A/N: Wow, I haven't updated or written anything in awhile now, have I? I'm truly sorry for that. But I got attacked by this plot bunny at what, midnight, I think and it kept attacking me, demanding I write this one-shot. Which is all right since I completely adore Harry/Ginny. But it's kind of heart wrenching - a bit unlike me - but I love it and almost cried (Yeah, I'm a loser).
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter; it belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Summary: "Wait," he called to her, catching her arm and forcing her to look him in the eyes. "Just tell me one thing; just answer me this one question and I'll leave you alone forever: Do you still love me?" After Harry leaves for four years, he comes back to find Ginny engaged. Is it truly over? Does he still have a shot at true love? ONE-SHOT
Harry James Potter, twenty-one years old, walked down Diagon Alley among the gaping faces and the openly pointed fingers as the spectators watched the Boy Who Lived and Defeated You-Know-Who walk by as if he hadn't been gone for four years, disappearing without a trace.
Emerald green eyes scanned the place, looking for familiarities and things that had changed over the three years since he had left. A small smile danced on the handsome young faces as he saw many sights that he had missed over the years.
"That's Harry Potter," he heard the whispers as he passed.
"Harry Potter? Didn't he disappear four years ago without a trace?"
"It's truly him…the one who defeated the Dark Lord…"
He searched the faces, wondering if one witch was here by chance and he would cast a glimpse of her, just one glimpse to satisfy his thirst in drinking up the sight of her with his eyes.
By now, shop owners and customers had stepped out of jobs, watching him with their wide, attentive eyes. "Could it be?" They whispered to one another. "Could it truly be him?" All gawked at him and their eyes raked his forehead, looking for the lightening shaped scar.
He continued by them, ignoring them, and strolled on as if it was usual for famous people to disappear without a trace and returning suddenly, unexpectedly. He walked on, his footsteps gently crunching the ground beneath. The heavy black cloak gave him an intimidating appearance and, as he had grown, he now towered most people.
The cool, crisp November air blew sharply against him but the young man showed no signs of coldness as he continued on his way, leaving people stunned in his wake.
Harry heard two pairs of feet behind him and, being cautious as he was, moved his hands into his robes to hold his wand he had got so many years ago, in this very place.
"Harry?" came a shocked voice yet very familiar.
Harry turned around and was greeted by the two shocked faces of Fred and George Weasley. It had been George who had questioned him, asking him if he was who they had thought he had been.
It was Fred now who broke the silence.
"Harry?" Immediately, Harry found himself enveloped in a bear like hug from Fred – a brotherly hug. He returned the hug. Fred released him and George hugged him, his face still looking baffled.
"Merlin's beard, you – you – where have you been?" George said, his face turning red from both anger and relief. "Mum's been worried sick; you should've seen her the day you left, Harry; burnt everything she tried to cook and was bursting into tears." Now, his face was completely angry, as was his twin's face.
"You made her suffer when all she has ever shown you was kindness, Potter," Fred spat, advancing a step forward threateningly. Harry merely raised an eyebrow but didn't retreat as the twins expected; in fact, he showed no fear whatsoever.
"Why did you leave?" George demanded angrily.
Harry replied calmly, keeping his green-eyed gaze locked on theirs, "I had to leave. Things to think about." He didn't elaborate and the twins exchanged a look.
"Well," Fred said. "All I can say is that I'm happy you're not dead or we would go hungry for weeks. And," here he hesitated but his brother picked up.
"And even though we are furious with you for leaving, I guess we don't blame you. I mean…with the war finally being over…him finally gone…guess I might've done the same," George concluded.
"But you still owe us," Fred said and both had a mischievous look in their eyes now.
"Oh yes, you still owe us, Potter," George said. "Don't worry; we'll think of something not that grotesque – although don't count yourself out of the death pool yet."
"Come," Fred said, throwing an arm around Harry's shoulders and directing him to their shop. "Come and see where you're one thousand Galleons went to. A very good investment, if I do say so myself."
Harry grinned, his eyes sparkling. "Of course; I'm a very good business man. I'm taking it that Hogwarts is forever doomed with your products on the loose, being sold to the students?" At the twins' grins, Harry shook his head almost sadly. "You have scarred the kids forever."
"I wouldn't think of 'scarred' as the proper word," Fred said, looking thoughtfully. "I would think 'educating' is a better way to put it."
George chuckled. "Remember, Fred," he said, "we can't be professors of any sort. Ginny said – " He broke off suddenly, as if remembering who he was talking in front of.
Harry felt his heart speed up a little and smiled slightly. So it still hasn't gone away, no matter how long it has been, he said, somewhat sadly. It's always there to remind me.
"What was that part about Ginny?" Harry asked calmly, as if this was a throw away question.
"Ah," the twins said at the same time. "Nothing, nothing."
A tense silence hung over the three as they entered the twins' shop, the door screaming in a song-like voice, "SHOVE IT UP WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE!"
"What a charming door," Harry said, earning himself a, "SHUT YO MOUTH!" "And so well behaved," he added dryly. "I wonder where he picked it up from." He eyed the twins with a raised eyebrow, earning sheepish looks.
Harry spent a good fifteen minutes looking around the shop, making comments like, "Holy shit, guys, 'Fartsors'? You give a candy to a professor and they fart? Why didn't you invent this back when I was in Hogwarts; would've given it to Snape…" or "Your mum must have died from a heart attack after seeing these things."
Fred grinned. "She came and looked appalled but didn't say anything but how happy she was business was going well for us. Oh, and also why couldn't the door say something like 'A beautiful day it is, hope you have one too!'"
George shook his head, almost remorsefully. "Bloody mental, she is. Who wants a door who says nice and polite things?"
"Come on, Harry, you still haven't seen our offices," Fred said grinning and Harry followed them into the back of the shop to an office where two desks were, papers cluttered on top of it.
Harry walked into the office, looking around and saw some photographs on the desks. He made a move to get them but George walked briskly in and waved his wand, the photos disappearing.
"I was going to look at those," Harry said.
"I know," was George's only reply. There was a tense silence as Harry stared at George, trying to find out why he didn't want him looking at the photos.
An owl suddenly swooped in the room, holding a scarlet letter. With a screech, he dropped it in Fred's hands before flying away, as if knowing what havoc would come from such a letter.
"A Howler," Fred said unnecessary; everyone in the room had already identified it as such. "From mum," he continued while the letter began to smoke and he opened it, allowing Molly Weasley's voice to fill the room.
"FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY! TODAY WE ARE HAVING A FAMILY DINNER AND THIS TIME, YOU TWO BETTER COME! I DON'T CARE IF THERE IS A FIRE AT THE SHOP, YOU'RE COMING! AND IF YOU DON'T, THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY!" Then the voice came out softer, a little nicer, "I'll see you both at seven, dressed nicely." The letter burst into flames and silence engulfed the three.
"A family dinner," Harry said, interrupting the tense silence. "Did you miss the other one and that's why she's mad at you two?"
Fred and George smiled faintly, looking unsure what to do. "Well, we missed it only because we had a swarm of customers and we couldn't turn away business," Fred said, wetting his lips anxiously, glancing at George.
George cleared his throat and opened his mouth but no sound came from his mouth so he immediately shut it. He tried this again but to no avail.
"Harry," Fred said, glaring at his twin for failing him. "Would…would you like to come? I'm sure mum would love to have you come…and the rest of us…"
Harry knew they were uncomfortable; how do you bring a guest you haven't seen in four years, unexpectedly and without any word? But he felt a longing, a desperate need just to be with the family again. And get see the young redheaded witch again…
"Sure," Harry found himself saying, calmly. "I'll love to come."
Fred and George exchanged another apprehensive look before nodding, their faces suddenly quite serious. Harry frowned, wondering if it was something else that was bothering the twins…
Harry stumbled out of the fireplace and straightened up, brushing soot off his cloak as he removed it. Ahead of him, Fred and George were looking somewhat nervous and repeatedly kept brushing at themselves, although they had no soot on them.
"Mum?" Fred called. He then said to the other two, "We're probably eating outside; far too many people to be in here. Come on, let's – "
He was interrupted by a woman entering the room, who fiercely engulfing both Fred and George at the same time as she had done back in Harry's fourth year.
"Goodness gracious, you came! I thought I would have to come to the shop and drag you both by your ears," Molly Weasley said, releasing her sons. "Now, who is this surprise guest you said that would be joining us? Hope they're hungry, I made enough to feed us through the winter." Mrs. Weasley peered over Fred's shoulder and saw the black-haired young man and gasped, her hand going to her mouth.
"Harry?" He heard her whisper in a disbelief whisper.
Harry smiled and replied, "Hello, Mrs. Weasley. It's nice seeing you again."
Mrs. Weasley stared at Harry for a moment longer before embracing him tightly. Harry hugged back, feeling the warmth and comfort she had given him so many times before.
Mrs. Weasley pulled back to look into his eyes, squinting and making sure she got every detail about him. "You've grown taller," she said. "You completely tower me now; I remember when you were just eleven and barely up to my shoulder! Now look at you!"
She smiled at him before grabbing his arm and pulling him towards the door. "Come, come, everyone will be pleased to see – surprised, but pleased. Everyone's here, you know. It's too bad you missed Thanksgiving," she stared at him, as if still not believing he was standing before he.
Harry smiled at her and said gently, "I'm sure your cooking is still as good as it has ever been."
Mrs. Weasley beamed before they went outside, Fred and George at their heels. Outside, people were talking and laughing, setting up the long table. Harry paused for a moment to watch as everyone laughed as Percy told Bill that his long hair wouldn't be taken serious in the line of work.
Is this what I left? Harry thought as Bill put Percy's pants on fire when his back was turned. This laughter…this sense of comfort…I left it all.
"Everyone!" Mrs. Weasley called and all motion stopped and everyone turned his or her eyes to Mrs. Weasley. She beamed at him and said, gently prodding him forward, "Look who has joined us for dinner tonight."
Silence. Everyone stared at Harry, their eyes wide and shocked. They all looked as if they didn't believe he was truly there; that they had conjured him up. But after a few moments, he remained and they knew their eyes had no played a joke on them.
Finally, Ron stood, Hermione by his side. He stared hard at Harry, who returned his gaze unflinchingly. Both friends stared at each other for a moment before both moving as one and enveloping each other in a hug.
"It's good to see you, mate!" Ron said, his voice gleeful. Harry grinned as Hermione hugged him, tears in her eyes.
"Oh, Harry!" she said. "When you left, we were so worried. We were sure you had gone off the deep end and would try and commit suicide. But you're back now!" she said, beaming happily.
Harry's eyes drifted down to her hand where two rings reflecting the sun's light, twinkling happily. His eyes widened as they met the bushy-haired girl's eyes and he asked, hoarsely, "You're…you're married?"
Ron and Hermione both turned beet red and Hermione untangled herself from Harry, looking at the ground. The tension was back and Harry felt as it hit him like a wave.
"We waited, Harry, we really did," Ron said uncomfortably. "We waited for three years. When…when you still hadn't come back, we decided we should get married. We tried to contact you, mate, but we had already been trying for years and still nothing."
There was silence as everyone looked to Harry's reaction to this news, to the fact his best friends had gotten married and he hadn't attended. Harry knew as he looked into Ron's eyes that he would've chosen him as the best man.
Harry slowly began to grin as he said, "Are you pregnant, Hermione?"
Hermione turned red but looked pleased he wasn't causing a scene. "Well, yes," she said out. "Five months now." She patted her stomach, smiling tenderly at it.
Ron laughed. "She's been having the worse moods ever," Ron said. "One second, she's all chirpy and the next, she's biting my head off. But then again, when isn't she?"
Everyone laughed at this, the tension lifted, as Harry began to be introduced to the Weasleys again.
Bill had married Fleur and they were married with three kids, another well on their way. Charlie and Tonks had also gotten married and Tonks was going to have her first baby sometime in February ("And bloody hell, Harry, be happy you aren't a girl," she had muttered darkly.)
Percy and Penelope had been married and had two children, both, who Percy assured, would one day become prefects and later Heads. Fred and George had started snorting into their drinks as they heard this.
Mr. Weasley was Minister of Magic and, as he wearily said, it was one hell of a job and would be glad when his term was up. Percy, perking up at this, had puffed out his chest pompously and saying he would gladly take on the responsibilities for his father.
There was only person missing, Harry thought as the large family sat down. He sat down near the end of the table, with Ron and Hermione. Two seats across from Mrs. Weasley were empty and Harry frowned. Why two?
"Well then," Mrs. Weasley said, glancing at her watch. "Ginny should be here by now. She probably got held up by some work…" She looked, however, nervous as she glanced at the watch again.
"Work?" Harry questioned to Ron and Hermione. "What does she do?"
Both Ron and Hermione exchanged a glance before Hermione said, a force calm to her voice, "She's a Healer and one of the best St. Mungo's has ever seen."
"A Healer?" Harry said, looking thoughtful as he remembered the one time in his sixth year she had fixed his broken knee. He smiled a ghost of a smile as he said, "Oh, yes…she always did have the magic healer's touch…"
Suddenly, two loud pops were heard from the house and every single head snapped towards the house, all the adults' faces showing apprehensiveness and fear. Mrs. Weasley glanced at Harry towards the house and back, biting her lip.
What's going on? Harry felt himself asking. Why is everyone looking nervous? Ginny is a force to be reckon with but she isn't going to kill me. Or do they know something I don't?
Noticing his questioning gaze, Hermione said, her voice nervous, "Harry? I need to know something, Harry, and it is very important that you tell me right now. Do…do you still have feelings for Ginny?"
He said nothing but stared, watching the bushy-haired woman before him grow anxious.
"Harry," her voice was now frantic and shrill as she stared at Harry, her eyes wide. "Answer me! Do you still have feelings for Ginny?"
He supplied no answer, but turned to look towards the house.
The door opened and a beautiful young woman stepped out. She was wearing a white long sleeved turtleneck with a tan skirt that matched her boots. Her red hair was long and cascaded over her shoulders gently, the sun's rays hitting it just right to set the vibrant colors off. Her brown eyes sparkled with the same intensity and gentleness he remembered from all those years ago.
Harry sat there staring at her, feeling as though his stomach had fallen several stories. Ginny looked more mature, more grown-up, and, if possible, even more beautiful than she had four years ago. He felt the familiar flutter and smiled slightly, recalling these feelings from long ago.
Before he could do anything, another person followed Ginny. The young man was about Harry's age and a few inches shorter. He had wavy, dark brown hair and brown eyes to match. He was smiling and bent his head to whisper into Ginny's ear, causing her to smile softly.
Harry sat frozen as the man wrapped an arm around Ginny's waist, still whispering into her ear and she smiled contentedly, her brown eyes sparkling with happiness.
The two made their way to the table where Ginny rushed to her mother and embraced her tightly. Mrs. Weasley hugged back, giving her daughter a kiss on the cheek.
"Ginny!" she said. "You made it! I thought you wouldn't be coming."
Ginny smiled apologetically and Harry felt himself drowning in the smile, even though it wasn't directed to him. "Work held us, mum," the redheaded girl said. "You know how they are; so demanding, really."
Mrs. Weasley laughed and then Ginny's eyes began to roam the table, looking at her family members and smiling happily. Then her eyes met Harry's and her smile vanished, the sparkle in her eyes gone.
"Dear," Mrs. Weasley said nervously and nodded towards Harry to stand and he did so stiffly, everyone's eyes on him. "John," she said, gesturing to the man. "This is a friend of the family, Harry Potter." Ginny's eyes flashed at the name but she said nothing. Mrs. Weasley swallowed hard for the next part to come, her eyes full of worry.
"Harry, this is Jonathan Griggs. He's…he's Ginny's fiancé."
Harry felt the words hit him like a slap across the cheek as he stared at Ginny in shock, as if betrayed.
John, sensing nothing amiss, grinned. "Harry Potter?" He said before making his way to the young man, holding out a hand. "Merlin, I never thought – I never thought the world would see you again!"
Harry stiffly shook the man's hand, still letting the words repeatedly hit him. Fiancé…him…Ginny's…not me…
There was silence before Ginny said, in a voice that held a force calamity, "Well then, now that we've met, let's sit down and eat, shouldn't we, mum?" She sat down, inclining with her head for John to sit next to her.
All throughout the dinner, Harry would sneak glances at Ginny, who was talking to her mum, her hand entwined with John's, the ring glistening at him, mocking him. He envied the man, right down to his shoes. He hated him – loathed him – more than any other being he had ever encountered. He had what Harry had wanted to come back to, what he had wanted ever since sixth year when he realized his true feelings for the youngest Weasley.
"Harry, are you all right?" he heard Hermione whisper to him.
He laughed mirthlessly. "Of course," he said coldly. "Always a pleasure to come home and see the girl I love be snatched away by some other bloke. Truly, it makes my day."
Hermione winced but Ron said angrily, his voice hushed so Ginny on the other end of the table couldn't hear, "Look, Harry, you left. Ginny cried her eyes out when you did and search parties went out to look for you. We never found you, not even a clue. She met John and has actually been happy ever since you left. So drop it, okay?"
"What if you left and Hermione was getting married to someone else?" Harry demanded, his voice hushed as well. "What would you be feeling?"
"I didn't leave," Ron said simply, his eyes burning into Harry's. "And I never will. Tell me, Harry; how long will it be until you leave again? Before you break mum's heart again?"
Harry glared but said nothing. He didn't know if he would leave again; he had expected to come back and everyone would welcome him back with open arms, as would Ginny. He would apologize a thousand times and they would marry and have children.
Was he ever wrong.
Everyone began standing up and retreating to the living room, as the sky had gotten dark and everyone was done eating. Harry followed automatically, bringing his plate to the sink before going to the living room with his two friends.
Ginny and Mrs. Weasley went to clean the plates as everyone joked and talked. John and Charlie were talking about dragons and Harry glared at him, as if he had betrayed him by being friendly with him.
"Chess, Harry?" Ron said tensely.
Harry shrugged and they began to play. Harry's mind wasn't on the game, however, and he kept watching John go around and talk with the other Weasley members, smiling and laughing as if he belonged.
He does, Harry thought grimly. They accepted him when Ginny accepted him.
"Harry?" Ron's voice broke into Harry's thoughts. "Your turn."
Sighing, Harry turned his attention to the game at hand. A chess piece shouted at him, "You stupid idiot! We just lost the bishop! Get your head in the game, scruffy!" Hermione laughed a little, although it sounded forced.
Harry instructed the pawn forward and it began screaming, "No, I'll be killed if I go there! Send him, he's not as good looking as me!"
Harry raised an eyebrow. "I had the thought in mind when I placed you there," he said calmly. "That Ron would finish you off."
The pawn squeaked before Ron's pawn attacked, smashing it.
"Anyone else want to question my chess skills?" Harry asked the pieces; all fervently shook their heads, glancing at their fallen comrade.
There was silence before Harry asked quietly, "Ron? How…how did Ginny meet John? When?"
Ron looked uncomfortable but replied, "A year ago. She was running late to work and she accidentally ran into him, spilling her coffee all over his shirt. She kept apologizing to him before he said that if she went out on a date with him, he would forgive her. She accepted and ever since, they've been inseparable.
Harry looked stonily at the young man, laughing with Mr. Weasley about some joke about the Ministry. He then spoke to Percy who was only a few feet away, telling him the joke and earning a disapproving glare from the former Head Boy.
Ron noticed his stony gaze before saying, "If it means anything to you…I don't really like him. A bit of a bloke, that one is."
"Ronald!" Hermione snapped. "What has he ever done to you?"
Ron shrugged but Harry felt a rush of gratitude towards his best friend. "Don't know. He played on Ginny's guilt to get him a date and probably seduced her. Who knows if we can trust him?"
"Ronald," Hermione said tightly. "John is a good man and he makes Ginny happy; can't you be happy too?"
"Oh," Harry said quietly. "So you think between me and him, he should definitely win."
Hermione looked shocked but shook her head. "Of course not, Harry! I always wanted Ginny to go with you. But…" She hesitated before plowing forward, "You left her, Harry. You left her and you shattered the trust she had in you. John…well, he would never do that to her. She would never get hurt with him."
Harry glared and snapped, "I would never hurt Ginny, Hermione."
"Not intentionally, Harry," Hermione said gently yet sadly. "Not intentionally."
"Harry," Ron said. "If you think you can win Ginny back then…" he grabbed a quill and paper and scribbled something down. "Here's Ginny's address to her flat," he said, handing Harry the parchment. "Also, there's the name of a café she goes to for lunch. Monday through Friday, she goes with John so you can't confront her then but on Saturday, she goes alone."
"Ron, Ginny wouldn't want Harry knowing where she lives!"
"Do she and John share a flat?" Harry asked quietly, staring at the words in front of him, scribbled in Ron's untidy handwriting.
Ron shook his head. "Nope, he lives in this huge house; did I say he was one of the richest men in England? He has everything at his fingertips, he does. But he isn't pompous or act like Malfoy at all. Nah, he donates regularly to charities and orphanages."
Harry felt as though someone has punched him in the gut. It seemed as though there was no flaw in this Griggs man – even his hair lay flat and wasn't messy like his was, giving the appearance as though he raked his hand through it more than once, which he did. He felt another burst of pure loathing towards the smiling man.
John made his way over to the trio, still smiling as he looked at the game before visibly wincing. "Ooh, that isn't looking too good," he said, gesturing towards the game. He paused before pointing out, "If you move there, you would have his Knight trapped."
Ron inspected the move before frowning. "Hey, don't go giving him hints like that! I wouldn't want him ruining his losing streak against me." He grinned at Harry but it was a strained smile.
John looked at Harry, a mild curiosity on his face. "Losing streak? Harry Potter losing a game of chess?"
"Alert the press," the green-eyed man said tersely. "I'm sure they'll have a field day with such an article. I can see the headlines now: Boy Who Lived – Boy Who Lost at Chess."
John studied him, his eyes alert and watchful. "But I'm sure that article would come out after the numerous articles on your return," he said quietly, his eyes flickering to Harry's lightening shape scar. A small smile slowly formed on his mouth as he asked, "Where have you been?"
The room had gone silent as everyone watched the conversation. Harry felt his hands clench into fists before saying out, in what he hoped was a breezy voice, "Oh, first I went to the States for two years. It's very easy to hide there, so long as you don't use a credit card. I then went to South America and went to Brazil and Ecuador. After a year there, I went back to the States and settled in New Jersey, by the shore."
"I see," John said. "And if you don't mind my asking, why did you leave? You had just defeated You-Know-Who; it was your greatest triumph. You were a hero and everyone praised you. Why did you leave the glory, the fame?"
Harry stood up, staring at the dark-browned hair man. "I do mind," he said curtly. "And if you excuse me, I'll go into the kitchen and see if my assistance is needed." He left briskly, still feeling the eyes on everyone on his back.
Harry entered the kitchen to see Ginny working alongside with her mother, cleaning by hand. Both Weasley women turned to look at him, Ginny's eyes flashing dangerously.
"Oh, hello, Harry dear," Mrs. Weasley said. "Are you here to help clean the dishes?" Before he could answer, she said, "Good, good. I better go check on everyone, see how they're doing." And she left hurriedly, leaving the two together.
"I can do it by myself," Ginny said, her voice holding a bit of anger in it. She turned her back to him and continued the task. "I'm not a child anymore."
"I know," Harry responded before moving next to her, taking her mother's spot. "Though, it doesn't mean I can't help." He picked up a plate and began cleaning, sneaking glances at Ginny every now and then.
They worked in silence until; "Why, Harry? Why are you back?" Ginny didn't look at him; she kept her attention on the plate she was cleaning.
When he didn't respond, she said, her voice sarcastic, "Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot; the Boy Who Lived never likes to speak what's on his mind and keeps it all inside." She slammed the plate down and it was a miracle it didn't break.
She started cleaning another plate but Harry didn't. He was too busy staring at her. She had tied her hair into a messy ponytail and pushed her sleeves up to her elbows so they wouldn't get wet. Her engagement was on her left hand and was still glistening, laughing at him for losing her. It doesn't belong there, Harry thought as he watched the diamonds sparkle mockingly. Not unless it's my ring.
Ginny suddenly slammed the rag she was cleaning with down and glared at him hotly, her eyes blazing. "What?" She snapped. "Why are you staring at me?"
"Because," Harry said, picking up another plate and began cleaning it. "Because you're so beautiful."
"How dare you," she hissed out venomously. "Coming back here after four years, acting as though no time has went by and everything is the same. Nothing is the same, Harry! We're all changed! Ron and Hermione are married; so are Percy, Bill, and Charlie. Fred and George are thinking of marriage of Angelina and Alicia but the idea of settling down isn't their idea of fun!"
"And what about you, Ginny?" Harry asked, staring straight into her eyes. "What are your thoughts on marriage?"
Ginny stared back before spinning on heel and stomping out of the kitchen, into the empty hallway. Harry followed, wanting an answer – needing an answer.
"You don't know, do you? You just think marriage is some game you can play and stop when you're bored!" Harry said. Ginny stopped and he could see her shaking with rage. "You know I'm right."
"You're wrong, Harry," he heard her say. "And who are you to talk? You are the one who left us, not me." She turned and faced Harry. "And I'm not that little girl anymore who would've pined for you to come and would wait forever for your return." She then walked through the door and into the living room.
In there, everyone was talking but everyone fell silent as they saw a red-faced Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter hot on her trails. "John," she said in a calm voice, "We're leaving."
John stood, looking confused, but nodded. "All right then, well, thank you for your hospitality, Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley," he began but Ginny, snapped, "John! NOW!"
They both Apparated and Harry glared at the spot where Ginny had stood. "I'll be going too," he said shortly.
"Where are you going, dear?" Mrs. Weasley asked, her eyes full of concern for him.
Harry shrugged, grabbing his cloak. "Probably the Leaky Cauldron; you can still book rooms there, right?" he asked while putting the cloak on.
Mrs. Weasley shook her head. "No, no, no, no. You're not going to an inn all by yourself! You can stay here, in Ron's old room. And in the morning, I'll bake you some pancakes, eggs, bacon – "
"Harry, come with us," Ron interrupted. "You can stay with us at our flat. We got two extra guest rooms and would be more than happy if you stayed." He grinned, somewhat shakily. "Just mind Hermione in the morning; she gets a bit testy."
Hermione smacked Ron playfully on the arm but turned earnest eyes towards Harry. "Come, please?" she asked, her eyes pleading for him to oblige.
Harry knew what they were doing; they were trying to keep an eye on him so he wouldn't leave again and they never see him again. A repeat of what happened four years ago.
Harry smiled and nodded. "All right then. Let's go."
Harry waited outside of St. Mungo's, making sure he was hidden. He glanced at his watch again, asking her silently to come out already. It was past lunchtime and he began to wonder if she would come at all.
The door opened and out walked Ginny Weasley, a cloak wrapped tightly around herself. Ron had told Harry that Ginny always went to the café for lunch, as it was her favorite.
Ginny began her walk and Harry followed, making sure not to arouse her suspicions she was being followed. They walked for a good ten minutes before Ginny reached a small café and entered.
Harry stood outside and watched from the window as he saw her take a seat near the back, greeting John with a kiss. She was smiling and he already had her coffee for her, which she rewarded him with another kiss.
He continued watching as John leaned across the table, whispering something to her, causing her to laugh. They were holding hand and John was rubbing his thumb against the engagement ring, saying to the world she was taken.
Damn him, Harry found himself thinking. Damn him for taking her. Damn him. How can she sit there, smiling and laughing, while I'm out here in the cold, watching them and feeling a lump in my throat? Doesn't she realize we're meant for each other? That we're two halves of a whole? And no matter what, she won't fit with another?
Harry continued watching, feeling as though his heart was being stomped on repeatedly. And he felt as though he deserved it.
You let her go, Potter, a voice chastised him. You left. It's no one's fault but your bloody own. She's gotten over you and she's happy. You're miserable. Tough luck.
Harry saw them rise to leave and he left quickly, heading back to Ron and Hermione's flat. He sat there in the kitchen, sipping a cup of coffee he had made.
He downed the rest of his coffee before sighing, leaning back in the chair and rubbing his temples, trying to think of a cover story to tell Ron and Hermione about where he went off too.
Harry continued following Ginny for a week, every time she went to the café. He continued feeling the anger and jealousy when she kissed John and tried to fight the growing sadness he felt as she watched how she smiled; he tried ignoring the twinges in his heart when he saw her laugh and wished she was laughing with him.
Ron and Hermione seemed to know where Harry went every lunchtime. They had just nodded when he told them he was going to the bookstore, the new restaurant, a stroll around the park.
Finally, it was Saturday and both Ron and Hermione were off so when Harry grabbed his cloak and said he was off to go take a walk around Diagon Alley, Ron stopped him.
"Harry?" He said and both men stared into each other's eyes, an understanding flashing through. Ron patted Harry on the back and said, "Get her back, Harry. Just…just don't hurt her."
Harry met Ron's gaze and said, "I promise I will do everything in my power to make her happy, Ron. I won't let you down."
He then left and went to St. Mungo's, waiting for Ginny. She exited as she usually did and Harry began to follow her as she made her way to the café. Dark clouds hung over them, the chance of rain high. Harry was sure he heard a low rumble.
She entered the café and she would be without John this time. Harry took a deep breath, willing his jumbled nerves to calm down before he entered the café he spent the past week standing outside of and peering in.
A bell softly rang as he entered and saw Ginny, seated by the window this time, gently stirring the coffee, her eyes distant. She hadn't noticed his arrival and continued staring out, her eyes unfocused and no trace of a smile.
Harry quickly went over and slid into the seat across from her. Her eyes immediately snapped across of her to the unexpected person – and they narrowed dangerously.
"Harry Potter," she said, distastefully and as if the name was disgusting as the person was. "What brings you here?" Her eyes narrowed even more, to tight slits. "I gather that Ron told you I come here every lunchtime to eat."
Harry nodded. She continued, taking her gaze off of him and staring as she stirred her coffee more. "And I'm guessing you followed me? Ever since Monday? Or am I wrong?"
Harry leaned back in his chair. "How'd you know I followed you?" he asked. "And why didn't you stop me?"
Ginny shrugged. "I didn't know," she said before meeting his eyes. "I just took a stab in the dark and it seems I guessed right. Besides," she said, shaking her head, causing her red hair to move gently. "It's very Harry-like you to do so."
"Ah, so you still remember my Harry-like personality?"
"Sadly, yes." She took a sip of her coffee, watching him as he watched her. She frowned. "I'm not that interesting to watch, Potter, so you can stop acting like I'm a painting to be admired."
"That's where you're wrong," Harry said gently. "You are interesting to watch. Every movement you make, everything you do has me entranced. I cannot help but stare as I do."
Ginny ignored the compliment and took another sip of the coffee. She gently laid the mug down, staring at the table before she asked quietly, "You didn't answer my question."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "And what question was that?"
Ginny's hand – the one that had the offending ring – tightened its hold on the mug. "What brings you here? Why did you decide to come back after four years? Or better yet," she laughed with such cruelty that Harry flinched, "why did you leave in the first place?"
Harry paused, turning the question over in his head, thinking of a response he could give her.
"I came back to see my family," he finally answered.
Ginny's head snapped up to stare incredulously at him and she asked him, her voice full of disbelief, "Family? Harry, family doesn't go running away without any note or any damn inclination on where they are, if they're safe. You forfeit my family's trust when you left four years ago. What," she said mockingly, "was the hero who defeated Lord Voldemort too good to be with such paupers?"
"No," Harry replied quietly. "It's wasn't like that and you know it."
"Then what was it, Harry?" Ginny said loudly, attracting the attention of the other customers. "Please, enlighten me!" When Harry gave no response, Ginny stood angrily. "If you think you can just come back into our lives acting as though no time has passed by, you're dead wrong, Potter!" With that said, she stormed out of the café.
Harry immediately stood and chased after her. It was pouring rain outside and he saw Ginny already getting soaked as she crossed the street hurriedly, glancing to make sure no cars came and hit it. Harry chased after her, ignoring the fact there was a possibility he could get hit.
He finally made it to Ginny and grabbed her wrist and she whirled around, her wet hair snapping defiantly as were her eyes. "What?" She snapped. "What do you want? Can't you just leave me alone?"
"No," Harry answered simply, keeping his hold on Ginny's wrist. He looked downwards towards Ginny, who was glowering at him as she noticed how much taller he was than her. He ignored the rain as it fell gently on the two, sprinkling them. No one was out, for all of them had sought refugee for indoors, lest they become soaking wet and catch a cold.
These thoughts did not enter the two's minds as they stared at one another, brown eyes meeting green eyes. Ginny's breath was coming out a little harsher and Harry knew his was too, as his heart was speeding up. His hand, in which he held Ginny's left wrist, never wanted to let go.
"What?" Ginny's voice was softer now; more vulnerable. She looked down at the sidewalk on which they stood at. "Stop looking at me like that, Harry. It's making me uncomfortable."
A strand of wet hair went in front of her face and Harry, acting on instinct, brushed it gently out of her face, tucking it behind her ear. He leaned in closer and could smell her oh so familiar scent of vanilla.
"Looking at you like what?" he asked, his lips close to her ear, his breath warm against her cheeks.
Ginny's face was turned away from Harry's as she said, "Like…like it was when we were teenagers. When I was sixteen and you were seventeen. Before you left." It seemed she remembered her anger as she took a step backwards, distancing herself. Harry simply took a step forward, closing the distance easily, his hand still latched onto her wrist.
"When we were in love?" Harry whispered.
Ginny's eyes snapped and met Harry's emerald green ones. She snatched her wrist away from him and took another step backwards, her face angry. She seemed to be trembling from the fury she held within.
"In love?" She demanded angrily before laughing coldly. "We were only teenagers, Harry; we knew nothing of love. What we had was a mere relationship that doesn't exist anymore."
"We loved each other – " Harry began but Ginny interrupted him, her voice hard and cold.
"No, Harry. No matter what you tell yourself, we weren't in love. We were too young to even know what love was!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms up. "I'm just happy it ended before it went any further, hurting us both."
"How could it have hurt us?" Harry asked. "How can love hurt anyone, Ginny?"
"FOR GOD'S SAKE, HARRY, IT WASN'T LOVE!" Ginny screamed at him, her eyes blazing, alight with anger. "What we had was nothing, all right? NOTHING! It certainly meant nothing to you," she added coldly, "because you just up and left without even saying goodbye."
"I had to go," Harry said, willing her to see it through his eyes – his so foolish, stupid eyes that had caused this all to happen. If it wasn't for him, they could've been happily married. But instead, they were here, fighting over if what they had was love or not. Here he was fighting for Ginny back, although it looked as though there was no hope.
"Why did you have to go?" Ginny's voice was like a whip as she asked. "What was so bloody important that you had to leave us all without even saying goodbye?"
"I got scared, all right?" Harry yelled at her. She blinked before narrowing her eyes threateningly at him. Harry raked a hand through his wet hair before desperately looking into her eyes, grabbing her by the shoulders. She gasped at the contact and his boldness.
"When the Final Battle came…and I defeated Voldemort…you were all in the hospital. Your mum, your brothers…you. I-I stayed by your side for two days, Gin, without any improvement from you. You had been hit with a new curse Voldemort had made up and tried it out on you; the Avada Kedavra but a long lasting painful death. There was a cure for it, of course, but after what seemed like the tenth patient die from it, I knew I wouldn't be able to bear it if you died."
He sighed, releasing her and turning away, his hands on his head. He could feel her eyes burning on his back, searching him, studying him for earnest and honesty in his words.
"I left at midnight," Harry continued, his voice distant as he remembered how he snuck back in to see Ginny one last time before he left. "I snuck into your room and saw you lying there, motionless…I gave you a kiss, you know," Harry said, turning to look at her. "Told you I was leaving because of all the pain I had caused you and your family; you wouldn't have been such main targets if it hadn't been for me."
Ginny was silent, watching him through steady brown eyes, allowing him to continue his story.
"I left and later – much later, since I hardly heard any news – I heard you had recovered from the near death experience a week after I had left. I wanted so badly to go back but I held myself away; who knew whatever catastrophic event would be brought upon you if I returned?"
Harry sighed, closing his eyes. There. It was out in the open; Ginny knew why he left. His guilt had clouded his thoughts, his common sense and before he knew it, he had made it to the States and lived his life in secrecy, managing to find jobs here and there to get food and a decent place to sleep.
He waited for her response; what would she say to him? Would she think of him a fool for leaving, a coward that he knew he was? Would she think him to be heroic and graciously jump into his awaiting arms? Or would she refuse him and live her life happily with Jonathan Griggs, a life of luxury?
Harry opened his eyes to focus on the diamond-covered ring. The ring was large and had obviously cost a great deal. It was huge and seemed to stake Ginny as territory, that she was owned by someone. He felt a wave of anger as the thought hit him. No one owned Ginny Weasley. No one.
But then why had she agreed to it, agree to wear the ring that marked her as taken and taken by a very wealthy man?
"Why?" came Ginny's croaked voice and Harry looked up, wondering if he had spoken his thoughts aloud. "Why didn't you write any letters?" she looked straight into Harry's eyes and what he saw in those brown eyes made him feel as though he were worse than Voldemort, make him rather face the Dark Lord than what was in the redhead's eyes.
What he saw was hurt.
"I wrote," Harry said, his voice hoarse as he continued staring at her, his eyes drinking in the sight of her, standing before him. After the many nights he had fallen to sleep with her beautiful face in mind, it seemed almost impossible that she was standing only a few feet away from his grasp. His hand tightened into a fist as he recalled the skin of her wrist.
"I never received anything," Ginny replied, her lips pressed together tightly. "Nothing. So don't give me any bull that you did send letters, Harry, because – "
"I said I wrote letters," Harry interrupted. "I never said anything about sending them." He sighed, raking his hand through his jet-black hair, completely matted down with water. He continued, his voice hoarse, "I wrote a letter every day for this past year, Ginny. Every single frickin' day. That's three hundred sixty-five letters. Three hundred sixty-five letters." He let the impact of the words hit Ginny, whose eyes widened. "In every letter, I wrote how much I loved you and that I was sorry for leaving. I told myself repeatedly I would send it, just another day, but I couldn't find it in me to send it. Not yet. I had to see you face to face and tell you the words, to see your reaction firsthand."
"Harry – " Ginny began but Harry silenced her by taking a step forward, taking her by the shoulders and forcing her to look up at him.
"Ginny," Harry said, ready to say the words he had wanted to say for what seemed like ages. "I love you so much that when I heard you were…were getting married, I thought my world had ended."
At the mention of her engagement, Ginny's eyes narrowed to slits and she forced her left hand up and shove it into his face, the ring clearly visible. It sparkled in its mocking way in front of his face as he watched it with his green eyes.
"I'm getting married, Harry," Ginny said, her voice cold. Then, she added softly that he could barely hear her over the pattering of the rain, "You're too late."
"No," Harry said, swallowing deeply, shaking his head fiercely. The acceptance and readiness in Ginny's eyes only angered him more. "NO!" came the anguished cry from the Boy Who Lived as he stared intently in her brown eyes, looking for any reassurance, any of the love he had seen before he had left.
There was nothing. It was as though someone pulled a curtain over her emotions and all that stared back were emotionless eyes, not full of compassion or love.
"It's not too late," Harry said, his thumb coming up to shakily stroke her cheek. "It will never be too late, Gin, because we love each other and we can wait forever for each other."
Ginny shook her head, tearing her gaze away from Harry's and looking at the ground. "No, Harry," she said softly but firmly. She lifted her face to stare into his eyes. "This is wrong. Your feelings are wrong; you should not be feeling them. I'm an engaged woman now and soon I'll be married and be Ginevra Molly Griggs."
"Listen to yourself!" Harry said loudly. "Listen to the name! Ginevra Molly Griggs? Does that sound right to you, Ginny? It doesn't fit!" His voice stared cracking as he continued on, "How could you give up hope for us, Gin? How?"
"How?" Ginny's angry self came back full steam. "How?" she jabbed a finger in his chest, her face red with anger. "How could I give up hope on us?" She gestured at the two. "Harry, don't you get it? There is no 'us' anymore; there never will be again! NEVER!"
She continued on, her voice slightly gentler yet firm, resolved, "After four years, Harry, how could you expect us to be an 'us' again, as though nothing happened? How could you expect that?" Tears were now freely falling down her cheeks, mingling with the falling rain.
She loosened herself out of his grip and began walking away. Harry's heartbeat began to quicken and he stared as he saw her begin to walk away from him, out of his life and into another man's arms. He couldn't – wouldn't – let her go so easily.
"Wait," he called to her, jogging a bit before catching her arm and forcing her to look him in the eyes. "Just tell me one thing; just answer me this one question and I'll leave you alone forever: Do you still love me?"
Sadness entered her eyes as she stared back into Harry's emerald green eyes, no sound coming from her. She pushed her lips together in a thin line and stared at him, her gaze softening as she continued looking at him, her eyes watering.
Harry leaned in close, his lips dangerously close to her own and whispered, "Do you, is there a small chance, Ginny, that you still love me? Could there be a small hope for me? The Boy Who Loved?" Suddenly, he closed the soft gap in between them and gently kissed her. He felt himself go warm and the longing feeling in him became overwhelming, the need to continuously be with her overpowering him. He put a hand behind her head, deepening the kiss.
She kissed back.
But after a moment, far too soon for Harry to cease the hunger he held for her, Ginny pulled away suddenly, staring at him in utter shock. She took a step backwards, her eyes wide.
"No," she whispered. "I can and will not ever love you again, Harry Potter. I won't let you hurt me again." She continued taking steps backwards, her eyes wide and terrified. "We're over, Potter. Over." She turned and probably would've run if Harry hadn't caught her arm.
He reached into his cloak and pulled out a small waft of envelopes – envelopes that had been minimized to fit in his small pocket so he could take them anywhere he wanted to. He put his wand to the envelopes and muttered the Engorgement Charm. At once, the envelopes were at their regular size and there were quite a lot.
"Are those – are they…?" Ginny asked faintly, her eyes moving from the bundle of envelopes to Harry's face in total bewilderment.
He nodded, a faint smile on his face as he handed them to Ginny and she reluctantly took them, studying them to see if they were real.
"There must be a hundred here!" Ginny whispered, fingering them.
Harry chuckled. "Three hundred sixty-five – as I said. I wrote a letter every single day and now, I'm finally ready to let you read them." He watched as she continued looking at them, taken aback.
She met his eyes and said softly, "I thought you were lying when you said you wrote them. I didn't know you actually – didn't know you would – " she stopped abruptly, still watching him carefully before looking away.
She then took a step backwards, still holding the envelopes. Suddenly, she let out a hacking sob that shook her shoulders and Harry found himself moving forward, ready to embrace her and hold her.
She shook her head furiously, her wet hair sending water flying and mixing with the rain. "N-No," she whispered. "I-I-I can't be feeling l-like this. I-I'm g-getting married in less than a month." She met his eyes, sorrow in them. "I can't be feeling what I'm feeling for you. It's isn't fair to John."
"John?" Harry asked before bellowing out, "JOHN? Do you think I give a damn about him?" He grabbed hold of her shoulders, as she sniffled. "Ginny, can you honestly tell me you love him? Can you tell me that what you feel for him is stronger than what I feel for you?"
"What do I feel for him; for you, for that matter?" Ginny questioned almost sadly, a sad smile on her face as she gazed into his eyes. "My feelings are confusing, impossible to decipher."
"Yet you agreed to marry John."
Ginny inclined her head. "Yes. He asked for my hand in marriage and I accepted. It was before, however, you came back. Before old feelings came back…" she trailed off, looking far away. She then looked him straight in the eye again. "But when he did propose and I accepted, did you know what I saw when I gazed into his eyes?" when he didn't answer, Ginny smiled sadly before saying;
"You. I saw your face, Harry James Potter. I saw you proposing to me. Why?" She shrugged. "I'll never know." She then took a step backward, the small smile gone. "But I do know I am engaged; I'm engaged to be married to a man who loves me deeply."
"How do you know that he loves you?" Harry demanded to know, his voice hoarse. "How do you know?"
"I see the truth in his eyes," Ginny said simply.
"And you don't see it in mine?"
"I thought I did," Ginny said, slowly shaking her head while looking at the ground. "A long time ago, I thought I did. But…but then you left and I knew I had been wrong."
"No, Ginny, I did love, I do love you," Harry said desperately, trying to get her to see. "Look at me, Ginny! I'm a wreck! Wherever I went, you were there, taunting me, mocking at me for losing you. You're wherever I go," Harry whispered, swallowing deeply. "You're in my dreams, taunting me, yet entrancing me."
Ginny turned her back to him and he didn't force her to look at him as he continued. "Ginny, please," he said brokenly, pleadingly. "Choose me. Pick me."
"This isn't a choosing game, Harry," Ginny said softly. "This decision is for life; you will be bound forever. There's not leaving again."
"Choose me," Harry repeated.
Ginny finally turned, her eyes full of tears before whispering, "I'm sorry, Harry. I-I – " and she left it at that before sprinting away from him, her pounding feet splashing into puddles, sending water flying as she ran, her red hair flying out behind her.
"GINNY!" Harry screamed but to no avail; she was running around the corner and was out of her sight. He sighed before sliding down onto the curb, sitting down with his head in his hands. Tears silently coursed down the young man's cheeks as he silently watched the pavement in the road as the rain continued pouring down, as if mourning as well.
Harry sighed, running his hand through his black hair that was as messy as ever. He had gone to Ron and Hermione's flat after a walk around the block of the café, trying to clear his thoughts and his anxiety.
Harry had wanted to bolt to Ginny's flat, to see her. But he couldn't; she had decided, hadn't she? He had given her to option – pleaded with her to chose him – and in the end, he chose John, the man who would never hurt her.
Ron and Hermione had been shocked to find him entering their flat, soaking wet and a vacant expression on his face as he told them what he had done. They had exchanged glances, their eyes full of worry, before nodding and leaving him be and dwell within his thoughts.
Harry sighed again, rubbing his temples. This time, Ron and Hermione glanced at him worriedly as he sat across of them from the kitchen counter. He smiled wearily but it didn't reach his eyes as his eyes drifted to the calendar.
It had been a week and half since the incident and Harry was growing more and more distant. He had heard no word from her and, when he knew he had to just see her again, he had went to St. Mungo's during one of her lunch breaks but, as the reception witch told him, Healer Weasley wasn't taking her lunch breaks anymore; in fact, she hadn't done so in the past week and half.
The young man stabbed at his dinner that Hermione had made. He chewed furiously as he began to think. I should be with her right now; we should be happily married, with children, at a house by a lake, by the shore. She would've loved the sunsets and sunrises; she always did. We would get up in the morning to watch it rise, as another day came…another day we were together…
"Harry?" Ron's voice interrupted Harry's things. Harry looked up wearily and met Ron's eyes. "Hermione and I are going out. Do you…do you want to come with us?"
"No thanks," Harry mumbled, his eyes slowly moving back to his plate.
"Oh come on!" Hermione said in an overly cheerful tone. "It'll be fun! Like old times, the trio again!" Her eyes implored for him to accept and to come with them.
"It's all right," was the aloof response she received.
The bushy-haired witch sighed, looking impatient. "Harry, you can't wallow in self-pity the rest of your life. You need to accept the fact that Ginny has moved on. Come on, now, we'll go out – maybe go to a carnival or something but stay – "
"Hermione." Both Harry's and Hermione's heads snapped to Ron, who was calmly staring at his wife, who stared at him. "Let him be. Let's go," he added while standing up and grabbing a cloak.
"But – But – " Hermione stuttered out; Ron usually went along what she said and wanted so for him to stand up to her obviously meant he had his mind set firm.
Hermione followed her husband out, a dazed expression on her face.
Harry felt a small smile creep onto his face before it was gone as Hermione's words came back; You can't wallow in self-pity the rest of your life. You need to accept the fact that Ginny has moved on.
Hell right I can, Harry thought, stabbing his chicken angrily. I can wait miserably, wondering if she'll decide at the last moment to chose me until she's at that alter and accepting John in holy matrimony. And I might not even accept it then. I might never accept it.
Harry froze, the piece of chicken halfway to his mouth. Was that how he was going to spend the rest of his life? Waiting for Ginny to come back to him? Wondering – hoping – she would?
Yes, Harry thought, feeling as though he had aged another twenty-one years. That's what I'll do; wait for her. But for now…I need to get away. I can't be here to see her get married…to be there and see herself with another man…
Harry recalled Ron's words from the Weasley dinner: "Tell me, Harry; how long will it be until you leave again?"
Today, Ron. Today and forever. I'm leaving for good now, knowing that nothing is here left for me to stay. Everyone has grown up and gotten married; they have their own lives. Even Ginny is getting her own…
Harry stood slowly, letting the fork drop with a deafening clang. He moved towards his cloak and picked it up, draping himself in it. He took a glance around the flat – it was cozy, full of warmth and welcoming. Yet Harry did not feel welcomed; he felt as though he were intruding.
It's time I let people live their lives.
Harry grabbed a piece of parchment and quill and began scribbling a few lines; at least, he reasoned, they would know for certain he was leaving on his own free will and not kidnapped or anything.
Dear Ron and Hermione,
I've over-spent my time here; in fact, I never should've came back, wondering – hoping – everything would be the same, like it was five years ago. Because it's not. Everyone has moved on, grown up, and have their own lives.
I expected to come and get Ginny back. I didn't expect her to be engaged.
I need to go again. I can't stay and see Ginny be married to another man. I don't know if we'll ever see each other again; probably not, as I will not be returning to England any time soon, if it means seeing Ginny married to John with children and that she has forgotten me.
I wish you and your new baby a wonderful life and future ahead of you.
He left it on the coffee table where owl post usually came from before casting one last glance around the room before Disapparating, ready to turn his back and leave once again, for completely different reasons.
Harry sat in the pub counter, drinking a glass of Firewhiskey. There was barely anyone in the pub, which was surprising since it was near midnight – ten o'clock – and usually pubs were full of men drinking. The only other customers beside Harry were two men sitting two seats down and a man drinking at a table.
The two men next to him were conversing but Harry didn't bother listening. That didn't, however, stop the men's loud voices – drunk, obviously – from being heard by Harry.
"Eh, you 'ere 'bout that gal, Weasley? Minister's daughter?" one of the men said, the shorter of the two. Harry felt his head snap up at the mention of Ginny and felt himself listening closely to each word said.
The other one nodded, downing a drink. "Yep, 'ooh hasn't?" He shook his head. "She woss Potter's luv, right, Marty?"
Is, Harry corrected mentally. Is.
The shorter man – Marty – nodded. "Ah 'eard 'e still loves 'er," he said, nodding. "Must've been 'orrible, comin' back after four years to find the gal you love gettin' hitched with some rich fella. Name's Jonathan Griggs, right, Steve?"
Steve nodded solemnly. "The man any lady 'ould desire. 'E's got it all, 'e does: looks, charms, money. It's no wonder how he got the gal to marry him. Still, 'Arry Potter must feel as though 'is heart's gettin' 'ipped up. 'Eard that Weasley lady sure is a looker."
Marty nodded. "Quite." Then he sighed. "But didn' ya hear? Dunno if it's true or not – found it out from Wilson, stupid bloke – that she ain't gettin' married to Ole Johnny after all. Broke 'is heart when she called it off."
Harry found himself staring openly at the men. Was it true? Did Ginny really break off her engagement? He felt his heart speed up. Did she do it for him? Was she really going to chose him?
"Broke 'is 'eart?" Steve said. "Ya don't say?"
"'Eard he was smitten wit 'er," Marty replied. "Downright smitten. Guess the ole charms didn't work, did they? Wonder who the guy is?"
"Wha' guy?" The two seemed to be getting drunker and drunker, making their words harder and harder to understand.
"Eh guy she dumped Griggs fer," Marty responded. "'Ah to be a guy."
Harry was already standing up, his wand in hand. As he was about to Apparate, both men finally took notice of him and Marty said, surprise in his voice, "'Arry Potter?" But Harry didn't pause to take in the surprise looks before he Disapparated, leaving two drunken and stunned men behind.
Harry found himself in Ginny's flat. It was small yet cozy. He saw the fireplace's flames flickering and dancing about and a red blanket had been draped on the couch, in case anyone had to sleep on it. He moved about, looking around for Ginny.
He decided she probably had gone to sleep and he moved to the one room he hadn't gone to – her bedroom. Slowly, he opened the door and peered inside the darkness, faintly seeing the bed and a figure lying on it.
The green-eyed wizard made his way towards the bed and found himself above her within seconds. She looked peacefully sleeping; one of her hands – the left one – was buried underneath the pillow she had her head on and her red hair spilled over her face. Harry gently sat at the edge of the bed, gently stroking the girl's face.
Ginny's eyes opened, looking bemused, before landing on Harry. Her eyes softened as she saw him and she whispered out, "I knew you'd come. I knew you wouldn't leave me again."
Harry traced her jaw with his thumb, memorizing every detail on her face, remembering the smoothness of her cheeks, and recalling the soft lips. "I was going to leave," he said quietly. "I was so sure you chose John…I thought I lost you…" He took her slender hand into his and brought it to his lips, kissing it softly, his eyes never leaving Ginny's face.
Ginny looked into his eyes, her brown eyes filled with love. A smile slowly appeared on her face as she said softly, "I thought I was going to pick John too. I mean, he had everything: money, looks, gentlemanly manners…" she trailed off, her eyes growing distant.
Harry frowned. "He sounds…perfect," he choked out, trying to keep his voice calm.
She smiled sadly at him. "He was," she replied quietly. "He was perfect. But…but when I looked at him…I couldn't see a future ahead with him in it. Whenever I looked at where we would be, I didn't seem him there with me, with our children."
She went quiet, looking away for a moment. Harry watched her, feeling dread enter him. Was she going to go back on him? Did she just realize that John was the better man?
Ginny suddenly leaned in, her nose grazing his. "But you know what?" she whispered; he could feel her breath on his lips. "I realized that although he was perfect…I didn't love him. I couldn't find any loving feelings towards him. 'Cause you know what?"
"What?" Harry murmured, wanting nothing more than to kiss her senselessly.
Her lips brushed his and she whispered, "I found out my heart already belonged to another guy. I found out that I was still very much in love with a certain black-haired, emerald eyed young man."
Harry allowed a slow smile to grow on his face before nuzzling her neck lovingly. "And I always knew that I would love a certain redhead, brown eyed, beautiful young woman." She smiled at his words, her eyes soft and full of care.
"I'll never leave again," Harry stated quietly, moving off the bed to kneel on the floor, his nose grazing Ginny's. "I swear to you, Ginny, I'm never going to be an idiot again and leave…never…"
Ginny smiled, her eyes filling with tears. "I'll hold you up to that, Mr. Potter," she quietly said, her eyes twinkling.
Harry leaned forward and gently brushed his lips again her, waiting for her to respond to his kiss. She didn't but instead, pull backwards not so far so they were still so close to each other.
Harry gave her a confused look as she smiled at him. She removed her left hand from under the pillow and his eyes were drawn to the ring finger. There was no claiming, mocking ring. Her finger was empty.
"I gave it back," Ginny said. "I'm no longer an engaged woman and can go with any man I wish now, without feeling any pang of regret or betrayal." She quirked an eyebrow, a mischievous look entering her eyes. "But I do miss having a ring on my finger…"
Harry kissed her, a smile on his face as he understood her meaning. "We will definitely have to fix that," he whispered huskily to her, his green eyes alit with true happiness they hadn't held since four years ago. "I'm sure we can think of something."
Ginny giggled but was soon silenced by Harry's lips on hers and both lost themselves in that kiss and more to come, forever with each other, forever each other's...forever…and ever.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed that, as this is my favorite one-shot I have written to date. Sorry if it got a bit like The Notebook with the whole letter thing but even before I watched The Notebook, I was planning on doing something with Harry writing letters but not having the courage to send them. I just added the whole year thing; I was actually going to do the four years but then was like, "That's a lot of letters."
Anyways, please review, you'll make my day!