Everything inside of him was starting to numb away... grow colder and colder until Harry could barely stand it. Perhaps this was it. Perhaps Voldemort was right. Perhaps Harry really had let at least 50 people die at the cruel cold hands of Death Eaters, only to have him give himself up in the end? But it sounded so horribe when put that way... he knew this was what had to be done. It must be done... because once it was, everything would go back to normal...wouldn't it?

He walked past a large group of people huddled together that he recognized to be the Weasleys. They were crouched around Fred's body, which was slowly but surely losing the color and warmth that had been part of Fred's every exsistence. Mrs. Weasley was beside herself with greif, Harry could tell that Mr. Weasley was just barely repressing losing it altogether, and Ron was silently crying, Hermione's face pressed into his shoulder comfortingly.

Of course, Harry couldn't help but notice Ginny... his one, his only. Ginny. She was crying openly, like Mrs. Weasley. Harry couldn't help but notice that she was beautiful even when she was crying. Barely even concious, he reached forward and gently wrapped his hand around her forearm. She looked up, her cinnamon brown eyes bleak and weary.

"Harry," she whispered. But that seemed to be the end of that sentence.

"Ginny," he said firmly. "I need you to come over here for a moment...I need to tell you something."

Ginny slowly but surely got up out of her practically-fetal-position on the ground and, brushing off the rubble from her robes and following him around the stone corner. It was the last thing Harry felt like doing: telling Ginny the complicated reasonings behind this mad decision. But he felt like it was her right to know, and his responsibility to tell her.

"Ginny, listen to me," he began slowly. "Whatever happens, I want you to know that I care for you deeply... I love you."

"I love you too," she said, squeezing his hand. "But I--"

"No, no," said Harry quickly, cutting her off. "You must let me finish, please." Ginny recoiled slightly, but was not hurt.

"Ginny, I should have told you a long time ago, but you have to understand that I did this for your safety," said Harry slowly. Ginny's eyes narrowed slightly, a frown etching her brow.

"A long time ago, Voldemort split his soul into seven different pieces called Horcruxes," explained Harry. "Each horcrux had a bit of his soul in it. The horcruxes could have been anything from an old tea rag to an ocean liner, but Voldemort chose prized possesions, mostly from the four Hogwarts house founders. It's an extremely long story, Ginny, that I don't have time to explain in full to you now, but we managed to destroy all of the horcruxes, which means that we can finally destroy Voldemort. It's the only way he can be killed."

Ginny's face brightened. "So... so Voldemort can be killed now?" she asked excitedly. Harry shook his head, fighting away tears.

"No, Ginny. You see, during our travels--me, Ron and Hermione-- I discovered what the final horcrux was."

Harry's green eyes met her brown ones, and he held her hands tightly.

"What was it?" she asked quietly. Harry blinked slowly, took a deep breath and spoke.


Ginny's eyes widened and she pulled back, pressing against the stone wall, her face etched with horror.

"What?" she breathed. "What...I mean... how?!"

"When Voldemort tried to kill me," Harry explained. "My mum's protective charm forced the spell to backfire, and since Voldemort was such a cruel man--trying to murder not only a mother, but her infant as well--his soul was split apart, and part of that soul went into me. That's why I can speak Parseltongue."

Harry would have expected any other girl to break down into hysterical sobs, shaking the front of his robes and exclaiming, "No! How could you do this to me? It's not possible!" But instead, Ginny, although she still looked quite frightened, remained relatively calm.

"So... what does this mean?" she asked quietly. Harry took a deep breath.

"It means...I've got to let him kill me. It's the only way I can finally defeat him. Once Neville kills off Nagini--another one of his horcruxes--Voldemort will be gone for good."

Ginny didn't nod, in fact she barely blinked, but she stared at the floor.

"You know, Harry," she said quietly. "It takes a brave person to do what you're about to do."

"I'm not any braver than the rest of you," said Harry, his cheeks burning. "Fred, Lupin, Tonks... the dead and the living: they all were brave. All I did was --"

"For once in your life, Harry, can't you accept that maybe you've done a bit more than the rest of us?" snapped Ginny. "You didn't 'just' do anything. You did a great deal. No 'if's', 'ands', or 'buts'. But that's not the point, Harry, the point is..." she trailed away, not really knowing what she had planned to say in the first place.

"Ginny, I don't want to do this...but I...I have to," said Harry, his voice cracking slightly.

"I know," said Ginny, her hand on his cheek. Harry flung his arms around her, wanting to drink in every last scent of her, everything about her to take into the fight with him. That his last living sensation be that of his arms around her, his hands in her hair, and his lips against hers.

"I love you," said Ginny. Harry felt his lips crash down upon hers, relishing the lovely feel of bliss in such a dismal situation. The kiss seemed to last for an eternity, and yet for only a few seconds. As they pulled apart, Harry ripped out of it particularly fast.

"It's too painful," he said softly. "I've got to do this. Now."

Ginny nodded firmly, but tears began to stream down her face.

"Don't cry," said Harry, feeling his own tears prick behind his eyes. "Please... Ginny..."

"How can you expect me not to cry?" she hissed at him. "How can you...?" Her voice broke off.

"I want to see you smile," said Harry. Ginny looked up at him, and gave him a small, shaky, watery smile. Harry grinned back at her.

"There," he said. "Before this is over, I'll see your smiling face. Your wet smiling face."

Ginny laughed, but it came out as a hiccup that reminded Harry unnervingly like that of Cho Chang. But this was quite different. He tried to picture himself kissing Cho Chang goodbye as he walked off to meet his doom, but he realized that he could not. Cho was beautiful, but she was empty. There was no depth to her. Ginny...oh...Ginny was everything.

Ginny was perfect.

"Give 'em hell, Harry."