A/N: Well...it's, uh, been a while. But don't hurt me, because I come bearing fluff!
Written for Lady Phoenix Fire Rose as part of the Gift Giving Extravaganze, using her prompt "wedding". I know it's not really your thing, Lady, but adventure!fic and I don't get along very well. I hope you like it regardless.
She's only loved him since forever, but Hermione pulls her aside one day and says, "Listen, Ginny, maybe you should...forget about him," and Ginny is utterly torn.
"Forget about him?" she asks, because she knows what the words mean but maybe if she pretends she doesn't then she won't have to listen to them.
"For now. You should be yourself around him. Move on, Ginny. I heard Michael Corner fancies you..." Hermione says. She wears a carefree smile and, looking at her, Ginny can hardly believe that she is not just a normal teenage girl, that she has been through so much. "Maybe you should go out with him for a while."
Ginny nods slowly, but stares resolutely at the ground.
"He'll come around eventually," Hermione says, reaching for her hand, "Boys are clueless. He'll notice you soon. I promise."
"Thanks," Ginny says, a smile growing on her lips. "Maybe Ron will come around, too..."
Hermione raises an eyebrow, "What are you talking about?"
"Oh, nothing..." laughs Ginny, and then she is back to herself, back to laughing and smiling and grinning and it's easier than she thought to keep her feelings hidden.
17. first kiss
There is a difference between this kiss and all the kisses before it.
"You may now kiss the bride."
This kiss is already a memory she will never forget – she knows that. Harry's lips are against hers and his hand is warm against the skin of her bare back and she can smell roses and feel the sun on her face and the the heavy weight of her dress robes as they blow around her legs.
"I love you, Gin," he says – maybe too much, she would think, were telling someone you love them too much a thing – and she kisses him again because she's his and he's hers and everything's okay.
Her mother cries behind them. Hermione wipes at her eyes with the heels of her hands and Ron pokes her and laughs. George grins, really grins, and Ginny's heart is soaring.
"I love you," she says, and she knows she could never say it enough.
18. devotion and desire
"I love you," he says again, but she never does get tired of hearing it. "I love you, Mrs. Potter."
She wraps her arms around his neck, shoves her face into the crook of his shoulder as if it were made for her, and kisses the soft skin there.
"Sometimes I think it's going to happen again," she whispers softly, "and you'll leave me."
She can feel the humourless chuckle that shakes his chest, hear the promise in his words when he says, "Never again, Gin. Never, ever again."
"What if I left?" she teases with a smirk, pulling back and meeting his eyes.
"I would follow you anywhere," he says, smiling down at her pretty face, "and just imagine the things we could do when we got there." He waggles his eyebrows and pulls her closer, laughing in her mouth, and Ginny swears that no love has ever been as perfect as this.
He started life hidden beneath the stairs, whispering to spiders and counting cobwebs in dusty corners, and now he comes home to his beautiful, beautiful wife and his three perfect children and how did he ever get this lucky?
Ginny throws her hair up haphazardly, but the strands that fall down and tickle her chin as she bends to place baby Lily in her crib make Harry's heart hammer even after all this time. James and Albus are lying on the floor on their stomachs, a photo album between them and smiles on their little faces.
"Why are there no pictures of baby Daddy?" Al asks, and Harry just shrugs.
"I wasn't as special as you three," he says, and crouches down to ruffle his son's hair.
The dog, affectionately named Witherwings, much to the childrens' confusion, lazes on the sofa. "Off, you lazy sod," Harry says, but Withers, knowing he isn't angry, merely opens one eye, stares Harry down, and decides to go right back to sleep.
The boys laugh.
"Not even the dog listens around here," Harry mumbles.
"I heard that!" Ginny calls from the kitchen.
Lily begins to cry in her cot in the corner of the room and Harry is there in seconds, shushing and humming and soothing, caressing her ginger hair and holding her close.
She keeps on crying, and the boys are arguing over a photo of Aunt Hermione with Viktor Krum, and Ginny is swearing loudly in the kitchen to the sound of clattering pans, and everything is loud and crazy and hectic and utterly, utterly perfect.
There is neither a spider nor cobweb in sight.
Ginny is asleep in an old armchair, her grey hair pulled back into a delicate knot at the back of her neck, her pale lashes resting against her cheek.
Harry stares, newspaper folded in his lap, and wonders how he ever got so lucky.
"Happy anniversary, Gin," he says, and she raises one eyebrow, eyes still closed.
"It's not 'til tomorrow, Harry," she murmurs, sleep seeping into her syllables. "You know that."
"I know," Harry says, "but it's almost midnight and I hate waiting."
"Impatient bugger," she chuckles lightly, head lolling back on the back of the chair.
"I really do love you, you know," he says. "My life would've been nothing without you."
Ginny opens one eye at this, and the sight of those brown eyes still sets his heart racing, even after all this time. "What's gotten into you, Harry Potter?"
Harry grins. "I don't know. I just wanted you to know."
Ginny smiles in reponse. "I know, Harry. Believe me, I do."
And when he drags himself from his chair, potters up the stairs with her hand in his, and they both fold themselves into bed for the night.
"Night, Gin," he says, and he knows, somehow, that the kiss he presses to her temple will be the last he ever gives her.
The next morning, Harry Potter does not wake.
("Nothing," Ginny whispers, "will ever be the same without you.")