|SIYE Time:7:55 on 23rd April 2021|
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Category: Post-DH/AB, The I Love You Challenge (2020-2)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger
Story is Complete
Summary: Harry has a dilemma, and Hermione has some simple advice. A very short, one-off story written for the "I love you" challenge, about how we can always find a way to say the things we find hard to say.
Hitcount: Story Total: 791
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.
I don't post much anymore because I'm busy writing about another group of young kids and their completely different adventures, but the challenges always get me back into writing about these wonderful characters in this wonderful world. I hope you love reading these stories as much as I love writing them.
“Honestly, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about,” said Hermione Granger. She had actually put her book away for this conversation, something Harry considered a mark of respect as well as an insight into how interested she actually was in what they were discussing. There was no way he would discuss this particular topic with anyone else, of course. Ron would probably either laugh at him or try to somehow help him with it. He wasn’t actually sure what he thought would be worse.
“Well, you’ve been with Ron a bit longer than Ginny and I have been together,” he ventured. “Hasn’t it ever come up? I mean, hasn’t Ron…”
The two trees they had planted themselves against on this lovely sunny day stood close enough to the pond to allow them to hear the splashing and laughter of the two redheads currently being discussed. They and several of their siblings had gotten together here, on the wetter part of the Burrow’s surrounding land, to relieve some of the pressure of the last few months. It had been Mrs. Weasley’s - Molly’s - initiative. They had all found a way to cope with the loss of Fred, of course, and with the rest of… Well, everything that had happened in the last year or so had taken a bit of adjusting to.
Of course, Harry had forgotten his swimming trunks. Though “forgotten” might not be exactly the right word.
“Left behind” was more accurate.
He had made the mistake of letting Mrs. Weasley see him without his shirt only once since the war had ended, and while he was sure she had meant well, he had intended to keep the scars he had earned covered around her from then on. Each and every one was a reminder to him. The entire collection of them had to be a reminder for Molly Weasley. They were a reminder of what she had lost, and how much more she could have lost if things hadn’t gone as well as they had. Only one son sacrificed to the cause.
Her sympathy was a balm, but it also made him feel very, very guilty.
What fascinated him was the fact that Ron seemed to feel no embarrassment whatsoever at showing his scars to his family. According to the sounds that reached them, he was merrily splashing around in the pond, dunking and getting dunked by his siblings, and having the best of times at that. Mrs. Weasley’s way to cope had been to keep a firm hold on her remaining children and husband, getting them together as often as possible, and offering them every opportunity to spend quality time together. If anything had saved this family, she had, Harry mused. As one of the people she considered part of her brood of children, he had to admit that she had saved him a little, too. Hermione felt the same way, he knew, though they had never actually discussed it. In their year of hardship together, they had learned to read each other with a clarity that he didn’t even share with Ron.
Of course, that’s why she was the only person he could discuss this with. Well, that, and Ron was his girlfriend’s brother, and he could still be a bit of a git when it came to discussing this kind of emotional stuff.
“You and Ginny have more than a year on us, Harry,” Hermione said, giving him a quirky smile that let him see the irony in the situation. “And yes, it has come up, actually.”
Harry hadn’t counted the time he and Ginny had been separated during the war. He had broken up with her, of course, no matter how much he had pined after her from the lackluster comfort of their tent. But where Ron and Hermione’s anniversary would be remembered on the same day as the Battle of Hogwarts would, it had taken him and Ginny until Fred’s funeral to pick things back up. He couldn’t help but smile now, as the memory hit him again. It had been on this plot of land, not far from where they were now sitting, and Fred’s body had just been laid to rest. They were passing by the marker in a last salute - one tradition the Wizarding and Muggle communities apparently shared - when Ginny fell back a bit from her walking with her siblings and grabbed his hand just as they were directly in front of the grave. Tugging on it, she stopped him in his tracks.
“I’m going to kiss you now,” she said, as if announcing he had dust on his cloak and she was going to brush it off, “and we’re going to stop avoiding each other. Life’s too short for that kind of nonsense.”
And just like that, they were back together. Fred would have loved it.
At least, that’s what George had said afterward, when the spontaneous group hug that formed around them had dissipated a bit.
“So yes, I do sort of see what you might be worried about,” Hermione continued. “It’s just that it wasn’t a big deal with us at all. Ron’s grown up in a really loving place, you know. So have I. Lots of family, and everyone was always saying it, usually in parting. It just slipped out of my mouth accidentally when we said goodbye after one of the victory party things we had to attend, and Ron just grinned and said it back. We’re quite comfortable saying it.”
“I’ve never actually said it to anyone,” Harry confessed.
“Yes, I thought that might be the case,” she answered. “Look, you know Ginny. What do you think is the worst that could happen if you told her? She’s like Ron in some ways, and she’s a lot like you in others. But when it comes to this, I think she’s more like Ron. I think she’d have said it herself by now if she wasn’t afraid she’d be pressuring you or something.”
“Yes, Harry,” she said, sounding more exasperated than Harry thought the conversation warranted. “You really haven’t thought about this from her perspective, have you?”
Harry just shook his head. Usually, if he just stayed quiet, Hermione would enlighten him, and she did not disappoint.
“Ginny’s probably aching to tell you. It’s just that she knows how you feel about this kind of thing. You’re not as comfortable with saying these things as most of us are, because you come from a place where that kind of thing just wasn’t done. So of course, she doesn’t want to pressure you by saying it to you first. Because then you might feel like you have to say it back, even if you weren’t ready for it.”
“But I do, you know,” Harry said. “I do love her.”
He closed his eyes and let his head drop to his chest as the slight crackling of a footstep that just missed being absolutely silent behind him registered that they were not actually alone here. When he looked back up, Hermione’s grin was for the both of them.
“I do hope you were talking about me there,” Ginny said from over his shoulder. “Or do you have some other girlfriend you’re worrying about?”
“Who says I’m not just talking about your mum?” Harry countered as he grabbed her hand and pulled her gently onto his lap.
“I know you love my mum,” she said. “You don’t have to tell her, she knows that just as well as the rest of us do.”
It was still surprising to him sometimes, how easy it was to talk to Ginny. Now that they had gotten onto the subject, he didn’t even feel embarrassed about it anymore.
Hermione, meanwhile, got up and brushed some of the leaves and dirt from her robes.
“I’m going to see if Ron’s up for a walk in the woods,” she said, and gave them both a fat wink as she left.
“So, you love me then,” Ginny said, unwilling to let the subject go.
He didn’t mind.
“Yes, I do,” he said. “I… love you.”
She gave him her best grin and quite a lovely kiss.
“I love you, too,” she said. “Took you long enough to say it, but I won’t hold it against you.”
“What, two months isn’t that long,” he countered, but she was already laughing.
“Harry Potter, when you’ve been waiting for a boy to say something like that to you since you were ten years old,” she finally said, “two months aren’t just long. They’re agonizing. I’ve been wanting to blurt this out to you since we got back together, but you know, you being you…”
With that, he found enough strength to get up and hoist her into his arms.
“I’m going to find a pair of swimming trunks,” he said as she squirmed and laughed at his efforts to hold onto her, “and dunk you until you come up speaking Mermish!”
He would, too. Scars be damned, he was going swimming with the girl he loved, among the people he loved, in this place he also loved.
After all of that, what was the worst that could happen?
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