The battle had escalated to its climax. On a hill in front of the lake at Hogwarts stood Harry, body riddled with many impairing curses from his long battle with Death Eaters. In front of him, some twenty feet away, stood his greatest nemesis, Lord Voldemort, who was laughing as Harry fought to stay conscious. Ron and Hermione stood behind him, fighting any stray curses that may be aimed towards Harry.
Harry's scar was also ailing him, causing him to struggle with wakefulness. Voldemort was feeling particularly happy about the outcome of the battle between his Death Eaters and the Aurors, Order, and older students of Hogwarts thus far. Many people have fallen for the side of light in this battle, and if things didn't end soon, Harry wasn't sure the right side would be winning this war.
In the haze of pain and confusion, he thought of the journey that they had been through. They had all lost so much. Ron had lost a brother, Hermione had lost her parents. Harry had lost a happy childhood, a loving home, and a happy life because of the bastard in front of him. It was time to end it… hopefully his resolve wouldn't fail him…
"Harry Potter," Voldemort seethed. "Just as the prophecy foretold. You and I face each other in the final battle to see how the wizarding world will be ruled from here on out." He sneered at Harry and chuckled softly. "It does seem very poetic in a way, doesn't it?"
"Voldemort…" Harry panted, "just…give up…you're not going….to…to win…" Harry shook his head, trying to dispel the darkness clouding his vision. The extra effort, however, caused him to grow very faint, and he sank down to a knee.
Voldemort shrieked a high pitch laugh as he watched Harry try to stay awake. Hermione, concerned that the wizarding world's worst enemy was laughing at a time like this, looked over her shoulder to see Harry kneeling on the ground.
"Harry?" she asked, breaking her concentration from the battle for only seconds. But it was long enough to miss guarding herself from a Death Eaters curse aimed directly at her. Blue light shone over her as she grimaced in pain and fell to the ground, eyes closed.
"HERMIONE!" Ron screamed, running to her and quickly putting a shield charm around them both. He gently laid her head in his lap, brushing the hair away from her forehead, and whispered desperately to her words that Harry couldn't hear.
Harry stared at his best friends' for a moment before the well-known feeling of anger welled up in him once again, fueling him with a great need. He turned back to Voldemort, stood, and raised his wand, ready to fight the final battle. That is, until he heard another voice behind him that made his eyes grow wide and his heart stop.
"Hermione! Ron, is she—"
Ginny. Ginny had seen her friend fall while battling at the bottom of the hill and ran to see if she was okay.
Harry quickly tried to regain his composure so Voldemort wouldn't see how Ginny's presence had affected him, but his blood ran cold as he saw the Dark Lord sneer in glee.
"Ah, young Miss Weasley. I believe I remember hearing that you two were quite the pair," he laughed maliciously. "So sad it had to end, I'm sure."
"She doesn't matter," Harry said softly, keeping the considerable ire at bay. He had to get the attention off of Ginny. He had to get her out of danger. But before he could think of any sort of plan to do such a thing, he watched Voldemort dawn a malevolent smile upon his face and raise his wand. It wasn't towards him, though. It was aimed right at Ginny.
"Then I suppose you won't mind if I
Before he had time to think, before Voldemort could get any more words out of his cruel mouth, Harry focused all of his energy, all his strength, and screamed, "INTERFICIO AMINO!"
The crowd below the hill grew silent when they heard Harry scream. Voldemort stopped dead in his tracks as the spell hit him. It seemed as though he were frozen, not a muscle in his body moving. Harry heard nothing but the panting of his breath and the mantra inside his head: 'Please let it work, please let it work…'
Finally, Voldemort moved. He exhaled a small puff of breath before inhaling and screaming into the sky. Harry's hands flew up to his scar, an abominable throbbing tearing through his head. He fell to his knees, wanting to shut out the light and sound of the world, but kept his eyes squinted open to watch Voldemort. Voldemort, too, had fallen to his knees, his hands atop his head as he continued to scream. From beneath his robes, a black mist began to rise. Harry was used to this by now, seeing the same thing happen with the horcruxes. But what he wasn't used to seeing was so much of the black mist. Enough of Voldemort's soul had risen from inside his body to shroud him entirely. His darkened spirit began to swirl around him quickly, Voldemort's screams of pain turning into screams of panic. The screaming grew louder and the swirling soul went faster, until suddenly the soul dissipated into thin air, and Voldemort was left lying on the ground, eyes wide open, staring into nothingness.
It was over. The battle for the safety of the wizarding world was over. Harry had done his part—he'd killed the biggest threat. Finally, it was over…
Harry turned around to look at the one person he'd wanted to be with for the past year. The simplest effort of turning, however, suddenly made him realize the tribulations his body had gone through and the complete lack of any sort of energy. The last thing he saw before the world turned black was Ginny's worried face.
Harry woke with a start, feeling the sweat drip down his forehead. He quickly glanced around him, looking for anything familiar: the soulless body of Voldemort, Ron hovering over Hermione, Ginny's face showing apprehension…but he found none. Instead, he found himself in a room with white sheets and curtains…Hospital wing, right.
He took a deep breath to calm his rapid heart and lay back once again in his crisp bed. He couldn't believe that he had actually done it. He'd finally beaten the bane of his existence. So much of his life had been dedicated to destroying this one person. He'd lost so much because of the Dark Lord. But now he could ponder of something he had never let himself think of before now: his future.
He smiled at this simple thought. The future. No longer did his thoughts on this topic start with what-ifs or sudden what-now's. He had the rest of his life ahead of him, and with his friends still alive and the money in his Gringott's vault now coming forefront to his mind, he could have whatever he wanted.
A small creak sounded from Harry's left, breaking him from his musings. He looked around to see a beautiful, young redheaded woman walking through his door slowly, trying to make little noise as not to disturb him.
Well, he thought idly, I suppose I can't have everything I want.
Ginny noticed that he had seen her, and opened the door further to walk in, head held high in what looked to be distain. The silence hurt made Harry feel very awkward in the moment that neither of them spoke, but simply looked—or in Ginny's case, glared—at each other.
When Harry felt that if he could not stand one more moment of silence, he started to speak. "Gin—"
"I came to see if Ron and Hermione were okay," she explained quickly. "They told me you hadn't waken yet."
"Thank you for—"
"I just wanted to see if the hero of the whole bloody wizarding world was still breathing," she hissed nastily. "What a tragedy it would be for the great Harry Potter to die in his final stand."
Harry gaped at her, unsure how to respond to her obvious hostility. "Ginny, I know you're angry with me—"
"Oh, picked up on that, did you? Well done," she scoffed and began to walk away from him towards the door.
"Ginny!" he pleaded. "Please—"
"No, no! I couldn't possibly!" she stated flippantly as she continued to walk out of Harry's life. "I wouldn't want to go throwing myself at you—"
"Please let me finish a sentence!" Harry hollered, his frustration finally boiling over.
She stopped her procession and quickly spun around to face him, crossing her arms. It was evident by the blush across her face that she was still very irate. "All right. Go ahead. What could you possibly have to say?"
And for the life of him, Harry couldn't think of a single thing to say to the girl.
"Well, erm…" he stammered, "the thing is… well… what I mean to say…"
"Very well spoken," Ginny mocked.
"Damn it, Ginny! This isn't easy!" he yelled, becoming quite angry with her as well. "I want to tell you I'm sorry, but you're making it impossible!"
She snorted an astonished laugh. "You're apologizing? Do tell, Harry, what exactly are you sorry for?"
His steam seemed to fade away and left him with embarrassment. He never was very good at apologizing. He searched for a moment for the right words to say, but Ginny misinterpreted his silence. "Precisely," she huffed. She turned towards the door again. Harry quickly stammered out the first thing that popped into his head.
"I'm sorry for saying you were throwing yourself at me!" Ginny clearly wasn't expecting that answer, and slowly turned around, eyes wide and mouth agape, complete and utter confusion taking the place of anger..
Harry saw her shock and took it as his cue to continue. "I, erm, I know you weren't. You would never throw yourself at anyone," he said, blushing. "You're far to elegant to do that."
"But I had to get away from you," he said quickly, "because I couldn't stop thinking about you. Not with how incredible you looked and close you were…" Ginny took tentative steps towards him. "And there was no way I could go on the mission if you and I were once again… a, um, a couple," he said into his hands, "because I would never want to be away from you again."
Ginny had finally reached the edge of his bed and softly placed her hand in his. "Why, Harry?" she asked, looking intently into his eyes. "Why couldn't you tell me all this before? Why are you telling me all this now?"
Again, Harry was at a lose for words, and since he seemed to have luck with saying what's on the tip of his tongue, he tried the tactic once more. He leaned in softly towards Ginny, and said softly, "Peace of mind?"
From the sudden backwards jerk from Ginny and her face once again flushed with anger, he concluded that he has said the wrong thing. "YOU!" she screamed. "ARE UN! BELIEVEABLE!" She was walking briskly towards the door again, and Harry had to do anything he could to stop her. He rose from his bed, "Ginny—"
"'Peace of mind!'" Her shrieks grew louder. "How could I have possibly—this is—you are such a—"
"Ginny, stop!" Harry pleaded weakly as he limped towards her retreating form.
"I swear by Merlin that you will never—!"
"GINNY, I LOVE YOU!"
He stopped her just in time. She had her hand on the handle of the door and was milliseconds away from yanking it open and leaving Harry Potter forever. But his declaration completely froze her in place.
Harry continued to hobble to her. "Peace of mind, because for the so many months you were what kept me going. Just the memory of you wanted me to win this war. I knew I had to destroy that bastard so that I could love you." He walked closer to Ginny, watching the rise and fall of her back as she breathed. "Don't you see? I couldn't do that. Not until he was gone, and nothing was in the way. Peace of mind, because you needed to know that no matter how dark the situation or how bad of a mood I was in, you were there, and things didn't look so sullen." He was directly behind her now, and placed his hand on her back. "You need to know that what I felt for you was what destroyed Voldemort. I never expect you to forgive me, but I needed to make you understand that I—"
But his statement was never finished, for Ginny had suddenly turned around and slammed him against the wall next to them. She pinned his arms to his sides like a vice grip with her own arms and held him there. Harry tried to escape before Ginny said with a mad gleam in her eyes, "I have six brother I can wrestle to the ground without even breaking a sweat, Harry. You're not getting out of this grip."
Harry stopped struggling. "Okay…" he quivered.
Ginny gave him a hard look into his fearful eyes for a moment. "You hurt me," she voiced quietly. Harry kept silent, letting her bear what she needed to say to him. "You never just broke up with me. You broke me." She took a wobbly deep breath and Harry saw tears start to form in her eyes. "That much hurt should not be forgiven. And I never thought I was going to forgive you again."
Harry's eyes widened with hope, "Thought?"
"But no matter how much it hurt," she continued as though she hadn't heard him, "I couldn't stop loving you." A lone tear ran down her cheek and Harry wanted nothing more than to wipe it away. "Merlin knows I've tried. That I wanted to move on and forget all about you… but I couldn't…"
"So…" Harry started lightly, "you, um… you love me?"
Harry dawned a wide smile on his face. He loved her and she loved him. They loved each other. This was incredible! It was the best feeling in the world!
But then, why was Ginny still crying?
"Ginny," he implored, "I'll do anything—"
"Next time you feel," she sniffed loudly over him, "that you need to go off on some ridiculous hero mission with your friends, you will not leave me behind. I do not care how dangerous it may be. I don't care what we are doing or who we are fighting. I will never be left behind to worry after you again. Is that understood?" she asked firmly.
"Never again," Harry spoke immediately, needing no time to think on it. "It's understood. Completely. Never again, I promise."
"Good," she breathed, finally letting go of her grip on him. "Because I don't think I can again put up with you being an egotistical, chauvinistic—"
Her rant was cut off by Harry's lips on hers, and for a moment she allowed their lips to move together in bliss…but only for a moment.
"—self-centered, big headed—"
Another soft kiss.
And another, more firm kiss.
"…prat," she finished.
Harry wrapped his arms around her waist and set his forehead against hers. "Got all that out of your system?" he asked her, smiling.
"Oh, well, you know," she said, smiling back at him wickedly, "peace of mind."