Two weeks, three days, four hours, and nineteen and one half minutes. That's how long I've been in love.
It's interesting that it happened on Valentine's Day, sort of poetic I suppose. Falling in love on a day that celebrates that one great emotion was not what I had expected. With everything else in my life so far, when it happened, I felt as if I'd been hit with fifty Bludgers.
I've never believed in love at first sight; that's not how it happened for me. Ginny says it was sort of like that for her, but that it was a different kind of love. It was more like hero worship. For me, it was love at second site, although technically I'd seen her hundreds of times. I'd just never before felt that sinking feeling in my stomach or that wobbly feeling in my knees.
It had been over three years since I last saw her.
February 14th (Two weeks, three days, four hours, and twenty five minutes ago)
"Harry, mate! You made it!"
Harry grinned as he greeted his best friend. "How could I miss my best mate's engagement party?" As he shook Ron's outstretched hand, a strange fragrance invaded his senses. Harry wrinkled his nose. "What's that smell?"
"Hermione bought me some Muggle cologne," Ron said, rolling his eyes. Harry shrugged off his cloak and handed it to the attendant, trying to ignore the fact that his eyes were wide with awe. "Hey, nice threads," Ron's voice took on a feminine pitch. "That green colour sure-"
Holding up a hand, Harry sighed. "Yes, I know it goes with my eyes," he muttered. He glared at Ron and they both burst into laugher. It was good to be back. "It's great to see you, mate," he said seriously.
"You too, Harry, you too. It's been months!" Ron led him through the entranceway into a Ministry Hall. It was huge, with a curved ceiling and a crystal chandelier. Harry had been there before, but never had it looked so elegant. Normally, it was reserved for stuffy dinners and debates. Today, however, it was decorated tastefully, with soft lighting and muted colours.
"Yeah," he agreed. In truth, it had been six months since he'd seen either Ron or Hermione. After the war ended two years ago, he'd needed space, and time. He'd found both Canada, where he was less known. The years had been good for him, but he had missed his friends and family terribly. "Where is that clever fiancée of yours?"
"Hermione's over there." Ron waved his hand. "Talking to Ginny."
"I'm surprised you're-" Harry felt a fist clench around his heart as his gaze landed on the woman beside Hermione.
It was as if he was standing at the edge of an abyss and, staring at that smile, had tumbled into it.
Yet not the same Ginny he'd seen three years ago when he'd left Hogwarts. They'd been kids, and he hadn't been ready to explore whatever feelings he'd started to have for her. He thought that time away would give him clarity, and it had. He'd almost blocked her completely from his mind… until now. Looking at her was like unlocking a door and letting in a gust of wind. She was the same, he was sure she was; yet she seemed so very different. Gone was the girl of sixteen who he had a minor crush on. Gone was the girl who had become his friend. In her place was a young woman who he was totally, completely in love with.
He placed a hand on his clenching stomach.
"You all right, mate?" Ron's voice echoed over the roaring in his head.
"Yeah, I'm fine…" he said dazedly, sure that Ron couldn't hear him. He could hardly hear himself. She turned her head then, as if sensing his eyes on her, and their gazes locked. A grin began to spread over her face as she started towards him. Harry was frozen; he couldn't make his lips twitch into any form of a smile, not even something that resembled a grimace.
I'm in love with Ginny Weasley.
"Harry!" Her deep brown eyes were alight with happiness, her face beaming as she approached.
"Ginny," he said weakly.
"Oh, it's so good to see you!" She threw her arms around him, and he did the only thing he could think of, he held on. Squeezing his eyes shut, he prayed that she couldn't feel him trembling.
"You look wonderful, Ginny."
She pulled back from him, still grinning. "Thanks. You look great too. It's been far too long."
"Yeah," he murmured. "It has."
She hugged him again before someone called her name from across the room. Harry turned as Ginny pulled away from him, spotting Colin Creevey waving at her. He found himself fighting against a burning jealousy that was crawling through him. Creevey had probably never felt like this.
"I'd better run over and say hello to Colin…" she gazed at him. "Are you all right, Harry? You look ill."
I feel as if I've swallowed a Bludger.
"I… I'm fine, thanks."
She leaned up then, placing her lips to his cheek. "Save me a dance later?" she whispered in his ear.
His cheek tingled, even after she pulled away, her voice so close to his ear it sent shivers through his body. "Yeah," he breathed.
She grinned again, and his heart turned.
How do I deal with this? How do I go about being in love with her? Ginny, with her silky hair, her brilliant smile, and those eyes that-
He started at the sound of his name, realising too late that he'd been staring after Ginny. He turned to Ron, who was frowning.
"How long?" Ron asked.
"How long what?"
"How long have you been in love with my sister?"
He couldn't breath. "Wha-what?"
"Just answer." Ron didn't look angry, just very serious.
"About five minutes," he admitted truthfully, running a hand through his hair. He let out a strained chuckle. "How did you know?"
"You don't think I've seen that look before? Hell, Harry, I walked around with that look on my face for a year before I finally told Hermione everything."
Ron patted him on the back, which didn't feel at all comforting. "So, you're in love with my baby sister, eh?"
"I-I guess I am." It shouldn't have been the scariest thing that had ever happened to him, but it was.
Ron leaned in. "What are you going to do about it?"
"Harry, mate, listen up," Ron started. Harry had the uneasy feeling that this would be a very awkward conversation. "Sometime, you've just got to… what's that saying… bite the bullet, that's it. Yeah, you've just got to bite the bullet and spill your heart out."
"It's been three years!" he spluttered. "I can't just… just walk up to her and say ‘Nice party. By the way, I'm in love with you.'" At Ron's snort of laughter, Harry frowned. "It's not funny," he muttered. Trust your best friend to tease you at your most emotionally vulnerable moment.
Ron sobered. "Sorry, mate. Seriously, what are you going to do?"
Harry shrugged. "I'm not really sure. I suppose I should… ask her to dinner or something, right?"
"Sounds like a plan."
Harry glanced towards Ginny again, frowning when he saw she was still talking to Colin. After taking a deep breath, he started towards her. It was time. Frankly, he'd rather be anywhere else. Then Ginny looked at him, and there was something in her eyes that told him he was in exactly the right spot.
That's how it was. I did ask her to dance, and four hours later, I finally screwed up the courage to ask her to dinner. At the end of the night, there was no earth shattering kiss, no declarations of love, simply a touch of her lips to my cheek. That was enough for me. I already knew that my heart was lost to her, that I would be hers, forever.
Now, over two weeks later, I'm standing at her doorstep, a bouquet of flowers held behind my back, eager to begin our eleventh date. I haven't told her what I discovered on Valentine's Day. I'm not sure whether either of us are ready to hear it out loud. I will, though, when the time is right. I can't say when that will be, but I'm fairly positive the words will just come to me at that moment.
People are right when they say that it only takes a moment to change a person's life. I've had a few such instances, not all of them pleasant. This last one feels most important somehow. I'll always remember what happened to me in that moment two weeks, three days, four hours, and about thirty minutes ago.
I fell in love with Ginny Weasley.
A/N No kisses… it's shocking really.
Thanks to Katie for helping me make it ‘awesomer', and Tari for beta-ing it so quickly, and helping me cut those last 9 words out (I promise, my next one will have no ‘buts' at the beginning of the sentences).