|SIYE Time:17:11 on 29th November 2021|
Harry Loves Ginny
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Genres: Angst, Fluff
Story is Complete
Summary: Ginny's been waiting years to tell Harry she loves him. When it slips out unplanned, Harry has to figure out if he should push her away or pull her closer. A continuation of The Deal.
Hitcount: Story Total: 11472
Disclaimer - I own nothing. Just thankful to J.K. Rowling for providing such wonderful material that I can play with.
I love you. Barricaded behind a wall of books in the library, Ginny Weasly was finding it hard to study for her O.W.L.s. Shouldn't be that hard to say, she mused. Instead of focusing on Charms or any of the other subjects that might impact what career path she chose, Ginny found her thoughts drifting off to the much more interesting topic of her heart. It’s all in how and where I say it, she determined.
Ginny had been telling Harry she loved him in her mind for, well, forever. Of course, that was before she was actually going out with him. Now, faced with the reality of doing it, Ginny was finding herself in a bit of tizzy. It wasn't that she needed Harry to say it back yet. She didn't really expect him to say it back yet. After all, she did have the upper hand. While the change in their relationship was still somewhat new to Harry, it had been in her heart and mind for years. The Valentine poem debacle her first year at Hogwarts had taught Ginny to tread carefully. The last thing she wanted to do was send their relationship backwards by scaring Harry. This should be something special, shared only between the two of them, leaving the quidditch team and her family out of it.
In the weeks since Ginny had held up her end of the quidditch match deal, sealing the Gryffindor victory with a kiss, Ginny was still trying to accept that yes, Harry was hers. Hermione would find Ginny standing by her dorm window with a silly smile on her flushed face, daydreaming. Hermione had taken to calling Ginny's permanent state of smiling flush, "Potter Pink", suggesting they package it as a muggle cosmetic product. Instead of risking further torment by pointing out Hermione's "Granger Gush" over her brother Ron, Ginny kept her mouth shut.
Sighing, Ginny forced herself to refocus on her studies, pushing the issue to her subconscious, hoping it would figure something out until she had time to get back to it herself. After all, she needed to finish her Charms essay so she could enjoy the weekend and the scheduled trip to Hogsmeade without it hanging over her head.
Saturday was a beautiful day, the sun reflecting off the snow in great splashes of gold. Since the return of Voldemort and the Death Eaters to his service, special privileges such as Hogsmeade weekends had been few and far between. Along with Hogwarts' teachers, extra ministry officials had been requested to be present in order to ensure the students' safety. The normal stress of school on top of these developments had pressure mounting within the castle. Everyone was looking forward to spending a little time outdoors.
In spite of feeling like their every move was being watched, Ginny felt happier than she had in several weeks. She was headed home in six short days with Harry, to spend Christmas at the burrow. Nothing was bringing her down. She practically skipped through the several inches of fluffy snow covering the ground, causing Harry to grin as he picked up his pace to keep up.
Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny spent the morning visiting the shops, picking out surprises for their friends and families. In need of some warming up, Ron suggested a stop at The Three Broomsticks. Ginny and Hermione agreed, but Harry begged off for a short while.
"I have something I need to do. I'll meet you at Zonkos," he announced. The remaining trio watched Harry walk purposefully away.
"What's that about? What could he have not done with us?" Ron asked.
"'Tis the season," Hermione answered.
Ron still looked at her blankly. Hermione sighed. "Christmas, Ron. Presents. Maybe a present for a new girlfriend?"
"Ahhh..." Ron answered, grinning at Ginny, whose pink face was not all due to the cold.
As they left the Great Hall following dinner that night, Harry grabbed Ginny's hand and pulled her up the Grand Staircase. Dinner had been an odd affair. Harry had spent the meal distractedly pushing the food around his plate. When he was not scanning the room, he was intently watching Ginny eat as if trying to will her to east faster. Ginny found it rather annoying and considered eating really, really slowly if it would motivate Harry to tell her what was up. The instant she declared, “I’m full!” Harry grabbed her hand, tugging her out of the Great Hall.
"Harry!" Ginny exclaimed. "Where are we going?"
She had to jog a little to keep up with Harry. Ginny had noticed a change in Harry when he had met back up with them at Zonkos. Harry had seemed pre-occupied, not looking at her, providing short answers to everyone, being downright grumpy. Passing the library, Harry pulled her into a familiar alcove, stopping so suddenly she stumbled and ran right into him. Ginny giggled at the deja-vu but stopped abruptly as she looked at Harry's face. His impatience at dinner had morphed into paleness and nervousness.
"Harry, are you okay?" She asked concerned.
"Yeah, I mean no. I mean, oh damn," tripping over his words, Harry dug into the pocket of his robe. "I had planned this out better in my mind. I wanted to get you something special for Christmas and found it in Hogsmead today. I wanted to give it to you without everybody else about. Do you like it?"
Harry held a small package, wrapped in shiny green paper, tied with a white silk bow. He was holding it so tightly his knuckles had turned white. Harry’s earlier behavior made sense now as it occurred to Ginny giving a Christmas gift to a girl he cared for was probably a first for Harry. She leaned forward and gently nudged his hands. Harry, realizing he was still holding the gift, held it out to her. If she had felt every move was being watched in Hogsmead, it was nothing compared to having Harry stare at her as she undid the bow. Glancing up at Harry's anxious face, Ginny gave Harry a small smile of encouragement as she did away with the wrapping paper.
"Oh, Harry!" she exclaimed.
Inside the box was a delicate silver locket engraved with GW. She undid the clasp of the locket and it magically opened to reveal slots filled with pictures of the people who meant the most to her, her parents, her brothers, Hermione waving and smiling at her. The last slot had a picture of Harry in it, blowing her a kiss. Ginny traced her finger down Harry's photo, tears threatening to spill down her cheeks.
"Oh Harry!" she said again, still examining the locket. "I love it! I love you! This is the most wonderful present. Thank you!"
Ginny looked up into Harry's face and stopped. He had gone even paler, if that was possible, the anxiousness in his eyes replaced with a sense of awareness, crowded out by pain and shock. He stared at her, and then, without a word, turned and walked down the hall.
I Love you. Ginny had said it. Cold had gone through Harry that had nothing to do with the drafty castle. She had said it out loud. Of course she loved him. He had known that for quite a while now. But somehow hearing it said, having it out there, made it real, made it tangible. And when something was real, it hurt. He had finally begun to heal from the loss of the last person he’d come to care about and now he was faced again with the possibility of real pain. What had he been thinking? He needed air. He needed space. He needed to be alone. Harry broke into a run.
Ginny watched him run and turn the corner that lead to the grand staircase, confusion on what had just happened written all over her face. Harry had closed down again, shut in on himself. Why? He had given her this wonderful, thoughtful gift and she had said thank you. It’s wonderful! It’s beautiful! I love it!
I love you. Oh damn.
Ginny felt her eyes begin to burn with fresh tears as she realized the thing she feared most, scaring Harry off, had happened. She stomped her foot in frustration, wavering between anger at herself and frustration at her situation. Why? Why couldn't she have a normal relationship with a normal boy for once? How could she have been so careless? Or was it stupid? Or was he being stupid? Why couldn't Harry let her in? And who picked her to be the one who understood him better than anyone else? Did he not realize shutting her out hurt? Why did she have to spend her life tip toeing around him and his stupid fears?
Tear drops began to fall on the locket in her hand. Wiping her eyes with one hand, Ginny tucked the locket into her pocket with the other. Taking a deep breath, she stepped out of the alcove and headed back to Gryffindor Tower.
"No, Harry, you cannot stay at Hogwarts for the Holidays," Professor McGonagall explained to Harry outside the Great Hall Thursday morning after breakfast. "We are asking all students to find alternative housing for the holidays. Unlike previous years, all the teachers are spending the holidays here reinforcing the protection of the castle. Our attention must be focused on the task at hand. I'm sorry, Potter."
Dumbledore walked up behind them and peered down at Harry over the top of his half moon spectacles. A small smile flirted with the corners of his mouth as he watched Harry examine the scuffed toes of his black sneakers.
"Follow me, Harry."
Harry trailed him into an empty classroom. Dumbledore placed a hand on Harry's shoulder drawing Harry's eyes up to meet his twinkling ones.
"You surprise me, Harry," Dumbledore spoke gently. "You aren't the type to run away from something that scares you. You yourself know the greatest mystery is love, but despite that, Harry, your heart is not something to fear."
Frustrated that no one seemed to understand, Harry stood there, hands clenched at his sides and ground out between clenched teeth, "This isn't just about me! Anyone who is close to me gets hurt. I thought I could do this, but I can't. I don’t want them hurt because of me and I don’t want to hurt like that again. I just can't!"
Harry opened his mouth to continue, but Dumbledore held up a finger to silence him. ”Harry, I know when you are so filled with love, it can seem like it hurts. And when you are so filled with love, it is also hard to understand how there can be someone who can't experience it. Yes, Voldemort can use your heart, your feelings to hurt those you care about, and in turn, cause you great pain. What Voldemort doesn't grasp, though, is what happens when you are joined by those who are your friends and loved ones. When that occurs, you can face anything."
Dumbledore paused and then continued. "You are not alone, Harry, nor do you ever need to be alone. You have been protected and supported through every obstacle you have faced in life with the love of those around you, first your parents, then Sirius, other fellow students and teachers here at Hogwarts, Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger, the Order, and now, especially, Miss Weasley. Don't discount this, Harry, surround yourself with it. It's is your greatest weapon."
Dumbledore removed his hand from Harry's shoulder and turned to leave. He stopped at the classroom door and turned back to face Harry.
"Don't run from your heart, Harry. Run toward it."
The ride on the Hogwarts Express was a strained one. With Ron and Hermione patrolling the train cars, Ginny was left sitting in the compartment with a sleeping Harry. His head, cushioned by a scrunched up robe, leaning against the window, Ginny noticed the dark circles under his eyes. Those weren't there last week, she thought sadly. Sighing, she looked out the window again. Last week, had he fallen asleep, he could have used my lap for a pillow, she thought.
Over the course of the last six days, any communication between Harry and Ginny had left no room for closeness. Interactions had been cold and distant, leaving her heart tired and sore. As if by agreement, neither one of them broached the subject of the locket or Ginny's admission. When they did speak, they talked about the weather, answers limited to one or two words. Unless, of course, you counted the shouting match she and Harry had over breakfast Thursday morning. It replayed in her mind as the sway of the train cars lulled her to sleep.
"I think I'll look into staying at Hogwarts for the holidays,” Harry had announced.
"What? Why?" Ron asked bewildered through a mouthful of eggs.
"But Harry, you can't,” Hermione pointed out, giving Ron a disgusted look. "Professor McGonagall said no students were allowed to stay."
"Well, I am going to," Harry replied stubbornly.
"You can’t." Ginny evenly replied.
“Yes, I can,” Harry shot back.
“No, you can’t,” Ginny ground out.
"You don't understand. You will have a better holiday without me. I’m. Staying. Here." Harry forced out, searing Ginny with his green eyes.
"No, you can’t," she spat back. Ginny had reached her limit. She slammed her fork down on the table hard enough to cause her goblet of pumpkin juice to rattle. Heads turned in the direction of the Gryffindor table. "Look, I don't care if you want to be a prat to me and push me away, but I won't stand by and let you do the same with my family. They love you and care about you. You pushing them away hurts them. Mum and Dad have worked hard to make sure the burrow is safe. They are opening up their home and their hearts to you and I won't let you shove that back in their face. You just can't turn your back on them!"
"I CAN IF I NEED TO!" Harry shouted back, getting up from the table and storming out of the hall.
Hot tears threatening to spill over, Ginny avoided Ron and Hermione’s concerned eyes, gathered her books and made her way out of the Great Hall. She passed Harry being led into a classroom by Professor Dumbledore. I have cried more over this boy since we started to date than I ever did in the past five years, she bitterly thought. You cry because you care, her heart replied. Oh, shut up! she mentally shouted back.
Harry stirred as the train lurched from track to track. He opened his eyes to see Ginny, her head resting on the back of the seat, sleeping. The sun was painting Ginny's hair with strands of gold so soft, Harry found himself reaching over to wrap a curl around his finger. He noticed she was wearing the locket.
He sighed. If Harry hadn't known better, he would have bet the dementors were back at Hogwarts this past week. He had spent each minute, day and night, feeling as if every once of happiness had been sucked out of him leaving nothing but an empty shell. Harry wondered briefly if Voldemort would gain pleasure from the state he found himself in. After all, why should Lord Voldemort spend the effort trying to cause Harry and Ginny pain when Harry seemed to be doing just fine on his own?
He had been acting like a prat. Harry didn't know if Dumbledore was right about everything, but he did know he felt he could do anything with Ginny by his side. He needed Ginny. She was the only one who could give him back his heart.
Watching Ginny sleep, Harry tried to figure out how to tell her how he felt and that he was sorry. That is, if she still wanted to know. Seeing the locket gave him hope, though, that his wasn’t a total lost cause. Then inspiration struck. It might prove to be embarrassing. In fact, he was pretty sure the twins would never let him live it down. Not to mention, all the ribbing he’d been giving Ron over Hermione…well, he wasn’t going to think about that now. As the Muggle saying went, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Or in this case, a wizard in love.
Grabbing a quill, his ink bottle and two pieces of parchment from his bag, Harry quickly scribbled a note to Mrs. Weasley. After jotting down two words on the smaller piece, he folded them together. He took Hedwig's cage down from the luggage rack and opened the door. Tying the note to Hedwig's leg, Harry urged, "To the Burrow. As fast as you can fly!" Hedwig gave him a look that suggested she was offended he would think she would do anything else. Harry opened the train window and Hedwig was gone.
The cold December air flowed in through the open window, sending shivers up Ginny's spine. Opening her eyes, she watched Harry push the window sash back into place and sit down.
"What happened?" she asked, yawning a little as she straightened up.
"Uh, Hedwig wanted some fresh air so I let her out," Harry explained, more to his feet than to Ginny.
Ginny noticed that was more civil words strung together than he'd said to her all week.
"Harry, are you alright?"
"No, yes - I mean...," stammered Harry. Ginny felt like she'd had this conversation before. Harry looked nervously out the window. The unwelcome thought Was it too late to get Hedwig back? crept across his mind. “YES!" he said loudly enough to make Ginny jump. Her movement made him blush as he realized he’d said that out loud. Harry looked at Ginny.
“I’m sorry, Ginny.” He said it so quietly, if Ginny hadn’t been sitting up, paying attention, she would have missed it.
Then, as if he was a tire someone had just unplugged, Harry let out a whoosh of breath and continued. "Ginny, You are the most beautiful wonderful girl I've ever met. Without you, I’m just not right.” Harry leaned forward, hopefully, before tentatively asking, “Do you think you could give me another chance?”
Ginny felt the blush begin to creep up her cheeks. Hoping for an answer, expecting a reaction, Harry continued to blink at her, tapping his right toe on the compartment floor. Looking into those green eyes, for the second time to two months, Ginny realized that Harry, the Boy-Who-Lived, was afraid she'd say no. Another girl might have been amazed at the power she held in her hands. Ginny, however, was humbled by this gift he had given her and felt her bruised heart begin to heal, glowing with the knowledge Harry needed her. Amazing that, she thought.
As Harry sat frozen to his seat, except for his tapping toes, Ginny leaned forward to place her hand on his cheek.
"Harry Potter, you are a prat," she said softly. "But you're my prat and I love you."
How she ended up in Harry’s lap, Ginny had no clue. What she did know is the shivers going throughout her body because of Harry’s kisses were sending thoughts and desires through her mind and heart that would have made Hedwig blush Potter Pink.
They didn’t hear the compartment door slide open a moment later.
"Nope, Hermione, looks like they still aren't talking!" Harry and Ginny tore apart as Ron's cheerful voice broke through their passion. Loosing her balance, Ginny tipped off Harry's lap and fell with a thump to the floor. Looking up, she saw Ron and Hermione grinning at them from the compartment door.
Mrs. Weasley met the foursome at the station and ushered them into muggle cabs. Before Harry got in, she patted him on the shoulder and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and a smile. Harry grinned back.
Snow was lightly falling as the cabs pulled up to the Burrow. Ron, Hermione and Mrs. Weasley gathered the bags and headed inside. Harry grabbed Hedwig's empty cage in one hand and Ginny's hand in the other and followed, stopping on the doorstep. Ginny curiously watched Harry as he set down Hedwig's cage. Harry peeked in the window and noticed with relief the kitchen was empty. Gratitude for Mrs. Weasley flowed through Harry as he realized she must have ushered everyone into another part of the Burrow, allowing him and Ginny a little privacy.
"What's going on, Harry? It's freezing out here!" Ginny demanded, rubbing her arms with her hands in an effort to keep warm.
"Uh, well, close your eyes. I have a surprise for you," Harry answered, beginning to grin.
Shrugging her shoulders, Ginny closed her eyes. Harry waved his hand in front of her eyes just to make sure she wasn't peeking. Ginny felt the air move in front of her face.
"Very funny, Harry."
"Sorry. Okay, come this way."
Harry led Ginny over the doorstep and into the kitchen. He stopped her right in front of the Weasley's grandfather clock. Over the summer, the Weasleys had presented both Harry and Hermione with their own hands to the clock, so now Mrs. Weasley could keep track of all her family. Because, she pointed out to them, they were all family. Ginny could feel Harry’s solid form supporting her from behind, his hands resting on her waist.
"Okay, open your eyes."
Ginny opened her eyes and looked up at the clock face. Eight Weasley hands and Hermione's were pointed to Home. Percy's hand was pointed to Work, no surprise there, Ginny thought wryly. Harry's hand pointed to -
"OH!" Ginny exclaimed, clapping her hands to her mouth in surprise.
Harry's clock hand pointed to a small piece of parchment had been magically affixed to the clock face between Travel and Home. Ginny blinked and stood on her tip toes to get a better look at the words scrawled on it in Harry’s handwriting. She read them out loud.
Harry leaned down behind her. "Harry loves Ginny,” he whispered in her ear.
Ginny twirled around and threw her arms around Harry's neck. Harry wrapped his arms around her waist and swung her around, pressing his lips to her neck, feeling the vibration of her giggling against his chest. Harry set Ginny down. Taking his arms from her waist, Harry cradled Ginny's face in his hands and bent to kiss her.
Suddenly applause and catcalls rang out from behind them. Faces beaming, they broke apart, Ginny keeping her arms wrapped around Harry's neck. Harry wrapping his arms back around her waist, pulled her close.
As long as he had Ginny, Harry knew he could face anything.
Even the Weasleys.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it! I had fun writing it. Happy Year of the Rooster!
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