Author's Notes: I think this is the end, sadly, but I really appreciate all the people who have followed this story. I also want to let you know I posted a new fic yesterday called "Special Prize Inside". Please check it out.
Confessions, the Last:
"Is he coming down?" Hermione whispered near Ginny's shoulder. She turned around to see her friend with a long cut over her right eye and some of her bushy brown hair singed, but altogether alive. Suddenly, all those non-life-threatening injuries seemed like the most beautiful sight in the world and she pulled the older girl into a hug.
"I don't know for sure. When I left, he was pretty sound asleep. I left a note saying I was down here in the Great Hall and that if he felt up to it, he should come have lunch with the family." She sighed, and moved some of her food around on her plate, "You know, he'd never say that he was too injured to do anything, but I have a feeling he'd call all the admirers lined up in here a pain."
Hermione giggled, "That sounds like Harry."
They stood chatting for a few minutes, but it was obvious that she was itching to go sit by Ron. Ginny noticed that as soon as they were within arm's distance of each-other, their hands swung out, fingers intertwined in a natural way. It was about time.
A lot of new couples had sprung up in the after-math of the war, like Neville and Hannah Abbot. She'd run up to him once he cut off Nagini's head, brown eyes wide with fear, and his Gryffindor courage had extended to asking her out on a date. Madam Pomphrey almost mistook his blush for burns; although she was too busy seeing other patients to fuss over him like usual.
It made Ginny realize that things like love and caring were true renewable resources. As much as her family was grieving from Fred's death, they would be able to survive by leaning on each-other for support. The world couldn't churn up endless death, but there was always the potential of new life.
Ginny was jerked from her thoughts by a brisk tapping noise- McGonogall's boots resounding on the marble floor. "Yes, Professor?" she asked hesitatingly.
"Have you seen Mr. Potter? I need to talk to him about the memorial service."
"No ma'am-," she began, but a gruff voice interrupted her. Ginny felt her heart pick up.
"Do they need my help for something?" Harry was shifting his weight from one foot to another, conscious of the many stares he was receiving. A gaggle of fifteen-year-old girls were trying to flirt from across the room, and Harry shot them an annoyed look before returning to address the new Headmistress, "Sorry… about that."
"It's no problem," McGonogall had a shadow of a smile on her face, "And I applaud you; You handled that very differently than your father would have." Harry flattened his hair nervously and she cleared her throat in an attempt to re-establish professionalism.
"As I was saying, the memorial service is this afternoon and the Minister has asked you to speak."
"Speak? In front of people?" Harry blanched.
"Amusing, Mr. Potter. I've been told by several members of the D.A. that you are not shy in front of crowds. Be ready by three." She walked off, long cloak trailing out behind her, before Harry could get in another word.
"I guess I'm giving a speech."
"It won't be that bad," Ginny said in a small voice, "I don't think it even has to be written out before hand, just say what you feel about the war, about the victims…."
"You make it sound as easy as talking to you or Hermione."
"It can be. You'll have a lot of friends in the audience." He had his hands stuck in the pockets of his jeans and was retaining a careful distance, probably for propriety's sake. Ginny decided that wouldn't do, especially since the giggling girls were still eyeing him speculatively.
She reached up on her tiptoes to give him a scalding kiss on the lips. He responded instinctively, pressing himself closer to her, and cupping her cheek in the palm of his hand. She could have sworn there were flashes going off behind her closed eye-lids, but when they broke apart, both gasping for breath, she realized they were the paparazzi taking pictures of them. Good. Now people all over England would know that he was taken. She leaned her head against his chest.
"Ah Gin, I think your family wants an explanation."
She hadn't been paying attention to them; All her senses were trained on Harry, and the way his green eyes sparked to life, like the Goblet of Fire, whenever he was around her… the delicious way his hair hung low over his forehead… how he touched his fingertips to hers, not controlling like Dean was, just a sign that he was there for her. It was only now that she recognized the danger.
Her mum already knew of course, and was smiling happily. Under normal circumstances George would have helped defend Harry against their other brothers, but he was looking so lost at the moment…. Ron was muttering under his breath to Hermione, something that sounded like, "Not again," and she was slapping him on the arm, so that corner was taken care of. That left Dad, Percy, and Bill, since Charlie was still in Romania.
"What, WHAT is this?" Bill cried, "Did you even give her any warning, Potter, before you…? gah…."
"Harry, I know I have been unfair to you recently, but just because I am repenting my actions, does not mean I will let a gross violation of my sister slide. I'm sure we can all agree that you should be a couple before you start kissing, and also that Ginevra is much too young to be dating in the first place." That came from Percy, of course. He was obviously uncomfortable, but trying to look distinguished and in control by playing with his glasses. First, he took them off just to stare at them at a distance, then he whipped out a spare piece of cloth to clean off smudges on the lenses.
Ginny wanted to smack everything from his hands, but Harry stopped her with a reassuring hand to the small of her back. Instead, she settled for yelling at her two idiot siblings, "You complete and utter prats! You have no idea what you're talking about."
"Yeah," Ron snorted, "They think Harry is your first boyfriend. I guess no one told them about Michael Corner and Dean Thomas."
"WHAT?" They repeated at Howler volume.
"Boys, boys," her mother cautioned, "Ginny is allowed to date. If I remember you both had girlfriends in school. Bill, you were barely thirteen at the time."
"So you're saying that this has been going on for a while, then?" His eyes were wild and bloodshot. Ginny suddenly feared for any of Bill's future daughters, who, being part veela, would probably get a lot of male attention that he couldn't stand.
"Harry and I started dating after the Quidditch final my fifth year," Ginny announced proudly. "I love him."
There were several rebuttals following this statement. Harry squeezed her hand reassuringly four times, I love you too.
Ron shifted in his seat. Giving his best mate a tired glance, he turned to face the two rampaging bulls, "Look, I thought it was weird too, but you haven't seen them together. Harry actually, like, loves her and stuff."
When this argument didn't seem to be working, he got more animated, "As long as we can't send her to a convent, she's going to end up with someone. I've heard blokes talking…. She's a bit too popular, you know? Isn't it better that she's dating Harry, someone we can trust at least?" Hermione gave him a peck on the cheek and he smiled goofily.
Bill was grumbling to himself. Fleur smoothed out his red hair and whispered encouragements in his ear. After a while, he stopped looking so pale and was able to manage a curt nod.
Percy, the prude, was stubbornly standing his ground, though after Ginny's glare shifted from him, to her wand, and back again, he took a few steps to the left and arranged himself so that Mum stood between him and his sister.
"Ah, Perce," she said, in a falsely sweet voice, "You know you just moved yourself closer to Harry. Now, I might not be as smart as you," the sarcasm was obvious, "but if you're too scared to duel with me, that what makes you think it's safer near my boyfriend, who just defeated Lord Voldy-shorts, huh?" She raised one eyebrow.
He gulped, "I-I-I…"
He slumped down, "Welcome to the family, Harry."
He grinned, uncertainly, "Right, thanks." Ginny was laughing inside.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley knew, Ron knew, Hermione knew, heck, even Bill probably knew that Harry would never raise his wand against someone that wasn't an enemy. But Percy had been absent for a couple of years now. With all the lies he believed about Harry, he didn't know; Ginny thought she could use that to her advantage for a while.
"Come on, Harry," she said, slyly, "I think I left my socks in your dormitory last night." And with that, she tugged him by the hand, out of the Great Hall, not even waiting to see her brothers' looks of surprise.
Author's Notes: Shout-outs to whispered touches, serenityselena, xIamwhoIamx, GoDons, Daniel White, Stephanie O, kiwifan13, Hp twiheart, and Duke Brymin.