~~Heartbeats and Sandcastles~~
~by Realmweaver~

I exhaled. "You're going to do this, mate," Ron told me, patting me on the back good-naturedly. We had talked well into the night yesterday and that was what drove me to this one action—the one action that would change my life, whether for better of worse was yet to be found out. I know I'm sounding quite dramatic, but it was true.

We were sitting in Ron's room right then, in the Burrow. It was a sunny July morning, two weeks before my birthday, and we had just come back from restoring Hogwarts two days ago. We meaning George, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and I. It felt sort of weird, not sticking Fred's name onto the end of George's.

For me and Ginny, things were nothing less than awkward. I mean, what are you supposed to say when your boyfriend dumps you to defeat an evil magical tyrant and now said tyrant is dead? "Um, I know we broke it off because you had to be all noble but Voldemort's dead so how about getting back together"? But Ginny was special. While most girls would forget and move on, she could not only forget, but forgive as well. I'm not so sure about the "moving on" part. I wasn't sure how she was feeling about that. But today I was determined to find out, even if it broke my heart. Because I sure as hell knew that I was still in love with her.

I stood up and gave Ron a reassuring grin. "Thanks mate. I owe you one."

"Don't you always?" he asked with a low chuckle. "Now go on out there, before Mum finds her a chore in a different part of the house and you'll have to find her all over again in this god-forsaken excuse for a building."

I chortled, nodded and walked out of his room, not too fast, but not agonizingly slow, either. I had to show Ginny that I was determined to make this happen, but I wasn't going to rush it. It's sort of strange how the teenage mind works, isn't it?

When I walked down to the kitchen I saw that Mrs. Weasley was cutting up tomatoes and cheese, probably for the salad lunch that she had planned for the day. Ginny was halfheartedly dicing carrots. I laughed inwardly. She detested all forms of housework.

"Um… hi Ginny," I said. She looked up and grinned at me, and my heart started beating faster than before.

"Hullo Harry," she greeted cheerfully. "Mum's given me the job of cutting up carrots." She stared pointedly at her mother, who gracefully ignored her. Ginny continued. "She knows that I'd much rather go outside at play quidditch with you, Hermione and Ron. Well, maybe not Hermione."

I laughed and heard Mrs. Weasley chuckle to herself. "Yeah, I think Hermione would be better off inside. Might reduce the amount of damage she inflicts on herself... and the flower beds."

She smiled and went back to her chopping. It's now or never, mate, I thought to myself.

"Uh, Ginny, I was wondering if… you'd like to go to the beach with me this afternoon. Maybe for a change of scenery or something. I asked Bill and Fleur last week when they came over and they said it was fine…" I said, but trailed off, realizing that I just revealed that I had been planning this for a while.

"Are Hermione and Ron coming?" she inquired.

I began to panic. "Well, I didn't plan on them coming along, but if you want to invite them…" I said reluctantly. I could just hear Ron yelling at me. You complete twit! That's exactly what you don't want to do!

"Oh, no, that's fine," Ginny said quickly, her cheeks faintly pink. "After lunch, okay Harry?"

I nodded and grinned. "Do you two want some help?"

After we finished cleaning up from lunch, I ran to Ron's room. I had brought a pair a of swim trunks—occasionally Hermione, Ron, Ginny and I would run in the sprinklers outside in the garden. I threw a t-shirt over them and grabbed some sandals, then ran back downstairs.

"Good luck, Harry," Ron said to me as I raced past him.

"Haha, thanks," I replied.

Ginny was waiting for me in the kitchen wearing a bright green one-piece and a pair of Bermudas. "Hi, Harry!" she said. "Ready?" I nodded.

"You'll side-along apparate with me to Shell Cottage. How does that sound?" I asked. She smiled.


I waved to Mrs. Weasley and we walked out of the Burrow. I held out my arm for Ginny to take and felt a little tingle where our skin made contact.

I concentrated on Shell Cottage and with a woosh and the usual unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach, we arrived—none to gracefully—ten feet from the entrance of Shell Cottage. None to gracefully meaning on our backs on the ground, spitting out sand and cackling manically at how ridiculous we looked and felt.

"Harry, I give you a D-minus on the landing," Ginny laughed.

"Me, what about you?" I joked. "At least I got us here!" She collapsed into a fit of giggles on the sand and just seeing her laugh like that made me want to laugh with her.

So Bill and Fleur found us sprawled across the sand in stitches.

"'Arry!" I heard her yell to me. "Ginny!" she added, though not as enthusiastically, I noticed. She kissed me on the cheek, turning me a nice shade of red, and then hugged Ginny. Bill patted me on the back and hugged his sister.

"I am glad zat you two could come! Vee vill be inside eef you need anysing. I inseested zat Bill and I make somesing, just een case, so eef you get hungry, vee vill have some food inside. Have fun!"

Fleur pulled a reluctant-looking Bill back inside the cottage. "Leave zem alone!" she told him, making me flush a bit. I just hoped Ginny had not heard.

"Come on, Harry!" Ginny said, beckoning me towards the water. There were a few small waves rolling down the shore, and the sand was hot under my feet. I took off my sandals and held them as I walked. Ginny raced ahead and quickly took off her shorts and flip-flops, then jumped into the water, making a big splash.

She let out a yelp and quickly jumped out.

"How warm is it?" I asked mockingly, taking off my t-shirt and shoes and placing them on the sand near her shorts.

"Don't laugh at me, Harry, I didn't expect it to be that cold," Ginny scolded me as I walked up to her. She slapped me playfully.

"Ah, so it's cold, is it?" I said, walking into the water and cupping my hands together under the surface.

"What are you—" but before she could finish she had almost a liter of water dripping down her face.

"Harry James Potter!" She shrieked at me, her voice shrill with mock-anger.

I laughed and quickly jumped out of the way as she made a grab for me, sending another liter or two into the air. She chased me through the water, splashing around like mad, and I ran away from her, screaming with laughter like an idiot all the way.

When she caught up to me she jumped on my back, wrapping stick-thin but surprisingly strong arms around my neck and winding her legs around my hips. She screamed as we both fell in the water.

We sat up at the same time, laughing hard than ever. "That was mean, Harry," Ginny told me matter-of-factly. Her red hair was turned brown with the water and it hung over her face. Her face was flushed from the effort of taking me down, and her eyes sparkled with laughter and amusement. I couldn't help but think how much I really wanted to kiss her right then, but I didn't. Not yet. I hoped that she couldn't hear my heart thundering in my chest.

"It was not mean!" I exclaim. "You jumped on my back!"

"You splashed me with ice-cold water!"

"It was not ice cold—"

"It was cold enough—"

"Sneak Attack!" I roared, sweeping her off her feet with one arm behind her knees and the other behind her neck.

Ginny threw her head back screamed in laughter as I spun around in circles, sending her hair flying in all different directions. Then her head popped back up and she looked like she had an idea.

"You know what I really want to do?" she asked.

"What?" I said, setting her down in the water.

"Build sandcastles," she said. I looked at her funny. Why did she want to build sandcastles, of all things?

As if she were reading my mind, she said "When I was real little mum used to take me to this little beach with Ron, Fred and George, and we'd all make sandcastles. We'd compete to see who made the best one. I haven't made one since I started Hogwarts."

"Then I think it's a great idea," I told her. "Now, are we competing, or are we just making them for fun?"

"Oh, we are definitely competing!" she said, and we walked back to a clear spot of sand. She sat down near the water, where the sand was damp but not soggy, and I sat across from her.

"We've no pails or shovels though," I told her matter-of-factly. She grinned.

"That's what makes it challenging."

I shrugged and started to gather up some sand, making a small, five-centimeter high pile. I flattened out the sides and whatnot until it slightly resembled a box. I started adding towers and battlements, every once in a while tearing one down and starting over again.

I peeked over my slowly growing castle to see Ginny kneeling in front of her creation. It was a tall building that was leaning a bit to the right and it looked like it was about to fall over. It was sitting on top of a little sand hill and there were too many indentations to count—I assumed that they were windows. It looked very much like the Burrow—actually, I was convinced that that was what Ginny was trying to recreate.

I looked at my own sand castle. Now that I thought about it, it had a striking resemblance to Hogwarts. Funny—Ginny and I both chose to model our sand castles after the buildings that we considered "home".

The minutes passed in silence, both of us giving our undivided attention to our sand castles. Like she said, we were competing, and I was determined not to let her sand castle beat mine. I was getting a little doubtful as we passed the fifteen minute mark, though.

Then there were no more pat pat pat sounds coming from her side anymore. Instead it was more of a ssccchhhh sccccchhhh.

I looked up from my sand-Hogwarts to see her dragging her index finger through the sand around the sand-Burrow. They were little doodles, like dogs, flowers, and her name. I don't think she knew I was watching her, though, because soon I could make out a little stick figure with sticking-up hair, round glasses, and a thunderbolt on his forehead. I didn't see what she drew next because I blushed furiously and returned to my sand-Hogwarts.

I was adding the final tower, making sure that I had it in the right place, when Ginny announced "I'm finished!"

I patted down the walls of the last tower and looked up. What stood before me was a pretty good sand castle modeled in the spitting image of the Burrow. She even got the crooked chimney down pat. I also noticed that she had erased all of her drawings. I was a bit disappointed.

I looked at my own sandcastle. You could tell it was a castle—you'd have to be blind not to. But I noticed that I didn't pay as much attention to detail. I got all of my towers straight, so they were in the right places and were the right shape, but Ginny had each tiny little detail mapped out on her sand castle.

"Alright," I said, throwing my hands up in surrender. "You win. You're sandcastle is clearly superior to my own."

Ginny laughed. "I know," she said. "I am officially the best sandcastle-maker."

"That's not the only thing you're best at," I blurted.

She looked at me with a curious expression on her face, like she wasn't completely sure what I was saying and what I meant by it.

Then I get an idea. I slid over to where she had drawn the picture of me and gestured to sit across from me again. I took a small pile of sand and cupped it in my hands. She scootched forward a bit, so our knees were three centimeters away from touching.

"You see this?" I whispered. She nodded slowly.

"For every grain of sand that I hold in my hands, there was a time that my heart beat. And for every time my heat beat, I looked at you and thought I'm falling for this girl." There—I said it.

"Harry…" Ginny started to say, but I cut her off.

"And for every time that I looked at you and thought I'm falling for this girl, there is a time that I will look at you and think I'm falling for this girl. And for every time I will look at you, there will be a time that my heart beats. And you know what? I think it beats only for you." I paused for dramatic effect. "I'm still in love with you, Ginny," I told her.

She looked down to the right, looking a bit flustered, but I dropped my pile of sand and used my hand to lift her chin so she was looking into my eyes and I, hers.

"I'm still in love with you," I repeated. "I have been and I always will. I don't really care what you have to say to that now—I just want you to know." But it would be really great if you told me you loved me too, I thought, but I didn't say it aloud, of course. I let my hand drop.

Ginny looked at me thoughtfully. "It hurt more than you'd think," she said finally. "You ignoring me and then leaving me. Even though you weren't mine anymore."

"I'm sorry," I said pathetically. "But Ron and I agreed that me talking or... interacting with you would just hurt you more." Then, in an effort to redeem myself, "If it helps, I thought about you almost every night. When we camped out in the Forest of Dean, me, Ron, and Hermione in that tent that smelled like cat… whatever it was… I thought about you every night. And I dreamed that after all that shit was over… I'd get to have you again."

She chuckled.


"We sound like those saps in those stupid muggle movies. Next I'm going to tell you that I love you too and then we're going to snog and when we get back to Bill and Fleur's they're going to ask us 'what did you two do?' and we'll answer 'nothing!'."

"You know," I said, grinning. "We could switch it up a bit. We could snog first and then you could tell me that you love me."

"Sounds good to me," Ginny said, and when she leaned in I could feel my heart going into overdrive.

That was the last time that my heart beat abnormally faster whenever I was around her. Because I knew, finally, that she was mine forever. As for normally faster... that happens all the time. But that's what happens when you're in love, right?


IT'S SO FLUFFY! (Haha, I just thought of the little girl from Despicable Me and her stuffed unicorn) Hopefully not overly so. I wrote this after hearing the song "Heartbeats" by Stereo Skyline for the billionth time. You got to read my attempt at Fleur's accent! Hopefully it doesn't suck as much as I thought it did. I am deciding whether or not to rewrite this in Ginny's point of view and post it... I think I like this GH fic better than my other one. What do you think? Hope you enjoyed it, reviews would make me super-happifuls!