Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's Notes: Because some people do find their happily ever after, even if I think all this 'meant to be' nonsense is overrated.
Set after HBP. Here be spoilers.
Being around Ginny isn't as awkward as Harry was expecting. She doesn't ask him to change his mind about breaking up with her, or demand to know what he has planned. He doesn't see her very often, anyway, as everyone is busy with Bill's wedding, always bustling here and there, trying to get everything done before the world collapses in flames.
The two of them only find themselves alone together once. They don't speak, but the silence is comfortable, rich with understanding and support.
They leave the Burrow the morning after the wedding - him, Ron, and Hermione. The sky is still dusky, the stars fading into dawn, and Ginny's waiting for them on the front doorstep. Her eyes are watery and darker than midnight, her hands twisted into her nightgown, knuckles white. She doesn't say a word to stop them, just hugs Hermione, kisses Harry on the cheek, then clings to Ron until the stars finish fading into the red sky.
He isn't surprised when he returns home to find Ginny has moved on. He's been gone over a year, after all, and they'd made each other no promises before he left. Both of them knew, even then, that promises in wartime are a step away from lies.
She doesn't have to tell him that whatever they'd once had is now gone. Harry can see it, plain as daylight, in the flatness of her gaze, in the way her lips twist into an ironic smile after that initial, fumbling hug. He cares for her still, and knows she cares for him, but they've grown up and grown away from each other, and neither can honestly claim to be the person the other once wanted.
They talk for a while, meaningless chatter that hides everything they want to say. He doesn't ask whether she's found someone else or if she regrets letting him go the morning after Bill's wedding, and she doesn't ask whether he's met anyone while searching for the horcruxes, or if he's missed her.
They shake hands tensely and uncomfortably, and he leaves.
Ginny's lovely at Ron and Hermione's wedding, glowing with happiness over her engagement. Harry smiles at her, a little wary, afraid of any overtures being taken the wrong way. She grins back, eyes dancing with humor and understanding, and he relaxes into his role as Ron's Best Man.
He congratulates Ginny and Neville on their upcoming nuptials before he leaves. He offers his hand to Neville, who takes it hesitantly, glancing nervously between him and Ginny.
When, filled with a sudden awkwardness, he tries to shake hands with Ginny, she laughs and hugs him, and he begins to think they haven't grown so very far apart after all.
She doesn't send him an invitation to the wedding, but instead writes him a short letter. It says everything he needs to know, answers those last lingering questions.
She says that they're friends. She says they'll always be friends, perhaps closer than friends, and she says that they know each other too well to pretend they were ever truly in love. She says Neville wants him to be Best Man, but is afraid to ask, given her history with Harry.
He's there for their wedding, Neville's Best Man and Ginny's best friend, and he can't help thinking of what might have been.
He meets someone when he's twenty-four, a witch with chocolate-colored skin and black eyes, a woman who sees more than a hero and less than a legend. Victoria is good for him, and accepts the things about him that she can't understand.
Ginny likes her, and Victoria adores baby Frank.
"She's beautiful," Ginny says after Victoria apparates away, as Neville puts his son to bed. "And kind."
"I think I might be in love with her," Harry replies quietly, unaccountably embarrassed.
"I'm happy for you," Ginny says with a smile, and any last thoughts of what might have been finally fade away.
Harry is ninety-three when Victoria dies. He misses her terribly, but she was at peace with her fate, and he refuses to dishonor her passing with rage or despair.
He visits her, though, every week. Her grave is simple and understated, just as she'd wanted, engraved with what she'd felt were her greatest achievements - beloved wife, proud mother.
One morning, a year after Victoria's death, he passes Ginny at Neville's grave. She jokes that his own achievements will take five gravestones to fill.
"I've left instructions in my will," he says quietly, as a cool spring breeze rustles through the trees overhead. "I'm no more and no less than any other man, and I've got my priorities straight. Beloved husband, proud father; that's what matters."
"You're a good man, Harry." She smiles, slow and gentle and wise, and the sharp pain of Victoria's absence fades like stars into the sunrise, leaving him aching but content.
At some point, it seems ridiculous to keep floo'ing and apparating to see each other. At some point, it seems ridiculous to continue arranging their schedules so as to 'accidentally' run into each other while out and about.
They know each other too well for such pretenses.
There are whispers and gossip when they move in together; the newspapers revive ancient rumors of a fictional affair held long years ago. Harry's son and daughter write blistering letters to the papers, and wish their father and their godmother happiness together. Ginny's sons stop calling Harry 'Uncle' and start referring to him teasingly as 'Pa'.
And in their new home, he and Ginny read the articles full of speculation and shake their heads in exasperation and amusement.
They don't often talk, other than light chatter and airy jokes. But then again, they don't need to.
Their silences have always spoken for them.