Harry Potter sat in his living room, a bottle of butterbeer in one hand, a photo in the other. It had been a year, a whole year since she'd left, and he finally understood why. He could remember the day so clearly, every word, every look was imprinted in his mind like a film.
"Harry, we need to talk." She sounded so tired and full of despair. He simply nodded and took a seat across from her, unprepared for the bombshell she was about to drop.
She took a deep breath and his heart started to beat rapidly. Nothing good was going to come of this.
"I think that I should move out."
He sat still for a few moments as the words washed over him. This was something that he never expected to come from the mouth of Ginny Weasley.
"Wha…why?" His mind reeled and he couldn't think of anything coherent to say.
She looked away from him then, but he could still see the tears forming in her eyes. "Because you won't let me love you, and you won't allow yourself to love me."
The words still rang in his ears to this day.
Because you won't let me love you.
He hadn't understood what she meant. He'd thought that they were happy, and her statement only angered and frustrated him.
"What are you talking about?" he whispered.
"You won't let me in."
"How can you say that? I thought… I thought that you loved me."
"Oh Harry, I love you more than anything in this world."
"Then why are you-" He stopped as his eyes spotted the bags beside the door. Everything seemed to dawn on him at once. Ginny was leaving him. She didn't love him enough to stay with him. He would be alone.
Her eyes followed his, and she shifted from foot to foot. "I-I just think it's best…"
"Best for you of course," he spat. He was angry, and needed to vent. The only target present was Ginny, so she was going to get the brunt of it.
"No, just forget it. Why should I even be surprised? Everyone leaves me. I always knew that I would be alone…" He felt his eyelids burning. It was he who turned away this time, he didn't want her to see his tears.
"This is exactly my point, Harry! Why can't you see that you're not alone, and you haven't been for a long time now? If you would just take a look around at some point, you'd see that there are so many people who want to love you, who want to be there for you, if you'd only let them!" The tone of her voice caused him to look at her again. She was standing by the door, one hand on her hip, her eyes boring into him.
He didn't say anything, turning away from her again. In truth, he didn't know how to respond to her words; all he felt inside was anger towards her for abandoning him. He waited for a few minutes, but she didn't move. He finally turned towards her. "I thought you were leaving."
She appeared startled at his harsh words, and he didn't blame her, he was a little surprised himself. She reached inside the pocket of her cloak, the one that he had given her on her birthday, and pulled out an envelope. She silently placed it on the table before looking at him. Her chin raised, the defiant look she got so often with her brothers on her face, she said "I thought that you would react this way, so I've written everything down. You… you can come and find me if you're ever ready, Harry, I'll be waiting." With that she took out her wand, picked up her bag, and Disapparated.
It seemed like a lifetime ago. He hadn't so much as seen her in a whole year. A whole year. He'd avoided the Burrow, where he knew she would go. Every once in awhile, her name would come up in a conversation with Ron or Hermione, but he never asked about her. His pride wouldn't allow him to. He'd never be able to stand it if she found someone else, if she was happier without him, so he never asked.
Yet he always wondered. She was on his mind everyday since she left. In the beginning, he was too stubborn to go to her. He hadn't understood why she left in the first place. After that, he simply thought that he was too late.
He looked up, noticing that he'd unconsciously wandered into the kitchen, to the very spot where he stood a year ago. He reached in his pocket and drew out the letter she'd written him. The parchment was creased and faded, from being read so many times. He'd lie awake at night, reading it over and over, willing himself to understand. He had it memorized, every heartfelt word that she'd poured into the parchment. He glanced down at it again, her voice ringing through his ears…
If you're reading this, that means our talk didn't go as well as I'd hoped it would. I prepared for that, of course, because I want you to understand what I'm saying to you. First off… know that I love you, Harry, I've always loved you. Please don't doubt that. I don't know what else to do to make you believe it.
The problem doesn't lie with me; it's you, Harry. I know that this may seem unfair, but please, just hear me out. Over these last years, all I've wanted to do was have you trust me. I wanted you to lower the barriers you set around yourself ever since the day that Sirius died. I knew it would be difficult, but now I think that it's impossible. Loving a person means trusting them, believing in them. I've poured my heart out to you, told you all my fears, my dreams, my thoughts. Do you realize that you've never once shared any of your dreams with me? You've never once talked about your childhood or your thoughts about Sirius? I know that you feel guilty about him, Harry, and I wanted so desperately to help you though all your fears. I wanted to show you that it wasn't your fault, but you wouldn't let me. You shut me out. I thought that maybe it would just take time, and that you would eventually let me in… but you haven't. You keep me at arms length, when all I want to do is hold you, and be held by you. I know that you care for me, Harry, I don't doubt that. I just don't think that you're capable of loving me, because you don't love yourself. You've never forgiven yourself for all the things that weren't your fault, so you feel like you need to suffer. I want you to know that you don't deserve to suffer, Harry. This self-imposed pain is unfair to you and to everyone else.
If you ever want to be with me, it has to be completely. I can't stand to watch you deny yourself the love that you deserve, the love that I want so desperately to give you. You need to forgive yourself, Harry. You need to like yourself. Only then can you accept the love that I offer, and learn to love others. Please, just think about what I've said. I need all of you, Harry, including your heart. Find yourself, and find where you belong, even if it's not with me.
I know that this may take some time.
I'll be here. I love you.
He stared at the letter that he had just recently begun to understand. Ever since she left, there'd been a hole inside of him, a missing piece. He knew that it was her, and that he'd never be happy unless she was with him. He also knew that she deserved to be loved wholeheartedly, and he hadn't done that. At the time, he thought that he had, but he was just beginning to realize that he'd been horribly unfair to her. He had pushed her away, although he hadn't meant to.
You've never forgiven yourself for all the things that weren't your fault, so you feel like you need to suffer.
She was right. It amazed him that Ginny could see right through him, see through the walls that he put up. She understood that he hated himself, hated that he'd lived when others had died; but she said that it wasn't his fault. His parents, Cedric, Sirius, Hagrid, Dumbledore, and the countless others that died to protect him hadn't been his fault. They all chose their own paths in life, and it had been Voldemort, not him, who had taken their lives.
All of this had come to him a week ago. He had a dream about Sirius, as he usually did; only this time, it was different. Instead of his Godfather's angry eyes boring into him, they were kind, gentle, and understanding. Sirius had spoken to him, telling him that nothing was his fault, telling him to let go, to live. It was then that Harry knew what Ginny was trying to say. He needed to live, be happy, and love. He deserved that much.
And he knew that he could do that… with her.
Now came the part that scared him the most. He knew that he needed her back, needed Ginny Weasley in his life, forever. The only problem was that he didn't know what to do, or even if she would still have him. He did know that he needed to try to fix the mess he'd made.
He pondered for a few moments before coming to a decision. Grabbing his cloak from the hook, he took out his wand and Disapparated.
Harry sat, an hour later, in Ron and Hermione's sitting room. He wasn't convinced that Ron was the best person to talk to about this, seeing as he was Ginny's brother, but who else was there? Ron was his best mate, practically his brother, and Harry was desperate.
He'd just spent the last five minutes trying to explain to Ron why he was there. It had been awkward, trying to explain to her brother that he needed to get Ginny back. Ron, for his part, sat silently as Harry spoke, not offering any indication of his feelings. Finally, when Harry lapsed into silence, Ron spoke.
"So let me get this straight," he began. "My sister walked out on you a year ago, and you've decided... today... that you can't live without her?"
"Well… yeah, I guess," Harry admitted. Hearing Ron say it made Harry realize even more how stupid he'd been.
"Merlin Harry, I thought I was slow!"
For some reason, that struck a nerve. He hadn't come to Ron to be ridiculed. He stood up, his voice rising. "I know, okay! I was stupid, you don't have to tell me!"
Ron stayed sitting on the couch, smiling slightly. "All right, calm down." He paused, then looked Harry in the eye. "Why are you here and not at the Burrow, pouring your heart out to my sister?"
That was an excellent question. He flopped back down onto the chair. "Because I-" he thought about it for a moment, "I don't know what to do."
At his admission, Ron chuckled. Harry glared at him, and Ron cleared his throat, his face sobering . "Ok, sorry mate, I'll be serious. But honestly, all you have to do is tell her what you've told me, that you can't live without her. She's been in love with you forever. How hard could it be?"
It could be very hard. "It's not that simple," he insisted.
"Course it is. She told you she'd wait, and she has. Why are you making it so complicated? Harry, Hermione told me something once, just after we graduated. Don't ever let anyone make you feel you don't deserve what you want."
Harry's breath hitched at Ron's words. "You mean she's not... with anyone?" he asked nervously. This was what he had been fearing most, that Ginny would be happy with someone else.
"No, are you really that daft? Of course she's not! Honestly." It was clear to Harry that Ron had been spending too much time with Hermione.
His heart felt lighter, knowing that there was no one else. He grinned. "So, you think that I have a chance then?"
"Is that what you came here for? You really don't know? By Merlin Harry, she pines, she burns..." He fell back dramatically onto the couch with hand on his chest. Suddenly, his voice grew soft and deadly. "She cries at night over you, for you."
The smile on Harry's face faded quickly. She cries over you, for you. It felt as if a lead weight had been dropped in his stomach, knowing that he'd hurt Ginny. He suddenly felt the need to try to explain things to her brother. "Look Ron, I know she's your sister... and I never meant to-" he paused, unsure of what to say. "I do love her," he finished quietly.
Ron smiled. "I know, Harry. If you didn't, all six of us would have punched your lights out the day Ginny came home all girlie and emotional." He made a face that made Harry chuckle. "But really, you're talking about this with the wrong Weasley. "Why don't you sod off, ay?" he said lightly.
Harry looked at his best friend, needing his help more than ever. "I still don't know what I'm meant to tell her, or what I'm supposed to do," he admitted.
"The thing about women, Harry," started Ron, sounding very much like a professor, "is that when you're in the dog house, you just have to give them what they want. What does Ginny want from you?"
"What does she want?" he mumbled. He thought back to her letter. I need all of you, Harry, including your heart. "My heart… she needs my heart… that's it!" He grinned, as the idea formed in his head.
He stood up abruptly, and Apparated, ignoring Ron's "Yeah, you can thank me later!"
Harry stood, hidden in the shadows outside of the Burrow. After talking with Ron, he had made a few stops and Apparated there. Now he was waiting, anxiously, just out of sight.
He saw the door open and his heart leapt in his throat. And then he saw her, looking more beautiful than she ever had. Her hair wasn't up in its usual ponytail, but fell in curls around her shoulders. She had on a simple sundress, nothing fancy, but to Harry, she was stunning.
She looked around, obviously puzzled that no one was standing on the doorstep. Harry willed her to look down, and she finally did, seeing the box he'd left on the doorstep. It was wrapped in shiny green paper, with a red bow. He'd written her name as neatly as he could on the card. He wiped his palms on his jeans as he waited for her to open it.
She closed the door behind her and sat on the step, holding the package in front of her. She slowly unwrapped it, her eyes widening as she finally opened the box within. Inside, there was a heart-shaped locket, with the words ‘Property of H&G Potter ' on the back. As she picked up the card that was included, Harry read the words to himself in his mind.
Please accept this, as I'm finally ready to give it to you. It's my heart, and it's yours… forever.
In the moonlight, he could see her eyes shining as she stared at the parchment.
"Harry…" she whispered. "Oh, Harry…"
He took a deep breath and stepped into the light. "Ginny?" he asked tentatively.
Her head shot up at the sound of his voice, and Harry could plainly see the tears running down her face. His heart broke, knowing that he had caused them. He slowly took a few steps towards her, praying that she wouldn't run away. She didn't. He finally reached her and he knelt down, so they were at eye level.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered, knowing full well that it wasn't enough. She didn't respond, and Harry's stomach twisted in anguish. "Ginny," he begged, "Please say something."
"Do you mean it?" she whispered, so quietly that Harry had to strain to hear her.
She held up the card that he'd written on, her eyes searching his.
"I meant it with everything that I am, Ginny. I'm sorry that it's taken me so much time to see what you knew for so long. You were right, about everything. I wasn't fair to you, I didn't give you all of me, and I didn't love you like you deserved."
He held up his hand, stopping her. "I--I need to finish this, Ginny, to say everything." She nodded, so he continued. "I see now that I need to stop blaming myself for Sirius, for Dumbledore, for everyone. I'm sorry that I pushed you away, when all I needed was to bring you closer." He took her hands, hoping that she wouldn't notice that his were trembling. "There's a hole inside of me when you're not there. A day hasn't gone by when I haven't thought of you."
She bit her lip. Harry took it as a positive sign that she wasn't stopping him, so he continued. "Do you know what today is?" he asked. She shook her head. "A year ago today you told me that I needed to find myself, and where I need to be. And now, exactly a year later, I have, and it's with you. I have demons that I need to fight, deep inside of me, and I need your help. I can't do this alone, Ginny. I need you to love me, I want you to love me, and I want to love you too. Please, just say that you'll help me, give me a chance to love you like you deserve."
She stared at him, her large brown eyes bright with tears. "I knew you'd come back, that you'd find me again," she finally whispered.
Before he could stop himself, he wrapped his arms around her, bringing her close to him. She melted in his arms, clinging to him, laughing and crying. He knew then that he would be hers forever. He wasn't completely okay yet, but he knew that in time, with her help, he would be.
You've gotta pick yourself up,
Take another look
And dust yourself off cause life's too good,
I'll say it to myself and I'll say it again
Love will never end
You went away
A year ago today
A/N: Obviously, the song is "A Year Ago Today" by Delta Goodrem. I love her!!
Thanks to Katie, for being such a great Ron, Rachel for helping beta and always boosting my confidence with her kind words, Tari for becoming my ‘official' PS beta and for getting this read when I was so anxious to post it, and Robin for making me start writing fanfiction in the first place.
Just a note… The Ron and Harry conversation was written over msn… I was Harry, Katie was Ron. It was definitely interesting. ;)
Oh, and 10 points to anyone who spots the movie quote.