He was kissing her with the same fiery determination as she had kissed him with in her bedroom, over a year ago.
It hurt too much.
It was so unfair that after surviving everything — a break-up, a war, a death… school was going to separate them.
“It’s only a year,” she reminded him. “We’ve survived one apart already. At least we’ll know each other is safe this time.”
She kissed him again.
“You know I love you, right?”
She thought she saw, or maybe she hoped, that some of the pain in his eyes lessened a little.
“Just… enjoy yourself. I’m going to, for sure!”
He looked at her questioningly and she put a finger to her lips and raised the carrier bag she was holding. He peeked inside. It was full of Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes merchandise.
“I sort of wish I was going back now,” he stared wistfully at the scarlet train next to them.
“No, you need to move on,” she told him, slipping her arm around his waist.
Together they watched the train fill up with kids.
“I can’t believe I’m going back.”
“Well, think about it. I fought Umbridge, then Death Eaters at the Ministry, then I got you and lost you, then I had to rebel against the Carrows and then I got taken out of school, in to hiding, then Fred…” She trailed off and he gave her shoulders a squeeze, waiting in sensitive silence for her to continue.
“It’s just... so much has happened. School feels so… petty, now. I feel too old to go back.”
Guilt consumed him. It was his fault, all of it was.
“Merlin, no, I’m sorry. Oh, I shouldn’t have said that…”
“I can read you, remember, Harry? Whenever I mention anything to do with the last year you get all closed up in guilt. It wasn’t your fault!” She seized his shoulders and shook him slightly, then wilted.
“What do you think Mum would say if I refused to go back to school? Just didn’t get on the train?”
“Wait a minute, it’s supposed to be me who’s the reckless one!”
“Maybe you’re having a bad influence on me?” she grinned up at him, but he could still see the curiosity in her eyes. “I don’t want to go back. I want to stay here — with you.”
“No, Ginny, you’ve sacrificed too much already. Your education is the one thing you can get back…” They both thought of Fred and she sniffed, trying to blink away the tears. “You need to get your life back on track. We all do. Just 'cause you’re my girlfriend doesn’t mean anyone would give you a job!”
“Oh, so am I your girlfriend, then?”
“Don’t be stupid!” He pulled her in to a hug and didn’t let go even when the whistle sounded. She gently disengaged herself and kissed him on the cheek then hopped on to the train. He slammed the door.
“Love you, too,” he whispered in her ear, just before all the Weasleys surged forward. There was Molly and Arthur, Bill and Fleur, Charlie, Percy, George, Ron and Hermione.
“Send me an owl when you get there!”
“See you at Christmas!”
The train began to pull away and Harry melted naturally to Ron and Hermione’s side, as everyone waved frantically.
“Bye!” someone called as the train whizzed past. Harry caught a glimpse of wide eyes and dirty blonde hair, then the train had rounded a corner and was gone.
Everyone seemed to droop slightly as the train vanished and their faces became a little miserable in the absence of everyone’s favourite daughter, sister, sister-in-law, friend and girlfriend.
“Fancy a drink at the Leaky Cauldron?” suggested Ron.
Ron surged ahead with his brothers but Hermione placed a comforting hand on Harry’s arm.
“You’ll see her soon,” she assured Harry.
“Yeah, I know.”
“Hey, Harry!” called Charlie. “Quidditch — England vs France on Saturday, wanna go?”