Author's notes: I apologize for the delay posting this chapter. I had some difficulty deciding how exactly I wanted to end this piece, and I'd love feedback if you found this ending satisfactory or if you think it needs more closure. Thanks to you all for reading and reviewing and favouriting this story. It was my first HP fic and I definitely learned a lot along the way. All my thanks go out to my fantastic beta, Arnel. I couldn't have ever finished this story without her. Enjoy! Addendum: I reposted this chapter because I realized I had posted the pre-beta version. There are only a few slight alterations, most especially with some grammatical issues.
Running pell-mell across the pitch, Ginny flung herself into Ron's arms, nearly knocking him to the ground when she reached him. He compensated by grasping her arms and steadying them.
"We won!" she shrieked over the din of the crowd, looking past his shoulder for Harry, who certainly should be there as well. "Where's Harry? He's coming too, right? He promised he'd try to make it."
Ron looked distinctly uncomfortable. "He won't be able to make it, Ginny, but don't worry, he's all right."
Ginny felt like her brother had just punched all the air out of her as her elation faded and was replaced by fear. Funny, she dully thought how similar the two emotions really were physically. Her heart still beat a tattoo against her chest, but her blood ran cold where moments before it had been hot. She felt the flush drain from her cheeks and if Ron hadn't been gripping her arms, she wasn't certain she'd still be standing. Ron being here without Harry could only mean one thing, something bad had happened and he was hurt – again.
"He's alright, Ginny," Ron assured her again before she could open her mouth. "He was treated at St. Mungo's and then discharged into Mum's care."
Ginny couldn't seem to grab onto a coherent thought. Her thoughts that had already been scattered seemed to have completely retreated to dark corners of her mind. Taking a shallow breath, she clasped her hands against her chest to keep them from shaking.
"What happened?" Hermione asked, just joining them and placing a reassuring hand on Ginny's shoulder.
"It was Draco," Ron said. "None of us saw it coming. The Malfoys have been wandless for months, and not a threat. But, he lost it this morning, afraid of going to Azkaban, I suppose. Somehow he'd slipped a knife up his sleeve. He turned on Harry and stabbed him."
Ginny covered her mouth with her hands and Hermione gasped in shock, quickly recovering however, and placing a reassuring arm around Ginny shoulders.
"I'm not sure what Draco was thinking, honestly," Ron continued. "I mean, if he was afraid he might be sent to Azkaban, I don't know how he figured stabbing Harry was going to do him any favours. If anything, it set the whole Wizengamot further against him. They gave him five years and his dad life. I didn't think it was possible for that git to turn paler than he already was."
"Ron!" Hermione admonished. "Your sister is distraught over Harry's well-being."
"What?" Ron asked, confused. "I just told her he was fine! Not to mention that I already beat Malfoy to a bloody pulp for her and Harry."
"Try to be sensitive for once!" Hermione retorted, winding up for a fight.
"I was being sensitive!" Ron yelled.
"If that was being sensitive, then –," Hermione began.
"STOP IT!" Ginny screamed, finding her voice and glaring at the both of them. "Could you two just stop fighting for once in your lives?"
Before either of them could say or yell another word, Ginny turned on her heel and raced through the throng of students surging onto the pitch in search of Professor McGonagall. More than likely she was still in the commentator's booth and Ginny swerved towards the stands and ran up the wooden steps, taking them two at a time to reach her professor.
Ginny had had to serve detention with Professor McGonagall earlier in the year and had learned that the Headmistress had a very distinct soft spot in her heart where Harry was concerned. It had started when she saw him fly on a broom for the first time to retrieve Neville's Remembrall. Ginny had never before heard that story about her fiancé and ever since that day, Professor McGonagall had invited her to tea once a week so they could chat. If anyone would help her, it would be Professor McGonagall.
Rushing into the commentator's booth, Ginny was relieved to see that indeed Professor McGonagall was just gathering up her things to depart.
"Professor McGonagall," Ginny gasped, clutching a stitch in her side from her sprint across the pitch and up the stairs.
"Goodness, Miss Weasley!" Professor McGonagall exclaimed. "Are you all right?"
Ginny shook her head. "No, I'm not. Ron just informed me that Harry's been hurt. I need to see him, Professor. Can you help me?"
Professor McGonagall's brow creased with worry immediately. "Of course, my dear! Come with me."
Leading Ginny quickly back through the crush of students, they walked briskly back up the grounds to the castle and to Professor McGonagall's office. Taking the pot of Floo powder from the mantel over her fireplace, the professor held it out to Ginny.
"Here, Miss Weasley," Professor McGonagall said. "Ease your worry and be sure to be back by tomorrow evening. You do still have N.E.W.T.s. to prepare for."
"Thank you, Professor," Ginny said, taking a pinch of powder and throwing it into the fire before stepping in and calling for home.
The Burrow was ablaze with lights when Ginny stumbled out of the Floo. She quickly stepped away from the grate and brushed at her clothes. It was an exercise in futility, since she was still in her Quidditch gear, which was already filthy with dirt and grime and now covered in soot as well from her sloppy Floo travel.
"Ginny, dear?" her mum asked in shock, entering the sitting room from the kitchen. "What are you doing here?" She looked at her daughter perplexed. "Didn't Ron you tell you Harry was all right?"
"I know what it means when a boy says he's fine, Mum," Ginny said, heading towards the stairs.
"Ginny, honestly," her mother said, hurrying after her. "Harry really is all right."
Ginny ignored her and stomped up the stairs. On the first landing she noticed light spilling from underneath her door and assumed her mum had placed Harry there, not thinking that Ginny would be arriving as well.
Pushing the door open, the lamp on her bedside table burned softly and Harry lay dozing in her bed. How many times had she seen him in a similar state, she couldn't count, and unbidden, the final horrifying images she'd never be able to forget assaulted her of Harry lying limp in Hagrid's arms, followed by him unresponsive in his Hogwarts bed with those ghastly red and green orbs hovering over him. She sagged against the doorframe, relieved that clearly he was as fine as Ron and her mum had stated, but weak with the weight of worry that had gripped her heart.
She lifted a hand that was shaking so badly the tremor ran through her body, and rubbed her face. She pounded her other fist against the wall hard enough to rattle the mirror over her dressing table, causing Harry to stir. It was then that she noticed his chest and abdomen were swathed in bandages and she lost what little control she had left
"Mum said you were all right!" she cried.
Harry started awake and blinked at her in confusion for a moment. "Ginny?"
"What were you thinking?" Ginny screeched. "How could you let Draco stab you?"
"It's not like I let him," Harry said, attempting to sit up and grimacing in the process. "He kind of caught us off guard."
"How many times did he hit you?" she exclaimed, stepping to the side of the bed to gain a closer look.
"Three, I think?" Harry answered uncertainly. "I managed to throw him off with a Stunning Spell. It's not that bad, Ginny, really." He tried to reassure her. "They were able to fix me right up at St. Mungo's. There's just some muscle damage remaining, that's what the bandage is for. I'll be perfectly fine by tomorrow."
"You could have died!" Ginny yelled at him. "That slimy git could have killed you and what would I have done without you?"
"Gin, I'm not going to die," Harry said, reaching for her hand.
"I can't deal with this!" Ginny sobbed, snatching her hand away. "Every year it's the same with you – you somehow manage to be in the middle of something, and even when you think it's a harmless thing you wind up hurt and in hospital."
"I'm not in hospital!" Harry shouted. "It's no worse than falling off a broom or being hit by a Bludger. I've been hurt far worse than this playing Quidditch, Ginny."
"You can't compare being an Auror with playing Quidditch!" Ginny shrieked.
"Why not?" Harry bellowed back at her. "They're both dangerous professions. You were just in the hospital wing in worse straights than this!"
"I don't have evil wizards attempting to KILL me when I'm playing Quidditch!" Ginny spat.
Harry had opened his mouth to yell another torrent, but he closed it instantly and studied her intently. Ginny's breathing sounded laboured and loud in the small room, and the atmosphere was tense. Before either of them could continue however, Ginny's mother burst into the room.
"Ginny!" her mum exclaimed. "What is all this yelling about? Harry you need to rest!"
"It's all right, Molly," Harry said, sparing Ginny's mother a glance before returning his steady gaze to Ginny. "We won't shout anymore, I promise."
"Five minutes, Harry dear, and then you need to take the rest of your potion," Ginny's mum replied, looking hard at Ginny who stared back at her. "I'll be right downstairs if you need me."
She gave Ginny one final look before backing out of the room, but making a point to leave the door ajar behind her.
"Is that what this is really about?" Harry asked after a moment. "Evil wizards?"
Ginny kept her eyes averted, staring at the coverlet, suddenly confused. Her reaction or overreaction seemed irrational now that they had stopped yelling. She had certainly worried somewhat over Harry the past year, but she had never taken a moment to deeply analyze her feelings. She realized that the thought of him spending the rest of his life pursuing wizards like Draco and his father, or worse someone like Voldemort, terrified her.
"It scares me to bits that you still want to chase after them," Ginny whispered looking back up at him with frightened eyes.
"Voldemort's gone, Gin," Harry stated quietly. "And there's no one left on earth like him, at least I hope not. I know I was injured today, but I also know I'm good at what I do, and that I'm better than they are."
"You promised me you'd be careful," Ginny reminded him.
"I thought I was. Today, with Malfoy, was a thoughtless mistake, I admit it," Harry confessed. "I didn't think they were a threat; they hadn't been all year, and the last thing I ever expected was for him to pull a knife. Next time, I'll be prepared for any kind of attack – wizard or Muggle. I won't let my guard down – ever again. I'm sorry I did today. Really, really sorry."
"I couldn't bear it if you died again," Ginny said, her chest aching. "You have no idea what that was like."
"You're right, I don't," Harry said, looking down at the coverlet in resignation. "I – I completely understand if you decide you don't want to be with me anymore."
Ginny's eyes widened in horror and the ache in her chest threatened to suffocate her heart. "I said I couldn't bear it if you died, not that I didn't want to be with you. Oh Harry, I love you so much it hurts. I may not be certain if I am strong enough to handle it if you died, but I know I'm not strong enough to let you go. I'd rather live with the worry and know that I have you and you're mine than live without you."
Tears were pouring from her eyes and Ginny couldn't resist the urge to touch him anymore. She flung herself at Harry, wrapping her arms tightly around him, nearly sobbing in relief when he did the same.
"I can't live without you," Ginny uttered. "I simply can't."
"I'm never going to leave you," Harry whispered in her ear. "I'll always, always come back for you."
Even if it was a promise he couldn't keep, it was enough for Ginny, because she knew if there were a way, Harry would find it. Pulling her legs up onto the bed, she slid her head down to his chest so she could listen to the reassuring pulse of his heart, not caring if her mother walked in once again.
Harry gently stroked her hair as the last few tears leaked out of her eyes. "I'm sorry you were scared today."
Ginny nodded and allowed the gentle feel of his hand in her hair lull her. Being here with him was where she wanted to be and where she had always wanted to be. The more time they spent apart, the deeper the pull she felt to drop everything she was doing, sod it all and rush to be with him. Was that normal? She had no idea and she didn't care, because she knew even if he never voiced it, that Harry felt the same way about her. After all, he had come back for her, and if that didn't speak louder than words, she didn't know what did.
So, what were they waiting for? Did it really matter how busy their lives were and were going to be? Did the stars and planets really have to be in perfect alignment for them to have their happily ever after? Weren't they happy already, despite everything, just like Willow had said when Ginny and Harry first were engaged? Ginny knew for a fact that she would have a difficult time concentrating on anything over the next year if it had to be spent remotely like this one had been. Maybe Harry would be able to handle it because he had an uncanny way of putting troubling thoughts out of his mind until later, but she couldn't. If it was bothering her, it was better out in the open than bottled up until she exploded.
"I changed my mind," Ginny mumbled against his chest.
Harry's hand stilled where he had been caressing her hair. "What?"
Ginny lifted her head and looked into his eyes. "Why are we waiting to be married?"
"Er, because planning a wedding takes forever?" Harry asked.
"Why did we decide to wait a year again?" Ginny questioned, sitting up on her knees next to him. "That's just going to mean another year of this." She waved her hands between them.
"Another year of what?" Harry inquired, looking confused.
"Of trying to figure out how we can spend time together, be together, see each other, you name it," Ginny said. "I hate it."
"Okay," Harry replied. "I agree, it's been hard."
"So, if we were married," Ginny continued. "At least we would know we'd see each other almost every night, depending on your schedule, and if not the night, then the morning. I'd rather worry about you, but know you're coming home to me, then worry about you in a flat I share with Hermione or whomever, waiting to hear from you."
"All right," Harry said slowly. "So, what do you suggest?"
"Keep it simple," Ginny said. "Just us, close family and friends. I don't want a big affair like Bill and Fleur had. There is entirely too much pressure involved with that. I think we could keep the list under fifty easily. Let's just make it a garden party in June."
"Is your mum going to be all right with that?" Harry sceptically asked.
"It's not her wedding," Ginny replied.
"June's less than a month away, Gin," Harry reminded her. "You're mum is going to have kittens if you go downstairs and tell her you want to move the wedding up a year."
Ginny sighed. "I know, but I simply don't want to waste any more time, Harry. We know we want to be together, we know we are never going to change our minds, so why wait another year? I want you to be the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up and the last thing I see when I close my eyes at night. Not in my mind, but really there beside me."
"You don't need to convince me, Gin," Harry said. "I'd marry you right now if I could."
"Really?" Ginny asked.
"Really," Harry answered.
Ginny launched herself at him for the second time, wrapping her arms about him and eliciting a small grunt of pain from Harry. She tried to pull back, but he held her tight, burying his nose in her hair. Ginny had forgotten how dirty and grimy she must be and was momentarily embarrassed, but he didn't seem to mind, and she swiftly forgot it when Harry trailed kisses along her jaw until his lips found hers. Ginny briefly wondered if she would ever stop melting every time he kissed her and dearly hoped not, as it happened to be the most wonderful feeling in the entire world.
"Harry!" Ginny's mother's voice called from the bottom of the stairs. "Did you take the remainder of your potion?"
Ginny sighed in frustration as she pulled back and Harry sighed in disappointment. "Just about to now, Mum!"
"Very good!" her mother called. "And Ginny, come downstairs when you see that Harry is settled and help me with supper. He needs to rest!"
Ginny received the subtle hint her mother was giving her and groaned, looking back at Harry, who meekly grinned. "I just thought of another reason we need to move the wedding up. I'm tired of being interrupted every time I kiss you."
Needless to say, Ginny's mum was not thrilled when Ginny explained to her that she and Harry had changed their minds about the wedding date, stating quite vociferously that the two of them were far too impetuous for their own good. Ginny had smiled sheepishly and attempted to reason with her mother, saying that if she and Harry were truly impulsive, they would simply have eloped and forgone a wedding altogether. That had elicited yet another tirade from her mother and Ginny had to admonish her to keep her voice down or she would disturb Harry, who was peacefully sleeping upstairs.
It had taken the remainder of the evening to wheedle her mother down to agreeing to Ginny's idea of a small affair, and Ginny had had to agree that sometime later they would have a grander reception that included extended family and friends. The more Ginny had thought it over and talked about it, the more the whole notion became far more appealing. Mingling with their friends, eating cucumber sandwiches, ladyfingers, and tea sounded heavenly to Ginny and she knew that Harry would appreciate the simplicity, as he positively detested fanfare of any sort. Plus, since their engagement had been announced in the Prophet and that the nuptials were scheduled for next year, maybe they could avoid most of the nosy journalists who would undoubtedly try to intrude.
Returning to Hogwarts the next evening, she headed straight to her room where she was surprised to find both Hermione and Demelza.
"I'm sorry!" Hermione gushed as soon as Ginny walked into the room.
Taken aback, Ginny stared at her. "What for?"
"It was completely thoughtless of me to fight with Ron when you were so upset, yesterday," Hermione replied, looking stricken.
Ginny almost had to laugh, but beamed at her two friends instead. "Apology accepted, Hermione. I have news for you two."
"It must be good, otherwise you wouldn't be grinning like that," Demelza commented.
"It is," Ginny said. "You two are going to need to pick out your dress robes for the wedding sooner rather than later."
"What?" Hermione asked in dismay. "Why?"
"Because," Ginny replied, pausing for effect and smiling like a Hippogriff that had just eaten a Pygmy Puff. "Harry and I have decided to be married at the end of June – this year!"
"This year?" Hermione repeated, gaping over at her and Demelza looked suspicious. "What for? Are you pregnant?"
Ginny's jaw dropped at that inquiry and it was her turn to gape over at her friends before collecting herself. "For heaven's sake, no! How could you even think that?"
Demelza shrugged. "Why else would you move the date up a whole year?" She eyed Ginny speculatively.
Ginny glared at her. "Because we decided to stop wasting time being apart. I think two years is long enough."
"Wow," Hermione said, staring at Ginny. "I knew you two were serious, but straight out of Hogwarts, Ginny? What did your mother say?"
"She was more concerned about the preparations than the fact that Harry and I wanted to be married sooner rather than later," Ginny replied with a sigh, feeing somewhat guilty that she wouldn't be able to help her mother as much as she would have liked. "However, I told Mum we could handle the invitations."
"We?" Demelza asked warily.
Ginny grinned mischievously at her friend. "Yes, we. You, me, Hermione and Luna. I think between the four of us we can write and address them all."
"Ginny!" Hermione squawked. "We have N.E.W.T.s in a couple of weeks!"
Scowling at Hermione, Ginny pulled her revision planner, where she had placed her notes on what needed to be done for the wedding, along with the guest list out of her rucksack and tossed it at her friend. "The guest list is short, Hermione. If we spend our free period this Wednesday, I know we could have the invitations done and sent."
"That's two hours of revision time we lose!" Hermione wailed.
"Hermione, can't you do this one little thing for two of your best friends?" Ginny wheedled. "I'd do it for you."
"I don't mind," Demelza declared, making Ginny smile. "I for one could use the break, even if it means addressing your wedding invitations, Ginny. I'd much rather do that than read one more revision note."
"Do you realize how much planning there is with weddings?" Hermione asked, looking over Ginny's hastily scribbled notes.
Ginny sighed. "I am not a girl who needs binders with pictures of flowers and cakes and dresses that I pore over for hours trying to make a decision. I had already decided to wear Mum's dress with a few minor alterations. Mum is making the light luncheon fare and Fleur, don't even say it," Ginny said when Hermione was about to open her mouth again. "I know, but I have to admit she knows how to bake, and she was simply delighted when I asked her to bake the cake. So, that only leaves the flower arrangements, and Harry has already agreed to speak with Neville regarding those."
"You're trusting Harry with the flowers?" Hermione asked, aghast. "Are you out of your mind?"
"Did you hear the part about Neville?" Ginny remarked. "Harry is asking, and Neville will be suggesting and procuring."
"Yes, but…" Hermione sputtered.
"It's Harry's wedding too, Hermione," Ginny chided. "Quite honestly, he can choose Screechsnap for all I care. All that really matters is what will be waiting for me at the end of the aisle."
"What's that?" Demelza cluelessly asked.
"Harry, Demelza," Hermione answered for Ginny, dabbing at the corner of her eye with her sleeve. "That's a lovely sentiment, Ginny. I'd be happy to help you write invitations."
Ginny beamed. "I knew you'd come around!"
She gave them each a big hug before settling onto her bed. They spent most of the remaining evening discussing plans for the wedding and ideas for dress robes. Ginny had already decided that her friends could choose whatever style robes they wanted, as long as they were all the same colour. Even though it was going to be a summer wedding, she and Harry had agreed to use the Gryffindor colours of red and gold, so all of her bridesmaids would be wearing red, as she didn't want to copy Fleur and have them in gold. Ginny thought gold ribbons would be nice accent touch on the bouquets and other flower arrangements, but was sure her mother and Fleur would have their own opinions to add. Ginny was more than happy to leave the bulk of the decisions to others. She had already made the most important ones, regarding her dress and the wedding colours, so if someone else offered a good suggestion about any other aspect of her big day, she was more than happy to hear them out and if it was a good idea, agree. She had been very serious when she had told Hermione she really didn't care. Everyone could show up in burlap robes, and she probably wouldn't even notice.
When Hermione turned her attentions back to revising, Ginny pulled some parchment from her rucksack and wrote to Willow. After all, Willow was her maid of honour, and needed to be informed of the change. Ginny had no doubt that her friend would be thrilled, and she felt a pang of melancholy that Willow wasn't here in person to chat with and discuss details. However, in her last letter Willow had informed Ginny that Professor McGonagall had asked her and her band mates if they would be willing to perform at a memorial service that was to be held the last day of the summer term. That was only a couple of weeks away, so Ginny was definitely looking forward to seeing her then.
Ginny had to admit she was rather surprised that Willow had agreed to not only perform but compose a song for the occasion. While it pleased her that her friend felt strong enough to participate, she could only imagine how difficult it was going to be. It would be hard on everyone, but being able to sit, observe and grieve quietly would be a lot easier than being exposed front and centre, at least in Ginny's eyes. She definitely didn't envy Willow, especially not after what happened at Colin's funeral last year.
Thinking of Colin caused Ginny to think of Fred as well. They'd been gone a year already. How could it have slipped by her so quickly? Her eyes pricked with tears and she quickly bowed her head so her hair fell across her face, shielding her from Demelza and Hermione. She did not want them to see her crying. She really wished Fred and Colin could be at her wedding. Colin would have insisted on being the wedding photographer and Fred would have been tickled that his baby sister was tying the knot and with Harry no less. It wouldn't have stopped him from doing something completely awful to embarrass her and most especially, Harry, but he would have been proud, she knew it. He might have even shed a tear or two when he saw her walk down aisle.
Ginny giggled despite her tears. No, Fred definitely would not have cried. Now, Bill on the other hand; he would be the one to cry and Fred would have taken the mickey out of him for it. It would be up to George now, and she hoped he was up to the task. It'd be a shame to let that golden opportunity go to waste. How often did a tough curse-breaker cry?
Oh, Fred, I miss you. She thought, surreptitiously wiping at her eyes. However, she knew wherever he may be, Fred was happy and perhaps even observing from time to time and he'd be happy to know that they were all healing, living, steadily moving forward and achieving the happiness they had fought for. With that thought in mind, she slipped under her covers and drifted off to sleep.
The next two weeks flew by in a blur of revising and wedding planning, so that when the day of the N.E.W.T.s finally arrived, Ginny was a bit fearful that she would write names from her invitation list down instead of famous witches and wizards as answers for her History of Magic N.E.W.T. and the flowers Harry had informed her he had chosen for her Herbology N.E.W.T. She had been very impressed with his choices, daisies, daffodils, and petite Nicole roses. She wasn't quite sure what they were, but he had sent her a picture and they were very pretty with pale pink petals edged in a deep red. They were by far her favourite of his choices because he had finally admitted he had chosen them because the pink reminded him of her skin and the red, her hair. Harry naturally wasn't prone to being very romantic, but even Ginny had to admit that that was a very romantic sentiment and gesture. She completely understood why he had chosen daffodils, as they symbolized rebirth and new beginnings and wasn't that what they all were trying to accomplish since the Final Battle? As for the daisies, he had said he had chosen them because he thought the small white flowers would look pretty in her hair.
It was with that thought that Ginny entered the Great Hall to sit for her N.E.W.T.s and the small smile it brought to her lips never left even when she couldn't remember the name of the Goblin who started the first of the many Goblin rebellions that took place in the 17th and 18th centuries.
She passed her defence N.E.W.T. with flying colours, she was sure as well as Herbology. She guessed her way through Arithmancy, but the examiner, an older gentleman with cloudy eyes didn't appear to notice.
Her last exam was for potions, and the female examiner, wearing filmy robes of varying shades of purple asked them to brew, of all things Amortentia. The last time Ginny had even seen the potion was during her sixth year, when Professor Slughorn had a cauldron of it simmering in the centre of his desk on Valentine's Day in a pitiful attempt to lighten everyone's dismal moods. Ginny could distinctly recall what she had smelled upon entering his classroom that day and she had had to immediately turn around and run to the girls' loo before she retched all over the floor. It was as if the ghost of Harry had been in the potions classroom that day and all she had been able to think about was the fact they had not heard from him, Ron, or Hermione in months and honestly had no idea if they really were alive or dead.
With some trepidation, Ginny gathered the ingredients needed to brew the potion and took care to ensure she followed the instructions exactly. When her potion was complete it had a lovely mother-of-pearl sheen and the steam spiralled above it weaving mesmerizing patterns in the air. Ginny had been holding her breath, afraid to inhale the aroma; however, when the examiner approached and marvelled over Ginny's skill, and Ginny opened her mouth to thank her the scent of the potion consumed her. Ginny closed her eyes and waited, but the nausea did not come this time and she sighed in relief.
"Would you mind telling me what you smell, Miss Weasley?" the lavender witch asked kindly, holding her clipboard and quill at the ready to record Ginny's answers.
"Um," Ginny started taking another sniff and savouring it and signalling out the three distinct scents. "Broomsticks, warm summer days, and evergreens."
"Any idea why?" the examiner asked.
"Oh, yes, I know why," Ginny answered, but did not elaborate any further. Broomsticks for Quidditch, warm summer days for the summer of her fifth year, and evergreens for the Christmases of her fourth, fifth, and seventh years, and all three smells reminded her of the essence of Harry. The examiner did not press, but moved on down the line of tables to speak with another student.
Ginny breathed a sigh of relief that she was finished, regardless of how poorly or well she did, this was the end of her Hogwarts career. She left the Great Hall and ambled out the front doors and down the steps, enjoying the warm sun on her face and wishing that Harry were here to spend the remainder of this glorious day with her. It would be nice to walk with him one last time by the lake and watch the giant squid flailing its tentacles about just like they had done on their very first walk together.
She walked down the path that would lead her to the lake and as she approached, her heart stopped when she saw a familiar figure already standing there, holding a chubby baby.
Ginny's heart swelled when she realized it was Harry holding a bouncing Teddy, who was looking about him excitedly, and his hair was jet black, just like Harry's. Ginny felt like she was looking at their future. In her mind's eye, she could see herself and Harry having a little boy just like that, who was the spitting image of his father. He'd be loved, happy, and well-cared for. He'd never have to worry about having too little to eat, or a warm bed to sleep in. There wouldn't be the threat of a war looming over his head and all he would have to worry about is what toy he was going to play with or that he thought beets were disgusting and his mummy made him eat them anyway. His mummy and daddy would read or tell him stories every night and tuck him into bed with goodnight kisses.
Their futures had never looked as bright as they did on this sunny day in May. Even though the emptiness of the loved ones they had lost could never be completely filled, life continued to march on, and their sacrifices would not be in vain.
Ginny ran the rest of the way down to the path towards him, not caring how or why he was there, but knowing he always would be. The life she and Harry would forge together had always been her heart's desire. As Harry wrapped his free arm around her and bent to give her a kiss, Teddy giggled and tried to push them apart, and in that moment of sheer happiness Ginny knew that this was where she had always been meant to be.