Disclaimer: In the (mangled) words of Colonel Klink: "I own nothing. Nothing!"
Author's Notes: You would not believe how long this took me to write. I just couldn't do it. Sorry if it seems a bit forced.
Every night she lit the candle and placed it in her window, hoping
against hope that this would be the day he came home, came back to her.
The candle was growing dangerously low now, and she knew that if it
went out, then he was no more. But he was risking his life every day,
and she saw it flicker more than once.
She'd waited patiently
like a good little girl for three years. And while she waited, she'd
watched her mother lose weight and gain silver hairs, her father become
more closed off, losing interest in Muggles as
the war raged, watched while Fred struggled valiantly to keep going as
though existing without his twin by his side was easy. Luna wasn't half
so dreamy and odd anymore, and with her, all roads led to Neville, who
was away fighting. Both Bill and Fleur were gone, as was Charlie. Percy
still wasn't talking to them, and Tonks and Remus were gone, too.
Turning away from the stars and the moonlight, Ginny harshly scrubbed
the tears from her cheeks. She wasn't the only one missing someone she
loved, and there were far worse afflictions.
Sighing, the redhead got up and went over to her bookcase. There would be no sleep tonight. She might as well read.
Sun streaming through the windows woke her up from her cramped position, and the redhead stretched, Pride and Prejudice falling off her lap and onto the ground.
Ginny stopped mid-stretch, however, when she caught sight of the Vigil
Candle. Dark green with intricate runes cast into the wax, it should
have been glowing steadily with the light from the wick, wax running
down its short sides. Instead it was unlit and as tall as it had been
the day she made it.
Scrambling to stand up, Ginny managed to
knock over a lamp, spill her stone cold mug of tea from the night
before all over her bed, and shatter her mirror in her haste to reach
If...if it had gone out, that meant Harry was either dead, or...
Well, she couldn't think about the other possibility, it was too painful.
Shoulders drooping, Ginny dropped down onto the windowsill, legs unable
to support her, and began to cry. Soon everyone would know - Harry's
demise wouldn't remain secret for long - but she deserved this time of
grief. She was, after all, in love with him, and if Cho Chang was
allowed to cry when Cedric Diggory died, she was allowed to cry when
The fact that this justification was rather catty
didn't register to Ginny. Her heart felt as though it was breaking, and
she could barely think.
"Go away, Harry, I can't talk to you right now," she sobbed. The words sunk in, and she looked up. "HARRY?!"
The dark-haired, green-eyed object of her misery smiled sheepishly. "Hey, Ginny."
"'Hey, Ginny'!" Ginny shrieked, standing up, her distress turning to
fury. "You worry me SICK for THREE YEARS and ALL YOU CAN SAY IS 'HEY,
GINNY'?! You-you-" Words failed her and she stalked over, smacking him
hard on the arm.
"You'd better ouch!" she
raged. "I swear, Harry Potter, I am going to mmph-" Her fuming was cut
short when Harry gripped her by the arms, kissing her soundly.
When he let her go, she hit him again. "WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT
FOR?!" she screamed. "YOU COME IN HERE BOLD AS BRASS AND DON'T EVEN
HAVE THE DECENCY TO LET ME FINISH YELLING AT YOU BEFORE YOU GO OFF AND
START KISSING ME AND SWEEPING ME OFF MY FEET and making me feel so
happy and in love when you've been away so long and I couldn't bear it
this morning, Harry, when I thought you were
dead because there was no way you could have come back to me." Her
tears came back in full force, making her even angrier. She hated
crying; it gave her a headache and made her skin blotchy.
Harry hugged her close. "Oh, Ginny, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to
worry you." His eyes were drawn to the candle in her window. "What's
She flushed. "That's how I kept tabs on you. 'So long
as it burns, you're alive. If it goes out, you're dead or you've
stopped fighting. If reaches the end, that means you're lost to me,
whether you're alive or dead. It means - " a hiccupped sob - "it means
you'll never be with me again."
"Well, it'd never burn down completely, then," he murmured into her hair. "It's all over now, Gin. I'm here now and I'll never leave you again."
Ginny pulled away, eyes flashing. "You think it'll be that easy?" she
asked. "You can just leave me for three years without a word, with my only way of knowing whether or not you were alive being ancient
magic which has never been truly tested or tried, and then just come
back without a qualm? Just think that things would be exactly the same
as they were when you were 16 and I was 15? That I might not have
changed? That my love for you might not have changed?"
Harry shifted, looking uncomfortable. It was obvious he hadn't thought about that.
"You did, didn't you," Ginny began to pace. "Merlin's beard, Harry! Are you really so self-centred?"
"No." It was soft, so soft the redhead nearly didn't hear
him. "I'm not. True love...it doesn't fade or change, no matter how
much time passes between meetings."
Ginny's heart turned over
in her chest at the pain in those words. He was thinking about his
parents, and about her parents. Two couples that had the true love most
people sneered at. Not to mention Remus and Tonks, Fleur and Bill,
Hermione and Ron, Neville and Luna...
"You're right, it doesn't," she agreed. "Love like that is forever."
"Do...do we have that love?"
There was a pleading note in his voice, a begging for this one concession. Instinctively, Ginny sought to comfort him.
"I've always loved you, Harry," she said, taking a step towards him.
Harry's shoulders relaxed. "I love you, too."
"But Harry," Ginny's eyes filled with tears again, "it's been three
years. I've changed, everything's changed. I'm not the same girl I was
at 11, or 15, or even the same girl as I was last week, how can you be
"Because you're still Ginny, whether you're 10, 18 or
100," Harry replied. "And I love you, no matter what. That's...you're
why I came back." His voice was shy, uncertain. "I don't know what
would have happened if I hadn't had the thought of you keeping me
"That's really sweet." Ginny snuggled her head against
his chest, closing her eyes and breathing in the scent that was
"Thanks." Wrapping his arms around her, the brunette sighed. "I'm glad it's over."
"I think we all are."
"Mmm. And I'm glad to be home."
Ginny looked up. "That alone is a reason to celebrate,” she said softly, the invitation in her eyes plain.
"Yes, Miss Weasley, it is," Harry agreed, closing the distance between their mouths.