Ginny comes to a realization.
Harry hadn't looked at her since that day. She felt like no one looked at her anymore.
Which she understood, because she didn't want to look at herself, either. Once you've killed someone, you can never really look at yourself in the same way again.
She tried to approach Harry. She always found herself feeling so uncomfortable around him, lately. Maybe it was because he'd been there, too. "You shouldn't feel guilty, Harry," she assured him, moving to stand next to him on the front lawn of her home. "You saved everyone."
He muttered something unintelligible.
"What did you say?" she asked, her hands fidgeting behind her back.
"AT WHAT COST?!" he exclaimed, with such force that she had to take a few steps backward.
"Ron and Hermione are gone, and so is Luna - and Bill, and Fred and George...and your mum..." he looked away again, seemingly unable to continue.
Ginny tried to swallow the lump in her throat, not sure how to respond. "Well, you've still got me...and Neville..."
Harry paused, seemingly in thought. "Just go away."
At this, Ginny's teeth clenched. She was furious. He's been through a lot/, she reasoned, trying to calm herself down, /just ignore it.
"You should stop pushing everyone away," she managed, as calmly as she could. "We...we might not be much, but we're all you've got."
Harry's face twitched, and Ginny wondered what he was thinking. It was so hard to tell, nowadays. She placed a hand on his shoulder. Harry jerked away, as if burned. Ginny bit down on her lip, almost hard enough to draw blood. She stood there for a moment, seething. But it was his next comment that really set her off.
"You wouldn't understand."
Ginny snapped. "How dare you shut me out?! I was there, too! Hermione and Luna were my friends! Not to mention my brothers....my own mother/...! You /always do this, and I'm sick of it!"
Harry didn't say anything. He didn't even move. He just kept staring stoically ahead, as if she weren't standing right next to him, screaming in his ear. He stood there for a while, before turning around and heading back towards the house. "Don't follow me," he said.
Ginny huffed. If he thought he was going to get away that easily, he had another thing coming.
Harry disappeared into the house, Ginny right behind him. She was stopped from following him further, however, because she ran into something rather solid.
"Move, Neville," she muttered. He didn't respond, but she felt his hands come up to close around her upper arms, keeping her in place.
"He deserves a talking to, at the very least," she said; although, truthfully, she was planning on giving him a lot worse than that.
"I don't think that's a good idea, Gin," he said, softening his grip a little, but not letting go. Ginny had a hard time not noticing the large scar on his forearm, the one he'd sustained in their final battle together. The Healers had said that it would probably never go away. Ginny didn't worry too much about that. She was more worried about the scars that she knew would never go away.
"Let me go," she said, trying to shake his hands off.
"I'm not letting you go until you calm down. Harry's in a dark place right now. He needs some time to work it out. I don't think anything you or I can do is going to help, and yelling at him certainly isn't going to."
Ginny opened her mouth to say something, but quickly shut it again, not being able to think of a suitable response. Damn him for making sense. He always did this to her. Ginny nodded, as if to assert that she wasn't going to go running after Harry.
Neville released her, but didn't take his eyes off of her. Ginny resisted the urge to twitch with guilt. How did those kind brown eyes always do that to her? Of course, she chose to ignore the fact that she was feeling guilty--it was just that looking at him seemed to remind her of it. She looked away. He frowned.
"You might try not worrying so much about Harry, and worrying a bit more about yourself," he noted quietly. Ginny sighed, looking down at her disheveled state.
"I'm fine," she said.
Neville didn't contradict her, but he didn't seem to believe her, either.
"Look, we're all--we're all dealing with loss now. Harry's just lost his two best mates in the whole world, and he hasn't got any family, either. He's having a really hard time."
"They were my friends and family, too!" Ginny insisted. "Now they're all gone! And with Harry shutting me out, I sometimes feel like I haven't got anyone left."
Ginny sucked in a painful breath as her throat constricted. "Nev, I'm sorry, I didn't mean--"
"It's alright," he said calmly, cutting her off. Ginny noted that he was pointedly avoiding making eye contact with her, for once. She looked at the ground, thinking that she might be choked by her guilt. Neville didn't deserve this kind of treatment. He'd never complained, not once. Not when she'd cried on his shoulder for six hours straight about Ron. Not when he'd slept on the floor for a whole week, because he'd wanted her to have a warm bed.
Ginny's heart was thumping so loudly in her ears that she could scarcely hear herself think. Maybe that's why she was as surprised as Neville when she wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug. She buried her face in his chest, too scared of what she'd see if she looked at him.
Neville's body tensed for a moment, but he soon relaxed, wrapping his arms around her loosely, hands coming to settle at the small of her back. Ginny wondered if he was only doing it for her benefit, or if he really wanted to. Ginny knew that he wouldn't push her away, no matter what the answer was. It was comforting, in a way, but it was also confusing.
They stood that way for a long time, and when Ginny pulled away, Neville's hands lingered a bit before doing the same. Ginny noticed moist spots on his jumper, where her head had lain. Ginny blushed a bit, but for the most part, Neville was the only person that she didn't really mind crying around. With everyone else, it always made her feel weak and vulnerable, and she didn't like it. But with Neville, it was different, for some reason.
That's when something in Ginny's brain clicked. "He's always there for me..." she whispered inaudibly.
"Hmm?" Neville asked, looking at her curiously.
Ginny looked up at him, looking so concerned, and her resolve strengthened. "Harry's never there," she said succintly, watching his face intently.
"Ehm..." Neville began nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. "I dunno if you should be telling me--"
Neville gulped and his hand stopped moving, dropping down to rest at his side. "Gin, I don't think you know what you're saying. You're probably just a bit overwhelmed by all that's happened..."
"No, I'm not," she said firmly, frowning. "I'm thinking clearly for the first time in a long time. Neville, I love Harry--" Neville's eyes darkened considerably when she said this, "--as a friend. But I've just realized something."
"What's that?" he asked hesitantly.
"You're the one that I want."
Whatever Neville's response was, Ginny didn't hear it, because he had knocked the chair next to him over so loudly that the whole household had coming rushing in to see what all the commotion was about.