She thinks, sometimes, that she is simultaneously both fire and ice.

She looks the part of flame, with vibrant hair and freckles and a fierce and sudden temper. Her entire family is made up of it, orange and red and consuming love and anger. She is full of passion and sadness and a thirst for something more; a desire for completion, a desire for happiness, and, as she admits to herself at three o'clock in the morning when she lies awake huddled underneath her blankets, a desire for revenge.

But then she'll wonder if she'll ever truly feel again, if she'll ever know joy. She's felt too much, that's her problem. She's seen things and heard things and done things that no girl her age should have had to. It is turning her methodically into stone, piece by piece. She wonders if anyone notices.

Ginny doesn't know who she is anymore. She wakes up and there is a new feeling, not unfamiliar, but so unexpected it robs her of breath and all she can do is lie on her back and blink slowly.

She is the littlest and the last of a clan, of a generation, of a history that her family has ingrained into this school. She is the anomaly, the one prayed for by her parents. She is the one picked on and teased by her brothers and the one coddled and treated as something precious by her mother and father. She is the princess, the baby, the only girl.

After the Chamber of Secrets in her first year, she became something to be treated with caution, as if she was the most fragile and frail crystal that could shatter unexpectedly. She became the person who was watched with worried, concerned glances by her family and her friends when she tried to pretend that everything really was alright.

But then the worry faded and people forgot and she was back to plain old Ginny, always a bit of a misfit, the odd one out. The imprint left upon her by her experience in the Chamber is deeper than people suspect or care to look for, but for a time, no one seemed to care.

She was…is…the girl who cares more for Harry Potter than she could ever admit, or articulate even. She's not certain what she felt or feels for him, but she knows that when she looks in his green eyes sometimes the pain there arrests her and holds her and all she can do is blink back tears and tremble with the effort of not touching.

And then sometimes, he looks so much like Tom that she wants to scream, or break in a fit of wild, hysterical laughter.

But there is no completion with Harry, no happiness. Just bitter, beautiful tragedy that draws her and repels her in one swift move.

So she wakes up this morning and there is something so different about it all.

Ginny Weasley is in love, and she's finally realized it.

Not with Harry, nor with the same intensity that she loved Harry with. That was her first love, one that will never fade, and she's used to that now.

But she gazes into a mirror across from her bed and notices that for once, the shadows have left her eyes.

Smudges of chalk on dark noses and traces of oil paint on dark, capable hands now arrest her almost the same way green eyes did. Her breath hitches in her throat when a warm, beaming smile is directed at her, only her.

The man she loves is an artist, not a hero, and she prefers it that way. In Dean's face, there are no shades and no signs of a haunted past and a doomed future. There is hope, so much hope.

Hope is something Ginny has never had much of in her short life.

But her cynicism and her pessimism are swept away with a thrilling kiss from lips that melt and consume her. And at night, when the nightmares come back and she feels cold and clammy again, she remembers the warmth of his body as her holds her.

With Dean, she finds herself beginning to heal the mended hole that Harry and Tom tore together in her. When she is with Dean, she is so happy her head feels light and smiles come so easily and laughs are no longer forced. But more importantly, when she is without him, she doesn't feel the darkness threatening her anymore. Ginny feels like she might function again.

And she feels that even when this ends, as Ginny knows it likely will, it won't split her apart and she won't turn to stone. Dean is chiseling off the marble and kindling a flame that someday will refuse to go out.

Ginny smiles.