A/N: I know, I already have Things and Moments to be focusing on. But this just has to be written. It'll go together with my other stories, including the new oneshot "Not Touching Anyone", but it can be read alone. (If you're waiting for a Things update, I promise you, it's coming – hopefully tonight!) Until then, I hope you'll enjoy this.

Day I. Harry/Ginny.

It is past midnight and Harry is unsurprised to find Ginny huddled in an armchair in the Gryffindor common room as he descends the dormitory staircase. What does startle him, however, is how young she looks, her knees drawn up to her chest, her red-rimmed eyes glittering up at him in the darkness.

He hesitates, not sure if she even wants him here. They haven't talked in almost a year. Perhaps she doesn't even like him anymore. But he sees her expression and realizes with a pang of relief that nothing has changed. Except that everything has.

Steeling himself, knowing that it's his turn to be strong for her, he settles himself in the space she has made him on her chair, putting his arms around her small body. She leans into him, gratefully burying her head in his chest. For a few moments, she just cries and he just holds her. He is painfully aware that it is the first time he has really seen her cry, like this, for real. He's thankful she can't see how fast he is blinking.

When she speaks, it's weak and barely a whisper and he only makes it out because her mouth is so closely situated to his ear. "I… I just can'twrap my m-mind around it… I… I've always had six brothers. I… I can't. We-we're supposed to be s-seven."

"Ginny…" He wants to say something more, something good, something that maybe helps. Maybe something like "You know you'll always have six brothers, no matter what". But the words are stuck in his tight throat and all he manages is her name. Because it's not fair. The Weasleys are supposed to be seven, always. And he is with a wince reminded that it is his fault that they aren't. He opens his mouth, prepared to apologize, but her look silences him and she speaks instead.

"Don't even think about it," she sniffles warningly.

"I…" he tries, but her glare makes him stop short.

"Harry, no. Just… don't," she sighs, exhaustion evident in her voice. "We both know that this is no one – no one's fault…"

Her voice cracks and she dissolves into tears again. He knows better than to protest, even if he's highly unconvinced. If only he'd gone into the Forest sooner, he could have prevented this, her hurting like this. But right now she doesn't need to hear that. He realizes that and wraps his arms even tighter around her, not bothering to wipe wetness from his own eyes as his whole body shakes with her sobs.


Maybe an hour passes. Maybe less. Ginny has no idea how long it takes her to stop gasping for breath, and even then she just stays close to Harry, relishing in the steady beating of his heart. A couple of hours ago (and the whole last year for that matter), she was so sure she was never going to be able to touch him like this again. But he's here now. Somehow.

"Harry," she whispers, and he almost jumps as she breaks the silence. "What happened tonight?"

Harry sighs, rubbing his forehead. "Is this really the time?" he asks lamely, gesturing to her still wet cheeks.

She nods fiercely. This is the time. She needs to know.

He clears his throat and starts to tell her about Dumbledore and memories and Tom Riddle and Horcruxes and scars. She can tell that he tones down some parts, that he makes it as brief as possible, but she can also tell by his anguished eyes that it is the truth. The full truth, finally. By the end, he's not looking at her anymore, and she's gaping at his bowed head.

"Hold on," she says dangerously slowly. "You went into the Forest tonight to die." She surprises even herself with how much strength her voice has regained.

Harry nods, regarding her hesitantly.

"You had no idea that it wouldn't last?" she can't help but ask, because she must be misunderstanding something, because it sounds like he was prepared to die, like he meant to die, and it just can't be.

But he shakes his head. "I couldn't have, or it wouldn't have worked," he explains, with logic that to her makes absolutely no sense at all.

"I see," Ginny says in a threateningly calm tone, feeling fury flaring up inside her. "And you didn't bother to think about us? Ron? Hermione? Mum? About what it'd do to me? You didn't bother to tell us, or to, I don't know, say goodbye!" Her voice breaks, but she doesn't care.

"Ginny…" Harry's eyes are pleading with her.

"No," she whispers, standing up, trembling, but clearing her throat determinately. "You – you could've said goodbye, and you didn't bother. F-Fred didn't get that chance, but he – he would have taken it!" she shrieks, her voice shriller than normal. She starts to walk away. She hates him. She really, really hates him.

"Ginny, please!" The tears in his voice make her freeze. She doesn't turn back, but she has stopped and he seizes his chance. "You have to understand," he begs, on the verge of desperation. "It was the only way. I had to stop it. It – it was the only way to stop him. Do you think I wanted to leave you? But if – if I'd been with you – d'you really think I'd've been able to do it?"

"No. I wouldn't have let you," she admits quietly, the anger running out of her at the sincerity of his words.

"And I wouldn't have been strong enough to leave you," he continues. "Please, Ginny. It was the only way."

Silently, she faces him again and slowly creeps back up in the chair, placing herself half in his lap. (In her head, she's cursing herself for not having more of a backbone, but she's known a long time that with Harry Potter, she's a lost cause). Carefully, her finger wipes away the single tear that lingers on the tip of his nose. He chokes on a sob as she leans back into him. He opens his mouth to tell her how much it means to him that she is still here, but words just aren't enough. She knows, though. His eyes are sending the message clearly enough.

After a while, Ginny once again breaks the silence, mumbling against his neck, "I want to hate you, you know. I've tried, a lot, this year. I really needed to hate you."

"I hated me too, if it makes you feel any better." His tone isn't light, but she chuckles anyway.

"Actually, a little," she whispers, leaning up for a soft brush against his lips.

"I'm glad," he replies, grinning into her hair.

"So, you have any idea where Hermione might've disappeared to?" Ginny questions lightly after a moment, and he lets out a breath of relief. She's not only here, but she's speaking to him, normally.

"Not sure, but I'd bet my Firebolt it's the same place Ron's off to," Harry says with a smirk that makes her eyes widen.

"Really?" she asks disbelievingly. "Have they finally…?"

"Oh, yeah," he nods. "Right in the middle of the battle actually, they thought it was the appropriate time to start snogging."

"Good for them," she grins, laughing at his affronted expression. "Please tell me that you didn't interrupt them."

"Well, what else was I supposed to do?" he asks defensively. "We had – as you know – things to do."

She sobers at this reminder, her laughter gone in a second. "Yeah. I know," she says shortly, quietly. A beat passes, and she can't help herself. "Harry," she begins, seeing from his face that he is well aware the topic coming up is a lot more unnerving than her brother's snogging partners. "Why didn't you tell me? Before now, I mean? I could've helped, too. Or at least – you could've told me."

The disappointment in her voice hurts almost more than her anger, and he struggles to explain. "Ginny, you know why. You couldn't know, or they would've found out and they would've tortured you for the information. You know that."

"You told Ron and Hermione." Ginny doesn't pretend to hide her bitterness.

"It was different," he tries feebly. "They were coming with me."

"I would've come with you!" she protests earnestly, leaning away from him with her arms crossed. He knows that she means it, and sighs.

"You couldn't have. You still had the Trace on you, and we couldn't…" Harry explains sensibly, but Ginny doesn't want to be sensible, so she interrupts him.

"You have no idea, okay? No idea how it was to wait here, not having any idea if I'd ever see you again. Not having any idea if you were already dead, or dying at this very moment. All the time. It was…" she starts, but she can't even seem to find a strong enough word to describe it. It pains him physically that this time when she cries, she turns away from him.

"I'm sorry," he whispers to the back of her head, feeling helpless as he listens to her laboured breathing, wanting nothing more than to hold her close again. "Ginny, I'm so sorry. But I couldn't have taken you with me. It was too dangerous…"

"What, you don't think I'm good enough?!" she bites back, hurt mixing with the anger. "You trust Ron and Hermione to take care of themselves, but not me?"

"No, no," he hurries to correct her. "It's not like that."

"Then how is it?" she demands with a sharp glare.

"I know perfectly well that you're more than capable to take care of yourself," he assures her quickly. "But I couldn't have done it with you there, knowing that it'd be my fault if something – if something happened…" he trails off, swallowing hard.

She wants to tell him that he's stupid, that his excuses aren't sufficient at all, but the earnestness in his voice is too much and she founds her gaze softening. His eyes are fixed in hers, filled with so much care and love that she just can't help letting herself slowly falter back into his embrace. She can feel the warmth from his deep sigh of relief into her hair.

"I still want to hate you, you know," she mutters half-heartedly.

"I know," he breathes, but she squeezes his hand in hers to let him know that no matter how much she'd wish for it, not loving Harry Potter has always been something she has failed at achieving.

A/N: Please let me know what you think or if you have any requests for character combinations for me to do in the future.