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Chapter 2 : Chapter Two: Love Hurts.
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As the trio arrived in the Great Hall they observed that it had remained crowded in their absence with survivors, and families. The bodies of the fallen were still off to the side along one of the walls. Some of the ambulatory wounded did the best they could to socialize yet remain comfortable.
They found the Weasley family gathered tightly together near Fred’s body, each of their faces pale and full of loss. Molly sobbed heavily into Arthur’s chest, while George sat beside his expired twin with a firm grasp on Fred’s cold lifeless hand, his head buried beside Fred’s as he wept.
Harry and Hermione looked to Ron as his face paled and eyes full of pain became glazed over as tears began to build as he looked over his family and sighed deeply.
“Come on Ron let’s check on your family,” Harry stated urging Ron, who seemed hesitant, forward.
“Yeah, I’m sure Professor McGonagall won’t mind if we didn’t find her immediately,” affirmed Hermione gripping Ron’s hand more tightly but affectionately.
“Yeah, I suppose,” Ron replied quietly and they walked up to the grieving Weasleys. Molly was the first to notice their arrival as she quickly detached herself from Arthur and rushed towards them.
“Ron! You’re okay dear?” Molly wailed as she pulled Ron into a firm heartfelt embrace. Ron broke into sobs he could no longer control as he held his mother yet looked over her to the lifeless shell that once held Fred’s spirited soul.
“Yes mum I’m okay,” Ron assured his mother as she released him and turned towards Harry and Hermione.
“And you Hermione, and Harry?” She inquired giving each a concerned look and a warm motherly hug.
“Yes Mrs. Weasley we are okay,” Harry answered and he noticed Ginny’s head rise upon the hearing his voice. She had been seated at Fred’s feet her knees drawn up to her chest with her face buried in her arms.
Their eyes met each full of sorrow and pain, but both brightened a bit when Ginny jumped to her feet and rushed over throwing her arms around Harry and burying her head in his chest as she began to sob. The Weasley family looked on with surprised expressions.
“Ginny love, I’m sorry.’’ Harry said as he firmly returned her embrace while running his hand through her hair and down her back and then back up. “I am so sorry I hurt you Ginny and your family…” Harry choked out.
“We can talk later Harry. Please just hold me for now.” Ginny cut in softly between sobs while holding onto Harry even tighter absorbing his warmth and the offered comfort.
The pair paid no attention to the Weasley family and Hermione who had watched the reunion closely yet each face was misted over and a soft smile had replaced the deep frowns that were there before. Everyone besides Ron and Hermione had been unaware of their previous relationship which appeared to have never ended. Each clinging to each other attempting to give everything to give comfort to the other while accepting the comfort the other offered.
Harry silently agreed with Ginny, they would have plenty of time to talk and that the only thing that mattered currently was that he was there for her and with her just as he had longed to be all year. They were together again and if Harry would have any say in the matter they’d be together forever if she’d have him. Harry then kissed the top of her head taking in the softness and the flowery scent of her hair that he had missed so much during his time away.
“I love you,” Harry whispered into Ginny’s ear as he closed his eyes trying to enjoy their embrace as silent tears fell from Harry onto Ginny’s ear, as he silently wept partially out of sadness for having hurt Ginny and partially out of happiness for having her in his arms again. How could I have ever left you? Harry asked himself.
Ginny felt a tear hit her ear, she looked up into Harry’s face and seen that he had tears silently running from his eyes. At this moment Ginny knew he meant it, that he the man she had always dreamt she would marry loves her, as she had always loved him. Comforted from the sudden warmth that encompassed them and that of their embrace and touched by Harry’s declaration she snuggled into his chest and replied, “I love you too Harry.”
Arthur and Molly Weasley had observed the reunion and though they were shocked at the revelation of their relationship, they were happy that Ginny and Harry had found comfort together, yet they also noticed a faint glow that radiated around the pair as if they were in a small bubble of yellow haze. Arthur guided Molly a little ways away from the rest of the family as not to be overheard.
“Did you see that Molly?” whispered Arthur in astonishment when he felt he and Molly wouldn’t be overheard by the rest of the family.
“Yes I did Arthur what does it mean?” asked Molly with concern returning to her eyes.
“I’m not certain but I think we just witnessed some seriously powerful old magic. I think their souls bonded.”
“That’s ridiculous Arthur they’re too young, why Harry is only 17 and Ginny well she’s not even 17 yet.” Molly chided her husband while looking over at Harry and Ginny.
“They are no younger than we were when we fell in love dear,” rebuked Arthur.
“Yes but times were different then Arthur with the war, people were dying and disappearing all the time….”
“That wasn’t happening here recently?” Arthur interrupted shaking his head.
“I still think they are to young Arthur.” Molly stated with pursed lips and hands placed defiantly on her hips.
“I know you do dear but we need to think on how to handle this we don’t want this to turn out as it did for us with your parents.”
“Yes I guess you’re right dear.” Molly conceded while turning pink in the cheeks as she remembered the incident in which her husband was referring to.
“Everything thing will be fine Mollywobbles.” Arthur whispered in her ear with which he followed with a tender kiss to the lips when he notice Molly’s cheeks blushed further.
“Behave your-self Arthur Weasley,” Molly scolded playfully amused.
Hermione began to walk up to Harry and Ginny who had found an empty place along the wall with enough room for them to sit and hold each other. She noted that neither were talking and concluded that they were just enjoying the company of each other that they had missed so much during the trio’s absence. Harry looked up when Hermione approached a slight smile on his face. All that Hermione was curious about was answered when she looked into his green eyes that currently were shining brightly as he occasionally kissed the top of Ginny’s head as she snuggled into his chest.
“Harry, Ron thinks we should go find Professor McGonagall now and be finished with it.” Hermione said quietly when she reached the couple’s feet.
Harry looked intently at his friend and with a nod and a slightly disappointed sigh for having to part from Ginny,” Okay I suppose she may be getting anxious on waiting for us and may begin to hunt us down if we don’t find her.”
Ginny raised her head from Harry’s chest and released him as he began to get to his feet. Once getting to his feet he pulled Ginny to hers and gave her another warm hug in addition to a gentle kiss. He knew she was trying to figure something out as she searched his eyes. “I’ll find you when we are finished, Ginny?”
“You better Mr. Potter,” Ginny warned, then smiled at Harry’s look of surprise and quickly kissed his lips. Ginny sighed deeply when the two walked away. She wishes they could spend every moment together in each others arms of love and strength.
Harry was smiling ear to ear when he and Hermione turned away from Ginny and began to make their way to Ron. Hermione looked pleased as she smiled at Harry who in return blushed slightly embarrassed. To prevent the teasing he knew would be coming Harry asked quickly, “Where is Ron?”
“He is waiting in the hall,” Hermione stated sadly, “he is having a hard time with Fred’s death and how George won’t leave his side.”
Harry immediately began to feel bad for feeling happy and quietly felt he was responsible for the deaths of Fred and the rest. If only he could have beaten Voldemort sooner they all would still be here. Fred would be with George making jokes and teasing Ron, Remus and Tonks would be able to see their son Teddy grow up and be apart of it. This wouldn’t happen though because they’re all dead because I was too slow Harry thought to himself sadly thinking of his young godson. Hermione could see Harry was battling something in his mind but didn’t comment she knew he was blaming himself for things Voldemort and his Death Eaters were responsible for; she new nothing she’d say would stop him.
As they exited the Great Hall they found Ron waiting by the door. Ron looked curiously at Harry as he could also see that he was battling something. Then Ron assumed Harry was thinking about his reaction to Harry’s and Ginny’s reunion. He then gave Harry an approving smile and a pat on the back and stated, “Relax mate, I am okay with it just don’t hurt her.”
Harry was brought back to reality at this and looked at Ron confused but returned the smile and a small nod. The three then continued down to statue that hid the staircase to the Head’s office. Upon arrival they noticed someone had repaired the statue as it was no longer lopsided but upright.
“Is Professor McGonagall in there?” Harry asked the statue.
“She is Mr. Potter and you may enter she left word that she’d be expecting the three of you and that you would not know the new password.” Croaked the statue as it moved aside revealing the spiral staircase. They then took a step onto the stairs which began to ascend like the muggle’s escalators. Upon reaching the door Harry gave it a polite knock.
“Enter,” a voice called through the door. Upon entering the office Harry, Ron and Hermione observed Professor McGonagall was seated behind the Headmaster’s desk and that there were three empty seats in front.
“You requested words with us Professor?” Harry inquired as they each took a seat as directed by McGonagall.
“Yes Harry, I have been made temporary Headmistress until the school Governors are able to convene and decide where the school goes from here. The reason why I had requested an audience with you lot is because as you know Kingsley Shacklebolt is acting Minister for Magic.” She stated giving each a moment to acknowledge. She then continued, “Well Kingsley is going to have a press conference tomorrow morning to address the entire magical community and he was hoping to have a statement from you three to include.”
Harry looked at the Headmistress intently as he thought of what she was saying. They all knew that this was coming; everyone would want to know what they had been doing this year. So they took turns explaining to McGonagall what they were up to leaving out some minor details in which they felt didn’t need to be shared with the general public, for instance Harry being a horcrux and Ron’s absence.
“Well you three have certainly been busy,” McGonagall frowned at the completion of their story.
“Everyone has been,” Harry added.
“Yes well I will give this information to the Minister. I can assure you the three of you will not be pestered by the Ministry while you are here.” McGonagall advised.
“Thank you Professor,” murmured the three.
“Now Mr. Potter why don’t you and Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger go and eat and rest perhaps spend some time with the Weasleys.” McGonagall said as she stood indicating that the meeting was concluded.
Ginny had been sitting in the same spot that she and Harry had occupied earlier watching the entrance to the Great Hall since Harry, Ron and Hermione had left to find Professor McGonagall. She knew she was being silly but couldn’t help but feel cold and alone without Harry. He had been gone all year and she had never been or felt so alone before. Now he was back she hoped that she would never have to feel like that again.
Arthur was watching his daughter whose eyes were locked on the door of the Great Hall. He new she was waiting for Harry. He also noticed that the glow that had surrounded her and Harry earlier was still there but fainter. He walked over to her and when she didn’t acknowledge him, he asked, “Ginny dear, are you alright?”
“Wha..what? Oh yes I’m fine dad just waiting for Harry,” She answered looking away from the door and up into her fathers face, blushing under his gaze.
Her father chuckled, “I am sure he won’t be too long.”
“I know he won’t dad but we been apart all year you know with me at Hogwarts, Harry running about saving the world. I guess I just really missed him dad,” She replied sheepishly.
“I know Ginny, we all missed Harry, and Ron and Hermione. It’s been a rough year for everyone especially those three we must remember that there will be times when they may want to be alone.” Arthur advised watching his daughter closely.
“I understand dad, I do.” Ginny replied quietly. She knew that Harry, Ron, and Hermione were really close. They have always been close. She just hoped that Harry would want to spend more time with her.
“You understand what?” Harry asked from behind Arthur, he and the other two had just returned back from talking with Professor McGonagall. Arthur moved to the side as Harry continued pass him and to Ginny. He noticed that Harry too had a fainter glow and then watched as their glow joined and brightened when they hugged.
“It’s nothing really Harry.” Stated Arthur looking for Ron and Hermione but they weren’t there. He then continued,” Do you know where Ron and Hermione went off to? I thought they’d be with you.”
“Oh, I think they went off on a walk together Mr. Weasley” Harry replied with a grin when he saw Mr. Weasley’s eyebrows rise.
“Right well I am going to go check on Molly.” Mr. Weasley advised.
Harry returned his gaze to Ginny who was starring into his eyes in the same fashion as earlier. He then pulled her into a warm embraced and planted a gentle kiss on her forehead. Ginny realized that she no longer felt alone and the warmth of their earlier embrace had returned.
“Penny for your thoughts love?” Harry asked. Then noticing the confused look on Ginny’s face as she looked up at him, he continued, “Sorry muggle expression.”
Ginny gave a small sigh and looked into Harry’s bright green eyes, “Let’s take a walk Harry maybe find somewhere comfortable to talk.”
“Okay Ginny,” Harry responded taking her hand heading towards the entrance.
They wandered down to the Black Lake to their tree they had spent a lot of their time together. It all seemed so long ago Harry thought to himself as they sat and got comfortable at the base of the tree. Ginny resumed her position with her head on Harry’s chest her arms wrapped tightly around his waist. They sat there in silence for a while both enjoying the quiet company and the warmed that was encompassing them. Ginny smiled happily when she felt Harry kissed the top of her head.
“Harry, we need to talk,” Ginny informed.
“Okay Gin.” Harry said.
“Harry I just need you to know how much it hurt me when you broke up with me after Dumbledore’s funeral and how lonely I’ve been since.” Ginny said sadly her face still in Harry’s chest.
Harry sighed sadly; he knew they would have this conversation eventually. He kissed Ginny’s head again and then gently raised it with his hand until his sad eyes were looking into her brown eyes full of hurt and sadness. “Ginny I’m sorry. I never wanted to hurt you; I thought I was keeping you safe when I made that decision. It was incredibly hard for me too Ginny. I was lonely the entire time and thought about you all the time.”
At this point both had tears falling freely yet their gaze remained locked on each others sad pain filled eyes. Harry gently wiped the tears from Ginny’s cheek and kissed her forehead. “I know Harry, but I need you to promise never to do that again, and never leave me again Harry once was painful enough for a lifetime.”
“I promise love.”
“There is one more thing I need to know Harry,” Ginny cried with fresh tears building up in her eyes she asked, “Why did you pretend to be dead. I’ve never felt as alone as I did at that moment. I thought I was going to die. It was like I could actually feel my heart brake.”
“I sorry Ginny I had too, I never wanted you to think that but I had to it was the only way,” Harry began as he told her what he had been doing and what he had to do to ensure that Lord Voldemort didn’t return.
“You really died Harry?” asked Ginny asked.
“Yes Ginny I did only briefly though, and there is something about it that I want you to know.” Harry informed, “Do you know what the last thought going through my mind was, and the main reason I decided to come back?”
“It was you Ginny you gave me the strength to do what I had to do, and then you were the reason I returned. I had to make sure you were safe. I had to come back to make sure you know I love you more than anything, and never have I felt so satisfied or complete than I do when I with you Gin. I know it doesn’t change what I did or how I hurt you Ginny. I promise you though I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you and will never do that to you again.” Harry continued when she didn’t say anything and just stared into his eyes weeping.
“The rest of your life, huh Mr. Potter?” Ginny asked with raised eyebrows.
“Yes Miss Weasley, if you’ll have me.” Harry laughed giving her a gentle squeeze. “I love you more than anything Ginny; you’re the heart that beats life into my body and warmth in my soul that makes me happy. Now that I have a future I can’t image one that doesn’t have you in it”
“I love you too Harry, and never you mind about “if” I’ll have you.” Ginny replied.
They stayed there locked in their embrace until well into the night. Both were feeling happy and content for the first time since Dumbledore’s funeral. Each soaking up the warmth provided. They spent the remainder of the time talking about the futures they hope to have together.
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