Ginny looked up from her book, enjoying the summer breeze that cooled her sun stroked cheeks. She and Harry had spent the morning around the nearby pond. Between a water war (that she'd started) and a rather heated snog (that he'd started), Ginny would have been more than content rolling over in the grass and taking a long catnap. But instead, she was stuck playing catch up on lessons that should have happened in her sixth year. But of course, education hadn’t really been the focus the previous Hogwarts term, now had it?
It wasn’t so bad, Ginny told herself; not really. Studying in the cool shade of a large oak tree, as the sun lowered closer and closer to the nearby hills. Then again, it might have been the company that made the Transfiguration textbook bearable. Harry sat with his back against the tree, his legs wide so she was able to fit between them. His Auror training manual in one hand as the other lazily twirled a piece of her hair.
He loved her hair; he’d admitted that one night as they’d laid on the grass watching the stars. Ginny had placed her head on his chest and his fingers had naturally started to toy with a long end, which was when he blurted his admiration. Of course Ginny had reciprocated, rolling so she was on top of him and her fingers wove into his messy locks, explaining how sexy she found his hair. A different kind of star came into focus after that, ones that only Ginny could see behind her eyelids and only Harry could cause.
But today they couldn’t let themselves get distracted. They only had ten days left before their classes started. For the second time in Ginny’s life, she wasn’t excited to go back to Hogwarts. Last year it had been due to worry. Worry about Snape being headmaster. Concern about her muggle-born friends. And of course, there had been the fear of what would happen to her family while she was gone. Her family, Hermione, and Harry.
But this year it wasn’t fear making her dread the school year. No, this year it was the fact that she would be apart from Harry for weeks on end with only letters to keep in touch. And Ginny knew with certainty letters wouldn’t be enough.
They had gotten back together days after the battle of Hogwarts. Ginny had thought she’d found a private corner of the yard to cry. Between the dead look in George’s eyes, her mother’s unpredictable crying fits, and her father’s melancholy smiles, Ginny had felt like she’d been suffocating in the house. So she’d hurried off to her old hiding spot.
As a child, whenever her brothers had become too much, Ginny would crawl into an overgrown thicket of bushes. If a smaller person crawled a ten or so meters into the leaves, they’d come across a large opening that was tall enough that they could sit comfortably without their hair getting tangled with the brambles. It was far enough from the house that no one went there, yet close enough that if her mother called her Ginny would hear it.
So for the first time in years, sixteen-year-old Ginny had crawled in the thicket and cried. She’d held her hand over her mouth so none of the sobs would escape, but tears poured down her cheeks. That’s how Harry had found her. Ginny hadn’t asked how he’d found her. No words passed between them. Harry just took her into his arms and held her tight, pressing her face gently into the crook of his neck. He let her cry on him, not saying a word as he rubbed small soothing circles on her back. Once she’d cried herself dry, Ginny had pulled away from his neck and looked into the face she had missed more than anyone else's. The affection in his eyes and the adoring smile on his lips had made her want to kiss him. So she did.
That was it. No long romantic proclamations or passionate rendezvous just to prove they were alive. It was just him and her and what they needed. Which turned out to be each other. And they’d had each other over the summer, in every way.
Ginny had thought she’d fallen in love with Harry during those glorious weeks at Hogwarts, but that had only been the start. That had only been the tip of the iceberg. After spending this summer together, discussing the previous year, finding humor within each other, learning each other’s bodies in the most intimate ways… Yeah, now Ginny knew what they’d had before was great, but this was so much better. It was everything.
Yet she hadn’t told him that she loved him. It wasn’t because she was afraid he didn’t feel the same, but because every time she thought she needed to say those three words… Ginny realized she didn’t need to. It was so obvious between them a blind man could see it. She could see it in the way he would squeeze her hand as he walked past, the smile he’d send her at the dinner, it was in every kiss, and in every touch as they made love.
There wasn’t much Ginny was confident about in these dark times, but she was certain of them.
Ginny pulled herself out of her reverie. She needed to at least finish this chapter before calling it quits. She took a deep breath trying to remember the page she’d just read. Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration has five exceptions. Money, body parts, potion ingredients, wands, and… Ginny’s mind went blank as she tried to remember the last one.
“Money,” Ginny muttered, hoping that saying them out loud would maliciously bring back the last exception. “wands, bodies, potions… fuck .”
“Well, that’s a unique list of instructions.” Harry murmured into her ear, sending shivers down her spine. “But if it gets me to the last one, I’ll go to Gringotts now.”
Ginny slapped his thigh. “Shut it. I’m trying to remember the five exceptions for Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration.” She ran her hand up his leg. “Besides you don’t need money to get me —”
“The last one is food.” Harry’s voice trembled a little. “You can’t transfigure food from nothing.”
She twisted to look at him. His face had gone pale, despite the sunburned cheeks. “Harry?”
“We — we really struggled for food last year.”
That was all Ginny needed to hear to understand. If she had to place a guess, Hermione more than likely explained Gamp’s law to them while on the road. Ginny hated to imagine them huddled in a tent, cold, hungry, and anxious (from the horcrux and their inaction).
She could feel his body shaking ever so slightly behind her. Keeping her eyes on his face, Ginny grabbed his hand (the one that had once been in her hair) and pulled it to her lips. She held it there, watching his eyes close as his body stilled.
His breathing evened as he slowly opened his eyes, locking gazes with her. The tenderness she saw made her heart forget to beat. She turned back around, satisfied that Harry was free from whatever demons had started to crawl into his mind. Once her back was positioned against his chest she brought their still joined hands to her heart. She could feel his pulse move in time with hers.
Taking a deep breath, Ginny used her free hand to pick her textbook back off the grass where it had fallen. Okay, so food, money, potion ingredients, body parts, and wands. That shouldn’t be too hard to remember. Maybe I can make up some sort of poem to remind —
Ginny lost focus as Harry brought their clasped hands to her cheek. He gently pushed so she was looking to the left, where she was greeted to his glorious green gaze. He brought their joined hands to his lips this time, before leaning forward to kiss her.
He lingered for only a second before pulling back to look into her eyes. His lips curled into a small crooked smile that made her heart race and her stomach flutter. “I love you, Ginny.”
Ginny could only blink at him. She had not expected that. Normally Harry would have made some sarcastic comment that would make her laugh. But instead, he’d… professed his love … Why in the fuck would she think a word like professed? It wasn’t some eighteenth-century romantic muggle novel. Professed made her imagine some guy standing in the rain and shouting in front of a crowd of people. Of course, the woman always swooned over the attention. Ginny would never swoon… or at least she would never admit to swooning. In fact if someone ever claimed —
Harry let out a low laugh as if he knew exactly the ridiculousness of her thoughts, before placing one more kiss onto her parted lips. He then leaned back and picked his manual up as if nothing had just happened.
Ginny turned to face forward again. Her eyes fell down to her textbook, not seeing a single letter. She hadn’t needed to hear it, but now that she had… How did three little words feel so good? It made her lips curl into a satiated smile.
“I love you too, Harry”
She could feel his intake of breath, before exhaling deeply. It was simple. It was them.