Disclaimer: Not mine. Surprise.

It seems I'm back to writing present tense. Gah. Clearly, I need help. Professional help, preferably.

oo00oo00oo00oo00oo

When she was little, Ginny believed in soul mates. She believed that there was one perfect person for her, one perfect person she was destined to be with for all eternity. She's grown up a bit since then, though, and reckons now that people make their own soul mates. It takes lots of work and lots of time, time marked by tears and anger and moments of despair, but nothing worth having comes easy.

And maybe she's crazy, but she can't help but feel that it's more meaningful this way - that instead of being thrown together by fate, she and Harry love each other enough to try, to work to stay together through good times and bad.

Harry's moody and Ginny's temperamental and the fights they get into are enough to send first years running for cover, but they don't fight all the time, and the times when they aren't screaming at each other are more than enough to make up for when they do argue.

And even when they do fight, Ginny knows it's because they care enough and trust each other enough to say what they really think and not hold back. Ginny's mother once told her that all healthy couples need to fight now and then, but Ginny's never understood that until now. Fighting with Michael was stressful and boring and just made her want to punch him. Fighting with Harry is a catharsis of sorts, and another way to bring them ever closer together.

It's the little things, Ginny's found, that make it all worthwhile.

Harry isn't romantic in the least. His idea of a good birthday present for his girlfriend is a bottle of expensive broom polish or a simple pendant layered with powerful defensive spells. Ginny doesn't mind, though once she would have. She doesn't need some grand romance any longer, not when Harry kisses her like he does - like he wants nothing more than to stay with her always, like he needs nothing but her touch to make his life worth living.

She doesn't mind his lack of romance, not when he looks at her like he's seeing forever.

It's the little things. The way he kisses her, the way he looks at her, the way he touches her all the time - little ghostly caresses on her arms or shoulders, brief moments of contact to assure him that she's really there, that she isn't going anywhere without him. It's the way she can kiss him, hug him, without him drawing away or going still like he does when anyone else embraces him.

He's never pulled away from her, and in Ginny's opinion, that's worth all the roses and poems in the world.

Hermione and the others don't understand.

"Don't you ever wish he'd buy you something pretty? Broom polish is all well and good, but really, you're his girlfriend now." Ginny's surprised that Hermione doesn't get it - but then, the bookish girl is dating Anthony Goldstein, and the Ravenclaw's as suave and romantic as they come.

"I'd rather not have candlelit dinners and long walks at sunset," Ginny replies with a shrug and a quirky smile.

"But why not?" Parvati demands, staring at her as if she's declared herself Merlin reborn.

Because it's more than enough, just seeing him smile, Ginny wants to say. Because it's more than enough, knowing he cares for me enough to change, cares for me enough to snap out of his sullen moods even when I don't confront him. Because jewelry and sunsets can't possibly compare to the light in his eyes whenever we do something so simple as curl up together on one of the common room sofas.

Instead, she says, "I suppose I just have an unusual idea of what romance means."

She loves Harry, and she knows that Harry loves her. Not puppy love or infatuation - she knows deep in her bones that Harry's the one she wants to spend her life with. And he admits to her, cheeks burning, that his fondest dream is of them in twenty years or so, still together, still in love, with a few children as well.

Ginny doesn't believe in fate or destiny. She believes in hard work and courage, and that's why she knows she and Harry will have their eternity, soul mates or not.

And maybe that's not the grand romance the other girls dream of, but it's quite enough for her.