Moonlight glinted off Ginny Weasley's engagement ring as she lay in her bedroom at The Burrow.
She wondered idly if all brides-to-be gazed at their rings as much as she'd been doing since Harry's awkward, but totally adorable, proposal.
He could be so bloody cute when he was being shy, she thought happily to herself.
His experiences during the Battle, and his four years in the Auror Office, had smoothed away many of Harry's jagged edges.
He was finally happy, and Ginny was grateful to have played a major role in his happiness.
She'd loved him, or at least the idea of him, most of her life, though he had, of course, ignored her for a long time.
She'd just been Ron's little sister, but that title was much less damaging than how she'd viewed Harry from age 10 to around 15.
She'd been in love with the "Chosen One", but the "Chosen One" never existed and thankfully he never would.
There was simply Harry-brave, loyal, so very adorable, and for the past four years-hers.
She wanted to go to him, to make love to him, but she knew her mother wouldn't allow it under her roof and Ginny accepted that.
Normally they spent most nights together either at Grimmauld Place, or her flat near the Harpies training ground in Wales.
At the Burrow things were different and she had to respect that. She was maturing and learning to control her famously feisty personality.
Her withering glares were reserved for those who dared to hurt her Harry, not that he needed anyone to protect him. He was, after all, an Auror.
Ginny sighed more loudly than she had intended to. Her roommate shifted slightly.
"You're awake, too?" asked her best friend, and future sister-in-law, Hermione Granger. Hermione pulled herself to a sitting position. "Your brother…"
"Is an idiot!" Ginny hissed.
"Yes, but he's my idiot," Hermione snapped back before her face became wistful. "He tried. Unfortunately, he neglected to look at the high-tide tables."
Ginny shook her head. Her brother's plan was to apparate himself and Hermione to their favorite stretch of beach so that he could propose to her.
Amazingly it had worked, despite the unusual circumstances. A second after their celebratory kiss the tide had come in, swamping them completely underwater.
"Yours and Harry's didn't go much better," Hermione countered defensively, sensing the trend of her friends thoughts.
"First," Ginny began waspishly, "Harry's not an idiot! Second, he didn't know that the Express would be there. It was late. We should have been alone!"
"But you weren't," laughed Hermione. "You apparated into the middle of students and parents at 9 ¾!"
It was true, Ginny reflected.
Harry had developed a spell, a brilliant one, actually, that would allow the Aurors to apparate to the platform, in an emergency, without lifting the anti-apparition jinx.
"I'm amazed that Harry actually stayed and proposed! The "Chosen One" and the best Chaser in England suddenly appearing in one's midst had to be a shock to those gathered round!"
Ginny nodded, but said nothing.
Admittedly, it wasn't the smoothest proposal, but he had spoken from his heart and with feeling when he asked 'Will you marry me?' At that moment, they were alone. Perfectly alone.
It was a moment she'd remember for the rest of her life. She looked down at her engagement ring again in delight.
"It's beautiful, Ginny. It was his Mum's, right? But Harry had work done to it?"
"Yes," she answered breathlessly, "his Mum's."
The ring's band was made of white gold and a two carat diamond took center stage. Small emeralds encircled the diamond, added by his father, to encapsulate his mother's green eyes.
Around the emeralds Harry had added rubies in honor, he'd said, 'of my love's glorious red hair'. Ginny trembled at the memory.
"It's the second thing of hers I have, besides Harry, himself, I guess."
"That's a good thing, right? Are you still having dreams-nightmares- from the pendent?"
"Of course it's a good thing! Occasionally, when times are especially good, I'll have wonderful dreams, but when he's been in danger, or sad, I know it, even when I'm not with him.
You know how he holds things in- holds in far too much!" Ginny replied shrilly. Tears appeared in her eyes.
Hermione studied her friend. "What's wrong, Ginny?"
"You've been to his parents' grave, right?"
Ginny's voice was a haunted whisper as she admitted, "Sometimes, Hermione, I feel like there are two Harry's. The one after he came to Hogwarts and one before.
I've tried, since we've been together, to get him to open up and he has...except for one thing.
I know he goes to visit the grave-holidays, the anniversary of their…" She cut herself off before she could utter the word.
"But he's never brought me! This will sound crazy, but is he ashamed of me? He can't take me home 'meet the parents' because…"
"Because they're in a grave at Godric's Hollow. Oh, Ginny!" Hermione exclaimed. She listened to her friend cry softly. Ginny rarely cried, but when she did, it was best to let her get on with it.
"Ginny, he's not ashamed of you. Honestly, I don't think a man could be more proud of the woman he loves. You're his whole world.
I don't know why he's not brought you, but you know how he is about feelings and the past. Talk to him, Ginny! Tell him!"
The next morning, Harry Potter studied his fiancée with concern. She was, on the surface, excited and happy, but he sensed that a barrier had appeared between them.
However, the festivities surrounding the dual engagements made it difficult to spend time alone. Finally, late in the afternoon, they strolled together through the fields surrounding the Burrow.
The late afternoon sun made Ginny's flame -colored hair come alive; the breeze sent strands across her porcelain skin. Harry felt a lump in his throat as he looked at her.
She was so beautiful, the most beautiful girl in the world.
"What's wrong, Ginny? Did I do something wrong?"
"No Harry," she paused, "Harry, why have you never taken me to your parents' grave?"
Harry Potter stared at his fiancée. "Wha-um…" Harry had excuses ready, several actually, but he couldn't lie. Not to Ginny. "Because I'm stupid.
Because I make trouble for myself and, I suppose, I'm embarrassed."
"Of me?" Ginny said in a whisper, not able to look at Harry.
"NO! NEVER!" he exclaimed with feeling. "I've never been prouder of anyone! I love you, Ginny! I was embarrassed of my feelings; what I do when I'm there. I talk to them, Ginny.
I talk to them about everything, but mostly I tell them about you. I guess, after the Mirror of Erised, I know they can't hear me! I know they're gone! I just miss them so much!"
Ginny lept into Harry's arms and kissed him passionately. She wiped her tears and sniffed. "I think they hear you, Harry. I know they do. I see it in the Angel pendant and my dreams.
Just because they don't reply doesn't mean they can't hear."
Dumbledore's words came back to Harry.
'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?'
Harry offered his hand and Ginny took it. He pulled her close and, with a pop, they twisted through the space between the Burrow and Godric's Hollow.
Harry led Ginny toward his parents' grave. Her eyes fell upon the headstone.
She waited. She squeezed his hand.
"Mom and Dad. This is Ginny, my fiancée. The woman I love. I've been stupid to not bring her around. We share...we share everything." He fell silent.
"Hullo, Mr. and Mrs. Potter. I'm happy to meet you! Harry gave me your beautiful ring, Mrs. Potter. I..
I wear the pendant, too-always! Sometimes I dream about you, but I also feel Harry through it when we're apart. Your son scares me sometimes: he's brave, so brave, and I love him for it.
I love your son so much!" Harry and Ginny talked on, exposing their hopes, their dreams, and their love.
A new, little circle of love, merging the past with the present… just like her beautiful ring.