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Breaking the Habit by Ella Norman
Chapter 8 : Until Death Do Us Part
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 5

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His expression was not one of gladness for companionship, not one of love, not one of hope, but despair reigned in the vivid green of his eyes. Ginny’s happy bubble quickly deflated at such a sight.

“Harry ...” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. “What’s the matter?”

He did not turn to look at her. “Nothing,” he said huskily, shifting a little in his seat.

Ginny was silent. Friend — she did not know what to do for him other than be there. She missed Sirius as much as he did — true; she had not known him as long, but she had cared for him as deeply as Harry had. Without knowing quite what to say, Ginny’s lips separated and formed words.

“You’re not to blame, Harry,” she whispered, placing her hand on his. “Sirius gave his life to save you, because he knew that was most important.”

“It doesn’t matter!” He shouted, rattling the windows. “I wouldn’t have needed saving if I listened to Hermione! But no ... I had to play the hero ... I put Sirius in danger, Ron, Hermione, most of the DA! I put the Wizarding world in danger because I had to play the hero ...”

Ginny shut her eyes and grasped Harry’s hand. “It wasn’t your fault.” She moved to the couch to sit beside him. “You couldn’t know that from reality. It doesn’t matter.”

“Sirius is dead because I couldn’t tell that from reality,” Harry said coldly. “It was from Voldemort, true; he fed it to me.” He paused. “But if I can’t read into what he’s thinking, who can?”

Ginny’s look turned from one of concern to one of confusion.

“What the hell are you talking about?” she posed. This was ridiculous. He was only a kid.

Harry looked at his knees. “There was a prophecy made about me,” he mumbled. “Either I have to die or Voldemort does.” He paused. “I must either murder or be murdered.”

Ginny couldn’t speak. Murder? Such heavy talk, but he was her friend — she could trust him.

“No . . . ” she murmured. “You can’t.”

Harry swallowed. “I have to.”

Tears danced in Ginny’s eyes. Harry, dead? Murdered, even worse . . . what was she supposed to say? Here she was, realizing slowly that she loved him, and what he was telling her was engraved on the innermost parts of his soul.

“I’m scared, Gin,” he said, looking into the fire. Ginny’s throat hurt so much that she dared not speak, but she could not leave him there.

“I know,” she choked, tears evident in her tone. “I’ll be here for you — always.” A single tear tolled down her cheek, but she could not brush it away.

Her mind was numb. Harry looked up, and when he did their eyes locked — green on green.

How she loved him.

“Ginny,” he said under his breath, softly and clearly.

“I’ll be here always,” she murmured. “It’s a promise you can trust.”

He drew her into his arms. She could smell his presence, feel the heat of his body. She loved him . . . He was not a distraction, not a temptation. He was hers.

They sat there for a moment, soaking up each other’s presence, taking in the thing that neither would say. Tears streamed down Ginny’s face. How? she thought. How had she let go of him for so long when he was clearly the one?

Harry stirred and held her at arms’ length.

“I put you in danger, Gin,” he said, his voice shaking from the sobs that had racked his adolescent frame. “I can’t live with that.”

“Harry,” she said, “there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you. You know that. If you had died, I would have died with you. I’ll be here for you always.”

“Always?” he said skeptically, his eyebrows raised. “That’s a hard thing to promise.”

“I’d die for you, Harry Potter.” They were very close. “When you die, I will die with you. You can trust me for that, at least.”

Harry’s eyes were more than vivid: They shone with inexpressible joy. His eyes were red and puffy, as were Ginny’s from crying, but she loved him with every fiber of her being.

“I love you.” The words were wonderful. “I love you, Harry, man of my dreams!”

Harry took her chin in his hand so her nose touched his. A shiver ran up Ginny’s spine. She was hollow with expectation as if she had never kissed a man before.

She hadn’t — they had always been boys, and she had been a girl. This was the man who had broken her habit, the man who had brought out the woman in her.

“Stay by me forever?” he asked, his voice barely a whisper.

Ginny nodded. “Until death do us part.”

Harry stared appraisingly into her eyes, piercing through to her soul. He paused for a moment.

“I’ve always loved you.”

Ginny drew breath and was swept away — swept away by a kiss from the man that she loved. It was not hungry or rehearsed as so many others had been. She kissed him as if she had never been kissed before — it was tender and sweet and soft, because the two were in love, in love with each other. His lips were soft and warm. I love you with all of my being! The habit was broken; the man was hers, and the night was young.

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