SIYE Time:21:39 on 17th September 2021

You Make Me Want to be Brave (A Story in Two Tenses)
By iluvfanfics

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Category: Post-DH/AB
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, Romance
Warnings: Extreme Language, Sexual Situations
Story is Complete
Rating: R
Reviews: 24
Summary: Ginny wonders when her mother's legacy of bravery will kick in with her.
Hitcount: Story Total: 8360

Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.

Author's Notes:
This One-Shot has been edited to comply with the strict "R" rating here at SIYE. The original version can be found over at -- although very few changes have been made.


Her mother was badass.

No really, she was.

At first glance, she looked like a normal witch — a little messy looking and flustered amongst the chaos that came with raising seven children. But that was only the thin veneer that covered a mighty, fire breathing dragon who had protected her family with a fierceness that surprised everyone except Ginny’s father.

She had always known her mother loved her. Ginny had never doubted it for a second of her sixteen years. But listening to someone tell you they love you and then watching as they killed someone to prove it were two different things.

That was why, instead of following Harry the Hero out of the Great Hall and continuing what they’d started last spring, she was sitting here with her head on her mother’s shoulder, trying not to think about how things could have been very different. One missed spell shot…if Harry had been just a second slower with his shield…then it wouldn’t have mattered how badass her mother was.

Her mother had killed Bellatrix Lestrange. And she’d done it for Ginny and all her children. And she’d cursed. And she’d thrown off her robe like some sort of avenging warrior (which of course she was) before attacking in a fluid, almost graceful motion that Ginny would never have expected of her plump mother.

Bad. Ass.

Ginny wondered when her mother’s legacy was going to kick in with her. Despite the resistance fighting she’d done in the past year at Hogwarts, despite the way she’d snuck out the Room of Requirement (even after Harry and her mother had both told her stay put), despite the fighting she’d done this day — she didn’t feel badass at all. Watching Tonks die, lying to a dying third-year student who would never see her mum again, sitting with her brother’s dead body — none of that was badass. Death was not badass.

Not like her mother.

It occurred to Ginny that her mother probably didn’t feel like a badass. She probably felt pretty rotten; her son had died and she’d killed someone.

But she was Ginny’s hero all the same. Harry was a hero too — but he was the World’s Hero. Molly Weasley was just Ginny’s. Somehow, that balanced out in the end.


“Yes, Ginny?”

“I love you.”

Her mother tightened her arm around her shoulders. “I love you too.”

“I can tell,” Ginny said honestly.


Second by second.

He drifts, slipping down into dreams.

Instead of his old four-poster bed in Gryffindor Tower , Harry goes to a place where death, destruction and the final moments of Severus Snape are forgotten. It’s a place with a warm sun and waves gently lapping against a lakeshore. Here a still-whole castle looms in the background and a light breeze blows red, red hair across his cheek.

It’s good to be in that place, wherever it is, with the smell of flowers in his face.

His mind clicks, a new image rising. He recognizes her scent before he even sees her face, challenge in her eyes and laughter floating on the wind. The grass crushes beneath her bare feet as she walks toward him, wearing his Gryffindor Quidditch t-shirt. Her school robes are slung over her arm; she’d shed them because of the perfect weather.

He’s on the verge of reckless promises at that moment. He hovers on the brink of emotions too scary to explore.

He knows even then that he will have to leave her eventually. And that he doesn’t want to. If he were a braver soul, he would tell her this now. But he can’t stand the thought of facing what he considers the worst part of the truth.

She gives him no time for such exploration when she tosses him his battered Potions text. “There’s your homework. Better get started on those exams, Potter.”

He catches the book in one hand, flings it high over his head behind him, never taking his eyes from her face. “I have a better idea.”

Stripping off his shirt, shucking his trainers, he comes for her, scooping her up and wading into the lake.

Her eyes are huge. “You wouldn’t!”

“Afraid I would.”

His mind clicks again, fast forwarding to Ginny’s body locked against him as he dives into the water, savoring the cool slap of the lake as it covers them.

Like a precious cargo, he carries her back to the surface, already peeling away his Quidditch t-shirt and tonguing the cool skin beneath until she shivers against him, presses hard, wanting what he wants.


Images race. Her legs long and bare as she licks melted Chocolate Frog from his fingers, laughing at the mess.


Her body above him, at first tentative, then strong with need.


Their fingers locked in the bright flare of blood and muscle and his sudden knowledge that she is crying. But she never explains and he is too careful to ask questions as they lie quietly beneath the swirling ceiling of the Room of Requirement.


Again the memories, this time in broken conversation.

“I have to go back, too much studying to do, a study group meeting in the library —“


“–Hermione worked out a schedule for me, she’ll be upset if I don’t follow it, you know how she can be —“

“–stay, Ginny —“

“I can’t, no I can’t, really I can’t —“

Collapsing on a bed, their clothes in a tangle, the black sky outside the window shot with white stars as he pulls her down, down to meet his body.



The images race by as Harry Potter tosses in bed, far away from the lifetime in which he lived through the burning hot memories.

But like stars at dawn, the images fade and break and he wakes, knowing somehow that he shouldn’t take for granted that new memories could be made.


Ginny led her Badass Mother to a bed in the Hospital Wing. Her father was nearby, getting a cut bandaged by Madame Pomfrey. She smoothed back red hair peppered with gray and her mother smiled gently at her.

“Go to him,” she told her daughter. “He needs you.”

“He’s never needed me,” Ginny objected. “And I’m not sure I’m that brave.” She swallowed and her hand gripped her mother’s tighter. “I’m not like you.”

“No,” her mother agreed. “You’re braver. I could never have done what you did.”

“What did I do?” Ginny asked blankly.

“You let him go,” Molly said softly. “Without knowing whether he would or could come back. And
you made it easy for him. I’m not sure I could have done that at your age. At any age.”

“You did what had to be done,” she insisted. “That’s brave, Ginny.”

Ginny shook her head. “But it’s not action. Not adventure. It’s not a big spellbinding moment where time stops and everyone sees what you’ve done.”

“So you won’t win a medal,” her mum reasoned. “But that’s the greater sacrifice I think. The bravery that no one sees is the best.” She laid her head on the pillow wearily. “Go find him, dear. I won’t even worry about you while you’re gone.”

“Oh,” Ginny said softly. “I don’t think that’s true.”

She left her grieving parents in the Hospital Wing and walked slowly back to Gryffindor Tower. Her mind barely registered the castle’s destruction around her. Images were running through her mind at a rapid pace. Moments in time with Harry. Laughing at their sticky faces covered with melted Chocolate Frog after they’d fought over the last one; water spilling out of the waistband of her drenched trousers as he hoisted her up in the lake, naked from the waist up; his green eyes boring into hers; a lock of messy black hair falling on his forehead.

Desperate, urgent snogs in darkened corners of the same corridors she was walking in right now.

Because she didn’t feel as badass as her mother had assured her she was, Ginny didn’t take her advice. She didn’t go to his old room, didn’t wait in the common room for him. She went to her own old room. It was unoccupied thankfully, and she sunk down into the covers with a detached gratefulness. Nothing seemed real anyhow — might as well forget that she only had five brothers left, that Remus, Tonks and Colin were all gone. That Harry had defeated Tom Riddle and for the longest moments of her life, she had thought he was dead.

Instead she sank into a fitful sleep where the images still plagued her, but they didn’t seem as bad.

She woke only once when the door opened and Hermione slipped inside, not even pausing as she crawled into bed with Ginny. Hermione slid under the covers and without saying a word, Ginny snuggled into her friend, who wrapped her arms around her for comfort. They didn’t have to talk. Ginny knew Hermione was sad about Fred, knew she was sorry that she’d disappeared with Harry for nearly an entire year, knew that her friend needed comfort almost as much as Ginny needed it herself.

She didn’t cry, despite the love and sympathy she could feel emanating from Hermione. Until that moment, Ginny hadn’t realised that she’d been unable to cry. Her mother had already cried; she’d wailed even. But then her mother was badass. Suddenly, crying was braver than Ginny imagined — until then she’d always seen it as a sign of weakness.

The friends fell into a fitful sleep. When Ginny finally stirred from the bed, the sun was up and Hermione was gone. She hoped she was somewhere comforting Ron. She showered quickly and dressed in the same clothes she’d worn yesterday. They were torn and dirty, but while she was wearing them it was impossible to forget. And she wanted to remember.

She walked down the stairs not expecting to find Harry waiting at the bottom. She didn’t fool herself to think he was waiting for her, but he looked up expectantly when she turned the corner from the girls' dorms. He was showered as well, but he’d changed clothes and she wondered if he was making some sort of statement about moving on in this new day. In this new world.

They didn’t speak, only stared at each other dumbly. The images flashing in her torturous brain wouldn’t go away. She remembered what he looked like underneath those clothes he was wearing; knew what words he could whisper in her ear; knew, knew, knew she loved him beyond all reasoning.

It must be beyond all reasoning because she couldn’t find it in herself to be mad at him, even now. Even after he left without saying goodbye; even after he sided with her mother about staying in the Room of Requirement before the battle began; even after he broke up with her for her own stupid good; even after he let them all believe he’d died…

“I tried to get up to your room earlier,” he said, suddenly breaking the silence. “But the stairs still won’t let me.”

“I wouldn’t take it personally,” she said, stepping off the final step and stopping just in front of him.

“They won’t let any guys up.”

“Would you — would you have let me?” The question was loaded with things he wasn’t saying.

“I don’t think I could have stopped you,” she said honestly.

There was a brief smile on his face, but it quickly disappeared.

“Are you mad at me?” The look on his face was genuinely curious.

She shook her head. “It’s hard to be mad at someone who just saved the world.”

“But I couldn’t save Fred.” His face covered with sudden grief. “Or Remus, or Tonks, or Colin.”

“Or lots of people,” she agreed. “But then that wasn’t your job. You did your part.”

Ginny decided she wasn’t really badass like her mother. She couldn’t do what she really wanted to do which was to grab Harry and make sure every inch of him was truly well and alive. Would her mother have been so timid? Especially with a man she’d already been intimate with?

Of course, her mother didn’t know about the intimacy part. Perhaps she wouldn’t have urged Ginny to go to him so freely if she had. The intimacy had been a surprise to both of them last April. But she could not regret it. She hoped Harry didn’t either.

Another image popped into her brain. It was Harry the night they’d made love for the first time (she refused to call it anything else). They were too young, she knew this, but things had gotten out of control one night and it had been impossible to stop or go back. In truth, neither one of them had wanted to.

If she were braver, she might remind Harry of that now. Instead of stifling the anger that surged whenever she thought of the year they’d missed. But she couldn’t be angry at him…even though she really, really wanted to be.

They were staring at each other again.

Ginny wondered if Harry was cataloguing the differences in her appearance like she was doing with him. His hair was longer, his eyes harder — although they were still a lovely green. His clothes looked even older and rattier than normal, and he was thinner than when he’d left.

She summoned the bravery her mother had insisted existed inside of her and sat down next to him, leaning her back against the cold stone wall and hugging her knees to her chest. They didn’t touch even though such a thing would have been normal for them. Before…before, it had been impossible for them to be so close and not touch.

Harry seemed to sense this and he held himself stiffly. Ginny wondered where his bravery had gone. He could defeat Voldemort, but he couldn’t talk to his ex-girlfriend?

“This shouldn’t be so hard,” he said finally. “I mean, we’ve…we’re —“

“Yeah,” she said flatly. “Things are different now, I guess.”

“Are they?” He looked at her, his eyes burning into hers through the gloom of the stairwell. “Have
they changed that much?”

Ginny caught her breath. He was talking in riddles, but she knew what he really meant. Had her feelings changed? Did that mean his hadn’t?

But why should she admit it first? She’d chased him for years. Let him chase her this time.

She wondered what her Bad Ass Mother would have done at this point. She probably would have yelled at him for scaring her half to death. For dying. For running off to face Voldemort without saying goodbye. For dying.

If she was brave, Ginny would have turned to him, kissed him, taken his hand — let the last year roll off her back like water. If she was brave, she would have faced the ISSUE between them instead of skirting around it like he was.

But she wasn’t that brave. She’d lost him once and more than anything, she was afraid that she’d never really had him.


Harry stares at Ginny, unsure where to begin. There is so much to say, so much to explain, so much TO DO. Specifically with her. He hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be with her. The memory of it warms him even now. He flushes, remembering some of the things they’ve done together. The things he’s whispered in her ear. He realises now how too young they were last year; but he can’t help remembering the press of her body against his…how tiny she feels, the way her thighs (that he can nearly wrap a whole hand around) grip him with surprising fierceness.

And now she sits here, a stony expression on her face like she’s waiting for him to begin. But he doesn’t know how to begin something that, for him, never ended (despite what he’d said to her last June). Surely she knew that? Didn’t she? How couldn’t she?

“Why are you blushing?” she asks curiously.

He blushes even more, but comes clean. “I was thinking of your thighs.”

It’s her turn to blush. “You’ve just defeated Voldemort, Hogwarts is in shambles, you’ve spent the whole year dodging Death Eaters while looking for Merlin-knows-what, and all you can think about are my thighs?”

“To be fair,” Harry says, “they’re pretty spectacular.”

He thinks she wants to laugh at him, but is unsure whether such an emotion is appropriate. Part of him respects that, the other part thinks that maybe there has never been a better time to laugh.

“Were you waiting for me?” She asks the question abruptly like she’s had to work up to it.

It pains him that they are like this with each other — so stilted, so formal. Things used to be so easy. They communicated without words once — a certain look, a touch, a glance from across the room. But now…now he’s almost scared of her. She doesn’t look the same. Her hair is shorter, choppier — it’s a nice effect, but since he’s missed the way his fingers tangled and got lost in her long hair, he prefers the old look. She still has the same bright eyes, and he remembers the way they used to shine for him.

Just for him.

A white hot heat spreads through him when it occurs to him that maybe they’ve shone for someone else by now. Because it’s been a whole year. But he quickly stifles the thought. He dumped her; he has no right on who she’s spent her time with since then.

“I was waiting for you,” he confirms. “I thought we should talk.”

“About what?”

He hesitates, but then realises there is no reason not to tell her. Though he doesn’t want the whole world to know what a Horcrux is, Ginny deserves to know. Even if they can’t get back what they had, even if he’s damaged things between them irreparably, he loves, loves, loves her and wants her to know that he didn’t leave her because he wanted to.

“I owe you explanations,” he says finally. “And apologies. There are so many things that I —“

“You don’t owe me any apologies,” she says, suddenly fierce. He’s reminded of her mother in that moment; but after watching Molly Weasley take on Bellatrix Lestrange, the idea is no longer unappealing.

“I do,” he says stubbornly. “I broke up with you, left you without saying goodbye, I owed you more than that —“

She waves a hand impatiently at him. “You don’t have to apologize for any of that, Harry. I’ve always understood why you did those things.”

“But I didn’t tell you, didn’t explain that I —“

She rolls her in eyes in a very familiar Ginny-like expression and cuts him off again. “I get it, Harry. Really, I do. You don’t have to explain.”

Frustration wells up in him. He’s trying to tell her that he loves her, but she won’t let him finish. Things like this are not ever easy to say, he imagines, and dragging it out is only making it worse. Especially because he knows he’s being presumptuous to assume that she would want to know such a thing.

“Look,” he says, drawing on his patience, “What I’m trying to tell you is that I bloody love you. That I have loved you from the moment I kissed you after the Quidditch game last year. And if you would shut up for just a moment, I could explain to you that I couldn’t tell you this before because, well, it would have made it too hard to leave. And I feel like a complete prat for telling you this now when we’re broken up, but I still feel the same way; I’m not sure my feelings will ever change. Because I still love you, and I’ve missed you and I’m so sorry about Fred —“

His words are cut off when Ginny presses her lips to his. For a brief moment, Harry wishes he could have been the first to kiss her instead of the other way around, but he quickly decides that it doesn’t matter. They’re kissing and nothing else matters.

The reality of it is so much better than the dreams.

With a well-practiced move that he can’t believe he hasn’t forgotten, he tugs her into his lap and then she’s pressing him down on the carpet, her body atop his. His hands aren’t moving fast enough, there’s too much to touch and feel and remember.

She smells the same and he’s so grateful because the memory of the way the crook of her neck smells has secretly sustained him since last June. She tastes the same as well, but she feels a little different. Her hips are rounder; the dip in her waist is deeper. The muscles of her stomach, when his fingers lightly brush them, feel firmer, tighter and his mouth goes dry when he thinks about tracing them with his tongue.

Her chest is bigger, which he finds fascinating considering he thought she was perfect before; and though her hair is shorter, he still manages to get lost in it.

He’s so lost that he doesn’t notice the Common Room door opening. He doesn’t recognize the familiar footfalls of his best friend until it’s too late.

“What in the bloody hell are you doing to my sister!”


Ginny lifted her head, still caught up in the fog of Harry’s drugging kisses and urgent hands. She stared unfocused over her shoulder at the horrified expression on her brother’s face in the Common Room.

“Ginny, move,” Harry whispered from underneath her.

She looked down at him, startled, and registered the placement of his hands — one on her bum, the other on her chest. He was looking over her shoulder, wide-eyed at Ron who was glaring up at them from the bottom of the steps.

But Harry wasn’t moving either. His hands tightened around her and she had to squirm to get off of him. She sat back down on her bum with a huff and looked down at her brother.

“What?” she asked angrily.

Ron choked on the words. “He — you — get your hands off of her!”

“They’re off, they’re off!” Harry held his hands up in the air, trying and failing, to look innocent. He looked, Ginny decided, fair and thoroughly well-snogged. She brushed back the hair from her face. She probably did as well.

“Leave us alone,” she said irritably. “We were just making up!”

“But, he — you — you’re sixteen!” Ron protested. “Harry! You promised!”

She narrowed her eyes at Harry. “Promised what?”

“I promised I wouldn’t hurt you,” he answered grudgingly. “But that was last year,” he glared at Ron, “before…before. I’m not going to hurt her now, you idiot.”

Ron’s gaze sharpened and he crossed his arms over his chest. He looked, Ginny thought in surprise, sort of scary. He looked threatening. Ron. Her brother. Actually threatening. And he seemed serious about it too. She was overcome with sudden affection for him.

“Did you make him promise not to hurt me?” she asked. When Harry nodded, she smiled. “That’s very sweet, Ron. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. But that still doesn’t explain why he,” he pointed accusingly at Harry, “had his hands all over you!”

“Oh,” Ginny looked over at Harry, who was propped up on his elbows. “Well, I suppose he’s rather brave, isn’t he?”

It occurred to her then that everyone seemed to be brave except for her. Harry had faced Voldemort, her mother had fought Bellatrix and won, and Ron was facing down not only the man who defeated Voldemort, but his best friend.

If she was really brave, she would have told Harry she loved him too, instead of kissing him, which upon reflection seemed to be rather the cowardly thing to do. It would have been more courageous, in fact, to actually say the words out loud. It had been very plucky of him to tell her and all she’d done was go straight to the snogging part. She’d skipped the really hard stuff.

“Bravery really had little to do with it,” Harry murmured quietly, but Ron heard him anyway.

“I’m going to go get my brothers —“

“Oh sod off,” Ginny groaned. “You aren’t going to do anything.” She stood up and dusted off the seat of her pants. She suddenly felt a spark inside of her, something she hadn’t felt in a long time. She’d been brave once, she remembered now. She looked down at Harry. As much as she hated to admit it, her path to Bad Assness didn’t seem to go straight unless he was around. She loathed thinking of herself as so dependent on any one person; and although she had managed without him in her life, simply managing wasn’t much of an existence.

But maybe it took a certain type of bravery to admit that she needed him. She’d been scared that he didn’t need her, but just now, he’d proved that it was better that he wanted her instead. And bloody hell she wanted him, she needed him, and she craved him. From the way he was looking at her right now, he felt the same.

“Stop that,” Ron said, nearly hysterical. “Stop looking at each other like that! It’s — it’s indecent!”

“Harry,” Ginny said. “Why don’t we go to your room?”

His whole face lit up, and Ginny wondered what kind of magic was inside of him that shone so brightly when he smiled like that.

He scrambled to his feet and followed her up the stairs, his hands reaching for her waist as they ran up the steps. They both ignored Ron’s bellowing down in the common room and Ginny felt smugly that it was very brave of her. A Bad Ass Witch didn’t let older brothers push her around.

They reached his room and Ginny spun around to face him as he slammed the door behind them. A quick wave of his wand and the room was sealed.

“I love you too,” she said boldly, anxious to get it out. Her earlier pettiness seemed childish — why should he be the only one putting himself on the line? She was distantly amazed at how one kiss and over-the-shirt groping had unlocked the warrior woman inside of her.

“Really?” He moved towards her, his face anxious, his eyes nervous.

“Really,” she said firmly. “From the very beginning.”

There seemed to be nothing left to say after that, and so Harry kissed her again.

If she were stronger, Ginny would have made them both sit down and talk things through. They had a lot to catch up on and discuss. But being weak had some advantages after all. Harry showed them to her and when he told her he loved her over and over again, she felt braver than she’d ever felt before.


The only silence exists in his head. This is because it is only full of images. His mind is too crowded to focus on the sounds he is making outside his head. His body is lost in a world of sighs, and breaths, and gasps, and groans and movements, but inside his head, he can only see the pictures — the memories as he creates them.


The detail of a patch of her skin just below her rib cage. It’s covered in freckles and he imagines that each one tastes differently.


The span of his hands covering her tiny waist. Familiar, but new.


Her lips gently kissing his second lightening bolt scar. There are tears in her eyes as she does this, but for once he doesn’t have to worry about why. He knows he scared her because he scared himself and since she is such a part of him, it’s inconceivable that she would have felt any differently.


Her mouth is making a perfect “O,” but then he remembers that it’s been a year and he should be gentler. And he’s glad, glad, glad that she hasn’t done this with anyone except for him. Even though he left her and didn’t ask her to wait, he’s relieved that she did.


The future stretches out before him like a bright path. He sees her in the same white dress he pictured her in so long ago; only instead of a faceless man, he’s standing at the end of the aisle. He sees her stomach, swollen and pregnant with his child; can hear her laughter and joy; can sense how she’ll still be beautiful, even when her glorious red hair turns grey.

If he was as brave as she thought he was, he would make the dream a reality sooner rather than later.


The images are suddenly gone. They are replaced by a white hot heat that comes in a giant wave and crashes through his brain, wiping away everything except the way she makes him feel.

And he feels brave enough. Not too much. But just enough to keep her for the rest of his life.
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