Where I Wanna Be

Today he's seventeen. Today he is a man. Then how come all I can see when I look at him is that twelve year old boy that sat across from me five years ago at breakfast, talking avidly with my brother about Quidditch and racing brooms and such things that interest boys their age?

I glance at him out of the corner of my eye and feel a familiar jolt inside of me. He's still as cute as he's always been. No, actually, today he's handsome. He was cute five years ago; today he's a fully grown man with more pressing matters on his mind. His sight seems settled and distant as my brother rambles about God-knows what stupidity while bits of bacon fly out of his mouth. I try to push the feeling away and try to focus on my own breakfast, and the fact that Phlegm is sitting next to me picking at her breakfast, asking random stupid questions about the contents of the pancake mix my mom used.

He looks at me for a small second and gives me a knowing smile and turns his attention back towards Ron. Seems he's grown used to reading my expressions when around Fleur. That, in turn, could mean that he's become more observant. That only reinforces the fact that today he's all grown up. Boys are oblivious to most things around them; men on the other hand are slightly more observant. He's most definitely not the twelve year old boy who I hero worshiped five years ago…for some reason, that thought makes the jolt return inside of me. Maybe that's a sign that Harry's not the only one who's done some growing up around here.

Mom opens the kitchen window letting the breeze in, and teasing me as it always does, it carries his sent and travels through my hair until I have goose skin all over my arms and I am staring at him from across the table once more.

Phlegm is now talking about how her wedding dress is the most perfect there ever was and had I never seen it I could still picture it perfectly in my mind because this is not the first time she's sat down to depict every last little detail, down to the last stitch in the fabric of her dress. I supposed I've decided to cut her some slack; she's getting married in two days after all. I've never been around many brides but I don't doubt they're all as presumptuous as Fleur. Then again that's just Fleur's natural personality 99 of the time.

Then I remember my own blushing face in the mirror as I tried on my pale gold bridesmaid's dress. I had to hand it to Fleur; at least she knew what she was doing when it came to picking out dresses and the most flattering colors. There hadn't been room for any other thoughts to enter my head as I looked into the mirror but that of different scenarios in which I'd walk into the pre-ceremonial gathering and Harry spotted me across the room. A zillion different reactions, a zillion different half-uttered phrases, a zillion different ways in which he could simply remain speechless…all summoned by a dress picked out by the most supercilious girl I'd ever met.

I felt a blush crawl across my face and I begin to stare at my plate of food again. Suddenly I'm eleven years old once more, frozen dead in my tracks as I see the boy that has invaded my thoughts, dreams and conversations for the past few months standing in my living room, smiling as if I hadn't just rolled out of bed to ask my mother where my jumper was. Once again I'm that girl who turned and ran away to hide under her covers.

I was one step away from hanging a blown up picture of Harry above my bed and singing to it as fan girls at that age tend to do. But then again I never even had posters of The Weird Sisters or any other group so maybe that really wasn't my thing. My mom might've noticed a bit of a change in my enthusiasm when talking about Harry, but must've figured it'd be a passing phase. Ron certainly was sick of it. I was careful not to bring up the subject around Fred and George because they would've figured it out and I would've never heard the end of it. Percy was always too busy to even realize he had a little sister. So perhaps at that time I was too far in my infatuation to realize what it was, I just knew he was possibly the most amazing person I had ever met.

I can only imagine how annoying and embarrassing it must've been for him to have his best friend's little sister sending him Valentine's Day cards with cheesy poems (my face is practically in my plate at this point, because I simply cannot remember this specific memory without turning completely scarlet). No I didn't go as far as to draw his name and my name all over the covers of my books and enclose them in little hearts with arrows through them. I never actually did more than go completely speechless around him. God, I hated myself back then. I'd literally practice lines in my head to say to him, and then one second around him and all eloquence would desert me.

I did however, find my outlet for all thoughts I'd kept inside that I'd so often wanted to share with Harry and with friends about Harry: Tom Riddle's diary. Go figure, out of all the people to talk about my crush on Harry I'd choose the mysterious book, with the mysterious replier. I suppose that my only excuse for that is that I was eleven and desperate.

Then Harry saved me from becoming Voldemort's next victim. I think it was around that time that I realized it wasn't just deep admiration I felt for Harry. It wasn't just because I'd read about him in books and it wasn't just because everyone in the wizarding world knew who he was and respected him. Harry was more than just the boy who lived…he was a victim. He had been sought after since the day he was born, he'd been through things that boys his age should not have to go through…yet he managed to come out on top in the end. It was then that I knew the real face of Harry Potter…the selfless fighter who'd risked his own life to save my own.

"Ginny, could you please help me with these dishes?"

I snap out of my trance and look up at my mother who is now picking up the left over plates from the table. Everyone else around me is rising from their seats and leaving the kitchen. Fleur's still going on about the wedding and I can see on Hermione's face that she's a step closer than me to losing it. I get up and take several plates with me to the sink. Hermione makes her way towards me then Ron calls her from somewhere in the living room and I am left to do dishes by myself, which is perfectly okay because I enjoy the time alone to think. Hermione's probably the greatest friend I'll ever have, but even I need my alone time sometimes.

The kitchen has now become silent and all I can hear are distant voices coming from outside. I grimace at the sponge and soap and sulk at the fact that I cannot use magic outside of Hogwarts yet.

"So Fleur's being a royal pain?"

I startle and turn around to see Harry carrying some more plates in his hand. I move aside and he places them in the sink.

"So you noticed?" I reply turning back towards the dishes.

"I think she hardly ate because she was so busy talking about the wedding," Harry says.

He's standing next to me now and I begin to scrub dishes like it's the most entertaining chore in the world. Avoiding his gaze has become increasingly difficult. He's been here only since last night when he left his aunt and uncle's and still I cannot gather the courage to look him straight in the eye. He's caught me looking at him a few, very embarrassing, times. My only consolation is that I'd caught him doing the same.

A thick silence falls between us as I continue to scrub and he just stands there. I cannot stand uncomfortable silences so I'm scouring my brain for something to say, but I've never found it more difficult to say something to someone than at this very moment. My tongue feels glued to the roof of my mouth and suddenly a great feeling of déjà vu washes over me. I'm eleven again, with so much to say and not one word to mutter.

"So how's it feel being seventeen?" I finally ask. Not a very productive question but it's something. He must want to talk; after all he's been just standing there saying nothing at all.

I watch out of the corner of my eye as he pulls his wand out of his pocket and gives it a flick; suddenly the dishes are scrubbing, rinsing and drying themselves.

"I can do i that /i ," he says and he gives me a half-smile as I finally turn to look at him.

I smile back, probably for the first time since he arrived and say, "Thanks."

"Don't mention it."

A few more seconds of uncomfortable silence pass as he stares at the self-cleaning dishes behind me and I stare at the dining table. I sneak a glance at him and I notice how much taller he's gotten since I last saw him. There's some stubble growing on his chin. His eyes suddenly look up at me and my heart skips a beat. They're still the same shade of green I remember, but perhaps more entrancing than before.

I suddenly clear my throat and look away. "I'm sorry."

He frowns. "Why?"

"That this isn't easier," I reply while keeping my eyes on the dishes.

"What isn't?"

"You know…" I begin, feeling my face turn scarlet. "You and me…I'm sorry it's become this uncomfortable. I suppose this is normal for…people like us, but please don't feel as if you should not tell me anything you want."

"Oh," he says lowering his gaze. "Yeah, I know. I wanted to tell you the same thing."

I wait a second longer wondering if he has anything else to add. Nothing but silence. He looks up at me again and I give him a suppressed smile and add, a little too enthusiastically, "Well, with that out of the way I suppose I'll get on with my chores. See you around, Harry."

"Yeah, see you."

It's not that I don't understand what Harry's going through. And it's not that I'm a spoiled and selfish person that I must have what I want and not consider anyone else's feelings. I know what the circumstances are, and I know how serious the situation is, and I know that Harry means well…but accepting all of that doesn't change the way I feel inside. I can act nonchalant around Harry, and pretend that I'm abiding by his wishes perfectly well. I can lie to Hermione's face and tell her I'm fine and dealing with it. I can smile and say that it doesn't hurt as much as one would think because it was short lived and the end wasn't unexpected. But the truth – the God honest truth – is that it hurts more than one could ever find words to describe.

Sure, it was short lived…but that doesn't count when you've finally gotten the one thing you've longed for with your whole heart for the longest of time. It hurts just as bad or maybe even worse because it lasted such a short time.

But there's nothing I can do. I can't force Harry to change his point of view. I can't make him feel like he's not endangering my life. But I do know, and perhaps it's partly a satisfaction to me, that he still feels the same way about me. I can see it in the way he acts around me, and the stolen glances he's thrown at me. He doesn't try to hide it, or maybe he just doesn't realize how obvious it is. Maybe it's cruel of me to try to hide how I feel. I might come off to him as cold and distant…but what else can I do? I suppose some very small part of me does resent him for doing this to us, but it's not just that. I do this because it's what he wants. I do it because maybe in the end it'll get easier to carry around these feelings that weigh as much as the whole world.

It feels like a crazy circle of déjà vu. It wasn't that long ago that I had to pretend not to have feelings for Harry anymore. Only months after having been nearly killed by Tom Riddle, I'd promised to myself to not be so obsessive about Harry. I sort of realized how silly I was being. Hermione and I were now on our way to becoming the great friends we are now…and I must say her advice helped a lot.

Funny thing how Hermione always seem to give some great advice to others about their relationships, yet somehow she can't pull her own love life together. I can't completely blame the poor girl however; after all she is head over heels in love with my daft brother. But that's beside the point.

Sometimes I ask myself whether I would've had the guts ever to talk to Harry had she never told me to relax around him. Of course the fact that I felt these feelings for him, which he seemed completely oblivious to (he'd obviously been around Ron for too long), was utterly frustrating. The fact that I couldn't even walk by him without my whole body tensing up was mortifying. Perhaps it was disappointment more than anything else that made me finally feel like giving up on a feeling I believed would never be reciprocated.

And while I became more easy-going around him, and had shown no interest in him for the longest of time, I knew those feelings were never gone. I knew it when I first heard Sirius Black had escaped Azkaban and was set to kill him and my stomach sank with worry. I knew it when his name flew out of the Goblet of Fire and he insisted he had not put it in. I felt it bubbling stronger inside of me when I found out he'd asked Cho Chang to the Yule Ball. I felt it as my face burned with red heat when Ron suggested he go to the ball with me. But most of all I felt it when Harry reappeared after the final task clutching Cedric Diggory's body. And as my skin crawled at the mere thought of all that could've happened that night, I knew then that those feelings were not quite yet extinguished.

"You can't fool me you know," says a voice somewhere behind me and I turn around to see Hermione standing there.

She's got a sympathetic look on her face and a smirk that lets me know that despite my assumptions Hermione's still too intuitive and smart to let anyone's lies get past her. Even if I wanted to reinforce my previous statements about doing just fine without Harry it's would be kind of hard, considering she just caught me spying on him from my bedroom window while he plays Quidditch with Ron out on the backyard.

I feel a blush creep up my cheeks as I steal one last glance at him. I turn towards Hermione and smile sheepishly. I don't know what made me want to keep it from her in the first place. Maybe it was the fact that it was hard to admit it to anyone, even to myself, that breaking up with Harry had been possibly the hardest thing I'd done up to date. I didn't want to be the kind of girl who curled up in bed for weeks, and didn't shower. I didn't want to fill up on sweets and junk food. I simply did not want to wallow; but above all I did not want anyone to know that I was hurting.

"You know, you don't have to hide things from me. I wouldn't tell anyone," Hermione says and takes a seat at the edge of my bed.

I let out a deep breath and stare down at Harry from my window. "I feel sort of stupid."

"Why?"

"Well, I feel almost as if…as if it had never happened…like maybe I imagined it all…like it was too good to be true…or too good to last…"

"That's not true," Hermione replies and I look at her and give her a faint smile as I sit on my bed across from her.

"I know it's not. But then other times I feel selfish…why can't I let go and get on with my life?"

Hermione remains quite and I can feel her eyes on me as I trace a flower imprinted on my bed cover with my finger.

"Then there are times when I think...the only thing holding me together is some distant hope buried inside my mind that once it's all over we can pick things up where we left off…but then I think…what if…what if we can't…"

I chew on my lower lip and squint at the sunlight coming through my window as I look up at it and Hermione reaches across the bed and pats my hand.

"There's not much I can say, Gin, because I know no matter what I do say these thoughts won't stop tormenting you. I have great hope that everything will work out in the end, and all I can do is offer my support…you know I'm here if you need to talk…"

I smile weakly at her as I try to swallow through a knot in my throat. It's not that I'm afraid to be emotional or that I'm afraid of crying in front of someone. It's just that I feel as though if I let myself cry one tear an avalanche of emotions will follow that I will not be able to contain and then who knows what might happen. I might actually become the wallowing girl eating fizzing whizbees by the dozen, tucked in my bed wearing my dirty pajamas for a week.

"I'll be in the kitchen helping your mum with dinner if you need me," she says and after giving my hand a squeeze she exits.

I inhale deeply and try to think of other things. Bill's wedding to Fleur….and how Harry will look in his formal robes. Going back to Hogwarts…and the fact that Harry won't be there. Quidditch…and how Harry's the best seeker since Charlie. How much I dislike Fleur…and how she keeps bringing up quite loudly how cute Harry and I looked together and how it's so sad we broke up…

There isn't any thing in my life that I cannot relate back to Harry. I could probably be talking about my dad's underpants and somehow I'd find a way to fit Harry into the topic.

Maybe there's really no hope for me. Maybe I should really just crawl into bed and have a good cry. But now I'm lying back on my bed staring at the ceiling and no tears are coming out. I wish I'd known having Harry around in our house after the break up would be this hard.

It's Saturday nightand the Delacours have booked the most beautiful hall in London to hold the rehearsal dinner. The room is almost as big as the great hall, with the exception that it is round. But the ceilings go on for miles, and is lit by thousands…maybe millions of fireflies. Candles hover randomly in the air over several round tables covered with white and off-white colored table cloths. There is a very golden color to the room and I can almost bet all of my parents' life savings that Fleur had requested it to be decorated that way, because it would match with the décor of the actual wedding.

I've never seen what the point of a rehearsal wedding is…except to show off that you have enough money to actually host one... which the Delacours most definitely had. I swear, if they didn't like Bill I don't think they would even dare think of accepting a relationship between him and Phlegm.

Gabrielle resembles her sister greatly, but more in looks than in personality. She actually seems more on the shy side. I could tell when Fleur introduced her to Harry and the poor girl began to blush furiously, practically hiding her head under her arm like an owl to hide her embarrassment. I felt a small smile creep up my lips because she reminds me greatly of myself at her age.

After a few hours of dining and chattering, I sit silently listening to conversations of the others at the table at which I sit at. I turn my head and watch the center of the room where Bill has just begun dancing with Fleur. Who would've ever thought that in a million years my brother and one of the champions from the Triwizard tournament, possibly the most irritating girl I'd ever met, would ever end up getting married?

Then again maybe it's not that hard to believe. They seem to fit together so perfectly as I watch them move together to the slow rhythm of the music, with her head tucked under his chin and his gaze lost and dreamy, his mind wandering off somewhere in daydreams of the following day.

"Hey, Ginny, are you busy?"

I feel as though I'm about to choke on my heart as I hear Harry's voice above me. I look up and he's standing beside my chair looking down at me, his hands in the pockets of his black slacks.

I look around the table and no one seems to really notice as they are deep in conversation.

"No. Why?" I reply.

"I was wondering if you'd like to dance with me."

My heart is fluttering wildly inside of me and I'm not sure if I even nodded a reply, but all I know that my feet are pushing me up and that my hand is in his. I can feel the heat rising to my head from my neck up, and I feel as though suddenly all eyes in the room are on me and Harry; though when I look around I know they're not.

My knees feel like jelly as I walk to the center of the room guided by Harry's hand. He smiles, almost shyly, as he places one hand on my waist and we begin to move. I look through his spectacles and into his eyes and realize that this is the first time Harry and I have ever danced. Then suddenly I'm living a long forgotten daydream, in which Harry would come up to me and ask me to be his date for the Yule ball. I had always known he wouldn't, but I couldn't help holding on to the tiniest of hope that perhaps he might ask me for just one dance.

And here we are, twirling and swaying. I feel very stiff in his arms perhaps because I am so tense. I had never seen this coming, and don't know why I hadn't expected it more. For someone who so dearly wants to stay away from me to keep me safe he sure keeps coming up with excuses to be near me.

But naturally, I'm just getting my hopes up. Naturally he's not going to cut off all connections to me and ignore me for the rest of his life. It's not that he wants to get back together; it's just that he's trying to make it as comfortable as possible.

His face is so close to mine, I can almost feel his breath, and it makes me wonder…what would he do if I suddenly planted one on him? Perhaps he would never want to speak to me again. Or maybe he'd be too stunned to react. Maybe the whole room would freeze only to watch how he pushes me away. But for one last kiss, perhaps the humiliation would be worth it.

Quite like the first time we ever kissed. All I can remember is that I floated for days and days. I hardly knew where or who I was. I just knew Harry Potter had kissed me, and it had been the most passionate, exhilarating, best kiss I'd ever had. The past four years had been erased. Every single day, hour, minute, and second waiting had not been lost. It had all been worth it…just for that kiss.

"Why'd you ask me to dance?" I ask looking him in the eyes once more.

He shrugs. "I don't know. It seemed like the right time."

There were a few seconds of silence and then he asks, "Why did you accept?"

And after a moment of thinking I have my answer, which in comparison to his is honest and blunt. "Because I wasn't the one who broke up with you."

I'm standing in front of the mirror wearing my pale gold bridesmaid's dress. The sunlight is pouring in through the window, and somehow I think I might be more nervous than the bride herself. Then again, I'm not running up and down the place in my wedding gown ranting and raving, and shouting, and crying, and laughing. As a matter of fact, Fleur might've finally lost all her marbles. She's not nervous, she's a mental wreck. But I have to admit she does look gorgeous.

And I suppose I don't look half bad as I sneak a peak in the mirror once more. Mrs. Delacour suddenly sticks her head in the room and urges me to get ready because the wedding will start soon. I nod politely and quickly rush to find Hermione who is in the room next door. She helps me to Apparate (seeing as I'm not old enough to Apparate on my own yet) on the grounds outside of the very chic French Inn that Mrs. Delacour and Fleur picked out for the wedding.

There are white chairs assembled in the middle or the immense backyard and there are white and pink rose arrangements decorating the whole space. They've even stuck roses in trees that have never even known what a rose is. There is an arch at the very far end of the backyard, white with green vines full of pink roses wrapped around it. There is a golden sunset on the horizon that just makes everything seem to fit perfectly.

The invited guests, relatives and friends, seem to all have arrived. There is a lively chatter and not one soul seems to be gloomy today. There is a twinge inside of me and I feel a great nostalgia come over me…and then I spot Harry across the yard finishing off the last bit of his soda. He suddenly looks up and his eyes catch mine. He seems to hesitate for a moment and I'm dying to know what exactly is going through his mind. He stands up straighter, looks around then back at me. I wave at a couple of guests as I pass by and take my place behind Gabrielle at the end of the long white carpet covered in red and pink rose petals.

He makes his way towards his seat glancing back every so often and I find myself staring at my shoes a lot of the time. I'm ecstatic at his reaction. Part of me wants to steal the moment by yelling "I'm right here, Harry! Nothing's stopping you!" Then I'd snog him 'til morning came with the crowd of people cheering around us…and a possibly very infuriated, weeping Fleur. But the other part…the part that's winning…is saying "Let it go, Ginny, just let it go."

The wedding ceremony is beautiful beyond words. Watching my brother up there, promising his undying love, devotion and respect to Fleur is incredibly inspiring. It has me shedding tears. Then again, I have been incredibly emotional these past few days. And for the second time ever, Fleur seems human, almost humble, as she professes her love for Bill in front of all of us. And for a moment I find myself pulling petals off the corsage on my wrist. For a moment it seems like I'm standing alone once again. Everyone seems to have someone. Bill and Fleur have each other. Mom and dad naturally, then there's Hagrid and Madame Maxine, Tonks and Remus…even Ron and Hermione have each other in their own strange unspoken terms…and here I am…knowing I could have it all but once more just sitting on the sidelines waiting for a sign. How long would this last? The last time I waited it turned into a wait of four years…am I really going to sit around for another four years or longer waiting for something to happen?

I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as everyone began to applaud for the bride and groom, the new Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Why could everyone else have what they want but not me? Why do I always have to be the one bending by someone else's rules? Why was I so willing to spend the rest of my life waiting for Harry to make a move once more?

The sun has set and the stars are out now. Aunty Muriel and Dad are dancing…and it's just better not to watch. I'm afraid I might end up making a face that might resemble Fleur's too much…who by the way seems too enthralled by the fact that she is now Mrs. Fleur Weasley to care. Ron has asked Hermione to dance, and he seems really awkward but Hermione's just sitting on cloud nine. I walk away from the wedding cake table and make my rounds when I notice Harry sitting not too far away by the edge of the lake, on a spot lit only by the moon and where the music and laughter seem to come from next door.

Without hesitation, I walk towards him. He's throwing small pebbles into the lake and mumbling the words of the song under his breath.

"Hey," I say now that I'm standing next to him. He looks up, almost startled and I give him a small smile.

"Hey," he replies.

I take a seat next to him and feel the hairs on my arms stand on end as I catch a whiff if his scent.

"Why are you here…all by yourself?" I ask watching as he feels through a small patch of grass looking for more pebbles.

"Just wanted to be by myself for a few seconds."

I remain silent for a moment until his comment suddenly has meaning.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…I just wanted to see if you were okay."

He laughs and looks straight at me for the first time since our exchange of glances at the beginning of the ceremony. "I didn't say you had to leave. I could use some company now."

I smile and he turns to stare at the lake once more. He flicks another pebble into the pond and I'm beginning to feel uncomfortable because now I'm not so sure he really wanted me there or simply felt bad for me.

"You look…absolutely stunning tonight," he says suddenly breaking the silence.

His words catch me by surprise and I'm left at a blank on what to say. My heart is hammering hard against my chest and I feel as though I've forgotten how to breathe. My head spins for a second and then I catch myself.

"Thanks, you look pretty dashing yourself."

He goes quiet and he presses his brow against his knee while he looks for another pebble. His eyebrows furrow and there are faint lines on his forehead. His mouth forms a straight line and he seems lost in his thoughts as he so often does lately.

But before I can ask him what's on his mind he says, "I'm really, really sorry that everything's so difficult."

I frown even thought I know exactly what he means. "What are you talking about?"

"Us…them…everyone and everything…"

He glances at me for a second and lets out a deep breath. He stretches his legs in front of him and continues.

"Tonight when I saw you walk down that isle, I thought to myself 'there goes the most beautiful girl I've ever seen and yet I can't even offer a teaspoon of what she wants from me' and this enormous feeling of deception crept over me…I let you down and there isn't much I can do to fix that…in fact there is nothing I can do to patch things up between us…everything feels so forced and fake and uncomfortable…"

I swallow hard and realize that it seems as though Harry has had this on his mind for longer than just a few minutes, or even a day, the way he's talking.

"What do you mean you can't offer what I want from you?" I ask turning more towards him so I can look at his whole face.

He sighs. "I'm seventeen now…whatever little bit of protection I had is gone now. If I can't protect myself I most definitely can't protect you. I hate the fact that I can't be with you because you might get hurt…and I hate the fact that I'm so miserable without you…and I hate that I can't get over it the more I try… and I hate that every time I look at you I become selfish and I want to forget about all the reasons in the world why we can't be together…"

"And do you suppose I'm loving it?" I reply, my tone more sardonic than I intend it to be.

"No, I don't…"

"Harry, I never asked for anything," I say. "No, wait, I'm sorry, I did ask for one thing…your affection. That is all I've ever wanted. Four years I waited for you…whether you were with Cho or I was with Dean…I've always been waiting…and you know what? I'm pathetic enough to wait for you another four years….as a matter of fact I'd wait one hundred years if I have to…"

He looks up and our eyes meet. I almost lose track of what I'm saying to him. He suddenly seems a lot closer though we haven't moved at all. I swallow once more and continue to speak.

"The reason we're not together is not because someone might harm me to get to you…we're not together because of i your /i fear that someone might harm me…and I completely understand that you're afraid, Harry…because I too have been afraid. I was afraid in the Chamber of Secrets, I was afraid of Sirius Black, I was afraid of the Triwizard Tournament, I was afraid in the Department of Mysteries and I was terrified at Hogwarts just a few months ago and yet there is nothing i I /i can do to protect i you /i …there never has been…

"However, I've been there with you no matter in what manner…all I've wanted was to be with you...even if that meant battling Death Eaters at the Ministry of Magic by your side…I've wanted to be a part of your life for so long and I've wanted you to acknowledge me…and now you shut me out completely simply because you're afraid…"

He's silent and I don't know if he likes what I'm saying one bit, but I know it's time I let him know. There's no use tormenting myself any longer. As far as we've come...I might as well let him know all of it.

"Don't you know, Harry, that I don't care what happens in the end? Don't you know that I rather a few short moments with you than an eternity without you? I don't care what happens…I can't tell you what will happen and I can't guarantee that Voldemort won't come after me or you or anyone else…and I can't promise we'll be safe... I can't promise i anyone /i is safe…all I can promise is to be by your side no matter what happens, whether it's a wedding or a battle …and I promise that I'll love you, Harry, whether I'm alive or dead and whether you're here or not…"

My words trail away and I stop talking. I can feel the color rush to my cheeks and I know that even the slight darkness that surrounds us can not hide the fact that I'm blushing as scarlet as a person can get. He's looking at me almost in awe, motionless.

I take a deep breath and regain my courage. I get over my initial shock, take his hand in mine and say, "I love you, Harry Potter, whether you decide to accept it or ignore it...and you can't change that."

Harry stares back a couple of seconds, and then without any warning at all he pulls my face closer to his and kisses me.

Years of frustration, months of resentment, and mere seconds of surprise all melt away and I feel as if a great load has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel light…so light in fact that I'm afraid I might float away.

He pulls away, cups my face in his hands and says, "Oh God, Ginny, I love you too."

My skin crawls with excitement and I smile stupidly before Harry pulls me in for another kiss. I feel him wrap his arms around my waist and hold me close, tight; as if afraid I'll run away. I reciprocate the embrace and I know he knows I never want to lose him again…

He's seventeen now. He's a man now…and by the way he holds me I know he's grown. Yet when I kiss him all I can feel is all that I've felt for him for the past five years…all the way back to when he was just a boy of twelve. But he's mature now and I know he knows that I meant all I said. I'm only sixteen but I know he meant it when he said he loved me…and I know he means it when he says he never wants to let go.