I presume that the story title is taken from [I]Anastasia[/I] (or, less directly, from caitlyn's [I]Lessons for Life[/I], title of chapter 7).
meme list: established!relationship(Ron/Hermione, newly engaged), destroyed!portrait(Mrs. Black by Remus, set on fire)
Harry's POV, brooding at Grimmauld Place less than two days after the final battle. Not surprisingly, Harry doesn't know what to feel or what to do. He hasn't let himself relax his guard enough to grieve properly in almost two years, as we learn later; he's just now beginning to let his emotions out of deep freeze.
"It had been three years, almost to the day, since he had had a proper conversation with Sirius Black, and every Christmas since then was like a knife stuck in his heart."
Not surprising that Harry's last, rather rushed conversation via Floo Powder with Sirius was unsatisfactory in retrospect, not counting as a 'proper' conversation. From this remark, we can work out that Harry is now 18 and has been out of Hogwarts for six months. Ginny should be in her seventh and final year of school, but free for the holidays.
Getting through three years of training (the normal length of time to become an Auror) in two weeks, even in an intensified form, sounds like far too much. Two or three *months* would still be impressive as anything. Unless Harry was taking a *lot* of additional training during his last two years of school, even a few months would be difficult to believe.
Ron has had his moment of truth, and proposed to Hermione in the immediate aftermath of the final battle. Nothing like a few near-death experiences to help one figure out what one really wants in life.
Mrs. Black's portrait in this storyline has met one of its common fates: destruction at Remus' hands, after he'd been drinking.
Good that Mrs. Weasley, as the closest thing Harry has to a mother, tried to help him through the shock of learning that his mentors were human, and made mistakes. Realistic, that Harry still hasn't completely given up his bitterness toward Dumbledore.
"One of the rare wizarding authors who were also very well known in the Muggle world. Tolkien."
I like this very much, but I am somewhat biased.
It seems a bit too quick that Harry would thaw out emotionally to the point of realizing that he's in love with Ginny as quickly as this. He hasn't had any experience of love to speak of in his life; I suspect it might take him some time to figure out his feelings even if he weren't just getting over the final battle and being able to drop his guard for the first time in years. (I've said it before: the hardest part of getting Harry into a relationship, even unrequited feelings, is the transition of getting him to feel those feelings in the first place.)
Moving on. Once one gets Harry to the point of realizing his feelings, the rest of his characterization here can be analyzed in that light.
Realistic, that there *is* a party going on; Harry's just ducking out. However, would Ginny be the only one to turn up? I would expect her to have had to tell a few other people, "No, let me," or she'd have been accompanied by something of a crowd.
The "little Ginny" and "little Miss Weasley" appellations originated with Tom Riddle, as we found out in the Chamber of Secrets. Apart from those negative vibes, she's been the youngest and smallest Weasley all her life, which has gotten rather old with all those protective older brothers getting into trouble but having the nerve to try to keep her out (e.g., the Department of Mysteries).
Would Harry, clueless though he can be at personal relationships, really haul out that "we're hardly friends" remark just after realizing he has feelings for Ginny? Granted, he feels reassured at being able to provoke a reaction, but that's going too far.
I like the common fanfic notion that once Harry realized how long it had been since Ginny blushed because of him, he'd also realize that he missed it. It would tend to feed his self-confidence, I imagine, and few enough relationships in his life have done that in any pleasant sort of way.
I like Ginny's lecture about why her family became so deeply involved in the war, and how it tied into their deep affection for Harry. Literally giving Harry a kick (which he had coming, I must say) is a good touch.
"The bright smile that spread across her face was worth all the embarrassment in the world."
Coming from Harry, who has never had much in his life except his dignity, *that* is meaningful.
"If it had been any of the boys, they'd be outside degnoming the garden, party or no."
Ginny's talent for handling their mother does seem to exceed that of her brothers (witness: pulling off that Crookshanks-did-it story at Grimmauld Place in OP). I've seen some stories refer to this as "little sister power".
After the time he's had, I'm not surprised that Harry is a bit clingy. Typical of his luck, that it manifested itself at just the time he could be embarrassed in public. At least matters evened out a few minutes later when Ginny kissed him and got a round of applause.
I understand where Ginny's coming from, being embarrassed at not having got over Harry. Until now, it seemed unrequited. It's humiliating almost beyond words to have feelings for someone who never had them for you, let alone having made a fool of oneself in public about it early on. Harry, though, has actually managed to come up with the right response, so there's hope for him after all.
"I'll make those seven years worth it."
- I suggest either not capitalizing "wizarding" anywhere, or capitalizing it consistently.
- "number twelve, Grimmauld Place" is how the address is given in canon; the form with the number given in digits only seems to turn up on letters, such as the letters from no one
- I don't think "The" should be capitalized in "the Boy Who Lived"