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Nineteen Years and Ten Hourse Later

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Ginny and Harry face the prospect of Albus Severus as a Slytherin. The story was an entry in the I Love You Challenge on Sink Into Your Eyes: describe the first time Ginny and Harry say "I love you" to each other. It takes place during the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows, but incorporates and element of canon from Cursed Child.

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Nineteen Years and Ten Hours Later

Ginny and Harry watched the Hogwarts Express disappear around the curve, carrying away for the first time both of their sons. They walked with Lily back to the barrier and waited with other families until their turn came and they passed through. Ron and Hermione were waiting on the other side, and they chatted in the bustle of King’s Cross.

“Don’t forget the meeting tomorrow with Percy and the cauldron committee,” Hermione said.

Ron rolled his eyes. “Oh joy.” He looked at Harry. “As Head Auror, you need to handle this one yourself.”

“I’m delegating.” Harry grinned at him. “And did I mention that your pay rise is coming up next month?”

They all laughed—Ron a little less enthusiastically than the others— and went outside to their separate automobiles. Harry and Ginny didn’t speak as they crossed the plaza, but watched Lily’s wonderment at the sights and sounds of the Muggle city. As they drove through the streets of London, she stared out the window from the back seat.

“Are Victoire and Teddy in love?” she suddenly said; they were about to merge onto the motorway to the West Country and home. “James said he saw them snogging.”

“Well. . . um,” said Harry, glancing at Ginny sitting in the front seat next to him.

She turned to Lily. “They might be. You don’t have to be in love to snog someone, but,” she looked at Harry with a twinkle in her eye, “it makes it a lot better.” Harry had a tiny smile on his face.

“I hope they are in love,” Lily said. She paused and looked at her parents. “I like it when you snog .”

“Then we’ll keep doing it,” Harry said.

“And I know you’re in love because I hear you say it all the time.” Her parents grinned at each other.

Later that evening, after Lily had gone upstairs to bed, Harry was sitting in the parlor in front of the fireplace. He looked up from the book he was reading—Firm But Gentle: Restraining Spells for Aurors, Parents, and Dog Owners—and turned to his wife sitting on the other side of the hearth. Ginny had just started knitting a scarf for their son. It was silver and green: half an hour ago they had received an owl from James that Albus Severus had been Sorted into Slytherin House.

“It looks strange,” said Harry.

Ginny nodded. “Because it’s different. You’ll get used to it.” But a small furrow creased her forehead.

“Will he?”

She looked up at him. “If James isn’t a prat, and if we make sue he knows that we love him no matter what, then he’ll be okay.”

“That first one is a big if.”

“Then let’s make sure of the second one.”

Harry gazed into the fire. He pictured in his mind the Great Hall at Hogwarts, the Sorting Hat on its stool, and hundreds of students and teachers watching as the Hat was placed on his son’s head. He tried to imagine what it must have been like for him to hear the word, “Slytherin!”

Ginny’s knitting needles clacked and clicked, but after a few minutes she put them down. “I was thinking about what Lily said, that she likes it when we say we love each other, and when we kiss.”

“She said snog,” Harry smiled, glad to be distracted from thoughts about Albus in Slytherin.

“Do you remember the first time we snogged?”

“Of course. It combined my two favorite things, you and Quidditch.”

“And do you remember the first time you said you loved me?”

“Of course,” he said again. “And it was also the first time you said it to me.” He got a faraway look, remembering that afternoon of unanticipated delight.

Ginny rose and came to Harry’s chair. She took his book, set it on the floor, slid into his lap, and put her arms around his neck. Harry welcomed her with a kiss, and they snuggled up.

“I am a little surprised that you remember,” she said. “Sometimes you don’t remember things. But there was a time before that, when you did something that made me think that you loved me, and it actually made me love you even more than I already did. So I told you that I loved you, but you didn’t hear it.” She laughed. “Or maybe it only made me crush on you more.”

“I don’t know what or when that was. How long ago?”

“A long time. Over twenty years.”

“And you expect me to remember something from twenty years ago that I didn’t even hear?” He laughed.

“Then I’ll tell you. It was the end of my first year. I had just—”

“Wait! Now I think I know. But I was just trying to make you feel better.”

“But in a way you were telling me that you loved me. At least, that’s what it meant to me.”

Harry leaned back in the chair, remembering as Ginny recounted . . .

It had been a hard time for her, the weeks after Harry and Ron had opened the Chamber of Secrets, after the terror and the horror of Tom Riddle, after Harry had saved her life. And afterwards, she had spent many days in the hospital wing recovering from her ordeal.

But Professor Dumbledore was back and had announced that all exams were cancelled. Hagrid was back. Most people were in a good mood, but one evening in the common room Harry had seen Ginny sitting in a chair off by herself, watching Fred and George at a nearby table with Angelina Johnson and Katie Bell, trying to talk them into a moonlight stroll down to the lake.

Ginny was not smiling at the twins’ performance, or reacting to it in any way. She looked miserable. Harry knew that what she had gone through was beyond anything anyone else could imagine, and that only he could even partly understand. He walked to the table where the twins were plying their charm on the two ladies and picked up a pack of Exploding Snap cards lying there. “Mind if I borrow these?” he asked. Fred just shook his head, barely glancing at him; George ignored him.

Harry walked to Ginny’s chair; she was now staring off into space. ’Hi,” he said.

She looked up. “Hi, Harry.”

“Want to play some Exploding Snap?”

“Oh. I guess so. Sure.”

They went to a table and sat. Harry shuffled the deck and dealt. Soon Ginny was talking, then she was laughing, and when the game was over she smiled.

“Thanks, Harry,” she said. “That was fun.”

Harry was about to speak, but he hesitated: something in Ginny’s eyes was holding him. She stood, gazing back, butt when he didn’t say anything she turned and went to the door to the girls dormitory. She looked back as she opened it. Harry was putting the cards away. Ron and Hermione had come over and were siting down, speaking to Harry. Harry spoke and glanced at Ginny. The others also looked at her. Hermione patted Harry’s hand.

Ginny drew back, embarrassed. She turned and started climbing the stairs, but took only a few steps and stopped. Why, she thought, should she be embarrassed? Why should she feel embarrassed for anything? None of what had happened because of that evil diary had been her fault.

She went back to the bottom of the stairs and opened the door a few inches. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were still sitting at the table, talking. Harry was facing her and looked up. He saw her and his eyebrows rose. Then a strange feeling came over Ginny, and she moved her lips and whispered, “I love you, Harry Potter.”

His look changed. Ginny drew back and closed the door. Had he read her lips? She felt herself blushing, probably that deep Weasley scarlet, and hurried upstairs to her room.

“I thought that was what you were saying” Harry said when Ginny had finished. “But Ron and Hermione were sitting there, and besides, you were only eleven”

“And you were only twelve.” They both laughed. After a moment Ginny went on, “Albus is only eleven.”

They sat watching the flames crackle and pop in the fireplace. It was a low fire in the warm late summer evening. Ginny kept her arms around Harry.

“When you first said it,” she finally said, “it was a lot like when you played Exploding Snap with me. I needed it. But of course, we were older. It was . . . well,” she smiled, “it was a lot different.”

“Yes, it certainly was a lot different.” Harry chuckled, but then his smile faded. “It was only three weeks after Fred’s funeral. Everyone was still at the Burrow . . .”

“Have you seen Ginny?” Harry spoke from the doorway of Ron’s attic room. Ron and Hermione looked up from where they were sitting on Ron’s bed, propped against the pillows. She was reading a thick textbook—Magical Math: Complex Theorems in Arithmancy—and Ron was flipping through the latest issue of Quidditch Week.y.

“I think she went outside,” said Hermione. “She was upset. George was yelling at her.”

Harry frowned. “What for? Ginny doesn’t need to be yelled at. I know it’s really hard for him, but it’s not easy for her, either.”

“He just yells,” Ron said. “I guess he can’t help it.”

“Well . . . if she shows up, tell her I’m out looking for her.”

Harry went downstairs and out the back door. He knew where Ginny was. She had a favorite spot by the river where an old willow tree hung over the bank. The current flowed quietly there, and you could see fish swimming in the calm water. When he got there she was sitting on the bank near the tree, her arms wrapped around her drawn-up knees, gazing at the woods across the river. She looked up when she heard Harry’s footsteps, but didn’t speak. He saw streaks of tears on her face.

He sat down next to her. She looked back at the river. Harry moved his hand on the grass; Ginny unclasped her hands and leaned back, her arms supporting her. Harry glanced at her. Ginny sighed.

“How are you doing?” he said.

Ginny shrugged. “I’m okay.”

“I’m sorry George yelled at you.”

“It’s okay. I shouldn’t have said what I did.”

“What did you say?”

Ginny shrugged again. “I told him to stop yelling at people.” Harry started to laugh, but stopped himself. Ginny scowled at him.

“Sorry,” he said. “I know it’s not funny.”

But she kept looking at him, then it was a stare, then they both laughed. He glanced down and saw that their hands were on the grass, next to each other but not touching. He moved his hand and it touched hers. Ginny also looked down. Harry turned his hand over and their fingers entwined then he was leaning towards her and her eyes were closed and he kissed her and she kissed him and their arms were around each other and they were side by side on the grass and Harry’s hands were on her and their kiss deepened, but suddenly he stopped.

He pulled away. “I’m sorry,” he said, a little breathlessly.

Ginny put her finger on his lips. Her mouth, her nose, her freckles, her lips, and especially her eyes, shone at him. “I’m not.”

Harry looked into her brown eyes, bright and dancing in the summery light, and kissed her again.

It was near dinner time when they sat up and looked around at the woods and the river, at white clouds above in the blue sky, at the world that was somehow different now. Harry took Ginny’s hand and put it to his lips. Ginny looked at him, a soft smile on her face.

His heart swelled, engulfing him. “Ginny,” he said, “I love you.”

“Oh, Harry, I love you, too.”

Now, nineteen years later, curled up in Harry’s lap, Ginny remembered that afternoon under the willow tree. “That was incredible,” she sighed. “And so unexpected.”

“It was definitely the high point of my summer.”

Ginny gazed into his eyes, dark green in the low light. “Mine, too.

They sat for a while, watching the fire, remembering. Harry looked around the room. “It’s quiet, isn’t it?”

“Of course. There aren’t any boys banging off the walls.”

“It feels strange.”

Ginny peered at him. “Like a green and silver scarf?”


“He can be a difficult child, but we shouldn’t make it more difficult for him than it already is.”

“He was so worried on the platform, before he got on the train. I thought I had explained it to him, but I really didn’t think it would actually happen.”

Ginny didn’t respond. Finally she got up out of his lap and picked up her knitting. “We will have to help him. You have to keep an open mind about it. Things are different than they were when we were in school nineteen years ago. And he needs us. He needs us to tell him that we love him.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s just . . .”

Ginny came and put her arms around him. “Sweetheart, we just spent the evening reminding each other how big our love is. Now let’s show our son.”

Harry kissed her. Together they went upstairs, listened for a moment to the silence at Lily’s door, and went on to their own bedroom.Start writing here…

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