millionth.
Molly opened her mouth to say something else, but Ginny immediately spun away in the direction that Neville had gone off in. Being around the others wasn’t much better, but she’d take it for the moment. Especially if Neville was there. If the price to pay for being in his company was the headache that followed each dinner at the Burrow, then she’d bravely face it. He was always off at work during the week, so having that propinquity to him on the weekends was wonderful and something that she'd rather not take for granted.
The living room was filled with all of her siblings, their significant others and her two nieces, Victoire and Molly. They all cast indifferent greetings her way, except for Charlie and Angelina who both came over to give her a warm hug. They were the only one’s who didn’t care whether or not she had wound up with the person they thought she would. Hermione would have come over too, but she seemed to be at work again. She was always working.
As was a normal occurrence, Ginny’s eyes immediately swept the room to locate Harry and see if there was a girl at his side. Her hope was slashed for another week as she noticed that it was just him. She was waiting desperately for the day that he met the person he was truly meant to be with and forgot all about their relationship. It had been four years since it ended, after all.
“Is it cold in here or is it just me?” Neville whispered into her ear suddenly, his arms wrapping around her waist and tugging her backwards and against him.
Her body relaxed into his as the comfort of his presence washed over her. “It’s frigid,” she said while tipping her head backwards to look up at him.
“We’ll only be here for another hour or two,” he said reassuringly.
“I don’t know how you put up with this week after week. It’s amazing.”
Neville kissed the top of her head before spinning her around so that Ginny was facing him, looking directly into his eyes. He gave her a little half smile before reaching a hand up to cup the side of her face. One finger gently ran across her bottom lip before he leaned forward and gave her a sweet kiss, their lips moving in a dance that had been perfected over the course of their relationship.
When he pulled back, he met her eyes again. “Haven’t you realized yet that I’d do anything for you?”
“Even face my family once a week?” Ginny returned, raising her eyebrows at him despite the fact that she knew his answer.
“If that’s the price to pay, then yes,” he murmured, dropping his hand from her cheek and allowing it to intertwine with her own hand. “Besides, I’m just training myself so that I can train the baby when the time comes. They’re going to need to know how lucky they are to have someone as accepting as you instead of . . . well, you’re mother.”
Ginny smiled, bringing the hand that was held tenderly in his grasp up to caress her stomach. She moved forward enough to rest her forehead against his chest and closed her eyes. The sound of his heartbeat lulled her into a calming bliss. It was a feeling that she would hold onto through any troubles that she came across in her life. It didn’t matter that her family gave her the cold shoulder, it didn’t matter that people often looked at her with a weird expression as they watched her and Neville walk down the street together. Nothing mattered. So what if in others’ eyes he wasn’t a prince charming sort? He was a professor of Herbology at Hogwarts, while she was a popular chaser for the Chudley Cannons. All of that was just the price to pay for her to spend the rest of her life with the one guy who outshone all others in her eyes. The one guy who was perfect to her. Who was perfect for her.
AN: I hope you enjoyed this! It was written for a challenge in the forums, and when I got this pairing I was so psyched. I wrote a Ginny/Oliver once and loved writing her personality. I also wrote a Hermione/Neville and while I was in the process of getting it done I was constantly wondering how he would behave when he was an adult. Tell me what you thought! :D Thanks for reading and be sure to review.