The sun was just setting, giving an orange glow to the pure white snow that covered the land like a blanket. It was rather cold for a December in England. Ginny Weasley liked the cold. For three years she had welcomed it. Even in front of a blazing fire, she was cold. Being warm meant happiness and love, something she just hadn't felt in three years. She knew before that the happiness and love were an illusion of her own making. She made out Harry to love her more than he actually did. It had been a cold and lonely day the day she realized with a sharp shock that he didn't.
Now, three years after that day, she was at her home, with her parents and all her brothers pretending to be enjoying herself. She had never been lonelier in a crowd full of people. Her brothers had spent the day laughing and joking with each other and her. She had actually smiled today – a real smile and that was a rarity. All of them were there. Even Percy, who had finally admitted he was wrong. None of them had brought their wives or children with them. Ron hadn't even brought Hermione. Ginny had never felt more grateful towards them than she did for that gesture.
Slowly, Ginny stood and started to make her way into the house, her back turned to the magnificent sunset. She didn't want to see it. Sunsets, snowmen, fires, happiness all made her sad. No, they didn't make her sad. Being alone and not being able to share them with anyone made her sad.
Everyone she knew had someone, even her idiot twin brothers, Fred and George. They found a set of twins just like them through their joke shop. Their relationship with their twins wasn't exactly conventional but they weren't alone. Even Percy had found some power-hungry ministry worker. Bill had spent a total of three weeks helping Fleur Delacour learn English before they were engaged. Charlie only last year realized there were other things in the world to love apart from dragons and met a nice Romanian Muggle, whose name, even now, Ginny couldn't pronounce. And Ron? It was obvious to everyone, except maybe him, that he would end up marring Hermione. It only took him until she almost died in the battle to realize this for himself.
Ginny opened the door and was hit with the warmth of the house. She never realized how cold it actually was outside. She took of her cloak and scarf and lay them neatly down on top of all the others.
"What were you doing outside dear?" Her mother asked.
"I needed some air, I felt sick," Ginny said shrugging her shoulders and waving off her mother's fussing.
"You're freezing. Go into the living room and warm up by the fire, I'll bring you some hot chocolate." Ginny let herself smile at her mother. If it wasn't for her mother Ginny didn't think she would have made it very far anywhere. Her mother loved her, she knew that. It was an unconditional love, so no matter what trouble she got herself into, her mother would always love her. She could be hurt by any man and her mother would always be there to comfort her. She appreciated her mum more than even she realized.
Ginny entered the living room to find her brother huddled around something in the middle of the floor.
"Gin, do you want to play this Muggle game George and I found in London?"
"What is it?"
"It's called Twister. We're trying to figure out how to play now."
"Maybe," she said and sat in a comfortable chair next to the fire and kicked off her shoes. Her mother brought in a cup of hot chocolate and she sat sipping it as she watched her brother argue between themselves. She had always loved her brothers. They could make her smile when nothing else could, even in the worst possible times. Even Percy had his moments of humor, when he wasn't bossing everyone around.
"We figured it out," Ron proclaimed. "Do you want to spin the pointy thing?"
Ron showed her a square piece of very thick parchment with different colors on it and a flimsy, plastic, pointy thing in the middle. He explained to her how it worked and all her brothers stood around a large square plastic thing which had different colored circles on it. She spun the pointy thing and it landed on the red part.
"Right hand red, Ron," she declared. Ron put his hand on the red circle. Ginny didn't know how muggles could find this entertaining. They continued to play for the next half an hour while Ginny's brothers became a tangle of legs and arms. She was finding it increasingly difficult to keep a straight face. The unhappiness and loneliness she had felt early had all but vanished. This was what she needed, some family time watching her brothers make prats of themselves for her entertainment. She started to feel warm inside, something that she hadn't felt for many years.
As she watched Bill and Ron attempt to stay upright while Charlie put his foot on the blue circle next to them she realized she couldn't let Harry take hold of her life anymore. She decided to accept that he didn't love her, but he wasn't the only one out there who could. She knew she was capable of loving again, but she had been so depressed about Harry she couldn't see that she could be happy with someone else who would return her love.
Percy lost his balance and caused everyone to fall onto each other in a pile of red hair and long limbs. Ginny had to hold her stomach she was laughing so hard. Unknowingly to her, the boys smiled at each other. Their task was done. They all knew Ginny was still hurting from Harry, and if Harry wasn't such a big part of their family they would have had words with him a long time ago. The trouble was that they had been there when Sirius had died, when he had defeated Voldemort, all the lives that had been lost, they knew what he had gone through and that was what made it so difficult to reprimand him for hurting Ginny. They had to hear it from Ron, who heard it from Hermione, what had happened. It was also partly because Ginny had dumped him that they hadn't beaten him up.
They could tell she wasn't her usual self anymore, even if she tried to hide it, they knew. They were her brothers. They had tried to be there for her since the day she was born.
It had been Ron's; well Hermione's really, idea to get everyone together to try to cheer Ginny up. They had all agreed and had organized it. They knew it had worked when Ginny looked down at them, the sparkle had come back to her eyes, and she looked happy again. Hopefully, she would stop pining over Harry now. They had all felt guilty about not doing anything sooner, but they had lives to live as well.
There was a knock on the door. Mrs. Weasley answered it and gasped at the figure standing there before her. She ushered the figure in and brushed the snow of his cloak. She gestured for him to sit at the table and offered to make him some hot chocolate. He nodded. At that moment, Ginny entered the kitchen with her empty cup still laughing, tears now in her eyes. Her face fell when she saw who was at the table.
"What are you doing here?" She guarded herself instantly.
"I came to speak to you," Harry replied, standing up.
"Can we go for a walk?"
Sighing, Ginny weighed her options. She had to be careful. She didn't want to get involved with him again. She couldn't let him treat her like that again. She was silently screaming inside with frustration. How could he do this to her? How could he just show up after all these years and expect her to be civil to him? She took her cloak and scarf and put them on. She knew she was making a mistake by agreeing. They walked out the door in silence. He held the door open for her something he had never done before. She chastised herself mentally for making big things out of nothing. They walked a fair way off in the darkness before he spoke again.
"How have you been?"
"Fine, just fine. And you? How have you been?"
"I'd say fine and just brush off the question like you just did but I won't because that is why I came to talk to you today."
Ginny held her breath. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her heart started to race, her hands became sweaty, and she looked at her feet.
"What's that then?" she asked as casually as she could when she was trying her hardest to just not fall back in love with him then and there. It was amazing how much his presence alone could affect her.
"I realize now why you left me," Harry was trying to keep his voice steady but what he wanted to do was pick Ginny up in his arms and swing her around and never put her down. He knew, however, that she needed to hear what he had to say first. He stopped and faced her.
"You left me because I couldn't love you. I couldn't love you because I didn't love myself. I hated myself for all the pain and suffering I caused. That's why I kept you away. I didn't want you to know how much I hurt. It scared me that you might judge me and think I was less than I was for it. In doing that though I lost the only thing that made me feel like I could be someone."
He paused a deathly silence fell between them.
"You, Ginny, you made me feel that way. I took some time away from everything. I faced my past and accepted the things that happened in it. I cried. Ginny, I cried so much, and all I thought about when I was crying was how much I needed you to hold me, to comfort me. I am happy with who I am now, Remus helped me. I spent a long time with him, we just sat and talked and he told me about my parents and Sirius and I finally let everything go. I dreamed of you every night Ginny. I want to tell you something that I never told you when we were going out – even when we were engaged.
"I love you. Is there any part of you that can love me? Is it too late? Can you love me again?"
He waited in silence the tears felt hot against his cold cheeks as they fell to the ground. It felt like an eternity as he watched the top of Ginny's head. He watched the snowflakes settle in her hair and longed to brush them away. Everything he said to her had been the truth. He didn't want to lie to her anymore. He hoped he wasn't too late. Slowly she raised her head, tears in her eyes too.
"Lean on me," she said quietly. The simple words meant a great deal to Harry. He put his hands around her waist tentatively at first, but when she raised her arms and put them around his neck he pulled her close, taking in the warmth radiating off her.
"I love you, Ginny," he said into her hair.
"I love you, too," she replied into his neck. He shivered at the feel of her breath knowing her lips were that close. He longed to kiss them again. She must have had the same thought because she lifted her head and looked in to his eyes. He lowered his head and pressed his lips to her. He felt a tingling sensation as she returned the kiss, tilting her head and ran her hands through his hair.
"Your freezing," he said as they pulled apart. "Let's go inside."
"Harry," she said stopping him. "Please don't make me feel like I have done the past few years again. My heart won't be able to take it."
"Oh, Ginny," he said pulling her closer. "I promise I won't. I will spend from now until the day I die making it up to you."
Ginny felt lighter than she had done in a very long time. She knew she was taking a chance with Harry again, but there was something about him standing there in the falling snow. The white snowflakes contrasted sharply with his black hair and eyelashes. His green eyes held something that had not been there before, something Ginny couldn't help but trust. She fell in love with him all over again the second he said 'I love you'. He had never said that to her before and there was something in his voice that was soothing her, making her believe she would be all right this time.
Ginny went to wipe away a tear that had escaped her eye, but Harry got there first and she shuddered under his touch, the pad of his thumb wiped the lone tear away. It felt soft against her cheek. He traced his thumb down her cheek and over her lips. She felt like dying, but unlike before this was a good dying. She hoped she wasn't going to get her heart broken again. They walked slowly back inside clutching each other, his arm protectively around her, and her arm around his waist.
They walked in to the kitchen and were met by all of the Weasleys stares. Before Ginny knew it all of her brother had gotten up and dragged Harry into the living room and shut the door. Ginny looked helplessly at her mother and father but they just looked as lost as she did.
Harry was sat on the couch while Ginny's brothers lined up in front of him. Harry suddenly felt as though he was going to be asked if he had any last words before he was shot by the firing squad. The tension in the room mounted until finally it was broken.
"So, Harry, you want to go back out with Ginny?" Bill asked.
"How come?" Charlie asked.
"Because, I love her."
"And you didn't before?" Percy questioned.
"It's difficult to explain."
"Go ahead," Fred offered.
"We have time," George put in.
"Before, it was right after the war and I needed to deal with all that went on during it, accepting the people I lost. I resented Ginny because she reminded me of all that. But, I was too scared to be alone. When I was alone I was terrified. Then I went to live with Remus and it was there I found myself, now I can devote myself to her. I want to marry her, she already said yes once."
"Harry, you're my best friend, and Ginny is my sister, I want you both to be happy and if this was what you needed to make you happy then fair enough. I'm happy for you both."
"But, Harry," Fred cautioned.
"Rest assured," George added.
"We will," Percy commented.
"Hunt you down," Charlie said.
"If you hurt her again," Bill finished. "Good luck," he added and grinned. The others smiled and shook Harry's hand and pulled him in to a hug. Harry grinned. They had nothing to worry about.
They were interrupted by Mrs. Weasley telling them it was dinner time. Ginny pulled Harry into the living room. They stood looking, just looking at one another for a long time. Ginny had never seen the look in Harry's emerald eyes before. It was a look that made her warm all over, made her want to wrap her arms around him and snuggle up close to him forever. Finally, Ginny spoke again.
"Harry, you asked me something a long time ago, I said yes then but now—" she began but Harry cut her off.
"Gin, I have so much to make up for. I won't pressure you into getting married. Wizards and Witches live for a long time. We have our whole lives to be together and if we are not married it doesn't matter. What matters is us being together – forever."
Ginny did wrap her arms around Harry this time. She felt Harry pull her close to him and she rested her head on his shoulder, both just breathing deeply. Ginny savored the scent of Harry, the feel of his warm skin, the way his black hair was long enough to twist around her finger. She ran a finger down the side of his neck and felt him shiver, even though it was very warm in the house. It was an amazing, wonderful, and breathtaking feeling to know she would be able to do this for the rest of her life and she would be happy doing it.