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SIYE Time:3:58 on 17th January 2022


All It Takes
By Summer Potter

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:None
Genres: Angst, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 150
Summary: Sometimes things don't always work out the way you plan them. Ginny must come to terms with life after the war, even if her life isn't exactly what she thought it'd be. She'll soon realize that all it takes is one little moment to make everything fall into place
Hitcount: Story Total: 69333; Chapter Total: 3351





Author's Notes:
Well, it’s been a while, folks. The writer’s block on this story has gotten pretty heavy, but I’m moving along again. Sorry for the delay! Again, I thank all of you for the wonderful reviews and critiques I’ve gotten! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts! Without further ado, chapter seventeen!




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“Hermione?”

Hermione sighed and stopped pacing, placing her hands on her hips. “I can’t lose him, Ginny,” she pleaded, as if Ginny might be able to do something to stop what Hermione thought was an impending break-up.

Confused, Ginny tried to look as reassuring as possible. It worried her that Hermione wore the same expression of pure panic she always had the night before an exam and that wasn’t exactly an easy mood to calm her out of. “You won’t. Now walk me through what happened because I can’t help until you fill me in.”

“One minute we’re talking about school and how Ron is going to sneak into the castle to visit me. He started to tell me he was really going to miss me and that he couldn’t wait for the day when we wouldn’t have to spend time apart.”

Ginny smiled at this last part, which made Hermione smile reluctantly back at her. She loved hearing that Ron could be cute with Hermione since the sensitive, down-to-earth version of her brother was so rarely visible in the presence of their brothers.

“Hermione, that’s not a proposal…”

Hermione sunk down into a chair wearily. “Then he asked me what I wanted to do after school and I told him I wanted to travel for the summer and see the world. I want to take a real break, you know? None of us have had a relaxing summer in years. Maybe we could all travel together?”

Ginny nodded and waved the idea away, making a mental note to discuss it later since she definitely supported this idea. Hermione continued, looking more uneasy as she approached what Ginny was assuming was the actual moment of the proposal. “I also told him I want to focus on getting a good job and that my job would be my priority for a while. Ron asked if I was going to live with my parents and I told him no’ because I’m hoping to rent my own flat. Then he asked if I thought we’d ever live together.”

Hermione paused again to shift in her seat, looking very uncomfortable. “I couldn’t say no, so I just told him the truth. I said I wouldn’t move in with anyone unless I was engaged.” Hermione wrung her hands nervously. “I’m sort of traditional that way.”

In truth, she was surprised at Hermione’s not-so-subtle comment. Usually, a line like this was a hint that a guy could ask about marriage. Hermione, it seemed, wasn’t aware of the reaction that saying this would normally trigger in a man. “So he asked you to marry him?”

Hermione bit her lip and shrugged. “He started on this really lovely speech and part of me wanted to just agree with him on everything, but I’m not that person”

Ginny groaned and leaned forward. “Hermione, tell me what he said! I’m dying here!”

“He said: ‘Well, you’ll just have to marry me, then.’”

Ginny stared at Hermione, a little incredulous that her brother had so boldly said this. Ron was blunt, but she never thought her brother would be so brave. However, after digesting this, Ginny didn’t think this was the equivalent of asking, “will you marry me.” Truthfully, she believed that Ron wasn’t really proposing, but he was fishing to get a sense on where Hermione was in the relationship. She had a feeling that if she were in Ron’s shoes, she would have a hard time reading Hermione’s thoughts in a relationship. Boys and romance weren’t exactly in her strong suit in her world of academia.

“And what did you say to that?”

“I told him no!” She spluttered, a little wild-eyed.

Hearing Hermione squeak out a panicked ‘no’ was all Ginny needed to hear to understand why Ron had stormed off. Hermione was being her logical, reasonable self, while Ron was trying to be romantic and trying to see if Hermione had put any thought into a future with him. While she knew Hermione meant no harm, her sounding so alarmed at a hypothetical question of marriage would no doubt hurt Ron’s feelings and ego.

Ginny sighed, wondering if she would even be able to explain to Hermione why this little incident was her fault. “Did you freak out when you said no? Did you say anything else?”

“I might have seemed a bit panicked, but the way he was asking…” she groaned. “He was looking at me so seriously and he was suddenly so close to me. I panicked! I totally panicked! Now I’m going to lose him because Ron probably thinks I don’t love him!”

Ginny had to smile at this. “Are you kidding? If he seriously wants to know if you’d be willing to marry him, then he’s a bit beyond breaking up with you over one little comment. Just go and talk to him. Please. Go and fix this before this blows up into a bigger thing.”

Hermione hesitated, beginning to get the panicked look in her eye again. “Ginny, I can’t agree to marry him.”

She rolled her eyes, smirking only just a little bit. Poor Hermione. “He’s not asking right now, Hermione. He said it to figure out if you’d ever be open to a future with him.”

Hermione glanced back up at the house in the direction of Ron’s window. “I do want a future with him, but he can’t ask me yet! Not for another few years! This is just not the opportune time to get married! I don’t want to rush off and tie the knot just because we’re all still thrilled that the war is over and You-Know-Who is gone.”

“Ron knows that. And just because I love you, I promise to mention to Ron that you’ve got a timeline and if he wants you to say yes, he’s got to wait a bit.”

Relief and gratitude lit up Hermione’s face at Ginny’s promise and she leaned over and hugged her. Ginny hugged her back with a smile, happy that she was able to resolve this little incident so quickly.

“I’m being stupid, I know. I just don’t want to ruin anything–Ron and I are really good right now.”

“I know you are.”

Hermione smiled at her. After a beat, she added, “I do love your brother. A lot.”

“I know. You’re not being stupid. I probably would have panicked too, or worse.”

“I’m being stupid,” Hermione disagreed heavily. She seemed to pull herself together and she said determinedly, “I need to tell him I’m sorry.”

Ginny stood up, collecting the plate of cookies and the jug of lemonade while Hermione collected the glasses. Together, they made their way up to the house in a comfortable silence, although Ginny could tell that Hermione was still mulling things over in her head. She wondered if deep down, Hermione had actually been dying to hear Ron say something so romantic and committed. Hermione confided in Ginny many times over the years that she wished Ron would be more open about how he was feeling and what he was thinking. As panicked as Ron’s comment had made her, Ginny bet that there was a part of Hermione that was overjoyed to hear that Ron was thinking about a future.

“Has Harry been talking a lot about visiting you? Ron brings it up nearly every day. I don’t think he understands how busy we’re going to be studying for N.E.W.Ts.”

Ginny shook her head no, grateful that Harry didn’t bring it up so much. She wasn’t ready to think about being away from him for so long. Ginny also wasn’t ready contemplating not having enough time to spend with Harry. After the visitation today and being reminded that life was unpredictable and unfair, there was a part of her that never wanted to leave his side. As irrational as this was, particularly since the war was over, the feeling wasn’t going way yet.

“He’s probably just worried about how the distance is going to affect your relationship. It’s the first time we’ll all be apart for the full year!” The reality of this statement made her heart twinge. Truthfully, the pain of being apart from Harry last year was much worse. At least this time, they could write to each other and Ginny would know that he was safe–or at least as safe as he could be while training to be an Auror.

“I don’t see what an engagement would do to change that,” Hermione said darkly.

Ginny shrugged, not wanting to argue about this. Personally, if Harry had made a similar comment to her, she wouldn’t have freaked out at all. She didn’t know how to explain this to Hermione without starting a debate of reason about matters of the heart; love just wasn’t a rational thing. “Maybe he figured that being engaged would make things between you more secure? Maybe he figured it would be a way to guarantee that at the end of everything, Ron would have you.”

Hermione seemed to be sceptical at this idea, rather than admiring the gesture. “Putting a ring on my finger wouldn’t secure our relationship. In fact, it might put more stress on our relationship. I’m not ready for it and a ring comes with certain promises. Any anyway, even if I was ready, I would never want to spend the first few months of my engagement separated from my fianc.”

One point for Hermione; an engagement was a time to celebrate. A ring on her finger would be a constant visual reminder of missing someone and being unable to see them. During their N.E.W.T year, there wasn’t much time for distractions from studying and completing assignments.

“No, I suppose not, but it would seem like a guarantee to some people. And isn’t that what we all want? A guarantee that after everything we’ve been through, we finally will have our happily-ever-afters?”

“It should be easy after everything we’ve been through,” Hermione agreed sadly. “And yet, it won’t be. There’s still a lot of hard times ahead of us. What if my work makes me travel? Harry and Ron’s schedules will be hectic even after they finish training. And you, you’ll be travelling for games and attending parties and events… not to mention the Harpies are against male-visitors.”

All the wonderful things about the Harpies, Ginny believed their only downside was their aversion to male visitors. She secretly hoped that this rule wasn’t as strictly enforced as she’d heard it was. However, Ginny wasn’t all that worried, even if it was a strict rule–Fred and George had taught her that any rule always has a loophole.

“All Ron thought he was doing was getting to the happily-ever-after part sooner by proposing. He knows he’ll end up doing that someday anyway. Just please go talk to Ron before you two start bickering over it. I like it when you two get along.”

“We don’t fight as much as you think so,” Hermione replied with a smile. “Usually the fight ends just as soon as we’re alone and–”

Ginny held up the juice jug pleadingly, hiding behind it to avoid hearing any of the gruesome details. “Please don’t. I’m supportive, but please don’t mistake that for interest in how you and my brother problem-solve.”

Hermione giggled. “Fine. You and Harry are pretty well behaved in comparison. I wouldn’t want to disrupt the pattern of your relationship.”

Well-behaved? “What is that supposed to mean?”

Hermione’s grin widened as she shrugged nonchalantly. “Just that unlike Ron, Harry always stays in his bed at night.”

Ginny gaped at Hermione. “You sleep in my room some nights! Please, please don’t tell me my brother joins you?”

Hermione seemed very proud as she replied, “Only sometimes.”

Ginny made a mental note to rant to Harry later about Hermione’s shocking behaviour. She didn’t want to know if anything had ever happened while she was asleep. She’d never trust Hermione in her room again! How had she never heard Ron in the middle of the night? He wasn’t exactly light-footed on the house’s creaky floorboards…

They were nearly at the back door when Hermione stopped, replacing the smug look on her face with curiosity. “What did you mean before when you said you probably would have panicked, or worse?”

Grimacing, Ginny continued up to the house. “I probably would have said ‘yes.’”

Now it was Hermione’s turn to look incredulous, which made Ginny blush. “Ginny!”

Laughing, Ginny shrugged, wishing her face wasn’t turning pink. “I told you– I would have done something a lot worse.” Much, much worse, if she became engaged before she was a legal adult, her mother would kill her.

Hermione shook her head slowly in disbelief, smiling widely. “I’ve always pictured Harry proposing with a ring. I don’t think he’d do an impromptu proposal. I’d say Ron is definitely more likely to suddenly propose.”

Ginny smirked, stepping in closer so that her voice carried less. “When I was eleven, I always pictured Harry proposing in his Hogwarts robes, by the lake, at sunset. He’d have a big bouquet of red roses and a big diamond ring in a little black box.”

Hermione burst into giggles. “Wow. By the way, this will be the story I tell at your wedding. I’m sure Harry will be delighted to hear that while he worried over pure evil ruining his life, you were fantasizing about Harry wanting to marry you!”

Ginny grinned, not bothered by this promise. “Go ahead–that’s not even my most embarrassing little girl fantasy.”

“I probably don’t want to know.” Hermione sighed happily, looking much more cheerful. “Look at us, talking about marrying those boys!”

“We’re so grown up!”

Hermione opened the door but paused in the doorway to turn and smile at Ginny. “Thanks, Gin. For talking to me, calming me down… I really appreciate it.”

Ginny patted her friend’s back and grinned back at her. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be telling this story of your freak out about marriage on your wedding day.” Hermione groaned as she moved to set the glasses down on the table before hurrying up the stairs to Ron’s room.

Ginny put the juice and cookies away before turning her attention to cleaning the glasses. It took only a few minutes to clean, dry them and then put them back on the shelf. Just as she was finishing, Harry came downstairs to meet her.

“Ron and Hermione are talking,” he told her, gesturing vaguely at the ceiling. “They very subtly told me to leave the room, so we’re free to go. What do you want to do now?”

Ginny hung the damp dishtowel to dry and then walked over to Harry and surprised him by sliding one arm around his neck and kissing him deeply. Harry seemed a bit surprise by her enthusiasm at first but he kissed her back eagerly, pulling her closer. Ginny tried to put a lot of unspoken gratitude into the kiss as she again thought about how lucky she was that their relationship wasn’t nearly as dramatic as Ron and Hermione’s. They might enjoy the sparks, but Ginny much preferred contentment and passion without the occasional yelling.

Harry kissed her back willingly, placing his hands gently on her waist, his fingers pressing lightly into the skin where her shirt had risen. Harry suddenly ended the kiss a few minutes later when a floorboard creaked somewhere upstairs, startling him. He pulled back, his cheeks red as if he were embarrassed to almost get caught snogging her in the kitchen.

He did a quick look around to make sure that Mrs. Weasley wasn’t about to burst in on them and then grinned widely at Ginny, clearly very pleased about the kiss, in spite of its abrupt end. “What was that for?”

Ginny shrugged and leaned up to kiss his cheek, wishing he wouldn’t jump apart like they were really doing anything wrong. “Just because. What did you want to do now?” She hoped that it would involve some time alone together to hang out. She was feeling a little emotionally drained after today’s events. What she really needed was some time to be distracted by Harry.

“Dunno. Hang out? I feel like the other two will be occupied for a while.”

He chuckled, sensing the double meaning in her words. “Probably. What do you want to do?”

“Come on,” Harry said, stepping forward and pulling her up against him. The moment she was pressed against his chest, he apparated them away from the Burrow and back to his place.

Ginny gasped in air, startled by the sudden disapparition and their re-appearance in Harry’s living room. She hated side-along apparition, as convenient as it was. Apparating by one’s self wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable and it did come with the minimized chance of splinching. She trusted Harry and his apparating abilities, but Ginny really was not a fan of that form of transportation.

“Smooth, Potter. That Auror training is really working well for you, huh?”

“I’m pretty fast at disapparition. We’re working on the speed in which we can vanish and re-appear. The trick is to be able to do it quickly and as quietly as possible, and at a variety of distances.”

Patting the scarred area on her abdomen with one hand, she placed her other hand on Harry’s chest and said sweetly, “Harry, I’m impressed, but if you suddenly apparate me places, I might have to hex you a little bit.”

He grimaced and placed his hands over abdomen, noticing the sign of discomfort on her face. “Sorry. It still hurts, huh?”

She waved it away, not wanting to worry him. Although it might be too late for that, judging by the guilty look on his face. “Not really. It just twinges with certain movement–usually if I sit up to fast or if I twist funny.”

“I won’t do it again,” he promised solemnly. “I thought apparating us away was sort of romantic in the moment.”

Not wanting him to be dissuaded from doing spontaneous romantic things with his newfound magical talents, she kissed him briefly and then smiled, cupping his cheek. “You can use me a little for practice after I’m all healed up.”

“So, what were they fighting about anyway?” Harry asked curiously as they moved to sit on the sofa.

She chuckled and laid her head back against Harry’s arm that wound around her. He pulled her close and Ginny yawned, feeling very content at this moment. She loved being with him like this–there was nothing like these feelings of warmth, comfort and security.

“Hermione thought Ron asked her to marry him.”

Harry jerked forward on the couch, startling her and disrupting her short-lived bliss. “What?!”

She laughed at his reaction, studying his expression of sincere disbelief. “He didn’t actually propose, but Hermione thought he did. He made some sort of implication that he wanted to get married and Hermione freaked out because it messed up her perfectly scheduled plan for her life.”

He nodded, relaxing a bit as he sat back again, turning slightly to look at her. “Yeah, you don’t mess with the plan.” He looked thoughtful for a moment, his expression allowing flickers of his shock and disbelief. “Wow. I didn’t see that coming so soon. They just got together at the Battle, you know.”

Ginny raised an eyebrow at him. “Yeah, but my brother’s had feelings for Hermione for as long as I can remember. He’s had years and years to love her–I guess it makes sense. Besides, he didn’t actually ask. They were talking about moving in together and Hermione said she wouldn’t unless she was engaged first. Ron’s reply was: ‘well, you’ll have to marry me.’”

Harry made a noise of disbelief, back to looking shocked, and something else? Did he look a little appalled at the idea? “Move in? I thought Ron was moving in with me?!”

Ginny chuckled, raising an eyebrow. “Harry, we’re talking after school–not now. Don’t get your knickers in a twist! I’m sure Ron is still going to be your roommate.”

“Still, it seems fast, doesn’t it? Ron proposing to Hermione? So he’ll live here for a year and then go live with her? That seems like a lot of moving around.”

Ginny shrugged, not wanting to really get into this with Harry. Why was he having such a hard time with this? She didn’t want to start analyzing why Harry was opposed to the idea of Ron proposing to Hermione. She knew that boys were usually slow to realize when feelings started and it was useless to argue over when Ron had fallen in love with Hermione. Really, it wasn’t even either of their business. Personally, she didn’t think Ron’s comment was out of the blue–it was obvious they were meant to be together and that they loved each other very much. It didn’t matter when they made their relationship official when they’d only been apart because of other big life-events getting in the way. Was he really surprised at how much Ron and Hermione cared for each other? Had it never occurred to him that they’ve loved each other for years, whether they were aware of these feelings or not?

“Hermione thought it was too soon, too?” Harry asked curiously. “She said no?”

Feeling a little disappointed in Harry’s reaction, she made sure to keep her tone light so he wouldn’t catch onto how this was making her feel. “Yeah. She doesn’t want to think about marriage until after she’s got a job. Personally, I don’t think she’d turn Ron down again if he times it right after she’s done school. Although, I did promise Hermione I’d mention to Ron when a good time to ask would be. She doesn’t want to say ‘no’ again and hurt his feelings.”

Harry didn’t look so sure, but the nervous denial wasn’t hard to miss in his voice. “I don’t think so. I think if Hermione isn’t on track with where she wants to be, I don’t think she’d agree.”

Ginny laughed a little incredulously at his persistence. “Why? They love each other– Hermione just doesn’t want to lose Ron by rushing into anything. Why is that so hard for you to believe?”

“I just know Ron really well,” he replied quickly. “And I also think that if Hermione turns him down a second time, Ron might wait a lot longer before asking again.” He looked quite certain about this, but still he added hastily, “I dunno, I just think it’s fast.”

Ginny shrugged, holding her relaxed smile despite her disappointment in whatever weird feelings Harry was having about this topic. “Well, either way… Ron didn’t really ask Hermione. Nothing has changed because he was just fishing for an answer.”

Harry nodded, smiling back at her. “Yeah. Nothing’s changed…”

Ginny tried to keep a neutral expression as she began wracking her brain for another subject. She needed to get her mind off of this and forget about it before she began over-analyzing Harry’s stunned and disbelieving attitude. He seemed almost against the idea when he spoke of Ron and Hermione’s relationship being too new. She knew that it shouldn’t bother her that Harry seemed to be really shocked at the idea–it really was a surprise that Ron was thinking about marriage. Harry didn’t have a mean boyfriend-bone in his body and he wasn’t trying to make any sort of comment about their relationship or his own insecurities.

Besides, she wasn’t even of age or done school yet. She had her whole life ahead of her to worry about a commitment from Harry Potter! A few minutes ago, she’d been feeling incredibly happy to just be alive and be with someone who made her feel happy and secure. It wasn’t the right time for them to worry about a commitment when they were just getting back into their relationship.

Unaware of the thoughts that were gnawing away at Ginny’s heart, Harry got up and turned to her. “Do you want something to drink? I’m parched.”

“I’ll have some water, thank you.”

He smiled at her and agreed, promising he’d be right back. Ginny watched him walk away in the direction of the kitchen and then she sighed wearily, mentally lecturing herself to forget about it. When it came down to it, Ginny didn’t want a proposal from Harry any time soon. She just wanted to be with him and get through the school year. Like Hermione, she had a plan for her life and goals to achieve.

Still, after everything that happened, there was something incredibly wonderful and attractive about the idea of happily-ever-after. These feelings probably came from the fact that they’d both come so close to dying and losing each other. She’d spent months and months fantasizing about Harry and what kind of life they could have if they both survived the war. She had had happy dreams about engagement and marriage and buying a house and babies–dreams that had gotten her through a lot of dark and miserable times. Reality sucked in comparison to her imaginings about what life looked like after the war, but this was real life. The happy-ending was only worth it because it came with patience, dedication, love and understanding and Ginny didn’t want to screw anything up by bringing this up with Harry and ruining things between them.

As sure as she was about Harry, she knew he might not feel as sure about her. After all, Ginny had been in love with Harry for much longer than he had had feelings for her. Ginny had had much more time to consider what she wanted out of life. She’d had months of this last year to decide what she wanted, while Harry had probably had no time as he risked his life to end the war. And as much as she wanted Harry now and forever–she also wanted him to be sure about wanting her that way too. All it would take would be one little moment of her pushing to ruin their relationship.

No, this was nothing to worry about. She was just tired of being hurt and just like she’d told Hermione, part of her wanted to know she would have a happy ending. This wasn’t a fantasy; this was real life and a real relationship.

“Everything is good,” she whispered to herself, sounding a little more confident in the truth of these words. “Just the way they are.”

By the time Harry came back with two glasses of water, they were no longer alone. Ron and Hermione suddenly appeared in the fireplace, both looking happy and relaxed.

“Thought we’d join you,” Ron said by way of a greeting. He clapped Harry on the back before dropping onto the opposite couch from Ginny.

“Wow, I’m surprised you didn’t have to uphold your own not well-behaved relationship patterns before coming over here,” Ginny said slyly, giving Hermione a meaningful look.

Hermione grinned wickedly at Ginny before quickly sobering up so as to not have to explain anything to Ron or Harry. “No, we wanted to visit. We only have a few weeks left before school starts! We need to make the most of our time together.”

Harry glanced at Ginny and then chuckled at her less-than-happy expression before sitting next to her, leaving Hermione to sit next to Ron. Ginny found herself feeling quite content to be sitting in a room with Harry, Ron and Hermione like they used to do at Hogwarts. It was nice to have it feel like the old days where things were less chaotic and their biggest concern was final exams. What made this moment even better was the realization that unlike the times that they sat in the Gryffindor common room, everyone was happily in a relationship with the person they’d wanted to be with all along.

Ron and Hermione, as much as they bickered, were clearly very happy and in love. Ron sat close to Hermione so that their arms touched. It wasn’t an overly romantic position, but the way they leaned in toward the other and the way they were touching even when they weren’t aware of it, spoke volumes about how much they cared for each other. Observing them, Ginny imagined it wouldn’t be long after school when Ron would manage to get a ring on her finger– Ginny doubted Hermione would turn Ron down, provided Hermione was graduated and was actively job-hunting. There was just something about how Ron and Hermione looked together and how they acted that suggested that the love and adoration between them was the forever kind.

“Have you and Ron discussed a lease yet?” Hermione asked curiously.

“Lease? I don’t think we’ll be getting one,” Harry said, setting his glass of water down on the coffee table. “Ron, when are you moving in?”

“Whenever I get my stuffed packed up,” Ron answered before turning to look at Hermione with a perplexed expression. “Why would Harry and I need a lease?”

“Well, it’s the right way to do things. You never know what might happen.”

“What would happen? Most people don’t help their best friend hunt down Horcruxes. That kind of loyalty doesn’t need a lease!” Ron replied cheerfully. “We’re good, aren’t we, Harry?”

Harry grinned at Ron, fully aware that Hermione was not impressed. “Yeah, I suppose you’ve proved you’re trustworthy. No lease, it is!”

Ginny leaned into Harry comfortably and listened in amusement as Hermione began lecturing the boys on doing things properly. She glanced at Harry who was grinning, and it was his relaxed, happy smile that officially made her decide that she most definitely had nothing to worry about. This was still new, but she could feel it deep down that this was right. Hermione had been right when she’d said that a proposal was no guarantee that things would work out and Ginny didn’t want one until they were both ready for it. Until Harry felt ready for that step, she didn’t want to rush it. More than that, she trusted him and respected him. If he wanted to be with her, he would be and it was as simple as that.
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