I can't tear my eyes away from the picture, no matter what I'm doing. It's sitting there, on my bedside table, in full view. All I have to do is tilt my head slightly to the right and I am mesmerized. We took it just a month ago, the last time I saw him, the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year. He met me in front of The Three Broomsticks early in the morning, and we spent the day together passing through the aisles of candy in Honeydukes, walking through the town hand in hand, and window shopping for possible Christmas gifts. Towards the late afternoon, when the temperature began to drop again, he bought two Butterbeers to go and we began the walk back towards Hogwarts, hands entwined, slowly, pensively, absorbed in the moment.
And I am still entranced by him. Even though I have not seen him in a month, I can picture his face perfectly. I always start by thinking about his emerald-coloured eyes, his mother's eyes, as so many people have pointed out. Those eyes sparkle with an inner light that nothing can extinguish. They always seem to radiate strength, warmth, stability, and love. It may have taken Harry a while to become a man, but he certainly is one now. Whenever I look into those eyes I see the soul of a man who I know loves me so completely that I have no problem placing implicit trust in him. I don't have to worry about him cutting me down or treating me in an inappropriate manner. He protects and provides for me, he makes sure that I am safe, and he never lies to me. Ever. He wouldn't be able to get away with it anyway, though. He's a right poor liar, but that's beside the point. Harry's eyes reflect the emotions he is feeling inside – they flash with anger, they sparkle with delight, and they melt with love. I can always tell what he's feeling just by looking at him, by looking into those eyes.
Just above his eyes, of course, you'll find his scar, now a thin, faint line. Most people have attributed this to the fact that Voldemort is gone. It's hard for some people to see, but I can always see it. I know exactly where it is – directly above his right eye. It has shrunk a bit in addition to becoming fainter, but it's still there. I don't believe that it will ever completely go away. Some people do; they've written whole articles about it. Some members of the Ministry of Magic actually wanted to study Harry and see if they could figure out why. Harry, of course, wouldn't have it. He was always a private person, and this trait has only increased as a result of the events last year. He makes sure to keep reporters at bay and tries to live as normal a life as possible. He even sees that they stay away from me, something for which the Hogwarts staff, no doubt, is quite thankful. This penchant for privacy has at times caused him to become quite introverted and uncommunicative, but far less now than before. He's learned that he needs to tell me what he's thinking because unless he does so, I have no idea. He's learned that unless we see each other or talk to one another or write letters to one another that there is no way our relationship can survive, especially since we're now long distance.
I doubt that we would have been able to do this had we just gone through our seven years of Hogwarts without the added bonus of Death Eaters and Voldemort. We had to grow up so quickly and as a result of that we grew very close, close enough to know each other inside and out. Because we had to learn how to fight together, we can now read each other completely. We can sense one another's moods and we know exactly how the other will react to a situation. It helped to transform our love from just fancying one another, to really loving one another.
No one can think of Harry without thinking of his messy, raven-coloured hair. Perhaps that's why some people are having trouble recognizing him now – he was required to shave it off when he entered Auror training. He doesn't look bad, though. It's actually quite fun to run my hand along the black fuzz. He and Ron entered into training together last fall, after graduating from Hogwarts a year later than they were supposed to, but the school was closed for a year until Voldemort was defeated. All graduates are going to be set back now for a while. It's a strange feeling – taking classes, knowing that had we not have had a war I would have taken them earlier and would already be out of school. But, this is the way things are.
All these attributes are part of Harry, they all work together to make him who he is – a tall, lean, black-haired, green-eyed, man with a scar. But the physical feature that I love most about him is his smile.
Yes, no one has a smile like Harry Potter. Not Michael Corner, not Dean Thomas, not Colin Creevey, nor even Gilderoy Lockhart (even if he did win Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award five times). Harry's smile is uniquely his, just like his eyes. He has a smile for reporters, a sort of dignified smile showing none of his teeth. Then there's the smile he has for the women who fawn over him, showing some of his teeth but not an authentic 'Harry smile.' Harry's true smile, a full, wide, unabashed grin, he saves for his friends and family, and for me. Accompanied by his laughter, that smile could just be the one thing that I want to see for the rest of my life.
As we were walking, he paused about halfway back to the castle and said, "Guess what, Gin."
I laughed, "What?"
"Well, I bought something the other day – something from a Muggle technology store."
He pulled out this small, electronic device, about the size of the plastic cards Muggles use instead of actual money. It was silver, looked to be made of some sort of metal, and had a black box and small buttons on one side, while on the other there was a black circle and translucent box.
"It's called a digital camera – new, cutting-edge Muggle technology. The camera stores pictures on something called a disc which you can place on a computer and then send electronically to friends and family, as well as print as many copies of a picture as you want. The pictures you take stay on the disc until you delete them, and it's completely free, you don't have to pay for the prints. The camera, of course, is quite expensive, but it's much more convenient then regular film cameras."
I was baffled, "Ok, Harry, so you have this new Muggle camera? Did Ron suggest that you bring it and show it to me? And how is it working this close to Hogwarts?"
Harry laughed, "No, I've tried to explain it to him a couple times, but he hasn't understood. I thought it might be fun to take a few pictures together. You see, if you don't like a picture, you can just delete it and take a new one. You don't have to worry about looking bad or anything! And I've charmed it to work without the battery when I'm in a magical area. It's a bit more complicated than a mechanically-driven camera in that sense, but once you get past that it's really quite convenient."
His face shone with excitement and he took a few shots just to show me how the camera worked. I leaned against a small outcropping of rocks, watching him become more and more thrilled with each shot.
"See, Gin? It's great fun. Give it a try."
He handed me the camera and I took it gingerly, taking great care not to drop it on the pebbly walk. Awkwardly, I took a couple awful shots – I moved the camera too quickly, or I tilted it sideways, or I messed up the lighting. Harry, ever patient, tenderly took my small hands in his own rough ones to steady them and showed me how to take the pictures properly. We had soon taken a fair number of pictures.
Harry looked down at me with a full, wide, 'Harry smile' and said, "Well, now that we've mastered scenery, it's time to take some pictures with people."
"Yes," he nodded, "People, you and me. I'd love to take pictures of you to have with me when I'm in training."
I gave him an odd look, "But, Harry, you've already got pictures of me.
He protested, "Yes, but I'd like Muggle ones, ones that don't move around. I promise it will be fun. You'll get to create all sorts of poses for yourself."
I sighed and agreed, "Alright, on one condition."
He grinned, "And what's that?"
"I get to take one of you."
He thought about this for a moment, "Alright, fair enough." He grabbed my hand, and tugged gently. "Now, come on! Let's do this before other students start walking back to Hogwarts."
I love it when Harry is full of excitement – he hasn't a care in the world and he's just living completely in the moment. His entire body seems charged with energy, as if electricity were coursing through his veins, stimulating every nerve ending, filling every space. He pours his whole being into that one moment and allows it to consume his thoughts, actions, and words. Only a few things in the world can capture him so completely, and I'm so amazed that I am one of them. Me, just little Ginevra Molly Weasley, I am the one whom Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived himself, loves with all his heart. Not Parvati Patil, not Cho Chang, nor even Lavender Brown – Harry loves me, and that day was just one of the many times he has proven it.
I leaned against the rocks for one picture, and Harry lifted me onto them for another. For another one, I lay on my stomach on the grass and cupped my chin in my palms, and for another I blew Harry a tiny kiss. He came up behind me and encircled my waist with one arm, put his chin on my shoulder, and held out the camera to take a close up shot of the two of us and a second of him kissing my cheek. When we were finished, we ended up sitting on the grass by the side of the road, just talking.
The sun began to set a short while later and Harry remarked with a mischievous grin, "Well, I suppose I should escort you up to the castle. I wouldn't want you to be late for curfew or anything."
I swatted his arm and muttered, "Cradle robber." He grinned, gently helped me to my feet as he stood, and tugged on my hand a little as he began to walk down the road, but I stayed firmly in my place.
He turned back, confused, and said, "Gin? What's wrong?"
I fixed him with my best innocent look, the one that always works with Dad, and said, "But I haven't taken a picture of you yet."
His arms dropped to his sides and he said in exasperation, "Oh, right, er, are you sure you want to? I mean, you have plenty of pictures of me and the lighting isn't the best and we really need to be getting you back to Hogwarts before…"
"Potter, you promised," I replied playfully, accompanied by a slight glare, and folded my arms. Harry sighed and finally consented.
"Alright, alright, where do you want me to stand?"
Delighted, and eager to use my new-found photography knowledge, I motioned for him to stand just off centre in the middle of the road facing the sun. He stood there awkwardly, unsure of how to stand. I finally just told some offhand joke to make him relax and snapped the picture just as the true, wide, Harry grin was spread to the fullest on his face. It came out perfectly – with the sun glinting on the lake and Hogwarts in the background, and Harry's perfect smile.
He walked me back to the castle and gave me the tenderest of kisses on my lips before we parted. A couple days later Hedwig arrived with a letter.
Hogsmeade was perfect, and I'm missing you already. Just being with you makes my day perfect, and being apart from you is like torture (although, I'm finding that my Auror training is providing ample distraction, as is your git of a brother). I cannot wait until Christmas when I'll be able to see you again. It's far too long of a wait, I know, but it will come soon enough and we'll be able to enjoy it to its full extent. Enclosed are a couple pictures I thought you might enjoy. Again, I miss you so much.
I love you.
He sent me a couple photos that I took of the scenery, the two pictures I took of us together, and the picture of him. It was so very strange for me at first that our photographic selves did not move, but I've gotten used to it by now and I've grown to like it. It's nice knowing that whenever I want to look at Harry he will always be in the picture frame, smiling his delightful, wide, 'Harry smile.'
Just one more month until I can see him again. Until then, I have the picture, and that alone is sufficient to keep me away from studying. Just one more month…
I can't tear my eyes away from her picture, no matter how hard I try. I keep it in the same leather wallet as I keep my identification badge, so I see it whenever I enter any sort of Auror or Ministry of Magic building or work site. Ron has taken to holding my identification for me when we're together because he's tired of me "staring at his sister like a lovesick puppy." But I get him back often enough when he sneaks a peek at his picture of Hermione.
But who can blame us? We love and value them more than we value our own lives; they are our lives. Ginny is the first thought that comes to my mind when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think of as I'm drifting into slumber at night. The thought of her drives away the bleak hopelessness of my profession – she is like a light in my darkness, as she was before the defeat of Voldemort at my hands last year. Just the image of her in my mind is enough to calm my nerves, focus my attention, and remind me why I am fighting. I am fighting for her.
I am fighting to give us the life that our parents never had and to give our future children the peace of which we were robbed. Alright, so it's likely that not all of the Death Eaters will be rounded up by the time we get around to having kids, but a bloke can dream, can't he? And it'll be a hell of a lot safer in any case. That's my goal. I guess I really do have a "saving people" complex.
But back to Ginny. My favourite picture of her is probably the one I took of her leaning against the rocks. She's completely relaxed and she's looking at me with such an expression of wonder, amazement, and love; complete, utter, unconditional love. And I'm so undeserving of it. I ignored her presence for years, and it took me long enough to finally realize just how incredible she really is, and even longer for me to build up enough courage to ask her out. Though she did play hard to get for a time, I was determined to show her how much I ardently cared for and loved her, and it paid off.
No matter what I do, she never gives up on me. She's the first person to congratulate me on a job well done, but also the first to berate me when I've done something wrong. She can hold me when I need the comfort, and listen patiently when I just want to roar at the injustice of the world and the seeming hopelessness of the future. She knows me when I am most vulnerable and when I am most strong. She can sense every emotion no matter how hard I try to hide them – there's no way I can ever hide anything from her.
It is almost as if she can see into my very thoughts. I know that she can't because they're always blocked from anyone reading them, but she doesn't have to use Legilimency to know what I'm thinking. Ginny can read my body language, my facial features, and the tones of my voice better than anyone else in the world. It's that innate sensitivity, combined with her passion for life that makes her different from any other girl I've ever known. No other girl has loved me like she does – completely and without condition, even when I'm being a total git.
I guess the best example of that would be her reaction to my hero complex kicking in at the end of sixth year, when I told her that we couldn't be together because of Voldemort. A completely stupid thing to do, and it must have hurt her a lot, yet she accepted it and acted accordingly rather than trying to talk me out of what my stubborn mind insisted was true. She didn't cry or try to have a long involved conversation about how she felt because she knew that my mind was made up and I wouldn't have listened to her anyway. She just accepted it and moved on as my friend. Ultimately, that's what made her all the more desirable to me.
Of course, I knew that she would have preferred to be together, even as I was telling her that we couldn't be. I knew that she wanted to help and encourage me through my ordeal, but all I could think about was keeping her safe from harm. Luckily I realized that she was going to place herself in danger no matter what I tried to do to keep her away from it. I can still remember her coming up to me a couple months later when I had returned to the Burrow following my seventeenth birthday. It was late, but I was still awake, pouring over my notes about Horcruxes, trying to decipher the inner workings of Voldemort's twisted mind.
She told me that she was planning on joining the Order. I told her that there was no way her mother would agree to it, as she had only just turned sixteen. But she was determined, and when Ginny is determined you are hard pressed to stand in her way. Just ask anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of her Bat-Bogey Hex. Or Ron. It was then that I knew that she would put herself in danger no matter how much I tried to protect her because she wanted to fight for what she knew was right and she wanted to fight to keep her family and friends safe.
It's just part of who Ginny is – she's passionate about those she loves and about what she believes. She just isn't the type of person to sit on the sidelines and watch a game – she wants to be in on the action. As Fred and George said once, her size is by no means an indicator of her power. That passion, that willingness to lay down her life for others and to be in on the action, is one of the things that I love about her the most.
Yet, at the same time, Ginny is distinctly feminine. Not that you can't be feminine and be in on the action, but Ginny does it with such a beautiful agility and grace. Every word, every smile, every touch of her hand, every whisper, every step – all done in a completely feminine and highly attractive manner, though she's not trying to be sassy or sexy about it at all. But that's why I'm attracted to her. Because she's not trying to coerce me into anything. She's just being her, nothing more and nothing less.
She doesn't treat me like most other women do. Granted, I've known her for an extremely long time, and in a more intimate way than I've known any other person. I think the only woman who might possibly know me better than Ginny is Hermione, but that's only a possibility. Yet even though I'm in love with her, and she knows that, and she's in love with me, she refuses to take me for granted. She's never stopped treating me with respect. She's never stopped being careful not to take things too far and tempt me in an inappropriate manner. She almost treats me like a brother, yet not quite, because at the same time she definitely does not treat me like a brother. It's hard to place. But I know that her respect only makes her more desirable to me.
Her respect, her sensitivity, her passion, her listening ear, her patience, all given without condition – that's how I know she loves me. That's how I know that she would do anything for me, that her words aren't empty and void. I heard it said once that love is simply meeting someone else's needs to the point of self-sacrifice without expecting anything in return, and that's how Ginny loves me. That's how I know that she isn't going to turn around and change her mind about me even when I'm far away and we don't see each other for months at a time.
It was difficult for us at the beginning, being apart. And it's not that it's gotten any easier. I still miss her every minute of the day, but I know that she's being faithful and that I can wait. And I know that she trusts that I'm being faithful as well. We don't check up on each other because we don't have to.
You know, we might be young, but it doesn't matter. We're in love and not just petty, teenage, hold-my-hand-and-snog-me-into-oblivion love – we're in love. Yeah, we might be young. Yeah, we might not be ready to settle down yet. But it doesn't matter. That day will come, and it can't come soon enough.
But first will come Christmas, in just one more month…