Please Don't Stop the Rain
Harry rolled off the couch, the smell of burnt toast filling his nose. "Wha—George?" He coughed for a moment, trying to will himself awake. "George…" It was no use—he was still too drunk to function.
"Easy mate," George said, walking in with a plate. "Toast?"
Harry retched. "No—I'm good. What the hell?"
"You came back and got plastered after dinner. You…er… remember what happened?"
"Ginny said no. And we…argued."
"Putting it lightly."
"I need to talk to her."
"Not like this, you don't," George said, helping him back onto the couch. "Assuming she could get past the smell of Firewhiskey, I doubt you'd be coherent enough to make a strong case."
Harry nodded. Even in his hungover state, he could appreciate the wisdom in George's words. He took a sip of water just as an owl flew through the window. It was from Ginny.
"I'll give you some privacy," George said. "If you need me, I'll be in the library."
"Thanks, George," Harry said, opening the note. With a deep breath, he read:
I know you probably hate me right now. I don't blame you. I wish it had been different—I wish you'd asked me in private. As it is, you didn't. I need you to understand why I can't marry you. You asked me last night for one good reason for my 'No'. I'll do better than that—I'll give you seven.
First, you know bloody well we don't fit together. You need someone who you'll be able to relax with—someone you match. You need someone you can fight with and not come out of it wanting to kill them.
Second, you're my mother's son, and you know it. If you hadn't needed the Dursley's to stay alive and off the Death Eaters' radar, my parents would've adopted you. This would be a little too incestuous for my tastes.
Third, I need to be able to not worry. I know you, and just because Voldemort's gone doesn't mean you're going to stop being you. You're going to be an Auror, and do great things. But after this war, I need to know that my husband is going to come home every day, and in one piece. I know that's selfish, but it's what I need.
Fourth, I'm not an eleven year old anymore. I'm not in love with you.
Fifth, you're not in love with you anymore. You have scars from this war that you need to deal with before you can be comfortable with yourself, and comfortable with someone else.
Sixth, I've found someone else. Someone who's right for me.
Seventh, and this is the most important, I need to be needed and loved for who I am. I don't want to be the logical next step in your life. That's not fair.
I'm sorry if you think this is selfish. Maybe it is. But I can't bond myself to you for the rest of my life, and not think of my life as part of the equation. I hope one day you'll be able to forgive me.
Harry placed the letter on the table, shaking slightly. He grabbed a pen and some parchment from his desk and wrote two words….
Harry walked into the Ministry, hell bent on getting a job. ANYTHING to take his mind off the previous weekend. "Good morning," he said to the receptionist. "Harry Potter, here to see Minister Shaklebolt."
"Indeed," the tiny wizard said. "He's expecting you. Go on up."
Ascending the stairs, Harry felt his nerves dissipate. He'd already talked to Kingsley about what he wanted to do. This would just make it official. "Kingsley," he said, smiling.
"Morning, Harry," Kingsley said. "Please, sit down."
After he'd taken a seat, Harry said, "You know what I want to do."
"And the entire Auror department will be happy to have you. I have a proposal for you. For the first few months, you'll be out of the field. You'll work on training new recruits, and looking at our system—the better to redesign it. When you're sure you can handle it, we'll put you back in the field. What say you?"
"Sounds fantastic, Kingsley," Harry said, smiling for the first time since The Letter.
"Then, I suggest we take a tour of your new home."