Disclaimer: It all belongs to Jo. Really.
A/N: Harry and Ginny are hard to write, let me tell you...Written in the style of Clockwork, Ginny PoV
Once there was a girl.
She lived in a crooked house that looked fit to topple over, with six brothers who were only ever loud. She had a mum who loved and a dad who smiled and everything was good. She grew up on fairytales and heart-wishes and promises of tomorrow. She grew up with truth and lived with hope, and she fancied the thought of love.
And somewhere, there was a boy, and he was shut in the dark, stuck in a closet beneath the stairs. He had a cousin who hit him and an aunt who snapped and an uncle who would sooner throw him out of the house than say a kind word. And he would dream that one day someone would find him and save him everything would be better.
She waited for love, he for salvation, and apart they counted off the days.
They met at the train station.
His clothes were as shabby as her own were patched and he had green eyes that might very well have stopped her heart.
He asked her mother for help and received a warm smile and off he went to save the world—though none knew it at the time. She bid her sixth brother farewell and chased after the train, unsure whether she should weep or laugh, running until the train sped faster and then away it went.
Later she went home and everything was quiet in such a way as it had never been before and she decided crying felt like the best decision by far.
So she cried in the silence and when she was done she sat down at her desk and pulled out a tiny book she sometimes wrote in—she had almost reached the end—and wrote: "Today I met a boy…"
A year passed and when her brother returned he came with the most incredible tales, about the boy from the train station, and would you believe it? He was a Hero, the sort she had grown up on, noble and kind and everything a hero was supposed to be.
She sighed at the stories and her heart gave a start at the thought of him. She was in love then. Not Real Love mind you, the sort you spell in capital letters, no it was silly love, the sort that is forever in a moment and not much in a lifetime. It was sort of love that made a person do silly things, and say silly things—it was the sort of love that made her weary of butter dishes.
He came to her house that summer and she was surprised. He was quiet and almost tiny compared to her brothers and he had a light in his eyes, the sort of light her mother called innocence but she called life. And the summer too passed away, with awkward silences and clumsy 'hello's (all on her part of course since he might as well have been perfect).
School started and it felt as though there was no silence, no privacy and all she wanted was something of her own.
And there was a book, like the one she had before except this book—Tom it was called— knew her.
So she wrote to Tom about her dreams and fears, and Tom understood.
She wrote to Tom about the boy.
The year melted away and there were such gaps in her memory that it worried her. Tom was gone and she felt empty because she knew the truth. Tom had been her friend and Tom had hurt her, and her skin crawled at the thought that something so dark had touched her soul.
But the boy had saved her, and she owed him her life and the silly love of before faded just a little bit, and with it went a bit of everything else inside of her.
Another year went and he still smiled at her at the dinner table and asked how she was, he was still sweet, still kind, still…completely unaware of her.
So she grit her teeth and bared it, because she knew sooner or later he had to see.
But his eyes strayed else where and she saw him fumble and stutter and make a fool of himself for another girl, one with almond shaped eyes that seemed endless, and shiny black hair that fell perfectly, a girl with a secret kiss in the corner of her lips.
And she knew: heroes weren't so perfect after all.
She moved on.
She dated other boys, and he saw other girls and the world went more pear-shape with every passing day.
There was a war, you see, and a Dark Lord and when he was a hero again, it was on a much larger scale, because now he had a world to save and a destiny to fulfill. He had the weight of the world on his shoulders and she couldn't help but wonder if he wouldn't buckle.
Because the truth—as she had finally come to see it—was that he was a boy, nothing more and nothing less. He had a heart, and a brain, and he was brave, yes, but he was boy, frightened and very bit human.
And there was a house, the summer after the world started to fall apart, the summer after the black hangings in the hall and the maze they all regretted. And there was a man, a man who loved the boy as a father might love his son, and he sat with her one day and stared.
And it was all quiet for what felt like eternity, and when the man spoke it caught her off guard. He said: "You don't look like her. Her hair was darker, her nose wasn't so long and she didn't have freckles. Her eyes were green…no you don't look like her at all." Than he shook his head sadly and walked out of the room.
She didn't know what to make of it and decided she ought to forget it ever took place.
They became friends, the boy and the girl.
There were conversations at dinner and jokes in the common room, sports talk in the pitch.
There were fights and clumsy apologies and stubbornness and pride.
There were dark memories and worries and looks that occasionally made her stop and wonder and maybe even hope.
Because sometimes she felt him staring from across the room, and she knew it was him without even turning to look, could feel his eyes burning into her very skin. And she sat a bit straighter and laughed a bit harder and clenched her palms in her lap.
It didn't matter then that he had saved her life or that she had once told her mother she would marry him. It was all new then.
Because she had moved on…
Though she had never given up.
He kissed her.
It was the sort of thing that surprised and amazed her while feeling wholly right and expected at the same time.
And she could feel twenty set of eyes on her back as surely as she felt his hands and she could hear glass shatter as loudly as she could hear her blood pounding in her ears.
He kissed her and she smiled and she wanted to think it would be perfect; she wanted to expect a happily-ever-after like in the fairytales.
But she knew better.
He was the Hero of the Story in the end, and heroes never got 'happily-ever-after' before the end of the story. Heroes didn't get perfect until the Villain was gone and the world saved.
So she took his hand and led him to the lake and they walked and talked and made up for time lost, and time they would lose.
She kissed him and tried to ignore the countdown in the background.
He left her.
He decided to be noble and left her and she hated it and loved him and everything tasted of wrong, wrong, wrong even though she told him it would be fine.
She had a history of lying.
Her oldest brother got married that summer. She hated the bride and despised her robes and the damn flowers weaved into her hair and concocted plans to ruin them even as the best man gave his speech.
And he was there, of course, his hair a mess, his robes a bit shabby. The light was gone from eyes and she realized then the boy from the train station was gone and that at some point, through it all, he'd grown up.
He asked her dance that night, and she accepted, and together they muddled their way through a song.
She rested her head on his shoulder and he placed his hand on the small of her back and whispered how he thought she looked beautiful.
She smiled up at him then and whispered back the only thing she needed to tell him: "I'm good at waiting. Remember?"
After the dance he helped her pick the flowers out of her hair.
Once there was a girl and somewhere there was a boy.
And she found love and he salvation and apart they counted off the days until happily-ever-after.
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