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“Hermione, it’s been days since we’ve heard from them,” Ron said. “I’m kind of getting worried.”

“Worried?” Hermione scoffed. “Ron, I’ve been worried sick too! This…this is getting really out of hand. Harry should have been back so many days ago.”

“You don’t think something happened to them, do you?”

“Don’t say things like that!”

Ron took Aria from her crib and began to sway her gently in his arms. “I really think we ought to have gone with Harry. He’s going to be in a fragile state when they find Malfoy.”

“He wouldn’t have wanted us to come with him,” Hermione remarked.

At that moment, Charlie and Athena entered the room with a quick knock on the door. “Listen, Hermione,” Charlie whispered. “Have you heard from Ginny yet?”

It seemed that any mention of Ginny and Harry in the household brought about tension and a certain level of anxiety. Any and all conversations regarding them were done in private.

“No,” Hermione said. “Ron and I were just discussing the same thing.”

“I just really wish they’d write,” Charlie thought aloud while Athena reached over and took Aria into her own arms, cuddling her.

“She’s really quite beautiful,” Athena said, referring to Aria. “Her hair always reminds me of Ron.” She then turned to Charlie and spoke. “I don’t think you should worry about Ginny or Harry, they’re adults and they can handle themselves.”

“It’s…” Charlie began. “It’s just that I feel so guilty for hiding those letters from Ginny. Maybe if I hadn’t then this whole fiasco with Harry wouldn’t have happened.”

“That’s not true at all,” Bill interjected. He’d arrived into the room silently and looked equally concerned as the others.

“Bill’s right,” Hermione agreed. “Think about it, Charlie. If Ginny had gotten those letters she would have run off to Draco, leaving Harry and all of us here with nothing but confusion and anger.”

“Harry got the chance to tell Ginny how he felt and now…he’ll be able to get over her,” Ron added.

“You did what you thought was right,” Athena said, giving Charlie a peck on the cheek as Fred and George entered the room.

“But so many people have been hurt,” Charlie responded with bitterness. “Harry, especially, who’s already been through so much had to endure this. Mum and Dad are also being very…well we all know how tense the situation is downstairs.”

“Well, you can never have love without pain,” Ron mused. “And don’t worry about Mum and Dad; there’s only so long they can wait before they’ll make amends with each other and Ginny and live happily ever after.”

“But it’s going to be with a Malfoy,” Fred said irritably. “Can you imagine my nieces and nephews having blonde hair? It just wouldn’t be the same.”

Bill scoffed slightly and Fred immediately turned to him. “Well you’re kids will be like…part veela, part werewolf – it’s already so weird that it doesn’t really matter.”

“I personally think that parents should never care who their children end up with – as long as they are happy,” Hermione said. “I mean, that’s how my parents saw it when I told them I was marrying a wizard.”

“Wait,” Ron said immediately. “You’re parents had a problem with you marrying me?”

“No,” Hermione said, a bit too quickly.

“They did, didn’t they?”

“No – well, I mean…they weren’t exactly sure what to think when you waltzed into our house with fifteen other people and you were so unaccustomed to muggle lifestyle that it was a bit awkward.”

Ron looked confused and angry. “Awkward?” he asked.

“Well – they got over that and now they’re very fond of you.”

“Fond?” Ron said clumsily, turning red. “How is it that my parents love you while your parents are fond of me?”

At that moment, Aria began to cry in Athena’s arms. “Look what you did, you git,” George said, taking the baby into his own hands.

“Can we please stop arguing about this?” Hermione asked gloomily. “It’s done and over with.”

“That’s a good idea, Hermione,” Bill agreed. “The problem right now is Ginny and Harry. Does anyone have any idea what’s happened to them? It’s like they’ve disappeared.”

“Knowing Harry, I bet he just didn’t want to have all of us crowding around him after Ginny and Malfoy got together,” Fred thought aloud. “Maybe we should just respect his decision…I mean, if he doesn’t want us to contact him then we shouldn’t.”

“That does sound like something Harry would do,” Ron said. “But it’d make me feel a whole lot better if we knew where he was.”

“I agree with Ron,” Athena said quickly. “What if someone happened to them? It’d be much better if we just…knew…where they were.”

“I’ll think of something,” Hermione said in hushed tones. “But I personally do agree with Fred and at the same time, I know how vulnerable Harry can get when he’s in that kind of a state. Maybe only one of us should go.”

Everyone looked at Ron at the same time. “Alright,” he said as a matter-of-factly. “I’ll go and find him.”

“Thank you,” Hermione beamed, kissing Ron.
Harry and Ginny stood outside Malfoy Manor with 10 minutes to spare before they were expected. The sun was slowly setting on the horizon, filling the large garden with a golden hue.

“I guess we’re finally here,” Ginny said looking around the courtyard. “It’s a huge manor, isn’t it?”

But she could tell from Harry’s expression that it was the last thing he cared about. Ginny had the feeling that he wanted to say something ever since they’d began approaching the manor.

“I guess this is really goodbye,” Harry said sadly.

“I need to say something before…before you leave,” Ginny began sombrely. “I’ve wanted to say it for a very long time.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Harry cut her off.


“It doesn’t matter what you have to say. Whatever happened the past, whatever mistakes we both made – it’s over.”

“Harry, I-”

“Why do you want to spend our last few minutes alone talking about the painful things that happened?”

“I want to fix whatever I did or at least acknowledge that I’m sorry about it.”

“I know you’re sorry and I accept it. There’s nothing more to do – only time can heal the wounds of the past.”

Ginny turned towards Harry and looked at him with a piercing gaze, trying to comprehend his complex emotions.

“It’s almost night time,” Ginny remarked.

“Did you know that it was exactly one month ago this night that I proposed to you?”

Ginny immediately looked up towards Harry and saw the lines of anguish etched in his face. “I didn’t know,” Ginny said quietly. “It feels more like years than a month.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Harry asked, trying to lighten the atmosphere.

“I don’t know.”

“Well it feels like less than a month to me,” Harry acknowledged. “Seems only a few hours ago that I had gotten down on one knee and given you that ring.”

Ginny’s eyes flickered over the glimmering ring beautifully dressed on her finger. She held back a few tears and reached for her hand. “I’ve been meaning to give this back to you for a long time now,” Ginny said as she removed the ring off of her finger.

“It’s yours,” Harry said. “Keep it.”

Ginny looked confused. “What?”

“Keep the ring – if not as a symbol of love then as a symbol of friendship.”

“I…I can’t, Harry,” Ginny said dazedly. “It doesn’t rightfully belong to me. It belongs on the fingers of the one girl with whom you’ll spend the rest of your life with.”

“It belongs to you.”

“Thank you,” Ginny whispered into Harry’s ears. “For everything.”

Harry’s watch beeped slightly as it indicated half an hour past 7:00 p.m. They both turned their heads to see Narcissa Malfoy gracefully walking towards the main gates with her face bearing a huge smile.

Harry turned to Ginny and took her arm. He then reached over and kissed her cheek very gently, sending chills down Ginny’s spine. “Thank you for our time together,” he said slowly, whispering into her ear. “Draco’s a lucky guy.”

Ginny opened her mouth to say something but the loud sound of the cast iron gates creaking open distracted her. Narcissa Malfoy approached Ginny with her eyes dancing with happiness. “I’m so glad you’re here!” she beamed. “Draco’s upstairs in his room and he has no idea you’re here – I wanted it to be a surprise.”

Ginny gave a weak nod. “Come on, dear!” Narcissa took Ginny’s hand and smiled briefly at Harry as she led Ginny into the Manor. Ginny turned her head jerkily to see Harry getting smaller into the distance until the cast iron gates shut with a loud noise and he was nothing more than a memory in her head.
Harry walked alone the deserted pathway back to the inn. His feet were the only things guiding him as his mind had wandered away to another world. Hermione had warned him that the pain of saying goodbye to Ginny would have been too much but he hadn’t listened. And yet, as he walked away from her, each step seemed to drain a little life out of him.

He approached the entrance to the inn where a tiny little wizard held the door open for him. “Good day, sir!” he greeted but Harry didn’t respond.

He made his way up the stairs to his room. It was pretty late at night and so his footsteps echoed loudly throughout the empty corridors. As he approached his door, he noticed a figure resting on the floor, against it.

“Ron?” he asked. Ron was sitting with his back to the door and his head leaned back while he slept.

Ron grunted a little and opened his eyes slightly. “Harry!” he said happily.

“What’re you doing here?”

“You haven’t written to us for so long; we were all getting really worried about you.”

Harry felt a little guilty about disregarding everyone back in London and apologized to Ron. “Sorry,” he said sombrely. “I was just preoccupied.”

Ron got up off the ground and Harry opened the door to the suite. “It’s a really nice place,” Ron remarked but noticed that Harry didn’t really care. He had thrown himself down on the couch and buried his face in his hands.

“She left, didn’t she?”

Harry looked up and nodded very slightly. “Right in front of my eyes.”

“I’m sorry, mate,” Ron said slowly.

“I…I just didn’t think she’d leave,” Harry whispered.

“What do you mean?” Ron asked. “That’s why you brought her here.”

“I know, but…but I just never imagined what it would be like to watch her go knowing I’ll never see her as the same person.”

Ron put his hand on Harry’s shoulder and sat down beside him. “You did what was best for her, mate. It was very noble – all of us think so.”

“I’m sick of being noble,” Harry said. “I want to be selfish for once – I want to do something that would benefit me rather than everyone else.”

“You wouldn’t have let Ginny marry you,” Ron said calmly. “No matter how selfish you’d want to be, you would never force her to be with you knowing that she loves someone else – you can’t help it Harry, you could never be selfish.”

Harry sighed. “I’ll get us something to eat from downstairs,” Ron said slowly. “It’s been a long night.”

Harry didn’t stop Ron from going downstairs to get something to eat – he needed some time alone.

He twirled the engagement ring around his finger and watched its glimmer fade and then resurface under the light. His mind was telling him to remove the ring while his heart insisted that he keep it on – for the first time, Harry was going to listen to his mind and not his heart.

He removed the ring and placed it beside him.

I know it was cruel of me to prolong Draco and Ginny's meeting :P But next chapter... I PROMISE. :D:D And all you diehard draco/ginny and harry/ginny fans out there, next chapter, it all falls into place! three more chapters left!

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