The Hope of Her
Harry kept the
Invisibility Cloak on as he padded through the corridors of his beloved
Hogwarts. Most people were in the Great Hall, celebrating, commiserating and spending
time with their loved ones, but now and again lone individuals or small groups
would scurry by.
the Elder Wand in Dumbledore’s tomb, Harry had managed to extract the
Marauder’s Map from Hermione’s beaded bag before she and Ron had drifted away,
fingers interlaced, presumably intending to talk, to mourn and – most likely –
continue what they had started in the Room of Requirement.
Harry had scanned
the Map and found her name in seconds. He was so used to looking at it after
all this time that the capital G and W seemed to jump out at him until his eyes
rested on her whereabouts.
She was in the
Gryffindor common room. Harry was not entirely sure why, but he was immensely
grateful she had extracted herself from the crowds. Elated as he was at his
victory, he was finding being the centre of everyone’s attention extremely
He had forgotten
to wear the Invisibility Cloak as he turned his back on Ron and Hermione’s
entwined forms and headed back to the castle. He had therefore been instantly
accosted by Ernie MacMillan, who had wrung his hand over and over with his
pompous congratulations; Professor Sprout, whose words had been
indistinguishable because she addressed them into her handkerchief between
sobs; and a group of girls Harry did not know, who had charged at him wailing
his name, causing him to make a hasty escape up two flights of stairs. After
the latter incident, Harry had decided it was definitely time to wear the cloak
again, and thus he had made the rest of his way to the Gryffindor common room unimpeded.
The Fat Lady’s
portrait was deserted. Harry was not surprised: the paintings were holding
their own raucous parties all over the castle, and he suspected the Fat Lady
and her friend, Vi, had relocated into the portrait of the handsome knights on
the fourth floor. So Harry pushed open the empty portrait without a password
and stepped into the Gryffindor common room for the first time in over a year.
It was completely
deserted, save for one lone figure, sitting on the window sill, hugging her
knees as she stared at the morning sky. She looked up as he entered the room
and gave a little start.
They stared at one
another. Harry felt his heart struggling, just as it had in the Room of
“Hi,” Ginny said
She stood up, but
stayed by the window. There was something between them; not an awkwardness,
exactly, but the physical space separating them as they stood at either end of
the common room seemed to symbolise the space and time that had divided them
for almost a year.
“Are you all
right?” Harry asked, mainly because he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Ginny nodded. “I
came up here to sort my head,” she said. “I thought you’d have lots of people
to see – to talk to.”
“I needed to see
you most of all.”
“I knew you’d come
and find me, when you were ready. I’ve just been waiting.” She gave a little
laugh and said with only a trace of bitterness, “still waiting…”
“No more waiting,”
He threw the
Invisibility Cloak aside and strode towards her. She flew at him, just as she
had all that time ago in this very common room. Harry pulled her to him,
holding her tightly, and the space between them vanished.
How long they
remained that way, Harry could not say. They remained locked in the embrace,
clinging fiercely to one another, as though an aftershock of the battle might
throw them apart once more. Their bodies were pressed so tightly together,
Harry was sure he could feel her heart, thudding in her chest; the glorious
drumming that confirmed she was alive, she was real, she was here.
stirred in his arms, although her fingers still grasped at his robes. Harry
placed a hand on each side of her head, holding her face to his, desiring
nothing more at this moment than just to look at her.
Her face was
drawn: she had dark circles under her eyes, presumably caused by a combination
of worry, grief and lack of sleep. Her hair was askew, red strands trailing out
of her long ponytail. Her freckled face was grimy from battle, although the wet
hair around her face suggested she had recently made some attempt to wash it.
Fresh tear tracks shimmered down her face and tiny droplets were caught in her
eyelashes. There was a bruise above her jawbone and a gash across her cheek,
which she seemed to have acquired since leaving the Room of Requirement.
Harry thought she
looked unutterably, impossibly beautiful. He opened his mouth to try to express
this, but Ginny was struggling to say something.
“You – you were –”
Ginny sighed at her incoherence. “You were amazing, Harry. Just - amazing.”
Harry, who had
been on the receiving end of similar sentiments for a good few hours, shrugged
and said nothing. Ginny tried to say more, but failed to form the words. So they
continued to stare at one another, as though they had never before seen anything
quite so wonderful. Harry was captivated, completely mesmerised by her bright
Then suddenly they
were kissing. Fierce, greedy kisses, born of too many months apart, too many hours
spent wondering and worrying about each other. Harry’s lips bumped against her
mouth, her cheek, her chin - he did not particularly care. He just wanted to
kiss her, to impatiently snatch at passion in this way.
Ginny made a
whimpering sound and they broke apart. Harry knew what she meant: this would not
do; this mindless oblivion. Not now. They resumed their staring, clasped in one
another’s arms as though they were performing a very static dance.
After all this
time, now the moment of their reconciliation was finally here, Harry wasn’t
quite sure what to do with her. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to hold her or kiss
her. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to sit with her, talk with her, laugh with
her, cry with her, or do certain other things with her that he was – for once -
too tired to think about right now, not to mention too frightened of the
newly-revealed duelling abilities of Molly Weasley to act upon.
Ginny seemed to be
similarly perplexed. Emotions flickered across her face like fireworks,
lightening and darkening it in turn. Finally, she gave a dry sob and rested her
forehead against his chest. Harry’s hand found the back of her head. He stroked
her smooth hair
“I thought you’d
gone…” Her voice was a hollow whisper. “I didn’t… I thought you’d gone and – I
- I felt like I was broken…”
“I’m so sorry… But
“I know – you had
They looked at one
another for a long time. Then Ginny punched him on the arm.
“Well,” she said
unsympathetically, “Merlin’s wotsits, Harry. You didn’t half scare the life out
There she was. Ginny
had settled on a disposition at last, and it was her own: fiery, funny, fantastic
Ginny. Harry’s already considerable infatuation with her seemed to double, and
he seized her mouth with a kiss that almost knocked her backwards.
“Hm,” said Ginny,
when she straightened up, trying and failing to repress a smile. “You won’t get
back in my good books again that easily.”
Harry smiled back
and put a hand on each of her shoulders.
“I know,” he said.
“There’s so much I have to tell you, Ginny. So much I…”
She put a finger
against his mouth. “Harry,” she said seriously. “You don’t need to tell me now,
you really don’t. To be honest, I’m not sure I can take it right away – what
with everything else. It can wait. We’ve got so much time now.”
shivered at her worlds: they had time. Just as it had hit him on his
birthday, that his future had been so cast in Voldemort’s shadow it had been
hazy and uncertain, now he realised how different it was. What lay ahead was
still difficult to see, but that was because it seemed to be bathed in such a
blindingly brilliant light.
Just like Ginny.
Harry wanted to
somehow convey how much she had meant to him this year. How the thought of her
and the hope of her had driven him on and on. But when he tried to find a way
to express this; when he attempted to think back on the momentous journey he
had undergone, he could not see beyond the past few hours of darkness. Then he
remembered something: a shining moment in the chaos; a dazzling lone star in an
otherwise tumultuous universe.
“When I faced him
– when I thought I was…” Harry swallowed, not wanting her to look any more
anxious than she already did. Although he needed to tell her. “When I thought I
was going to die, do you know what I saw? In my last moments?”
She shook her
head, her eyes wide and glassy.
“You – us. In the
common room, after the Quidditch match last year.”
Ginny made an
exhaling noise, somewhere between a laugh and a sob.
“That’s what I see
when I cast my Patronus. Although it’s not really the same thing…” she mumbled.
“I think it is.”
She fell into his
arms again. Harry felt that his knees were about to buckle: for the first time
in months, he did not feel as though someone was going to leap through the
window and attempt to kill him or, worse, kill the ones he loved. Secure in her
embrace, he felt ludicrously safe. The feeling made him so weary that he felt
she was supporting him; that he would just collapse if she were not there.
sensed this, because she took his hand and led him to the comfiest, squashiest
chair by the fireplace. Harry sank into its depths and suddenly realised how
much his muscles had been aching. He thought Ginny was going to sit on the
chair next to his, but she scrambled on top of him and settled on his lap.
Harry put an arm around her back and one across her knees, wondering whether he
had in fact died in the forest, and this was some heavenly afterlife in which
he could stay, warm and unharmed forever, cosseted between the world’s comfiest
chair and Ginny.
The thought of
death made him remember something he had stupidly, selfishly forgotten.
“Ginny, I’m so
sorry about Fred. I should’ve said sooner… I’m so, so sorry.”
Ginny bowed her
head and fiddled with his sleeve.
“I was there,”
Harry continued. “I saw it happen. He went –”
Ginny. “I know. Percy said.”
She smiled, but a
tear trickled down her cheek and landed on Harry’s hand. She wiped her eyes
She tried to speak
but more tears spilled down her face. She blinked impatiently and shook her head
as though to banish her grief.
Harry realised she
was trying to be strong for him, but she hardly needed to prove anything: she
would always be one of the strongest people he knew. He also knew she only
cried under exceptional circumstances, such as when dragged from the Chamber of
Secrets after months of possession by Lord Voldemort and a near-death
experience. She was hardly unreasonable. And now, mourning the loss of a
brother, was a very exceptional circumstance.
Gently, he took
hold of her wrists, which were still wiping at her eyes and brought them to her
“It’s okay,” he
In fact, this
seemed to calm her, and the tears stopped as soon as they had started. She gave
him a watery smile which made him ache for her and her terrible loss.
When she finally
spoke, her voice was low, as though she were struggling to repress the emotion
bubbling beneath her words. “Poor George,” she said. “Poor Mum. Poor all of us.
And…” Her voice cracked. “Poor, poor Teddy Lupin.”
Harry thought of
the chubby, blue-haired baby in the photograph and a lump ballooned in his
Ginny sniffed. “It’s
weird,” she said. “I can't fully feel it yet. I mean, I know I’m crying and
stuff but…” She sighed. “I’m feeling so much that I can’t really feel anything
at all. I’m numb.”
knowing exactly what she meant.
“It’s all just too
much,” Ginny said, and as she spoke her voice became more controlled. “I’m so
happy and so sad and so disbelieving and so shocked and just so, so relieved.”
She gulped. “I’m sorry,” she said. “Listen to me… You must be feeling – I have
no idea what you must be feeling.”
“Tired,” he said
eventually. “So, so tired.”
He thought of the
last time he had slept; a fractured sleep filled with worry at Shell Cottage
the night before last. It felt like years ago.
“You should go to
bed,” Ginny told him.
“In a bit,” Harry
said. His hand rested on the side of her head, his thumb stroking her
tear-streaked cheek. “Not yet… I’ve been waiting for this for too long.”
started to say, “that’s your own silly –”
But Harry cut her
off with a snigger.
remembered something, speaking of waiting too long.” He wondered if it was
wildly inappropriate to start talking about it now, but the thought was stuck
in his head and he wanted to share it. “Guess what happened, right before the
“Do I want to
know?” Ginny asked jadedly. “Did you manage to do something even more dangerous
than dying? Did you -?”
“Ron and Hermione
Ginny’s eyes were
wide with shock.
Ginny gasped. “I
saw them holding hands downstairs earlier, but I thought they were still doing
their we’re-almost-but-not-quite-a-couple thing.”
“Yeah. Well, it
was more of a snog, to be honest.”
“Bloody hell. How
did it happen?”
“He said something
nice about house-elves.”
widened. “Are you joking?”
“No,” Harry said
earnestly. “He really did. And Hermione just went for him, right there.”
Ginny began to
giggle. Harry grinned.
“You know, they
could’ve chosen any of the many idle moments we’ve had over the past year, or –
even better – some time in the six years they’ve known each other. Would’ve
done us all a favour. But no. Ron and Hermione - they snog in the middle of a battle.”
Ginny was now
shaking with laughter. Harry joined in and soon found it very difficult to
stop. Before long, both he and Ginny were completely beside themselves; Ginny
clutching her stomach with pain and he with his head thrown back in mirth. Because
even though his muscles burned when he laughed and he was not sure if anything
should be funny at a time like this, the thought of his two best friends
finally snogging seemed beyond hilarious.
“Who - them or
“Dunno. All of
Ginny stroked his
cheek absently. She ran her finger over a small cut that Harry had no
recollection of acquiring.
“Has Madam Pomfrey
seen to you?” she asked.
Harry shook his
head. “She was a little busy.”
“You look all
battered,” Ginny said disapprovingly. “I mean, a few scars,” she pointed at his
forehead, “are cool and sexy and everything, but I wish you wouldn’t get
yourself in such a mess, Harry. You look half dead.”
“For a moment, I
was all dead,” Harry grinned.
“It’s not funny!”
Ginny said, looking half-furious, half-amused.
assumed a remorseful expression.
Ginny fumed. “If you hadn’t just saved the wizarding world, I’d be seriously
cross with you right now.”
when you’re cross,” Harry said, leaning towards her.
“Oh, shut up,”
Ginny said, against his lips.
Harry had no
trouble obeying that. He abruptly ceased all attempts at conversation in favour
of kissing her as he had been dreaming and longing of kissing her all year. His
hands reached around her back again and he pulled her towards him, as though
they could never be close enough. Ginny’s hands were in his hair, her warm
touch soothing the pounding of his tired and throbbing head.
Harry wanted to
deepen the kiss, but didn’t know whether that would be pushing things; he
thought he should be grateful she was speaking to him for the moment, let alone
kissing him. But as he was working up the courage to make the first move, he
felt Ginny’s tongue on his bottom lip. Deciding that she was possibly the best
thing in the world, if not, the universe, he opened his mouth with such eagerness
that they both laughed. But then their tongues were playing and there was no
more laughing, just wonderful, thoughtless oblivion…
pulled away. Harry groaned and tried to find her lips again, but she offered
her cheek with an air of mock-snootiness.
“Are you still
mad?” Harry asked.
“Yes,” said Ginny,
despite the fact that she was grinning from ear to ear. “You have a lot of making
up to me to do.”
“Yes you do,” she
said firmly. “You can’t just go swanning off for a year, no owl or word you’re
all right, and expect me to be fine with everything.”
Across her face
formed a look that Harry had not seen in a long time; a mischievous, teasing
expression that seemed to make the room get a lot hotter.
“I demand some
recompense,” she breathed.
“What did you have
in mind?” he asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Not sure yet,”
she said. “Kiss me while I think about it.”
Harry did not need
When their throes
of passion gave way to fatigue, Ginny laid her head on his chest and Harry rested
his cheek on her scented hair. She ran her fingers up and down his forearm and
he fiddled with the end of her long ponytail.
“I missed you so
much,” Harry said.
“Same here,” Ginny
replied. She looked at her hands. “You know, I used to gaze at those awful
posters – those Undesirable Number One pictures – just to see your face.”
Harry tilted her
chin up so she was looking at him. “I used to look at the Marauders’ Map to see
where you were,” he said, “and just stare and stare at your name, hoping you
were all right.”
“What about your
name? Whenever it was mentioned, whether it was praised or cursed, I thought my
heart would burst, I wanted to see you so badly.”
They gazed at one
another for a long time, the aching sadness of the previous year almost visible
“I’m so sorry,”
Harry said. He felt himself shrinking into the depths of the chair, trying to
get away from her in his shame.
“Harry, don’t –
not now. I was only joking before…”
“But I am,” he
said. “For everything. For being the one to end it, for pushing you away for a
year. For not seeing you for a year – it’s been rubbish.”
“It really has.”
“I was just so afraid.
So afraid that something would happen to you because of me. That they’d know
how much I love you…”
This time Harry
looked at his hands. He had not planned to say it; until that moment, he had
not been truly aware he had felt it. But as the words left his mouth, he knew
they were true – of course they were true: he was hopelessly, desperately and entirely
in love with her.
He forced himself
to meet her eyes. She had sat up straighter on his lap so they were
face-to-face. She was wearing the most blazing of blazing looks, and yet when
she spoke, her voice was soft and serious.
“I love you too,”
she said. “I always have.”
Harry felt his
face split into a massive grin. It felt strange: he could not remember the last
time he had smiled like that. Ginny too was beaming at him, her smile
completely dazzling. Harry could not remember the last time he had seen that
either. The sheer force of the happiness they emitted was almost overwhelming.
They were back in
their bubble, back in the shining place they had been in Ginny’s room the
previous summer, before they had been so offensively interrupted by Ron. Except
that now there were no interruptions: no nosy brothers, no murderous
supervillains, just him and her. The world could wait. All that mattered to Harry
was her and her smile. Because in that smile he could see Ginny once more; the
real Ginny; the Ginny he loved.
“So no more
messing around, okay?” said Harry, feeling oddly assertive. “You won’t be able
to get rid of me now.”
forward. “I think I’ll be able to live with that,” she whispered.
As they kissed,
Harry’s mind spun; this surely could not be his life. This must be someone
else’s. Where were the dragons, the duelling, the Death Eaters? Something this
glorious could not be happening to him. Yet it was; she was happening to him.
And here she was, in his arms, kissing him and loving him.
Ginny, unable to
stop smiling to kiss properly, buried her head in his shoulder and nuzzled at
his neck. Harry caught her fingers, which were tracing his jaw line, and kissed
them. As he did so, he closed his eyes. It was with a huge effort that he
Ginny looked up
and smiled as he rubbed his eyes behind his glasses. Then she became stern.
“You should get
rest,” she said firmly. “You need sleep.”
“I need you,” he
“You have me.”
Harry rested his
head against the warm material of the chair. “Can’t I just sleep here?” he
murmured. The boys’ dormitories seemed an awfully long way away,
“No,” said Ginny.
“You’ll get a stiff neck. You’ve got loads of important stuff to do tomorrow,
and you can’t do them with a stiff neck.”
Harry thought of
speaking to Kingsley, to McGonagall, and probably every other person in the
wizarding world. He thought of mourning the dead and honouring the living; of
breaking up the Death Eaters and building up Hogwarts. Then he thought she was
probably right – it was bad enough that most of his body ached already.
“For starters, you
can’t snog properly with a stiff neck,” Ginny continued. “And you’re doing loads
of that tomorrow.”
“Am I?” said Harry
“Of course you
are,” she said, giving him a quick peck by way of a preview.
“Oh, all right
then,” said Harry.
Suddenly, the next
day seemed a lot brighter.
Ginny slid off his
lap and held out her hand.
Harry took her
hand, but still could not summon the energy to move.
“Mum’ll kill you
if you don’t get any sleep,” Ginny added.
Harry stood up.
“Don’t want to
mess with your mum,” he yawned. “Especially not know.”
“I know!” Ginny
giggled. “She was amazing.”
“I don’t think
I’ve ever seen anything so terrifying in my life,” Harry laughed, as they
started up the staircase of the boys’ dormitories, “and that’s saying
managed to make it up the stairs, probably entirely due to the small hand on
his back, pushing him forward. He barely noticed how empty his old dormitory
looked, with his, Ron and Dean’s belongings all missing from it.
towards his beloved four-poster. He hardly knew what he was doing as he slumped
on top of the covers fully clothed. He was dimly aware of Ginny removing his
He gazed at her,
willing himself to stay awake, willing her not to leave. Until she kicked off
her own shoes and was crawling towards him over the mattress.
he asked, too tired to even attempt to hide the eagerness and need in his voice.
“I’m not going
anywhere,” she said.
With his last
ounce of strength, he stretched out an arm and she reached him, laying her head
just next to his shoulder. Her hand found his other, resting on his chest, and
their fingers intertwined. Harry turned his head slightly and kissed her
lightly on the forehead. She snuggled closer to him, letting out a deep
The echoes of the
battlefield that had been ringing in Harry’s head; the banging, crashing,
screaming turmoil was replaced by their quiet breathing, growing slower and
slower in unison. The smell of fire and fear and singed flesh was replaced by
the wonderful flowery scent that encircled him and calmed him. And the images;
the violence and panic and death that were etched in his memory began to fade,
as the last thing Harry saw before he closed his eyes was her: peaceful,
* * *
A/N: Thank you
to Zsenya, for being my beta for this.
I really felt
Ginny’s role in DH was as Harry’s hope, which is why he thought of her in his
“last” moments; she was the future he thought he was losing. I hope I’ve
conveyed that in this fic (amongst all the snogging, of course).