|SIYE Time:5:40 on 29th November 2021|
Butterflies At Last
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Category: Angst Valentine Challenge (2006-1)
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff
Warnings: Extreme Language
Story is Complete
Summary: ** Winner of Best Romance in the Angst Valentine Challenge **
"It's not worth it, Harry," she said. She seemed to lose some of her steely resolve as she looked down towards the floor. "It shouldn't always be this hard."
Hitcount: Story Total: 5029
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights Â© J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Disclaimer:I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters. The song Sweeter Than Me belongs to Aaron Sprinkle.
and whether you see summer, winter, or fall
when I look at you, I see them all
you're must sweeter than me by far
you're much stronger than me
you know you are
Butterflies At Last
An Ascent Back to My Nonreality
The vase slammed against the wall, smashing into thousands of tiny shards of glass, spraying all along the floor. Harry stood above the shattered vase, looking down at the broken remains of his roses. He turned back to Ginny, a look of confusion and anguish splayed across his face. Black tears were streaming down her face as she stared at him, and he saw something in her eyes that he had never seen in them before... disgust. Sheer and complete disgust.
“All I wanted,” she whispered, and the effect of the quiet was far more frightening than the effect of her yell, “was a good Valentine's day.”
Harry opened his mouth to say something back to her, but she shook her head before he could speak.
“It's not worth it, Harry,” she said. She seemed to lose some of her steely resolve as she looked down towards the floor. “It shouldn't always be this hard.”
Her shoes squeaked against the floor as she turned to leave the dormitory. And for the first time, Harry knew what the right thing to do was. He wasn't supposed to follow her. Because for the very first time, she had meant it when she broke up with him. This time, it was for real. And that thought scared him out of his mind.
Ginny wandered into a random bathroom on the second floor of Hogwarts, not quite sure what she was doing or where she was going. All that was on her mind was the sight of Harry's face as the vase had shattered. She had seem him look many ways in their tricky, turbulent relationship, but she had never seen that face before. She'd seen him cry at the sight of a dead mentor, punch a wall at the news of a dead friend, and laugh at so many jokes she had told him. She had seen him looking serious and romantic as he whispered that he loved her, she had seen his face as he asked her to be with him, and she had seen him try to look suave and fail miserably. But never before had she seen such a thing, which she realized was the sight of his heart breaking.
She had done that. She had broken the heart of the only man she had ever truly loved.
She turned on the sink to splash some water on her face, but all that came out was a muddy brown stream of something that was definitely not water. Nothing seemed to go right in her life anymore.
Suddenly, the door to the bathroom swung open and a very aggravated looking Parvati stormed in. A look of surprise appeared on her face as she saw Ginny.
“Oh,” she said quickly, stopping just inside the door. “Ginny... what are you doing in here?”
“Er, well,” Ginny said, quickly taking a side look at herself in the mirror. Her hair was a mess and dried mascara was streaming in two lines down her cheeks. Obviously she had some explaining to do.
“You know what, never mind,” Parvati said quickly, sensing the younger girl's embarrassment. “We've all got our issues.”
She walked passed Ginny quickly and into a stall behind them, obviously wanted to save herself from embarrassment as well. Ginny grabbed a dust covered cloth from the broken counter the sink was sunken into and shook it clean, then quickly wiped the remains of make-up off her face. Usually, she didn't wear make-up, but she had thought tonight would have been a special occasion... how very wrong she had been.
“So I take it you didn't have a very good Valentine's day?” Parvati asked as she flushed the toilet and came out of the stall. She muttered something under her breath and pointed her wand at the muddy sink, which instantly became clean and sputtered out a fresh stream of translucent water.
“Not in the least,” Ginny said, shaking her head. She didn't feel very comfortable, discussing this with Parvati. The two had never been very close, especially after Dean and Parvati had begun dating that summer. But right now, she knew she just wanted to talk to someone, and Parvati looked just as upset as she was. “And yourself?”
“It was the pits,” Parvati said, shaking her head as she toweled her hands dry. “What's say we head down to dinner and try to forget the existence of men?”
“Parvati, you just might be on to something,” Ginny said, cracking a small smile for the first time that evening.
Apparently, Parvati and Ginny weren't the only miserable girls in all of Hogwarts. It seemed that the dining room was filled with every girl above the age of thirteen, all brooding about what a crummy day it had turned out to be. The normally dark room had been brightened up, probably by the suggestion of the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher, Nymphadora Tonks. Tonks had gotten really into Valentine's Day after her engagement to Lupin.
“Men suck,” Hermione said in a nature unlike herself as Ginny sunk down into the seat next to her.
“Tell me about it,” Ginny added, shaking her head. “Harry and I just broke up.”
“Again?” Hermione asked. Her lack of surprise aggravated Ginny, but because Hermione looked about as bad as Ginny felt, she didn't push it.
“Yeah, but I'm pretty sure it's for real this time.”
“What'd he do?”
Ginny sighed and piled her plate with heart shaped cookies from the platter before her. Then she began tearing them apart so they were indistinguishable as hearts. “Oh, you know, I caught him making out with another girl in the common room.”
Hermione gasped and sat up more straight, staring at the red head. “No!” she gasped incredulously.
Ginny nodded, a sarcastic smile playing against her lips. “Yupp... I walked into the dormitory, and there's the Boy-Who-Lived, making out with some yuppie from Ravenclaw.”
“How did she even get in our common room?” Hermione asked, her jaw still wide open.
“Polyjuice,” Ginny said, looking back down at her plate. Some of her anger seemed to
have subsided and now all she felt was a deep emptiness in the pit of her heart. Before the tears could start again, she quickly turned back to Hermione. “So how about you? What're you doing down here?”
“Your idiotic brother forgot Valentine's Day,” Hermione said. “Then the dolt tried to act like he hadn't and he gave me a chocolate frog he found laying under his bed. Stupid prat... I have no idea what he was thinking.”
“I'm sorry, 'Mione, that sucks,” Ginny muttered, although her heart wasn't in it. To her, Ron and Hermione's fight seemed like a minuscule one in a series of many, and her mind was on her own problems.
Sure, Harry and her had fought before. Actually, since they had gotten back together that summer, it had almost all been fights. Little things, not anything major. They had sort of taken on a Ron-and-Hermione-esque sort of relationship. But for Ginny, that was what made it so right. It was good because it wasn't easy, because they had to overcome all these obstacles, that's what made it a real relationship. It wasn't just happy and fluffy and simple. It was hard, and it was real. But at the end of the day, it was always the two of them against the world.
Tonight though, something had snapped inside of her. It wasn't that he had kissed another girl, because, although that angered her, Harry's excuse actually made perfect sense, and she knew it was honest. She trusted Harry, and she knew he loved her and wouldn't want to hurt her. His explanation had been that the girl had taken Polyjuice Potion, and that he was under the impression it was Ginny. Ginny had caught them kissing, and sure enough, the girl had still had red hair. Obviously it had just worn off on the rest of her beforehand.
But what really angered her most was that Harry had been fooled just because the girl looked like Ginny. He was always going on and on about how he knew Ginny so well, and how he loved the little things about her. The way she always bit her bottom lip when she was nervous or she always spun her ring around her index finger when she felt uncomfortable or bored. That other girl couldn't have done all those things, but yet Harry was fooled. There was so much more to Ginny than just red hair and brown eyes and she thought Harry was one of the few people that really understood that about her.
And hadn't he known when he had kissed her? That other girl didn't kiss like Ginny, she couldn't have. Didn't Harry know her kiss?
Truth be told, the problem probably wasn't even that stuff. All that stuff could have easily been a ruse, just a way for Ginny to escape. She loved Harry, she really did, but she had been having these doubts for a while now, and she couldn't just shake them. Maybe Harry didn't know her that well, because he'd never really gotten the chance to. They had gotten serious so quickly, there had never been that beginning, fun, getting to know each other period. It had never been just a fling or a fun, puppy love sort of relationship. She had known, getting into it, that it wouldn't be like that. This was real, and it was hard and it was scary and it could honestly cost Ginny her life. But yet, she had always thought, without a doubt, it was worth it. She had always thought Harry was worth it.
Maybe she did just wish she had gotten the chance for butterflies, gotten the chance to be nervous and awkward and uncomfortable. Sure, that part of a relationship usually sucks, but it's necessary in getting to know a person, it's a necessary feel. All she really wanted these days were butterflies.
Tonight, she had just gotten scared, and this seemed like a good way out. A clean escape, even if it hurt her so much to do so. Life was easier without Harry, and Ginny had never really gotten an easy life. She just wanted to be a normal girl for once, not the girlfriend of Harry Potter, the Boy who Lived, the Chosen One. She just wanted to be Ginny Weasley, Hogwarts student and teenager.
“Gin?” Hermione asked quietly. “You okay? You haven't said anything for a while?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Ginny said quickly, snapping out of her thoughts. She looked around and noticed that it was no longer just her, Parvati, and Hermione. Parvati and Lavender were sitting across from them, urgently whispering about what Dean and Seamus had done wrong. Two girls Ginny's age that Ginny barely knew were sitting next to her, talking angrily to each other about what Colin Creevey and Evan Humberg had done to ruin the “most romantic day of the year.” And, just as it was beginning to look like a scene Ginny couldn't handle, Luna Lovegood traipsed in, glowing from the inside out.
Her glow was very obviously a glow of love, and every single girl in the dining hall knew it. A strange silence spun over the room as all the angry witches turned to glare at the only happy one in the pack. Luna, of course, didn't notice a single thing was wrong.
“Hey, guys!” She said dreamily, sliding into the empty seat next to Hermione. “What's shaking?”
Hermione and Ginny exchanged astonished looks then turned back slowly to Luna.
“Luna...” Hermione said slowly, as though she was talking to someone who was mentally impaired. “What's gotten you so happy?”
“Oh, is it that obvious?” Luna said, her eyes glazing over. “I'm just filled with love.”
Neither one of the two girls knew what to say in response, so a long, awkward silence poured out that Luna didn't even remotely notice.
“Love... love with who?” Ginny finally proclaimed, rather bluntly.
“Oh, just Neville,” Luna declared, not noticing the effect her words had on her friends.
Hermione, who had taken an unfortunate sip of water before Luna's announcement, mopped up her spit with a clothe napkin. “Since when?” she asked, fully aware of how rude the question came out.
“Tonight,” Luna sighed, her voice sappy and joyful. “I got a note on my bed telling me to go to the Room of Requirements, and there he was with a box of Cockroach Clusters, my favorite, and the next issue of the Quibbler. It really was quite a treat.”
“So are you two a... a couple now?” Ginny asked, not bothering to hide her amazement.
“Oh, I guess so,” Luna drawled, biting into a heart shaped cookie. “He had a herbology essay due that he hadn't even started yet, but we made plans to meet up tomorrow night.”
For a long time, none of the three said anything, all lost in their own thoughts. Who knew what Luna was thinking, but Ginny and Hermione were both thinking the same thing.
How had it turned out that Neville was the smartest of the Gryffindor boys when it came to romance?
Ginny and Hermione walked slowly up the stairs to the Gryffindor common room, deliberately taking the long way. They spoke the entire way up there, both saying what they needed to say.
“I mean, how could he have not known it was me? We've certainly kissed enough.”
“I know! I mean, Ron and I have been a couple for only a few months, and Valentine's a very important day for new couples. How could he have not known to do anything?”
“I understand why she would have done it, everyone's trying to get to Harry these days. It's a little annoying, truth be told.”
“No one wants Ron. I'm not even sure if I do when he pulls a stupid stunt like this.”
“Speaking of stupid stunts, why would Harry think that his stupid vase of flowers would solve everything? I should have thrown it at his head instead of the wall.”
“All I want, all I ever want, is a big romantic gesture. Instead, I get left over chocolate frogs.”
“All I want is a normal, simple relationship. One without dark wizards and Polyjuice Potion.”
Hermione grunted the password, and the two walked into the common room, neither of them saying anything this time. The common room, not unlike the dining room a few minutes ago, was filled with, once again, brooding girls.
“Where did the boys find to hide?” Ginny noted, slightly smiling at the notion of them all cowering in their dormitories.
“Ginny!” Parvati yelled from across the room. “Hermione! Over here!”
Ginny and Hermione sludged across the room and sunk into two soft chairs next to Parvati and Lavender, both of which looking just as forlorn as the other two.
“What happened to you two?” Hermione asked with a sigh. Ginny wasn't quite sure if she wanted to hear any more tales of woe.
“Dean's a stupid, stupid little boy,” Parvati scoffed. “You were right to break it off with him, Weasley.”
“Yeah,” Ginny answered with a frown. “I probably shouldn't have started going out with Harry after that, anyhow. So what'd he do?”
“Nothing! That's just it, he did absolutely nothing!” Parvati said, pulling her feet up under her thighs so she was sort of kneeling on the chair. “I go down to the common room, and there he is, expecting to study with me! On Valentine's day! I told him that I didn't want to study, it was a special occasion, but he just looked at me like he had no idea what I was talking about. I hinted and hinted, but he never even wished me a slight little 'Happy Valentine's Day.' Finally, I just gave up and went down to dinner.”
“Same with Seamus!” Lavender but in. “I expected him to at least show a little sentiment towards me, but instead he just went about like normal. Have all the guys in this damn castle misplaced their calendars?”
Hermione and Ginny each let out a little chuckle, actually enjoying not being the only miserable ones in the place.
“I mean, I've been dreaming about today for weeks!” Lavender continued. “I was hoping to come down and find that Seamus had lighted candles, maybe bought me some chocolates. A bouquet of flowers would have been nice, maybe a cheesy card. I wanted to sit by the fire and cuddle, talk about what was on our minds... I thought,” she paused, looking down at her hands in her lap. “I thought maybe tonight he would tell me he loved me.”
“That really is the pits, Lav,” Parvati said softly, gently touching her friend's shoulder. “He really screwed up.”
“So did Dean,” Hermione said quickly, showing sentiment towards Parvati. She looked over at Ginny. “And Harry... and that stupid brother of yours.”
Ginny laughed, smiling despite her depression.
“Who needs men,” she said with a grin. “We've got each other!”
“Huzzah!” Parvati said, shaking her fists in the air. The other three laughed, although all of them knew that this wasn't exactly true. All they really wanted was some affection from their boys.
“I think I'm going to go up to bed,” Ginny said after a bit of a silence. I figure I'll need some energy for whatever tomorrow brings.”
The other three agreed and they all set out to bed, hoping that tomorrow would bring them fulfillment of their wishes.
Unfortunately, the week passed without much of an event. Before they knew it, they were each waking up on Saturday, upset and grumpy from a miserable week without boyfriends.
“I don't want to get up,” Ginny muttered as someone gently shook her. “It's Saturday, I can sleep in. Go away, Hermione.”
“It's not Hermione,” a deep voice drawled out.
“Harry?” Ginny asked, shooting up in bed. Suddenly, she wasn't so tired. “What are you doing in here?” she asked, trying to act like she didn't care, while at the same time pulling the sheets up over her body.
“I wanted to surprise you,” Harry said quietly, gently sliding into the bed next to her. “Everyone else is out of the dorm and I thought maybe you and I could have a chat.”
“How did you even get up here?” Ginny asked.
“Well, it was hard, but I eventually managed to clime the slope. I had been quite good at climbing slides back when I was a kid.” He said, slightly smiling.
Ginny fought back a smile herself. “You stupid prat. I can't believe you took all that trouble to get up here to see me. I'm just going to send you right back.”
Her statement wasn't very convincing, because as she said it she was snuggling up next to him on the bed.
“It's for real this time,” she said, but she didn't even remotely care about their breakup anymore. All she could feel were his arms around her.
“Oh stop that. I'm tired and not in the mood for all this breakup chat. I was woken up very early this morning by the sound of Hermione jumping on Ron's bed in only a bra and knickers. According to her, you girls don't need us men anymore.”
“A bra and knickers?” Ginny asked, laughing to herself. “She's outdone herself.”
The mood switched to serious as Harry pulled Ginny in closer to him, her head resting on his chest.
“Gin, I know things are messed up right now. That stupid Ravenclaw kissing me, I should have known it wasn't her, but my mind was on other things--”
“Your mind is always on other things!” Ginny interruped him, pulling away slightly and sitting up. “It's like you're so busy you don't even have time for me anymore. ”
“I will always have time for you,” Harry said quietly, sitting up as well. “Ginny, I'm trying right now, I really am, and I just need you to help me out.”
“I can't help you out anymore, Harry,” Ginny cried, shaking her head and getting out of bed. “It's too hard! Everything it too damn hard.”
“That's what a real relationship is, Ginny!” Harry said loudly, getting up as well. “It's not all fun and games! There are going to be fights, but we have to push through them.”
“I'm SICK of pushing through!” Ginny shouted, pulling clothes out of her trunk. “I am SICK of having to work so hard at something that I'm not even sure--”
She stopped talking and fiddling around in her trunk, and Harry seemed to stop breathing. The air hung heavy with the meaning of what they both knew she had almost said.
“Not even sure what?” He said slowly, anticipating what was coming.
“I'm sick of having to work so hard at something that I'm not even sure,” she repeated slowly, quieter this time. “Not even sure is worth it.”
“No,” Harry said, stepping towards her. “It is worth it, don't say that. It's so ridiculously worth it.”
“I want to be with you, Harry, I do,” she whispered, stepping towards him as well. “But I don't have the energy anymore, I can't fight and make up all the time. I want you to know me so well that we don't have to fight, and I want to know you so well that I can help you. I want to be able to beat everything that we're against, but I'm tired, Harry. I'm so tired.”
“You can't stop trying,” Harry said quietly, reaching out and grazing his fingers against her cheeks. “Everything we're up against, everything we have to beat, we can! We can do this, and we have to do this. We can't just give up.”
“Harry, there will always be girls from Ravenclaw trying to kiss you, there will always be vases around for me to throw, and there will always be Voldemort looming in the distance,” Ginny said, moving her hand to touch his. “We're never going to have a normal relationship, and right now, I think that's what I really need.”
“Everyone in this castle leads a life that's far from normal,” Harry said, pulling Ginny towards him, wrapping his strong arms around her tiny waist. “Breaking up won't change anything.”
“I have to go,” Ginny said quietly, unfurling his arms and backing away. “I have to go now.”
She turned and ran out of the room and down the stairs, which had returned to stairs. She hadn't wanted Harry to see her cry again, she was tired of crying in front of him. Right now, all she wanted to do was hide, and she knew he'd be looking for her. Today was a Hogsmeade day, which meant she could hide in the little village, amongst the crowds of people. All she needed right now was to hide.
“Well, that went well,” Ron said sarcastically, sipping Butterbeer from his forth bottle in the past hour. “I'm glad we decided to have this romantic belated Valentine's day.”
Seamus, Dean, and Harry all grunted in sarcastic agreement. They knew they had all screwed up, but none of them had the slightest idea of how to make things right.
“Remind me again why we thought pretending to not recognize Valentine's day was a good idea,” Seamus said, his Irish accent growing thicker with each bottle.
Dean sighed and leaned his head down onto his arm. “We thought it would be foolproof,” he muttered into his arm. “All the girls would be angry, but we'd woo them all today and they'd forget ever having been angry.”
“We just didn't factor in them not speaking to us ever again,” Ron muttered, slumping his head down as well.
Harry stared down into his full bottle of Butterbeer. He'd only taken one sip the entire time they were in the tavern. His stomach felt like it was full of lead, and if he drank anything he thought it just might overflow. Ginny and him were always fighting, but he never thought it bothered her so much. He thought it was part of the charm, part of the excitement.
When she had left him in her dormitory that morning, it had felt like someone had taken a hammer and smashed it against his chest until he couldn't move. How had their Valentine's day turned out so miserable, what had made everything so horrible?
“That stupid Ravenclaw,” he muttered, figuring he might as well blame somebody.
“Don't blame her,” Seamus muttered, finishing his fifth Butterbeer. “Blame Ginny. In situations like this, it's always best to blame the girlfriend.”
“Don't listen to him,” Dean said, propping his chin atop his empty bottle. “Lavender won't even look at him.”
“My heart hurts,” Ron grumbled, so quietly only Harry could hear him.
“Come on, kid,” Harry said, lifting Ron up out of his chair. The Butterbeer couldn't actually make them drunk, so he was slightly confused as to why all his friends' speech had become slurred and their heads seemed to have grown too heavy for their necks.
“Where are we going?” Ron muttered, leaning his head on Harry's shoulder as they walked out of the Three Broomsticks.
“Let's go down to that old hut where we used to meet Sirius,” Harry said quietly, a strange pain fluttering in his heart the way it always did at the mention of Sirius' name. “I figure we could use the quiet.”
Ron slumped against Harry and the two walked like some strange couple down to the old shack. People stared at them, but no one said a thing. People looked towards Harry with pity on their faces, and not the normal dead-parents pity. Clearly news had spread quickly about him and Ginny.
Not for the first time in his life, Harry wished he could just blend into a crowd for once.
Hermione and Ginny had gotten about enough of Luna's love-filled mutterings, so they had decided to wander down towards the Shrieking Shack. Unfortunately, the house wasn't as abandoned as it used to be, once word had gotten out that it wasn't haunted. Kids could be found all over, lounging on the porch or having snowball fights in the yard. It was hardly a place to get away.
“Here, I know where we can go that's relatively quiet,” Hermione said, leading Ginny away from the house. “Harry, Ron, and I used to go down there to meet Sirius on weekends.”
“Sounds good,” Ginny muttered, hardly hearing what Hermione was saying. “As long as I don't have to explain to another person why I broke up with the 'Catch of the Year.'”
Hermione chuckled and the two girls walked down the road quietly, ignoring the stares they were getting from everyone else. Ginny was used to people staring at her, she had gotten that a lot after she had begun dating Harry. It was like dating Harry put her on the map in a way nothing else had. It hadn't mattered that she had been in the Ministry the night Sirius had died, or that she had fought Death Eaters when they attacked Hogwarts the year before. It didn't matter that she had spent all of the summer fighting and helping out Aurors. But no, now that she was Harry's girlfriend, she was something to stare at. Without a man, apparently, she wasn't worth a second glance.
“Did I ever tell you what happened this morning?” Hermione asked as they passed The Three Broomsticks. They saw Parvati and Lavender inside, sitting at a table and glaring at Dean and Seamus on the other side of the tavern.
“Harry mentioned something about your underwear,” Ginny said, not even cracking a smile.
“Oh God... I hadn't meant for anyone else to see that...” Hermioen muttered, looking down at her feet.
“What exactly happened?” Ginny asked, looking at her forlorn friend.
“Oh I don't know...” Hermione began, staring blankly ahead. “I just snapped. Ron's always talking about how I never take any chances and I'm so uptight, so this morning I just went into his room, started jumping on his bed, and told him how ridiculous he was. I told him that I didn't need him, that I had my girlfriends. I told him that being with him was the biggest mistake I'd ever made, because being with him just brought out the strict side of me.”
Hermione had to stop talking because she had begun to cry, and Ginny pulled her friend into a hug. For a few minutes, they just sat there and cried, ignoring all the people who stared at them.
“Hermione,” whispered Ginny as they separated. “You are the only person in the world who can make jumping a bed in next to nothing sad.”
Hermione let out a tear filled guffaw, and for a second they just stood there, laughing at the ridiculousness of Hermione's situation.
“You're one to speak,” Hermione said, catching her breath. “You broke up with the Boy-Who-Freaking-Lived!”
Once again, the pair dissolved into giggles, now laughing at the absurdity of their lives.
“Let's go to that little shack,” Ginny said as they regained their composure. “We might as well try to keep the entire school from thinking we're completely mad.”
“Amen,” Hermione muttered, and the two continued their journey.
Three years ago, a scraggly dog had stumbled upon a shack amiss caves and rocks, and he had made it his makeshift home. Here, he had the privacy to transform to his natural state of a man, and he could take care of his only companion, a Hippogriff named Buckbeak. The tiny hut still held pieces of him and his life, like the bones of the numerous tiny animals he had fed to Buckbeak, and the letters addressed to “Scruffles.”
Nowadays, the hut was used for different purposes. It was common for people to stop there when on a journey, to take refuge from the rain or to wait out a snow. Everyone who hid in that shack had left pieces of them behind, and it was now a known place to hide from predators or enemies.
On this particular Saturday, however, the shack was not being used as refuge or as a makeshift home. Instead, two boys sat on the rocks under the roof that seemed to only be holding on by a thread. Their postures revealed a deep sadness, and they each had circles beneath their eyes. One of the boys appeared to be crying, and the other looked dangerously close. They each seemed aware of the other, but neither felt the need for words.
Their heads suddenly sprang up at the sound of approaching footsteps, although no voices came. Soon after, two girls stood before them, each looking as shocked as the boys to have found each other.
“Ginny?” Harry said, standing up from the rock he was seated on.
“Harry,” she said quietly, quickly looking away. Looking into his eyes would just confuse things. She didn't want any more confusion.
“Hermione,” Ron said, then quickly added, “I wasn't crying.”
“You were too crying,” Hermione said quietly, a small smile forming upon her lips. “I can't believe you were crying over me.”
Ron looked down, ashamed, but Hermione wouldn't have any of that.
“Ron,” she whispered, walking right up to him and lifting his chin so that he looked into her eyes. “I love you.”
And with that, she kissed him, soft and tenderly, letting him know that by no means would he ever be anything less than her soul mate.
“I thought I was the biggest mistake you've ever made,” Ron said quietly as they broke apart.
“Nah,” she whispered, holding him close. “Turns out, you're the best mistake I've ever made.”
Only then did they seem to notice that Harry and Ginny were each staring at them.
“Oh,” Hermione said quietly. “Sorry about that.”
“We'll go,” Ron said quickly, grabbing his girlfriend's hand and pulling her away from the shack.
Harry and Ginny watched them leave, then looked back at each other. Things were strangely awkward and they each looked down towards the ground, not quite sure what to do or say.
“I guess they figured it out,” Harry finally said after far too long of a silence.
“What's that?” Ginny asked, looking over towards him.
“Well, it's just that, even though they fight all the time and they break up every other day, they somehow always end up back together. Like they're--”
“Destined for each other,” Ginny finished, taking a step closer to him. “Harry, listen--”
“No,” Harry said rather loudly. “No, Gin, you need to listen to me for once. This is hard for me to say, but... but it's about time.”
He took a deep breath then continued. “Ginny, my life has been doomed from the second I came out of the womb. I've been given more bad luck than anyone else on the planet, and I've lost nearly everyone who's ever mattered to me. But at the same time, just when it seems like things can't get much worse, I get a splurge of good luck, and things suddenly go well.
“When I lost Sirius, it felt like I couldn't go on. I felt lost and alone, and like I could never really care about anyone again. I thought that my life, and the lives of anyone who came in contact with me, were poisoned, and that I was just destined to be alone. But I found comfort from all of that with you, you pulled me out of what could have been a really dark and lonely year.
“Then I lost Dumbledore, and it seemed like nothing would ever go right. I made a huge mistake by breaking up with you, by cutting away my one source of happiness. When you took me back and said you would always be there for me, that just helped me realize that I can have a good life, that I'm not just destined to be alone.”
By now the two were standing nearly against each other, but Harry wasn't finished yet.
“Yeah, I know we fight, and I know we have issues. I know that you want to live a normal life, and I know that you want things to go right. I know you wanted to have a good Valentine's Day, and I know I ruined that for you. But I also know that me and you, Ginny, we fit. We're beyond perfect for each other. I know that every time I look at you, I feel happy, and whole, and like I have someone to love me no matter what happens. It's like all my life, I've been searching for someone to call family, someone to be my home base, someone who I can always count on, and it was only until I found you that I truly got that.
“If you want a normal life, Ginny, I understand, and I'll respect that. But us, we're a couple, we're meant to be, and I think you know that as well as I do. So you can walk away again, you can scream and throw things, but, just like there will always be a Ravenclaw trying to be with me, we will always come back together.
“Valentine's Day isn't about chocolates or cards shaped like hearts and covered in glitter. It's about showing someone that you love them, no matter what, and letting them know that you will always be there. Ginny Weasley, I love you more than anything, but I don't need Valentine's Day to tell you that. Because with you, every day is a day filled with love, and every day is a day when I'm here for you.
“Please, don't walk away again. Please, Ginny, just open your heart and love me.”
As Harry finished his little speech, Ginny knew just what to do. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, trying to allow her lips do the talking.
Because, for the first time since she was twelve, her stomach was filled with butterflies.
A/N: I know it's cheesy and cliché, but hey, I sort of almost liked it. That's rare for me.
I promise to get back to Life In Every Word soon. Sometimes a girl needs a break from her escape. Sometimes a girl needs to dip back into reality. So here, this is the beginning into my ascent back to nonreality. Consider this my journey.
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