Written for kentish_queen on Livejournal for her birthday :)
She found him under what he had once called their tree.
Harry was sitting cross legged in the grass, staring out at the lake in the early morning light, watching the ripples flit across its surface. Hearing her approach, he turned to face her, giving her a small smile before turning back towards the water to think about whatever was running through his mind. Ginny lowered herself to the ground beside him, resting her hand lightly on top of his.
She didn't know how long they had been sitting there in silence when Harry squeezed her fingers tight and blurted, "I'm sorry about Fred." Ginny nodded at his words, meeting his eyes. It still wasn't comprehensible to her, the idea of Fred being gone. Just days before he had been chasing her through their Auntie Muriel's house, firing tickling charms after her as she dodged them...
"So many people died yesterday. Fred, Snape, Lupin… me." he continued quietly. "I died yesterday."
Whispers had travelled through the Great Hall after Harry had disappeared from the room. According to Hagrid and the Malfoys, Harry had been hit with a killing curse in the forest and had dropped to the ground. She had seen it with her own eyes, Harry lying in Hagrid's arms, not moving. They had been the worst three minutes of her life; each second took hours to creep by, an endless black hole. The Carrow's cruciatus curse tingled in comparison to what she had felt seeing his still form.
"It didn't take."
"Never seems to. I'm not very good at it." He chuckled and smiled for a second before it disappeared back into a stone expression. "I shouldn't be laughing. It's terrible. The whole situation is horrible."
"Not completely. Horrible, that is." Harry's eyes widened at her words, "Voldemort is gone. Permanently. All thanks to you."
With his free hand, Harry raked his fingers through his long, messy hair and he turned back towards the water. "But at what cost? So many people are dead because it took so long. If we had gone to Godric's Hollow sooner… if we had just been a bit quicker sorting out the Horcruxes, maybe more people would still be alive."
"Or maybe more of them would be dead if you had acted sooner, unprepared. You can't live in a world of 'what ifs', you have to make do with the way that things worked out, which could have been much worse. You aren't the only one wondering how things could have turned out differently." Her thoughts had been muddled and racing since the end of the battle, trying to figure out where things could have taken a different path. What if she had insisted that Fred go down to the grounds with her? Would he still be alive, laughing with George and hexing Draco from across the Great Hall? What if her mother hadn't attacked Bellatrix? Would she still be alive, able to sit with Harry and hold his hand?
For a moment Ginny thought she saw Harry's eyes flicker to her before they resumed their position gazing out at the lake. Even more moments of companionable silence passed between them, only to be suddenly broken by Harry's whispered voice once more, "What if I hadn't broken up with you?"
"It wouldn't have mattered. I would have still been here while you were off, doing my own part, waiting for you to come back and need our help." There had been few other thoughts that had passed her mind, especially after she had left Hogwarts at Easter. Without the cause of the DA to throw herself into and other students to protect, she had found herself thinking of nothing else while she watched the Order work from the sidelines.
"But if I hadn't you would have known…" Harry trailed off, words hanging in the air, conclusion left unsaid as if he didn't know how to express himself fully.
"I knew," said Ginny, "Always did. I saw you watching me at The Burrow, at the wedding before the attack from across the dance floor. I saw the look in your eyes before Ron interrupted us on your birthday. You didn't want to stay away, but you made yourself somehow." She interlaced her fingers with him and squeezed them tight. "You love me. Just as I love you. Always have."
"I do." He grinned sheepishly. "Sorry it took me so long to figure out."
"It's alright. There are just some things you are rubbish at. Dying is one, girls are another. But you are catching on to the second one."
Looking back up towards the half standing castle in the distance, he said "I'm not ready to go back in there yet. Let's just stay out here awhile longer." Harry leaned back against the trunk of the tree, and closer his eyes, finally looking peaceful.
"As long as you like." Ginny slid closer to him, and nestled herself into his side, resting her head against his chest as his arms wrapped around her, smiling as she felt the lifting of his chest and heard his heart thumping loudly and couldn't help the thought that it was only for her.