It was a blustery day in March and Ginny was running up Diagon Alley, shopping bags cutting her hands and knocking against her legs. She and Harry had gone shopping separately, but, as usual when they did this, Ginny had got sidetracked by clothes shopping and was now late. She was meant to meet Harry at two o'clock and it was now – oops! – twenty-five past!
She ran past the shops, apothecaries and cafes to the archway that led through to the Leaky Cauldron. Hopefully, Harry would be late, too – nope, there he was, sitting at the bar, chatting to Hannah Abbott.
Ginny grinned apologetically and lugged her bags over to the bar. Harry and Hannah stopped talking as she approached, both smiling at the sight of her weighed down with shopping.
"Have you been clothes shopping again, Ginny?" Harry asked his girlfriend.
"No," she giggled, trying in vain to hide her bulky bags behind her back, then gave up and dumped them at Harry's feet, plopping herself on to a stool.
"Hi, Hannah, how are you?" Ginny asked the bargirl brightly.
"Fine, thanks. Would you like anything to drink?"
"Mmm, glass of white wine, please. This place is lovely, Hannah – feminine touch?" Ginny looked fondly around the cosy pub.
"Yeah," Hannah laughed, "Tom's finally taking on some of my ideas!"
"I can see that! Isn't it nice?" Ginny nudged a silent Harry with her foot, but he merely pouted at her. "Oh, sorry!" exclaimed Ginny, catching on. "Hello, darling, how are you?"
"Fine," Harry grumbled, only brightening when she kissed him.
"Successful shopping trip?"
"Very," replied Harry, colouring slightly.
"There you go," Hannah set Ginny's wine down and leant on the bar. "So did you two get to the match earlier?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah, we did. Did you?"
"No, I was working," Hannah pulled a face. "But I persuaded Tom to put the wireless on and it was full in here! So what does that result mean for the Harpies, Ginny?"
"Well, obviously Puddlemere have just beaten the Falcons, and their next game is against the Wigtown Wanderers, which they're likely to win again, then if we beat the Kestrels, we'll play Puddlemere and if we beat them, we'll be second in the league!"
"Great!" Hannah laughed nervously. "Well, good luck, I'll be watching – or at least listening!" she gestured towards the wireless. "Um, I was just wondering…" Hannah suddenly looked nervous and embarrassed.
Ginny, sensing an approaching confidence, lent closer.
"You didn't happen to see Neville at the match, did you?" Hannah asked hurriedly.
"Hmm, no, I don't think we did…" Ginny mused. "Why?"
"Oh, I just wondered where – where he was…"
"Aha!" Ginny's eyes suddenly sparkled. "You like him, don't you? You like Neville!"
"Well, yes, as a friend…" mumbled Hannah.
"Oh, you know what I mean!" Ginny reprimanded.
Hannah flushed a light pink, unlike the flaming red Ginny blushed.
"Ok, but shh! He doesn't know – I mean – I don't want – we're –"
"It's ok, it's ok," Ginny soothed, holding up her hands to halt the torrent. "Your secret's safe with me!"
Hannah smiled and thanked her, then hurried off to serve someone else, still prettily pink.
Harry and Ginny found a table and enjoyed a leisurely lunch together, observing the comings and goings in the pub. Ginny chattered away happily about her new clothes, Hannah and Neville, the match, who she'd seen in Diagon Alley and the Harpies prospects of beating the Kestrels, but Harry was quieter than usual.
Eventually, they sat back, stuffed, in their chairs, and sighed contentedly.
"So what do you want to do for the rest of the day?" Ginny asked. "It's what? Four o'clock now? Yes."
Ginny immediately felt Harry tense.
"Um," he shifted uncomfortably in his chair and all thoughts of going home, to bed, flew out of Ginny's head. She turned her full attention to Harry, who began to speak very fast.
"Well, the thing is, Ginny, I've known your parents longer than I've known you – as a friend or lover – but, well..." he looked down, "you've never met my parents."
Whatever Ginny had been expecting, it wasn't this. Her heart softened and she suddenly became temporarily incapable of speech.
"I mean, I know they're dead," Harry rushed on. "What I meant was, I'd like to take you to their grave… if that's ok with you…"
Ginny had known exactly what he meant and nothing was more ok with her.
Ever since she and Harry had got together – properly – after The Battle of Hogwarts, she'd had a strange, burning desire to visit his parents' graves. It was as though she needed to know everything about him, but of this part of his past, and his parents, she knew very little.
Harry had, to Ginny's knowledge, visited his parents' grave twice since the last battle – the last two Christmases – and perhaps other times she was not aware of. The first Christmas, seven months after that dreadful day, he, Ron and Hermione had left The Burrow shortly after dinner to go to Godric's Hollow, and Ginny felt she was back at square one – abandoned and left behind. Last Christmas, only a few months ago, Harry had gone again, this time alone.
Ginny felt this was the final step to acceptance, the epitome of trust.
"Harry," Ginny said, her voice constricted with emotion, her head full of crowding thoughts and feelings, "I would be honoured to go with you."
And he smiled properly, for the first time since they'd met for lunch, the sun breaking out from behind the clouds.
Harry insisted on paying and as he led Ginny from the pub to the backyard, he casually mentioned, "It's my dad's birthday today."
Ginny almost stopped walking with surprise – she couldn't think of a thing to say, so settled with the old favourite, "Oh."
Harry seemed to sense her uneasiness, for he turned around to face her. "Sorry, that was random. I just thought you'd see on the headstone, so I better…"
Ginny put a finger to his lips.
"Shh, it doesn't matter." She kissed him slowly, then pulled away and tugged him outside. "Shall we go?"
"Yes," Harry held her hand tightly, feeling slightly unsteady after that kiss. They shared the packages and bags between them and then twisted in to the darkness, gripping each other's hands and the shopping bags firmly.
It was drizzling in Godric's Hollow and the clouds were thick overhead.
Harry had Apparated himself and Ginny just outside the village, so they would not cause alarm to any passing Muggles by popping out of thin air.
Ginny was nervous, excited and scared, and she held Harry's hand determinedly as they walked up the lane, towards Godric's Hollow and the Potters' old house.
"Oh!" Ginny cried out as soon as she realised what the ruin was. She ran to the gate and gripped it with two hands, gazing up at the house, tears filling her brown eyes.
As the old sign rose from the tangled undergrowth, Ginny blinked furiously. Since the final stand against Voldemort, the wood had been truly covered in gratuitous and encouraging graffiti, making the original gold lettering difficult to make out.
Ginny read the words and comments with some leaking tears, smiles and proud glances at Harry, who was not looking at the house but staring over the fields past the village.
As soon as she had finished, Harry hurried her on. He had wanted Ginny to see the house and the sign – decided that while they were visiting the grave they may as well do the rounds – but he did not like to linger at the ruin, for it brought back painful memories and nightmares of that night just over two years ago.
The couple pressed on to the square with the picture postcard cottages, the green, war memorial, pub and Church.
Harry made Ginny walk past the nondescript war memorial and enjoyed her expression of shock and delight as it morphed before her eyes. This time there were no tears – Ginny seemed to have taken some of her strength from Harry. She commented on the cuteness of baby Harry, the beauty of Lily and the similarities between twenty-one-year-old James, as he was depicted in the statue, and nineteen-year-old Harry, who stood next to her.
"What a lovely thing to do," sighed Ginny, glancing back to the war memorial as they crossed the green and passed behind the empty church. "I wonder who thought of that…"
"Dumbledore, maybe, or the villagers," Harry replied, leaning over the kissing gate to kiss his girlfriend.
"Mmhmm," was Ginny's only response.
Harry led Ginny between the graves, picking his way through the long wet grass, grateful for the little protection the Church provided from the now steady rain.
Eventually they came upon a gleaming headstone of white marble, upon which was embossed with gold lettering,
James Potter, born 27 March 1960, died 31st October 1981 Lily Potter, born 30 January 1960, died 31st October 1981
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Ginny read the message silently, her lips forming the words, her eyes wide. Then she nodded quietly and looked at Harry.
He cleared his throat nervously, and said in a clear, calm voice, "Um, Mum, Dad, this is Ginny Weasley. She's – er – everything to me. You never knew her family, but they've treated me as their own ever since I met them. Her parents, especially, have been nothing short of wonderful, comforting and supportive. Ginny has six older brothers, one of whom is my best mate and has been there for me for eight solid years. You remember Ron, right? He came the Christmas before last. One of her other brothers, Fred, died fighting the same cause you did. I bet you've met him up there and are having a right laugh." Harry glanced briefly to the grey sky and smiled slightly, then he swallowed, and stared back at the names imprinted on the stone. "Anyway, the point is I love Ginny very much and I know you would, too, if you were here. And I'm going to marry her."
Ginny squawked involuntarily.
"You are?" her voice was a trembling squeak – a mixture of suppressed surprise and delight.
"Yes," said Harry decisively and he knelt down in the wet grass beside his parents' grave and looked up to her with honest green eyes.
"Ginny Weasley," he withdrew a ring box from his back pocket and Ginny heard someone, probably herself, gasp. "Will you do me the honour," Harry opened the box to reveal a platinum ring set with three sparkling diamonds, "of becoming my wife?"
"Yes!" cried Ginny with no hesitation, and forgoing all respect, thinking only that Lily and James would appreciate the romance of the situation, threw herself passionately at their son, Harry kissed her fiercely.
A/N: For Jane, who should have had a lot longer with her children, and for her daughter, who is engaged. Thanks to Arnel for all her help, especially helping with my ignorance concerning ring metals!