Chapter 1 : That Night
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Suddenly Ron’s snores brought him out of his thoughts. Harry swung his legs out of bed and put a pair of sweatpants on and left his chest bare. He padded down to the common room and settled into an armchair. His eyes were just starting to close when he felt a sharp slap across his face. His eyes flew open to see Ginny Weasley staring at him.
“Ginny?! What are you doing?” he asked incredulously. He stood up as she slapped him again.
“How dare you Harry?! HOW DARE YOU?!” she yelled. Harry was totally shocked. He had had no idea how Ginny was going to react to him but he hadn’t been expecting this. “YOU LEAVE ME FOR A WHOLE YEAR, A WHOLE YEAR HARRY, AND THEN COME WALTZING BACK WITH ABSOLUTELY NO EXPLANATION! AND THEN YOU MAKE ME BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE DEAD!” she screamed. “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THAT DID TO ME? SEEING YOU THERE NOT BREATHING?! THEN I HAD TO WATCH YOU DUEL HIM WITH NOTHING BUT A PUNY PIECE OF WOOD!” Tears were flowing down her face as she hit him repeatedly, scratching him, punching him, and pummelling his chest as she sobbed. Her shoulders were shaking as she cried, her gasps overtaking her.
Harry let her hit him; let her get the physical side of her rage out of her system before he moved. He wrapped his arms around her and held her to him. She was still shaking as he drew her into his chest. He picked her up and cradled her in his arms while she wept. Sitting down in the armchair, he settled her on his lap, rocking her gently. She buried her face in his bare chest and he held her tighter.
It took Ginny about ten minutes to calm down. She looked up at Harry and he wiped her tears.
“I’m sorry” she said quietly, her voice cracking. Harry became confused. Why was Ginny apologising?
“Why are you sorry Gin?” he asked.
“Because I hit you and I took everything out on you and I didn’t even think what you had gone through over the past year it must have been awful and I just screamed at you but Harry I missed you so much and when I thought you were dead it ripped me apart I thought Voldemort was lying but then I saw your body and you looked so helpless and I couldn’t believe you were gone but then you were alive and I was so happy but then he tried to kill you again and-” Harry leaned down and gently pressed his lips to hers. She stopped talking in shock before kissing him back. It wasn’t a long kiss, or particularly heated, but it was sweet and gentle and full of love. In those few seconds Harry felt everything that he had been missing during his hunt. He was finally back where he belonged.
As they broke apart fresh tears formed in Ginny’s eyes and slid down her cheeks. Harry cupped her face in his hands and brushed away her tears with his thumbs.
“Ginny, I need to talk to you. I am going to explain some things, and I need you to keep quiet and listen to me. I’m not going to explain what I was doing for the past year tonight but I will.” At this, Ginny began to protest but Harry placed his fingers over her lips. “Gin, I promise you I will tell you everything but right now I need you to know some more important information. Okay?” She nodded and Harry took a deep breath.
“During the past year, there have been countless occasions where I could have died. Seriously, I can’t count them. Ron and Hermione nearly died too, but they had each other. I think we all knew that they would end up together so it wasn’t a big surprise. They kept each other strong and except for a few little hiccups along the way they got each other through everything. That left me.” At this point, Ginny could tell that Harry was struggling to find the right words.
“Even after everything I’ve been through, after hunting the objects that would help me defeat Voldemort, after being killed by him again, I lived through it. Do you know why?” he asked her. She shook her head, looking up at him with wide eyes. “I lived, because I had exactly what Ron and Hermione had. I had something left to live for. I had you. No matter what happened to me, no matter what was going on in my life, I could deal with it, knowing that you were safe. I didn’t know if you would ever speak to me again after what I put you through but I had hope that you would take me back. Dumbledore was right when he said that love is the strongest magic there is. Voldemort has sent two killing curses my way, and I lived through both, because of love. One was because my mother loved me, and the other was because I love you. As I lay there in Hagrid’s arms tonight you were all I could think about. When I heard everyone calling my name I could deal with it, but it was your scream that broke me. I love you Ginny, and that alone got me through. I’d sit in our tent staring at the Marauder’s Map, watching you move around the castle. It kept me alive Gin, knowing that you were still breathing, that your heart was still beating. I love you more than life itself and I’m praying that you love me too. Even after I left you, even after I made you think I was dead, I’m hoping you still love me because I swear Ginny, I’m never, ever going to leave you again.”
By the end of his speech, Harry was in tears. He had stayed strong for the past year because there was a tiny glimmer of hope that Ginny would take him back but now, sitting here, there was a great chance she would tell him to get lost. And Harry honestly didn’t know if he could live through that.
“Harry, of course I still love you. For a year I’ve hoped that the reason you broke up with me really was to keep me safe, and that it wasn’t because you didn’t like me. I have loved you for so long now, and if you love me too then I’m not going to waste it. What we have is special. It’s pure and it’s strong. Please Harry, don’t leave me again,” she said. “Watching you there, limp and lifeless, it ripped me in two. Promise me you won’t put me through that ever again.”
“I promise you Ginny. Never again.” he assured her. She sighed and relaxed, curling up into his chest. He placed one last kiss on her lips and buried his face in her hair. As she drifted off to sleep, Harry smiled. The war was over. They were free. He was overcome with sadness as he thought of those who had died; Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Sirius, Mad-Eye, and so many others who wouldn’t ever be coming back. Then he thought of Teddy Lupin, his godson, who would grow up without knowing his parents. He and Harry had a lot in common, except for one thing. Harry was not going to let Teddy grow up with no idea who he was. Everything Harry could do to give him some memory of his parents, he would do. Harry promised himself that Teddy’s childhood would be the exact opposite of his own. He fell asleep knowing that the only way to go was up.