An owl hooted softly outside an open window on the first floor of the
Burrow. Ginny Weasley stirred in her bed and groaned as the oppressive
feeling of wanting to vomit overwhelmed her. She tumbled out of bed,
barely keeping her balance, and padded to the loo in case she lost her
dinner from the night before.
It was a month before Ginny’s
seventeenth birthday and she was alone at the Burrow with her mother
for the summer. It had been a rough year since her brothers, Hermione,
and Harry had left to find the bits of Voldemort’s soul hidden across
the country and face the most powerful Dark wizard in a century. Ginny
had been left behind, the only one of her family not able to use magic
outside of school. She was sent back to Hogwarts the next September
with a handful of other students. It hadn’t been the same without the
ones that mattered most to her and without Dumbledore.
had been there and, after hearing that Harry had broken things off with
her, had asked to rekindle their relationship. Ginny had hexed him and
left him stuck to the wall of the common room, but his proposal had
helped make her mind up regarding Harry. She’d wait for him, but it
wouldn’t be because she was particularly good at being the doting
Breakfast was sullen and depressing. Ginny pushed
her porridge around in the bowl without any desire to taste it. She
didn’t usually eat until lunch anyway. Her mother seemed to notice,
“Ginny, dear,” she said, in what she must have
thought was a consoling manner, but it only irritated Ginny. “I don’t
like it when you don’t eat. It worries me.”
Ginny dropped her spoon and stood. “Maybe I can’t eat because I’m worried,” she said, a bit more harshly than she intended.
sighed and approached her daughter. “I’m worried, too,” she admitted
with a muffled sniff. “I wish they’d stay with us every night instead
of just when they’re not on duty.”
It was a mark of Ginny’s
restraint that she didn’t demand to leave with Ron during the token
visits he made to the Burrow. While her father and other brothers came
home regularly to rest and get re-supplied with food and love, Ron had
only appeared once since Hogwarts had ended its last term. She’d only
seen him twice at school after he’d left with Harry and Hermione the
night of Bill and Fleur’s wedding. She’d seen Harry even less.
Molly said after a moment, breaking Ginny out of her thoughts. “At
least they bring us news when they come,” she said sadly.
it was true; they had been bringing them news, but it wasn’t always
welcomed. When Fred hadn’t come home with the rest of them, the girls
were told that he was in St. Mungo’s with a thousand Billywig stings
and it would be a week before they got all the poison out of his
system. The last time she’d seen Ron – three weeks ago – he reported
that Harry had been wounded after finding one of the Horcruxes and was
blind in one eye. Ginny hadn’t been able to spend time with Harry then,
even though he’d been sleeping in Ron’s room. Harry preferred not to
chance it, and even though it left a bitter taste in her mouth, she
hadn’t seem him while he was awake, preferring instead to visit him at
Molly shifted again and took a half-step towards the
living room. “Best get on with the laundry,” she announced and sent the
breakfast dishes to the sink; Ginny’s uneaten porridge whisked into the
rubbish bin on the way. She followed her mother and felt a stab of
regret in her middle. If only the war had started a year later, Ginny
would have been old enough to use magic and would be doing something instead of folding half-charred trousers.
was restricted since it was so easily intercepted and forged, so Ginny
and Molly had to rely on hand-delivered messages from Arthur and
whomever needed to stay with them on their off shifts. These were
Ginny’s life lines and from the way her mother clung to the ones in her
dad’s writing, it seemed that her mother valued them quite as much as
Remus had appeared a month before, looking as
battered and weary as ever, clutching three letters for each of them.
Molly had sequestered herself in her room to read the ones from Arthur,
Fleur and Ron, while Ginny fell asleep reading and re-reading the
fourth letter Harry’d ever sent her.
He’d been in Wales
tracking down the last Horcrux and was resting in an abandoned castle
with Ron and Hermione. The thing that had caused Ginny to read it over
and over wasn’t the descriptions of the battles he’d been in, or even
the fantastic places he’d been visiting. It was the fact that he’d told
her how he’d felt....
The Death Eaters fight like
they don’t care if they live or die. How can we possibly win against
people who have such disregard for life? I can’t even manage to cast
Cruciatus at them, let alone the Killing Curse. They throw it around
like they don’t know any other spell. Ginny, if I make it through this,
I’m going to come straight to you and... well, I can’t really say,
because I’m afraid I’ll come and do it right now. After all this...
death, I’m going to need someone like you to make me whole again. Is
that selfish of me? You can tell me off for it and I wouldn’t be
surprised. I just can’t think of anything else but those times we went
out to the lake... We’ll be at the Burrow in a couple of days, but like
the last time I was there, I need to ask you to not visit me. I won’t
be able to leave you again if you don’t keep away. It’ll only be a
little longer, Ginny.
Ginny fought back both her
overwhelming sadness at being told not to see him, even though he’d be
so close, and the urge to smack him the second he Apparated there for
even suggesting it.
The other two letters Remus delivered
had been from Ron and Hermione. Ron’s, she’d read over lunch and it
didn’t contain anything that she hadn’t heard from Harry already or
would be covered by Hermione’s usually more thorough letter. She
decided to read her best friend’s missive at the end of the day, after
their chores were done.
But as they finished dinner and set to
work repairing trousers and cloaks, all thoughts of a relaxing evening
reading Hermione’s letter flew from her mind.
“Arthur says he
won’t be coming back for another two weeks,” Molly pronounced as she
pointed her wand at a large hole in one of Fred’s jumpers and watched
thread fly from the tip of the oak stick and weave itself into the
material. “Something about a lead on where Lucius Malfoy’s operating
Ginny snorted, amused that it’d taken so long to find
him after his escape from Azkaban, but then her feelings shifted to
anger as hot desire welled up inside her – desire to be out there doing
something. Sitting at the Burrow, safe and protected was nice, but also
completely stifling. She pulled roughly on her needle, forcing the
thick thread through the patch she was sewing onto Ron’s trousers. “It
isn’t fair,” she hissed in what she thought was a quiet voice.
not fair, dear?” Molly asked, moving on to one of Arthur’s cloaks that
had been charred almost beyond recognition despite a very powerful
Deciding not to hide her frustration, Ginny
squared her shoulders and faced her mum. “This whole thing,” she said,
waving a hand around the air. “It’s not fair that they get to go off
and fight Voldemort while I have to stay here and repair trousers.” She
brandished Ron’s almost-repaired pants in front of her for extra effect.
frowned. “We’ve been over this, Ginny. You’re not of age. You can’t
fight in the war yet, and even if you were old enough, I would still
tell you not to go.”
Ginny winced as she pushed the needle
hard into the denim and into her finger. She threw the offending
trousers to the sofa, and sucked on her finger for a second. “Well,”
she said defiantly, “I’ll be of age in August and there’s nothing you
can do to stop me from fighting then.”
Mother and daughter
stared at each other a long second, each holding the other in a
challenging gaze. “Ginny,” Molly pleaded, holding out her hands.
“Please don’t leave me here alone. Don’t... leave,” she croaked.
two forces battling inside her, one aimed at getting her at Harry’s
side and the other guilty for not supporting her mum, Ginny decided on
a compromise as she went into her mother’s embrace. “If Harry hasn’t
killed Voldemort by the time I turn seventeen, I’m going to ask him to
let me come with him,” she said. Molly shuddered in her arms. “If he’ll
have me, I’m going to go, Mum. He needs me.”
“What about me?”
Molly asked tremulously. “Who’ll I have when you lot are gone? I can’t
even bear to think of losing one of you and you... you’re my baby,” she
wailed, clinging even more tightly to Ginny.
“Mum,” Ginny said with tears forming in her own eyes. “I’m not a baby anymore and if Harry needs me, I... I’ll have to go.”
Molly cried on Ginny’s shoulder, and nodded her head, seeming to accept the inevitable.
a long while they broke apart and Ginny walked languidly to her room,
not feeling much like repairing rips just then. It was gloomy and
sullen outside, the normally-hot July sun held hostage by an
Sitting on her bed, she took Hermione’s
letter from her pocket and opened it. It took two hours to read the
whole thing and she had to re-read one section three times to make sure
she’d read it right.
We’ve come across some very
interesting spells in our research on how to destroy the Horcruxes.
There are all sorts of ways to remove the bit of Voldemort’s spirit
from the enchanted objects. From Transfiguring them into something
living, to out and out destroying them. There was even a spell
originally used to impregnate a woman with a dying man’s baby (Dissero Ventris)
in desperate circumstances. A dark wizard had adapted it so that it
removed parts of a person’s soul instead. I don’t think that this spell
would do anyone any good, as it’d take casting it loads of times before
it would kill off Voldemort. Still, it is a fascinating concept, isn’t
it? Dissero Ventris has to be cast during the fertile part of a woman’s cycle to be effective.
had blinked very hard the first time she had read that passage. The
next paragraph was abruptly different from the rest of the letter, as
if the bit about Dissero Ventris was added in after the fact. She knew
that Hermione never did anything without a reason and despite all her
attempts to rationalize it differently, Ginny kept coming to the same
Harry arrived that evening and Ginny
watched him from the kitchen as he gave her mum a weary hug and
accepted a mug of cold pumpkin juice. They locked eyes for a moment,
his blind one completely white, and then Harry turned to walk to the
loo. In that moment, she felt a brief surge of terrible want and
long-repressed need course through her veins. It was fine and dandy to
say that they couldn’t be together, but it was cruel punishment to have
him so close after being apart for so long.
Ron and Harry upstairs, but not before smiling at Ginny and giving the
younger girl a significant look. While Ginny had agreed to not see
Harry, she hadn’t said anything about not visiting with Hermione. The
first chance she got, she grabbed the brown-haired witch by the arm and
steered her into the room they’d be sharing.
“All right, Hermione,” Ginny said imperiously. “What’s going on with the not-so-subtle hints in your letter?”
Flopping down on her camp bed, Hermione closed her eyes and let out a weary breath.
“I’m not stupid. I know what you’re implying and it’s... well, it’s a little sick, don’t you think?”
opened her eyes and sat up. “No, I don’t,” she replied. “Tell me why
you think it is and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.”
sucked in a breath. It wasn’t like Hermione to be so short with people.
Then again, Ginny rationalised, Hermione had been involved in a war for
over a year now; she was bound to have become a little hard around the
“Well,” Ginny began, “first there’s the whole fact that it’s dishonest. Don’t you think he’d want to know about it?”
Hermione did not answer, but simply stared back at her.
“And then there’s the fact that I can’t perform magic until next month....”
“Yes, you can,” Hermione answered. “You were there when Harry told us how the Underage Magic Office detects magic.”
Ginny sat on her bed, remembering that night before Dumbledore’s funeral. “Yeah,” she admitted. “I remember.”
sat on their separate beds for a while as Ginny’s mind raced. “And with
us here,” Hermione continued, “there’ll be even less of a chance that
they’d figure out who performed the charm.”
Ginny narrowed her eyes. “Wait a minute,” she said suspiciously. “You were thinking about performing this charm, weren’t you?”
Reluctantly, Hermione nodded. “I was. Until I realised how stupid it would be for me
to do it. I mean, what with Ron and I together every second of every
day. If he were to be killed, I’d likely be killed too... and....”
was another moment of silence in which Ginny chewed nervously on her
lip. It was not a question of how much they loved each other; it was
more a question of taking something so personal from him and....
you really think he doesn’t know that I’ve told you?” Hermione said,
breaking into her thoughts. “Do you think I’d be suggesting this if we
hadn’t already talked about it and he hadn’t said it was a great idea?”
Ginny was thunderstruck. “What? He... he said he wanted to do this?”
paused. “Well, as much as he commits to anything concerning you. You
know how he is, Ginny. Ron and I had been talking about doing it and
Harry was listening. He said, ‘It’s a great idea, only, you’d be better
off with one of you tucked away safe... at the Burrow.’ Then his eyes
got a little misty and he looked away.” Hermione moved over to sit next
to Ginny. “I approached him later that night and tried to get him to
tell me what he wanted – you know I just want you and him to be happy,
Ginny nodded, still reeling from this new information. Why hadn’t she said more in the letter?
Hermione continued. “It wasn’t easy, but in the end, Harry told me that
he loved you and the thing he wanted most in the world was to kill
Voldemort, marry you, and have loads of red-haired children.”
stomach dropped and a feeling of light giddiness spiralled up through
her anxiety. If the daft prat really felt that way, then why didn’t he say
so? Why didn’t he just talk to her, Ginny, and not Hermione about all
this? They could have had many wonderful moments, maybe even tried to
do things properly, instead of using some ruddy spell.... Then
something struck her as she realised part of what Hermione had said in
“Hermione, it doesn’t matter anyway. My period was last week.”
smiled and fished for something in her robe pocket; when she found it,
she held it out triumphantly. “Tell me exactly when your period started
and I’ll add enough essence of rue to adjust your cycle.”
told her, but still couldn’t believe this was happening at all.
“Hermione?” she asked as the older girl was adding a bit of carefully
measured powder to the vial. “Why can’t I... why can’t Harry and I...
you know... do things the normal way?” Hermione blushed a little. “If
it’s that important to him, why can’t we...?”
“I don’t think you’d be able to convince him of that,” Hermione said. “Think about it. Harry’s barely got enough nerve to do this,” she said, waving the now-pink potion in the air. “He’d never agree to that; especially not before he asked you to marry him and especially in your parents’ house.”
“He said that?” Ginny asked. “He... said he wanted to marry me?”
Hermione chuckled. “Yes. Did you think he asked you to wait for him because he thought the snogging was good?”
about snogging Harry made Ginny flush. “It’s not like it was bad,” she
offered as a token of levity, but the joke fell flat. She focused her
eyes on the vial. Something overtook her just then, and she snatched
the now-corked potion from Hermione’s hand. “When do I take it?”
“Right before you perform the spell. You’ll have about five minutes and your body will go back to its normal cycle.”
nodded again, slipping the potion into her jean pocket. Her decision
made, she let out a breath and slapped Hermione’s knee. “So.... tell me
how the war’s really going?”
It was the day
before Ginny’s birthday that she got the news. Harry was coming home,
and Ginny was going to be there to meet him.
herself in the mirror to make sure that her dress was clean and
wrinkle-free. Her cheeks were slightly red from a spot of makeup that
matched her lipstick. Her hair was pulled back in exactly the way he
liked it, gathered together with a clip that allowed her neck to show
on the sides. Last, she applied a dot of his favourite flower-scented
perfume on each wrist and rubbed them on her neck.
waiting for her at Hogwarts, in the Great Hall. All of their friends
were there, dressed in their finest and ready to welcome their hero
home after defeating Voldemort once and for all.
the head table, where she could see him still waiting, Ginny was almost
held back by Professor McGonagall. They were about to start the program
and she would have to wait, but Hermione intervened. She whispered
something into the Headmistress’ ear that caused her eyebrows to rise
high on her normally-controlled face. She let Ginny pass.
Stepping lightly up the stairs, Ginny walked to where he could see her, his one blind eye still staring unseeing past her face.
“I’m here, Harry,” she said, letting a tear drip down her cheek. “I waited for you, just like I promised.”
did not respond, but there seemed to be a ghost of a smile on his face.
She wanted to gather him up in her arms and hold him tightly, to rain
kisses on his lips and to be kissed in return, but that was not meant
to be. She took his hand; it was cold in hers and she wept harder.
down lower, so that her lips were right by his ear, she whispered, “I
have a secret, Harry – but I think you must already know.” She rose up
a little so that they were facing each other, her lips trembling in an
effort to control the sob that was threatening to leave her mouth. She
lingered there a moment and then said, “I’m pregnant.” Again, there was
no response, but this did not trouble Ginny, for she knew that he
approved, and knew that the baby was his. She gave him a watery smile
and, holding her shaking hand to her stomach, she kissed his cold cheek
and stood. “Good bye, Harry,” she said quietly and gave him one final,
sad smile, feeling a tingling pressure building in her chest. Then she
turned, walked down the stairs, took her seat with her family, and
waited for the funeral to begin.
A/N: Thanks to Kokopelli for the
pre-beta work and to Sherry for beta-ing it despite her misgivings
about killing off Harry. I wrote a happier ending to this tale
that can be found in the next 'chapter'. Tell me which you liked