Only One Thing Makes Sense by ScopArt

Summary: After defeating Voldemort Harry's life seems to be a series of unanswerable questions. But in the midst of all his confusion and uncertainly, there is one thing that makes sense.
Rating: PG starstarstarstarhalf-star
Categories: Three Little Words Challenge (2011-1), Three Little Words Challenge (2011-1)
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2011.02.16
Updated: 2011.02.17

Only One Thing Makes Sense by ScopArt
Chapter 1: Only One Thing Makes Sense
Author's Notes:

It was easily one of the most confusing summers of Harry's life.

There were so many questions left, questions Harry did not have the answers to, questions that did not, for what felt like the first time in his whole life, involve Voldemort. This, of course, was far from true. After all, Harry had only learned about magic seven years ago, Voldemort had only been back for three years. But it certainly felt much longer than that and Harry was having a hard time coping with all the questions that now faced him that had nothing to do with the dark wizard.

He had already decided not to return to Hogwarts in September. That had been easy. But there still remained what exactly he wanted to do instead. A life beyond Hogwarts was not something Harry had ever spent much time considering and the foreign train of thought made him uncomfortable. Then there was the question of where he wanted to live. And whether he wanted to live on his own, alone. And, if he did want someone to live with... who would that someone be?

Harry had reluctantly returned to the Burrow near the middle of May, mostly for lack of anywhere else to go. He would have gladly continued to stay at Hogwarts, helping to repair the vast damage it had seen, but it was almost impossible to have time to himself there. Reporters and well-wishers seemed to be around every corner, waiting to ambush him with questions questions questions, and, even more unwelcome, praise and thanks.

So he had retreated to the Burrow, finally conceding to the Weasleys' numerous requests that he come stay with them, at least for a little while and certainly as long as he wanted.

"You're always welcome here, Harry." He heard it so often he wondered if it was becoming a family motto. Of course, he never felt very welcome. Not for lack of Weasley hospitality, but Harry could scarcely look any of them in the eye save Ron, and Hermione who had been staying there since the Weasleys had returned.

There were three Weasleys in particular he was avoiding on a regular basis and they did nothing to help his persistent confusion. Mrs. Weasley doted on him more than ever given half a chance but her face was so often stained with tears these days that her kindness made Harry feel like someone was squeezing his heart, trying to make it burst. He was not sure why he should feel this way exactly, but Harry took to avoiding her whenever politely possible, sometimes not even showing up at meals.

Of course, Mrs. Weasley was not the only reason he was avoiding meals. Each one was a painful display of loss. The table never felt full any more, no matter how much food the Weasley matriarch piled onto it or how many Weasley siblings were roped into coming to eat. Harry was not the only one avoiding meals. George hardly ever came down to eat as far as Harry could tell, but as he was avoiding George as well he could never be entirely sure.

He avoided Ginny most of all. She made him more confused than anything else over the summer. More than all the other questions in his head, Ginny was the puzzle that Harry could never quite piece together. And it was the puzzle that Harry was most desperate to solve. It was driving him mad.

The days passed like this, largely without event and it felt strange to Harry not to be counting the days until September first when he would be back on the train to Hogwarts. There was no summer course work to be done, no trips to Diagon Alley for more potions supplies or new robes. And there were no dark wizards he was setting out to destroy, no battle for his life around any corner.

So Harry spent his days outdoors, away from the stifling sorrow that seemed to waft through the Burrow like thick smoke. He would lie in the grass past the garden, just on the edge of the small wood in the Weasleys' backyard.

A particularly humid day near the beginning of July Harry was doing just that, staring up at the clouds and trying to decide what shapes they looked like when he heard footsteps approaching him. He was about to grimace at the interruption to his solitude when he caught a whiff of something flowery and sat up to see Ginny standing a few paces away, her long hair loose and hanging over her shoulder.

"Can I join you," she asked, no trace of uncertainty in her voice.

Harry nodded and shifted into a more comfortable sitting position. Ginny sat next to him, companionably close, close enough that Harry could smell her hair. It looked so soft and he wondered if he might get away with running a hand through it.

"I know you've been avoiding me," Ginny said matter-of-factly, staring ahead at the Burrow. Harry opened his mouth to deny it, but she went on before he got a chance. "You've been avoiding almost everyone, except Ron and Hermione. And they're so busy with each other these days...." She trailed off and absently tugged at the hem of her t shirt. It was big on her, with The Clash written in large, faded red letters.

Harry could not think of anything to say.

"It's fine if you don't know what to say to any of us," Ginny said as if hearing his thoughts. She sounded almost angry. "But you haven't even tried talking to anyone since you've been here. We're hurting Harry, but we're not made of glass. You won't break anything trying to be civil."

Harry blinked, caught of guard by her accusation. "I've been civil--" he started but she rounded on him angrily, her hair flying over her shoulder, almost hitting him in the face.

"Civil would be talking to Mum instead of nodding to anything she says and bolting from the room. Civil would be contributing to conversation at breakfast, or lunch, or supper, if you bothered to show up at any of them. This is the first real conversation we've had all summer and we're staying in the same house."

Harry could not truthfully deny anything Ginny had said but her accusatory tone rankled something inside of him. He turned to face her and she looked back at him with something like fire in her eyes. He wanted to be angry, to shout or scream or feel something other than the nearly crippling confusion and doubt that had shadowed him for over a month now. But something made him keep his emotions in check.

"Ginny, you know your family is important to me. I'm not trying to be inconsiderate--"

"Maybe you're not trying at all."

Harry caught his angry retort before it came out. "That's not fair," he said quietly. Ginny blinked and looked away from him, a slight flush in her cheeks. Her voice was as steady and confident as ever when she spoke again.

"We care about you, Harry. We don't want you to shut yourself away from us."

"I care about... all of you too," he said, not meeting Ginny's eyes. There was a heavy silence that hung between them. Ginny started picking at the blades of grass in front of her, her hair falling like a curtain, hiding her face.

"You're not coming back to Hogwarts, are you, Harry?" she asked him suddenly, tucking her hair behind her ear. Caught off guard, it took him a moment to reply.

"No, I'm not." It was the one thing he'd been certain of all summer, the only thing, and he had clung to it like a beacon of decision in the uncertainty that was his life. But the brief look of utter disappointment that flashed across Ginny's face cast doubt on his decision for the first time.

Ginny smiled sadly and glanced at him from the corner of her eye. "I didn't think you would, after everything that's happened. But it would have been nice, being in the same year, wouldn't it?"

Brief images of classes with Ginny, Quidditch with Ginny, broom cupboards with Ginny flew through Harry's mind and he felt his certainty waver dangerously again. "Yeah," he said. "It would've been nice."

Ginny tugged at the bottom of her shirt and turned to look up at the clouds Harry had been contemplating before she had arrived. Harry took the opportunity to admire her out of the corner of his eye until she looked over at him suddenly and he felt his cheeks flush.

There was a knowing smile on Ginny's face and Harry was certain she had caught him staring. "What's The Clash?" he asked as innocently as possible, but his cheeks still felt warm.

Ginny glanced down at her shirt and her smile faltered ever so slightly. "You've never heard of The Clash?" Harry shook his head. "Well they've never heard of you either. Muggle band. One of Fred's favorites."

Harry could think of nothing to say in response to this. He just stared at her and she looked back at him and his mind was filled with the thought of how beautiful she was, even when she was sad. And again without thinking, without planning it, Harry kissed her.

It was not quite like the kiss they had shared after the Quidditch final, nor was it quite like the kiss in Ginny's bedroom almost a year ago. It was simpler, shorter, and before Harry knew that he had kissed her at all they were pulling apart from each other.

They stared at each other for what felt like an uncomfortable eternity. Harry was not sure what he had expected to happen, but he was quite certain he had never felt this way after kissing Ginny. He was right back where he had been all summer--confused and full of unanswered questions.

Ginny looked away first, looked straight ahead, at the Burrow, her expression unreadable. Harry did not know how long they sat there, neither of them saying a word, until Mrs. Weasley popped her head out of the kitchen door and called Ginny in to help with supper. Ginny shot Harry a quick smile before standing and making her way back to the Burrow.

Harry stayed there, staring at the kitchen door Ginny had disappeared through and, not for the first time that summer, tried to puzzle out what exactly was going on with Ginny. There were so many conflicting emotions there, so many questions that had no answer, that didn't make any sense.

Harry ran a hand through his hair and sighed in frustration. He had thought more about Ginny this summer than anyone else, felt more confused about her than anything else, and cared more about her than--


Harry blinked owlishly as understanding dawned. But it couldn't be. How would he even know?

But he did. It had occurred to him in that one moment and for a brief instant Harry saw clearly.

He loved Ginny Weasley.

Now what to do about it?

It was to date the most maddeningly confusing week of Harry's life.

Conflicting with the usual instinct of avoiding Ginny, the instinct that had been ruling all summer, there was now the persistent urge to be with her all the time. He caught himself staring at her during meals, offering to help with the cooking whenever Ginny was in the kitchen, even timing his morning shower so that he would run into her in the hallway.

He stopped planning the latter though after he forgot his clothes one morning and encountered Ginny in the hall with nothing but a towel on. He felt his cheeks flush red as Ginny blinked in surprise. Harry froze, he could not think of anything to say, and so just stood there. Ginny giggled.

"Are you planning on getting dressed at all today, Harry? You know, naked Wizards have contributed very little to Magical civilization."

Harry's cheeks heated up even further and he hurried back upstairs without a word.

The more time he spent with Ginny, the less Harry worried about all of the other uncertainties in his life, thought part of him suspected this was because how he felt about Ginny was more confusing than everything else put together. There were a few times he nearly blurted out a few very dangerous words, but he always caught himself before he had fully formed and expressed, "I love you, Ginny."

There were now a number of new questions swirling in Harry's thoughts. How would she react? Would she say it back to him? Did she even feel the same way? Did she like him at all? Would she be happy? Angry? Upset?

A whole week went by this way, Harry's insecurities multiplying off each other. But luckily, Ginny seemed not to notice any of Harry's inner turmoil. He sometimes wished she knew Legilimency so he wouldn't have to say it, because he knew he would have to do it eventually. If he tried to keep it inside, he thought he might explode.

Harry sometimes wished he could talk to someone about it, but Ron was his best option and considering Ron's relationship to the situation, Harry decided he would much rather go it alone. But that did not stop Ron from sharing his thoughts about Hermione.

It was a warm night and the window in Ron's room was open letting in a pleasant breeze. Both Harry and Ron were lying awake, staring at the ceiling and talking about everything from the Chudley Cannons to what would happen come September to, Ron's favorite topic of late, Hermione.

"I mean, I know she likes me, she did kiss me first," Ron said, a hint of pride in his voice. "But I really think I love her, Harry. I mean really, honestly love her."

Harry smiled and made a non-committal noise. He was happy for his best friends but he was also a little jealous at how easily Ron could talk about his love for Hermione. Was it supposed to be that easy? Was there something wrong with him because he couldn't make himself say it?

"I'm going to tell her, when she gets back from Australia. Might be the first thing I say to her."

Harry's eyes widened in surprise. "It's that easy?" he asked. "How do you she won't... throw it back in your face?"

"It's terrifying," Ron answered immediately. "But there's no use waiting if I know how I feel, right? Life's too short."

"Yeah," Harry said, rolling onto his side, and then laughed. "But Hermione can be pretty scary when she wants to be."

"You're telling me."

Harry pulled his sheets more tightly around himself and imagined telling Ginny how he felt. Ron was right, wasn't he? Life was too short, so why wait? All he could do was lay everything on the line and what would happen would happen. And that was terrifying. But maybe it was worth it.

Soon enough, Harry heard Ron's breathing become steadier and soft snores came from the other side of the room.

"Tomorrow," he whispered to himself. Tomorrow, he would tell her.

It was surely, certainly, without any shadow of a doubt the most confusing morning of Harry's life.

He was quiet at breakfast, eating everything that Mrs. Weasley piled onto his plate and sneaking looks at Ginny, who sat right across from him. Every time he glanced at her his heartbeat sped up nervously and when she asked him to pass the butter and their eyes met he thought his heart might just explode.

Today, he kept telling himself, You have to tell her today.

But it was not that easy. It was not nearly as easy as Ron made it sound. Every time Harry opened his mouth he was at once afraid that no sound would come out or that the words he was so terrifyingly determined to say would come spilling out of him unexpectedly. Every time he looked at Ginny, he wanted to run away or shout it as loud as he could.

It did not help matters that Ginny seemed to be glancing at him as often as he was at her. He caught her more than once with a sly smile on her lips and while he liked this, he wondered what it meant. His thoughts were swirling around too quickly in his head for him to make much sense of them and the brief brush of Ginny's foot on his leg certainly did not help clear up his muddled thoughts.

Should he really say something today? Did he have to tell her? What would she say? Would she hate him? Hit him? Run away? Or would she be happy? Tell him how much she loved him? Harry wanted to bang his head against the scrubbed wooden table in frustration.

After breakfast most of the Weasleys went their separate ways and only Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Mrs. Weasley remained in the kitchen. Mrs. Weasley hummed softly while she washed the dishes and Ron was finishing a third helping of scrambled eggs. Harry looked across the table at Ginny to find that she was looking back at him, a smile curving the end of her lips.

"Want to... take a walk, Ginny?" he asked, hoping that Ron wouldn't notice the warmth creeping up his cheeks.

"I would love to, Harry."

They sat for another moment, Ron shooting a suspicious look between the two of them before Harry and Ginny stood at the same time and headed towards the door. Harry chanced a glance over his shoulder at Ron and was surprised to see him give him a thumbs up. Harry thought he might explode if he became any more confused about just what was going on with his life.

Harry and Ginny walked for a while without saying anything. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, and Ginny looked very pretty in her t shirt and shorts. Her hair was loose again, hanging down her back, and Harry walked just a step behind her so he could watch it sway as she walked, shimmering in the sunlight.

It was so much like those brief sunlit days from the end of his sixth year that Harry almost forgot all about the horrors they had seen over the last few months. There was only Ginny, only this moment, and for the first time since he had realized what he felt for her did he feel confident enough to say it out loud.

"Ginny, I--"

"Harry listen--"

They had started to speak at the same time and Ginny laughed softly.

"You first," Harry said, trying not to let his disappointment show. He hoped he did not lose his nerve.

Ginny stopped walking and turned towards Harry. "I've been trying to figure out how to say this for the past week," Ginny started, looking Harry right in the eye, that same fire there that he had seen the other day. "I thought a lot about it and I think the best thing to do is just to say it.

"I love you, Harry."

Harry wondered in that moment if he was actually feeling the Earth rotate beneath his feet. He stared at the girl in front of him and knew that she had never looked more beautiful and he had never loved her more. And in that one moment all of the confusion Harry had felt, all of the unanswered questions, all them fled from his mind and Ginny's words filled up all this thoughts.

In an instant, everything made sense. Because everything was Ginny, and she was standing in front of him, telling him that she loved him.

"You don't have to say it back," Ginny continued, still looking right into Harry's eyes. "I just needed to tell you. Because you're the only thing that makes sense anymore, Harry."

Harry smiled and marveled at the girl in front of him. "I know I don't have to say it," Harry told her. "But you're the only thing that makes sense anymore, Ginny. And I love you too."

Ginny's eyebrows flew up in pleasant surprise and Harry let out a chuckle. "I've been trying to figure out how to tell you... I've just been so confused. But you make sense. And this makes sense. And... I can't believe you beat me to it."

Ginny laughed and it sounded like music.

So what happens now? he thought.

But in the face of yet another question, Harry was surprised to find that the answer, I don't know, was not troubling at all, but rather exciting. There were a lot of things that Harry did not know right now, but he and Ginny had all the time in the world to find out.

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