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Stars by Ruby R.

This story is one of the winners of the Harry Potter Fan Fiction Contest. Congratulations!

She was beautiful. Harry watched as Ginny sat down at the base of the apple tree in the backyard of the Burrow. He wanted to kick himself for not noticing her for all those years. If he hadn't been so blind, they would have had years together. Years of running his fingers through her hair, years of kissing in the common room, years of clandestine meetings—like this one. He walked up and sat beside her. “Hey Gin.”

Ginny turned and smiled wistfully. Harry. Kind, wonderful Harry, who was pushing her away for her own protection. Sweet, stubborn Harry, who refused to believe that she was already a prime target in the war. Strong, brave Harry, who had taught her not to be afraid of the man who had once possessed her, to say Voldemort's name. He was everything to her. “Hi Harry.”

Harry's breath caught in his throat at the sound of her whispered voice. His heart ached at the thought of leaving her behind. He wanted to just forget the war that raged outside of the walls of the Burrow, to leave it for someone else to deal with. But he couldn't, no matter how badly he wanted to. The wizarding world was depending on him to protect them, and he couldn't forsake them for his own selfish desires.

The two sat in silence, gazing the stars above them. Harry spoke first. “When I was younger, I read somewhere that the stars are the souls of heroes that had died. I used to think that my mum and dad were there, watching over me. After Sirius died, I wondered if he was up there too.”

Ginny was silent for a moment. “When I was younger, I used to look at the stars and wonder what Charlie was doing, way out in Romania. Mum told me that no matter where in the world you are, we're all under the same sky.” She looked at him. “I hope that, wherever you leave to tomorrow, you'll look at the stars and remember that I'll always be under your sky, Harry.”

They lapsed into silence. Harry spoke in a hushed tone. “I have to do it, Gin. If I don't stop him, this war will drag on forever. Countless people will die, families will be torn apart. All those who have already died—my parents, Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore— will have died for nothing. I need to stop this, even if I die trying.”

“Don't you dare start with me Harry Potter! You will not die; I won't let you!” Ginny struggled to keep her voice down; everyone in the Burrow was asleep, and she didn't want to wake them up with her shouting. “You will survive this war. You will win, and you will come back home so that Mum can choke you for all of the damage you could've done to yourself.” Her voice softened. “You need to come back to me, because a life without you isn't worth living.”

“No, Ginny. You need to live, regardless of whether I live or die! I'm fighting this war for you, so that you can go outside without the fear of being killed. You'll get over me, get married to some bloke that doesn't put you in danger because he's the Most Wanted Wizard in the world. You'll go on and have kids, with your red hair and his—” He choked on the Quaffle-sized lump in his throat that had formed at the thought of Ginny—his Ginny—with someone else.

“The only kids I'll have will have green eyes, Harry— your green eyes. They'll have messy hair that never lies flat, and play Quidditch every morning in the backyard. They'll have 6 uncles that encourage them to be wild and reckless, and play pranks on everyone who passes through the door. They'll have a father who will be known as the man who took down Voldemort, who brought the wizarding world back to its feet.” She looked into his eyes. “They'll be your kids, Harry. Our kids.”

Harry turned his head, hiding the tears that stung his eyes. He could imagine it: He and Ginny, getting married, living in the Burrow, having kids that had his green eyes and her red hair, waking to her every morning for the rest of his life. Not even in his wildest dreams had he allowed himself to think of the future, not when so much hinged on the present. But sitting here with Ginny, the night air around them warm and comfortable, he indulged in the hope of a future past Voldemort, where Death Eaters were merely an unpleasant memory of times long gone.

“You will live, Harry. Voldemort doesn't understand love—it's the one thing he's scared of. If you don't let yourself feel that love, than he has already won. Promise me that you'll live, if just to spite him.” Ginny's eyes were fierce, and an overwhelming hatred for Voldemort bubbled to the surface. How dare he try to take away this wonderful man, whose only wish had been to have people love him? It was unforgivable, and Ginny knew that she would stop at nothing to end the man who had so tortured the man she loved.

“You know I can't promise that I'll live. There are no guarantees of anything in this war. But if I do, then will you live with me? Stand by my side, forever?” Harry held his breath. He had finally said it. If there was anything that could keep him going, it was the thought of a future together with Ginevra Molly Weasley. It was her mischievous smile, her sparkling wit, her daredevil attitude, that brought him back from his gloomy thoughts of the future. What they had was a bond forged from adversity; they had both been touched by Voldemort at a young age, and had become stronger because of that. This was the woman who threw her life on the line to protect those weaker than her, who took everything life gave her and spat it back at those who wished her ill.

“Always, Harry. You know that. Just live, and we can spend every day together.” She smiled, and wrapped her arms around his waist. He rested his forehead on top of her hair.

“That's all I've ever wanted.” The lovers lay intertwined, the stars above them glittered, silver on black.