His stomach growled loudly, snapping him out of his daydream. The sandwich Kreacher had brought him seemed so long ago.
Harry sighed, and rolled out of bed, snatching up his Invisibility Cloak and his wand. He wanted to go down to the kitchens, and then…he needed to find Ginny.
The Battle of Hogwarts had ended almost twelve hours ago, and Harry had been asleep for at least ten. He had woken up, called Kreacher, eaten his sandwich and tried uselessly to fall back asleep.
Since that hadn't been working very well, he'd been reliving all the memories he had of he and Ginny from their brief time dating.
Harry didn't linger in the kitchen – he remembered Dobby greeting him and being so happy and so…alive. He really missed that elf – Harry felt as though he had almost taken Dobby for granted when he was here.
He snuck back into the common room; he knew it would be deserted because most people were still downstairs, consoling each other or celebrating or sending frantic owls to their family members to let them know the battle was over, they were alive, and asking for news of other family members.
"Harry," came a soft voice behind him. Turning slowly, he saw Hermione and Ron standing in front of the fire, watching him. Harry had a twinge of happiness to see Ron's arm wrapped around Hermione's waist. Finally, his best friends were where they should be, where they should have been since about fourth year.
Hermione stepped forward. "How are you?" She asked tentatively. Harry shrugged, not really sure. He missed everyone desperately, and he was trying greatly to ignore the guilt he knew was going to creep up on him later, but at the same time he was strangely numb.
"I'm just going to go upstairs for a bit longer. Then…I have to go find…someone," he trailed off, not wanting to meet their understanding eyes.
"Ginny," Ron said from behind Hermione. Harry nodded, still not looking him in the eye. He could only wonder what Ron's feelings about he and Ginny might be now, after everything that had happened, and everything he had inadvertently put her through. And Ron was the youngest brother. There were still five others to go through. Four now, Harry remembered with a painful twinge.
"She's upstairs in your dorm," Hermione said quietly. Harry looked at her in shock. She gave him a small smile. "She went up there about half an hour ago, looking for you. And she hasn't come back down."
Harry looked over her shoulder to Ron, making sure it was okay with him that he at least go upstairs to talk to Ginny without anyone around. Ron nodded, and also gave Harry a smile.
Butterflies tormenting his stomach, Harry turned and slowly climbed the stairs to the boys' dorm, dreading what kind of mood Ginny must be in. She had just lost a brother, something any sane person would blame him for, and they had all been through an emotionally and physically exhausting ordeal.
Slowly, he pushed the door open, his eyes scanning the room for a flash of red.
There it was – on his bed.
Ginny was asleep, her hair fanned across his pillow. She lay on her side facing him, and he smiled to himself – it felt strange, smiling again already. The muscles in his face felt awkward.
She looked so perfect, just laying there like an angel, like nothing was wrong, horribly wrong, in her world and like she had never known any pain or hurt. His heart ached to realize that he was the cause of so much of her heartache, directly or indirectly.
Unwilling to wake her, he crept over to the bed and silently kicked off his shoes. Praying that none of her brothers would come in, he crawled into bed next to her, draping his arm across her waist and pulling her closer to him. Harry was content to just study her face while she slept, taking in every little detail that he hadn't really seen in over a year. He counted the freckles dotting her nose and cheeks, and tried not to laugh when she wrinkled her nose in her sleep. Her features became slightly fuzzy when he removed his glasses and set them on his nightstand.
Sighing, Harry closed his eyes and pressed his forehead lightly against hers before opening them again. When she woke, she more than likely would shove him away from her before yelling at him and hitting him with her Bat-Bogey Hex. He deserved it, but at the moment, he was determined to enjoy the feel of her in his arms again before everything imploded.
I love her, he thought sleepily. And I have to find a way to tell her, even if she hates me.
Ginny woke to the feel of breath on her forehead and a pressure on her waist. Slowly opening her eyes, she saw Harry lying inches from her, a small smile playing at his lips as he slept. Ginny couldn't stop herself from smiling as well – he looked so peaceful and content. She also couldn't stop the hand that reached up and brushed a few strands of hair off his forehead, tracing over the scar there and down his jawline.
Harry stirred and slowly opened his eyes. Still smiling, Ginny reached over him to the nightstand and grabbed his glasses, placing them tenderly on his face.
"Hi," she said softly.
Harry didn't say anything – he just looked at her. After a few moments, she felt herself turning red, and she noticed that Harry's eyes – green as a fresh pickled toad, she remembered fondly – had taken a more serious look, like he was bracing himself for something.
"Gin…" he said softly, then stopped, not quite knowing what to say to her.
"Oh, no you don't, Harry Potter." Ginny sat up abruptly, Harry's arm falling from her waist. "Don't even start." Harry flopped back down onto the pillow and scrubbed his hands over his face.
"I'm so sorry Ginny," he murmured. She leapt up from the bed and stood in front of him, hands on her hips. He was scared to look at her.
"What for?" She asked impatiently.
Slowly, he sat up and, swung his legs around, bracing his hands on the side of the bed so he was facing her – except he couldn't bring himself to look her in the eye. He sighed and Ginny waited impatiently.
"This whole thing…" he trailed off. "Everyone…" He was silent for a long moment.
"Harry?" Ginny asked softly, moving so she was standing in between his legs.
"For the last seven years," he began slowly, "my life has been about fighting Voldemort, bringing him down so I could make this world better for everyone." His head dropped until his forehead was resting on her stomach. Tentatively, her arms wrapped around him, cradling his head. His arms wound their way around her waist.
"Now that he's gone, I'm more aware of everyone else that's gone too – my parents, Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Dumbledore, Colin, Dobby, Hedwig, Cedric, Mad-Eye…Fred." Ginny felt a tear roll down her cheek at the mention of the brother whose death she had yet to fully acknowledge or accept.
Harry lifted his head to look at her, and she was surprised to see tears running quickly down his face.
"It's my fault they're gone, Gin. It's all my fault. You've lost a brother and so many friends because of me. I don't know how you can even look at me." His head dropped into his hands and his shoulders shook.
Ginny loved Harry, but she wasn't about to sit around and let him wallow in his self-pity and blame himself for something completely beyond his control.
A small wave of anger washed over her. She reached forward and grasped his face in her hands, tilting it up to face her.
"Now you listen to me, Harry James Potter," she said fiercely. "This is not your fault. You cannot keep blaming yourself for everything. Did you ask Voldemort to come after you? No – he did that because hechose it, because he was a lunatic. You told me your parents said they were proud of you. How could they not be? They loved you so much, as did Sirius and Remus and Dumbledore and Dobby and F-Fred. Do you honestly think any of them hold you accountable? I know for a fact that no-one in my family does. They love you, they see you as a brother and son.
"You can't let this guilt continue, Harry. It will eat you alive from the inside out. Voldemort is gone, Harry, he's gone. You have to move forward. Teddy needs you. Ron and Hermione need you. My entire family needs you. And…and I need you too." Ginny stopped talking, her chest heaving slightly. Harry was staring at her, his emerald eyes wide.
They were silent for a few moments, staring at each other. Harry couldn't believe the amount of passion Ginny had just shown him. He knew she had it in her of course, but he hadn't expected to see it again so soon, and not directed at him.
That seemed to rouse her.
"And you said your entire life has been about fighting Voldemort, and I know you aren't going to know what to do with yourself now that he's gone.
"Well, I know. And I'll tell you. You are going to become an Auror, and you're going to be brilliant. You will help my family deal with Fred's death. You are going to be best man when Ron marries Hermione." Harry cracked a smile at that, and Ginny continued, hesitating slightly, "And you are going to marry me and we are going to have a beautiful family. That is…if you want to," she muttered, her cheeks burning.
The weight that had been pressing on Harry's chest for the last few hours seemed to be lessening. She didn't hate him, didn't want to hex him or blame him for anything. Not for the first time, Harry wondered how he had gotten so lucky as to have Ginny Weasley love him.
He reached up and wrapped his arms around her again, pulling her closer to him and pressing his forehead to her stomach. He could feel her smile.
Slowly, hesitantly, Ginny bent down and brushed the hair off his forehead again, softly pressing her lips to the lightening scar. His arms tightened, and he lifted his head.
"I love you," she murmured, searching his eyes.
"Thank Merlin," he whispered in return before his lips met hers.
This is the Harry/Ginny one-shot from the poll that used to be on my profile. It has been sitting on my computer for about a month now, but I wanted to wait to post it. I'm not sure how much I like it. Do you like it? Review and tell me, please!
Please don't favorite without leaving me a review telling me why :)