Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling and Warner Bros. I in no way claim ownership of any rights to the Harry Potter Universe.
Chapter 1: Unrequited
It was now or never. Tonight was the night that Harry would confront Voldemort. Tonight was the night that the fate of the world would be decided. Tonight was the night that Harry Potter would meet his destiny. Tonight might be his last chance to tell her.
Harry had grown very close to Ginny Weasley over the past two years. She had helped him get over his guilt over Sirius’s death when no one else could. They had been good friends ever since. He found himself able to talk to her with more ease than anyone else he had ever known. Things that he had kept secret his whole life, he would find himself suddenly wanting to share with her.
He had come to rely on Ginny more than anybody else. She was the one he went to when the burden seemed too much to bear. She was the only one able to lighten his burden, the only one he’d let shoulder it for him, if only temporarily. The only time he ever felt at peace, felt like things could some day be all right, was when he was with her. Over the past two years, Ginny had come to mean everything to Harry. She was his reason for fighting, the reason he would fight Voldemort tonight, and the reason he would beat Voldemort once and for all.
He wouldn’t let her down. He would do whatever it took to defeat Voldemort once and for all, but he knew that there was no guarantee that he would make it out alive. Which meant that tonight could be the last time he ever got to talk to Ginny Weasley. He looked away from the fire that he had been lost in for most of the evening and sought her out. She was in the chair across from him with a book open in her lap. The Common Room was empty save for the two of them. She would always stay up with him, as long as he needed, without question or comment. He had never been able to come up with the words to thank her for her silent support, but somehow he thought she knew what it meant to him.
She looked up at him and smiled when she caught his eye. “Quiet tonight,” she commented.
Harry nodded. “Seems like everyone went to bed pretty early,” he agreed. He had not told her that tonight was the night. For the first time in almost two years he found himself unable to open up to her, to share the truth with her. He didn’t want her to know, to worry, and most of all, to follow him. The fight would end tonight, he was sure of it, and he didn’t want her getting hurt in the eleventh hour.
“It does at that,” she said. She brought a hand up to her mouth to cover a yawn, and then stretched out wide in her chair.
Harry couldn’t help but smile at her. She was so beautiful. Her pale skin appeared golden in the firelight. Her hair was lit up in a thousand different shades of red. As she arched her back, he couldn’t help but admire the way the fabric of her robes stretched against her figure. She was rather exquisitely built. She was petite and had a rather athletic build, but she seemed to have inherited some of her mother’s roundness as well, giving her curves in all the right places. The combination this created was rather stunning. This wasn’t the first time Harry had caught himself staring and admiring his best friend.
“Whatcha smiling at?” she asked him good-naturedly.
“You,” he replied candidly, smile only broadening.
“Oh,” she answered with a blush. “Well…thank you? I guess…” She looked unsure of what to do with herself.
“Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?” Harry boldly asked her.
Her blush deepened. “Err – I don’t think so, no,” she replied uneasily.
“Well you are,” Harry continued. “I’ve thought so for a long time. I should have told you sooner.”
“Thank you Harry,” she told him honestly, but confusedly. She obviously did not know what was going on.
“You know that you mean the world to me,” Harry half asked, half stated. “There’s nobody else in my life that I feel so open with, that I can trust completely. You’ve been the only thing keeping me going and keeping me sane for the past two years. I don’t think I can ever thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me.”
“What’s going on Harry?” she asked worriedly. “Is something wrong? Why are you saying all this now?”
Harry smiled reassuringly. “Nothing’s wrong. I should have said all these things before and a hundred times over at least.” He rose up from his chair and slowly walked over to her. He knelt down beside her and took her hand into his. “You’re the best friend I could have ever asked for and so much more. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God and Merlin and whoever else might be out there that I have you in my life.”
“I feel the same way about you, Harry,” she replied, giving his hand a slight squeeze.
That simple gesture gave Harry the courage to continue on and say what he needed to say. “Ginny, you’re the only thing that keeps me going from day to day. Your smiles, your laugh, your jokes, your comfort, your touch, your company, everything you do seems to help give me the strength and the courage to go on one more day, to keep fighting. Nobody in my life has ever made me feel the way you do, and I’ve never felt the way I do for you about anyone else in my entire life.”
“What are you trying to say, Harry?” she asked a bit breathlessly.
“Ginny…I think I love you,” Harry told her with all the sincerity in the world. His eyes were shining bright with unshed tears as his emotions threatened to spill over.
Tears sprang into Ginny’s eyes. “You know I love you too,” she told him. “You’re my best friend and the nicest, strongest, most courageous, and best man I know. But I don’t…” she trailed off for a moment and gave a sniffle. “I love you like a brother,” she told him, and Harry felt ice creep into his veins. “But more than I could ever love any of my brothers. I will always love you, Harry, and maybe some day I’ll return those feelings, but right now that’s all the love I have to give,” she tried to explain.
Harry nodded dumbly. Somehow he had pictured that whole scene much differently in his head. He had considered many different scenarios, but all of them had her returning his feelings at least in some way. He knew that she had gotten over the crush she used to have on him, but he had assumed that there was still at least some attraction there. He didn’t think that could just disappear. Apparently he was wrong.
He pulled his hand back from her and rolled off his knees and onto his toes. “Oh,” he replied, rapidly schooling his features into a mask of indifference. He would not let his tears come, no matter how desperately they wanted to be freed. “Right, well, umm, well thank you.”
“I’m sorry, Harry,” she replied sadly, looking up at him through her eyelashes, tears still streaming out of the corners of her eyes.
“No, it’s okay,” Harry insisted. “I just wanted you to know that, and to know how much I’ve appreciated everything you’ve done for me.”
“Thank you, Harry. And you know that this doesn’t change anything. I’ll still always be there for you,” she told him, leaning forward to squeeze his arm. As soon as she made contact he pulled away and stood up.
“I know. Thank you,” Harry told her, desperately searching his mind for some way to escape the awkward situation. “I think…I think I need some time to myself…to collect my thoughts,” he told her.
“Are you sure?” she asked him with concern.
“Yeah. Don’t worry about me,” he told her. “I’ll be fine…just need a couple minutes alone.”
“Okay, if you’re sure…” He nodded. “Then I think I’ll head up to bed to give you your privacy.”
“Thanks,” he told her.
“You’re welcome,” she replied. She strode towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck. He stiffened at the contact – something he hadn’t done in two years – and very awkwardly wrapped his arms around her waist to return the hug. “I do love you, Harry,” she whispered into his ear.
He nodded. “I know, just not in the way I had hoped,” he replied.
She gave him one last squeeze before letting him go. “Good night Harry,” she said as she leaned in and gave him a peck on the cheek. She turned around and began to walk away.
“Good night, Ginny,” Harry whispered after her. He raised a hand to his cheek and held it against the skin where he had felt her lips only moments before. He sank into the nearest armchair, hand still held against his cheek, and wondered over what had just happened. She loved him, but she wasn’t in love with him. It was not what he had hoped for, but it would have to be enough. He couldn’t remember ever being told that he was loved before, and he couldn’t ask for more than that from her.
Her small kiss on his cheek would have to hold him over. She had said that there might be a chance she could return his feelings in the future, though he wasn’t sure how much of that she actually meant and how much of that was said just to help spare his feelings. He wearily rose to his feet and headed towards the portrait hole. He had wasted too much time already. It was time to go face his destiny. Ginny might not return his feelings, but she did love him, and he would be damned before he’d let any harm come to her.
As he reached the portrait hole, he turned back and gazed at the staircase Ginny had ascended just moments ago. “Goodbye Ginny,” he whispered to her as a solitary tear slipped from the corner of his eye and ran down his cheek. He turned back and strode purposefully out of the Common Room.
There was a very good chance he would die tonight, but he was sure as hell going to take Voldemort with him. And hopefully some day Ginny would find someone who could make her as happy as she had made him.
He had done it. He could hardly believe it was actually over. Voldemort was dead. The war was over. He could finally rest. It seemed like he had been fighting this war his entire life. Voldemort had always been looming over him ever since he had returned to the Wizarding World. But that was over now.
He had fulfilled his destiny. The prophecy had required one to die at the hands of the other, and he had done that. Voldemort was dead at his hands, so where did that leave him? He no longer had a prophecy to guide him, to tell him his purpose in life. His life no longer had purpose. The world was now safe; Ginny was safe. His work was done.
His eyelids grew heavy as an intense fatigue set in. He thought he heard voices in the background as though someone was calling to him, but he couldn’t make out the words. He was too tired to even try. He just wanted to go to sleep. He was tired. He had done his bit and now wanted to rest. He wished whoever it was would just stop and leave him be. Hadn’t he earned the right to a little rest?
He felt some force trying to pull him back, but he resisted its efforts. It felt like someone was desperately trying to wake him, but he had no desire to awaken. He had no desire for much of anything at the moment. He had fulfilled his silent promise to Ginny. She would be safe and free to live her life, to be happy.
He ignored the distant voices and pushed all his senses out of mind, embracing the quiet darkness that was attempting to engulf him.
The next day the world simultaneously celebrated the defeat of the Dark Lord and mourned the loss of their savior. Harry Potter, age 17, had done what no other witch or wizard in the world was able to do, not even the great Albus Dumbledore. He had destroyed Lord Voldemort, but in doing so gave up his own life. The final spell he had used had drained Harry of all his magic and energy. He was utterly depleted when Albus Dumbledore himself arrived on the scene. Dumbledore successfully protected Harry from the Death Eaters who sought to do him harm in his weakened state, but it was sadly not enough to save the young man.
Once his safety had been insured, Dumbledore had attempted every healing and rejuvenating charm he knew of, his knowledge of such spells was actually quite extensive, but nothing seemed to have any effect on the boy. Harry Potter had been a fighter his whole life, but it seemed that he had fought his last fight that night, and it was time that he got a much-deserved rest. Harry Potter passed away at 3:17am on Thursday, May 9th, in the arms of his mentor Albus Dumbledore.
When she heard the news the next morning, Ginny Weasley burst into tears that didn’t abate for the entire day. She returned to her dorm room and refused to leave it again. Not for food, drink, or anything else. She refused all her friends’ attempts at comfort, telling them she needed to be alone. She thought over the previous night and Harry’s confession of his feelings. She wished she could take back what she had said. If she had known what he was about to do, what was about to happen, she would have done things so much differently. She loved Harry more than she loved anyone else, but she couldn’t love him the way he needed her to at the time. She just couldn’t, not with the war going on and everything else in her life. She wasn’t capable of returning his love at the time. She had really meant what she said when she had told him she might be able to some day in the future, even thought of it more as an eventuality than a possibility, but she realized now what that must have sounded like.
Now she wished she had reconsidered her response. Had she told him she felt the same, maybe things would have gone differently. Maybe he would have told her his plans and she could have talked him out of it or helped him in some way. And even if it didn’t change the outcome, maybe his last night could have been a happy one for him instead of one so bittersweet.
She wept for Harry, for everything he had endured in his short life, for all his pain and heartache, for all his misery and despair, and for his courage and strength to keep fighting in spite of it all. She wept for all that could have been, for how much he could have finally enjoyed his life with the peace that was sure to follow. She wept for the family he never got to have that he had months ago confessed was his single greatest desire. She wept for the life that they could have had together if only things had gone a little differently.
Ginny eventually cried herself to sleep. Harry was waiting for her there in her dreams. He told her that he loved her and that everything he did he did for her. He won for her, not so she could mourn his loss, but celebrate his victory, so she could be happy and live a long, full, and happy life. And he expected her to do just that.
When she awoke, she cried all the more, unsure if the image was real or of her imagination, but sure that Harry would feel the same way regardless. He was always so noble and selfless. He wouldn’t want anybody mourning his death. He sacrificed himself so that they might live. She wasn’t ready to let go of him, to move on with her life and be happy again, but she knew she had to try. For Harry.
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