For six years I was in love with Ginny Weasley. I loved her because she lit up a room when she walked in. I loved her because she always found a reason to laugh, but with you, not at you. I loved her because she stood up for herself against her brothers and anyone else who tried to push her around. I loved her silky red hair with its flowery scent that I could smell whenever I was near her; it reminded me of my mum's garden in the summer when it was full of blossoms. I didn't really know if her hair felt silky, because I never got to touch it, ever. But it looked silky and smooth and soft and light as a cloud. I know it would have felt that way if I had run my fingers through it.

I loved her eyes. They're brown and are perfect with her red hair and the freckles that dot her nose and cheeks. She has a way of looking at you that makes her eyes blaze like fires, like a dragon's eyes. They blazed when she was angry, and I've seen her that way, but if they blazed at you when she was happy or laughing or when she had just caught the Golden Snitch, then the fires lit up the whole world.

I loved her smile and I loved her voice. I can't think of anything I didn't love.

When I got a little older, two or three years after we both came to Hogwarts, I began to love the shape of her body and how clear and creamy her skin was. I loved her curves and how her skirt lay over her hips. Sometimes when we were practicing for Dumbledore's Army, she loosened her necktie and unbuttoned the top buttons of her blouse because it was warm in the Room of Requirement. I could see the swell of her bosom, and those were the only times I became sad, because I knew that I would never touch them. But Harry would. He was dating Cho Chang then, but I knew that someday he and Ginny would be together, and someday Harry would make love to her, and I never would. But I was only sad, not angry or jealous, because Harry would make Ginny happy, and that made me happy.

Ginny never knew that I loved her. I made sure of that because I didn't want her to feel sorry for me. It was obvious in our first year that she loved Harry, even when she was being tormented by Tom Riddle. It just felt right that she and Harry would love each other, and it always seemed to me that it was important too, for some reason. At the very end I finally understood what the reason was: the magic between them gave him the strength he needed for what he had to do. Without it he would not have won, and in that way I do believe it is true that he saved the world with the help of Ginny's love.

Ginny always felt badly about what happened to me in our first year, but I told her to stop apologizing because it wasn't her fault. And after a time I saw that there was a silver lining, a hidden blessing that came from her own suffering, because it drew her and Harry to each other. He would have come to love her no matter what, but that horrible moment made the bond between them so strong that nothing could break it.

During our first year I had a lot of problems getting used to Hogwarts and being away from my family, but most people thought I was okay because I tried so hard to be friendly and because I hid behind my camera. But Ginny could see how lonely I was. Like me, she was different, although not in the same way. In a big family of seven children, she was the youngest and the only girl. Both of us being different meant that she knew what I was going through. And she could help me in our classes because she knew a lot of magic before she came to Hogwarts, whereas I knew almost none.

Since we were both in Gryffindor and had all our classes together and spent so much time together, I started to see that she loved Harry; she blushed that funny bright red color whenever anyone talked about him, or whenever he spoke to her, or even just walked past her. I knew that she would never love anyone else, but I couldn't help myself, just like Michael and Dean couldn't help themselves. There was something about her that made you want to be with her, want to make her happy.

There were other boys who were interested in Ginny and maybe they loved her too, and I'm not even talking about Michael or Dean, the only ones she spent a lot of time with. Many boys wanted to take her to Hogsmeade or study with her in the library or meet her on holiday or sit and talk with her by the Black Lake. I saw them look at her, at her hair and her freckles and her eyes and her curves. No boy could look at her and not want to be with her, and if they looked long enough they fell in love, like I did.

I really liked Harry from the first time I met him at Hogwarts. I had heard of him, and I guess I was a pest as far as he was concerned, but he never got mad at me. I know I was just a stupid kid for a couple of years, but I really think he liked me too. Even after I saw that Ginny loved him, I still liked Harry because he was such a great wizard and because, if Ginny loved him, then he must be a great person.

The worst year was our sixth year, which I can say even though I was not at Hogwarts, being Muggle-born. For me it was the worst not because my family was on the run, hiding from Death Eaters and Snatchers, but because I knew that Ginny was in mortal danger, that at any moment she might be taken from school and thrown into Azkaban or someplace where no one would know where she was, and they would use her to get Harry. I wouldn't let myself think about what they might do to her; I knew what they did to people they didn't like. And if Harry did surrender, I knew that they wouldn't let Ginny go, but they might even kill her. I can't describe how relieved I was when I heard that she was safe, hidden someplace where they couldn't find her. I was still afraid for her, though, because if they caught Harry I knew that Ginny would be destroyed inside. I would do anything for her, but I doubted that anyone would be able to help her if she lost Harry.

When Neville sent the message and I returned to Hogwarts to fight, a few people told me I shouldn't have come back, but I didn't listen to them; I knew that if we lost, I would be killed along with my whole family, so I wanted to do whatever I could to help. I saw Harry but he was too busy to notice me. I saw Ginny once when we were all in the Room of Requirement, but not again until Voldemort called his phony truce and everyone went back to the Great Hall, or what was left of it.

I tried to stay out of sight in case Professor McGonagall saw me. I was off in a corner with Dean and Luna, who told me that they had been fighting in the corridors and Ginny had been with them until she heard that her brother had been killed. When they told me that, I couldn't help myself, I started crying, because I knew how much she loved her brothers; I couldn't stand it, knowing that she was in pain.

I was sitting hunched over behind a piece of the wall that had fallen, when I saw Ginny walk out the door. I looked back where her family were gathered, but no one seemed to have noticed that she was gone. I thought that she was going to look for Harry, and even though I wouldn't want to spy on them, again I couldn't help myself and followed her. She stopped and looked back once or twice, but I kept out of sight until she went out the front doors onto the lawn. I had no idea what she was doing, but I had no choice; I had to follow her. Even though Voldemort had called the truce, I didn't trust him or his followers; I had heard people talk about the werewolves who were fighting for him.

Ginny started walking out on the lawn, and I realized she was looking for people who had been hurt. She stopped at each body, but as far as I could tell they were all dead. I stayed back, but soon I could see that her hands had become covered with blood, and when she wiped her tears her face became bloody too. She never looked around to see if anyone was nearby, friends or enemies, and I moved closer. I would not let anything happen to her.

Ginny passed a small clump of bushes not too far from the Quidditch Stadium, which I could see was in ruins, and as she was staring up at it, two men stepped from the cover of the bushes. They were not Death Eaters. Their clothes were ragged and their faces, which were not masked, were haggard and unshaven. One of them bared his teeth when he saw Ginny; they were werewolves, and a flash of fear shot through me.

At that moment things happened very fast, and before I knew, it was too late.

Ginny saw the werewolves and backed away. They started towards her with their wands pointing at her. I took out my wand, but before I could cast a spell, two people charged past me, and I recognized Neville and Oliver Wood. Ginny didn't see them—she was looking at the werewolves—and started to run, not back to the castle but farther out on the lawn towards the Forbidden Forest. It seemed strange that she would go that way, but maybe she thought she could hide there. As she ran, her hair streamed out behind her, and even in the dim light it looked like flames coming out the back of her head. I stopped; I couldn't take my eyes from her.

Neville and Oliver began shooting curses at the werewolves. They had begun to run after Ginny but stopped and fired back. I came up and I must have made a noise because Neville turned his head.

"Who's there?" he called. "Go back!"

A spell hit the ground in front of him and a shower of sparks and clods of dirt flew up. He and Oliver ducked and the two werewolves turned and went after Ginny again. I ran towards them, shouting. They looked back and so did Ginny. For an instant she stood still. Her eyes were ablaze and the blood on her face made her even fiercer. Her eyes met mine and that blazing look pierced me like a spell. At that moment I loved her more than I ever had. Then she ran and disappeared into the night.

I hit one of the werewolves with a Stunning spell. He flew up in the air and when he fell he did not move. The other one looked down at his companion and then aimed his wand at me.

"Colin!" Neville screamed. "Get down!"

A spell from Neville or Oliver shot past me towards the werewolf, but I never heard anything else. Just as the spell hit him, his wand moved and I saw a green light.

# #

Harry killed Voldemort, and he and Ginny have each other forever. Her happiness is lighting up the whole world, and she will never know that I loved her. It's better this way, for me.