Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by J.K Rowling, Warner Brothers, and its various publishers. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
Merlin, she was so beautiful. The sun shone brightly on her hair, illuminating a multitude of various shades in her fiery hair. Fiery. What a perfect word to describe her. From her hair to her personality, Ginny Weasley was the embodiment of the word. There was no hiding it, no denying it.
If he had been Hermione, he might’ve gone on to enumerate the ways she personified the word. He might’ve even gotten out a thesaurus to further his argument; although he seriously doubted that few would disagree, other than Ginny Weasley herself. However, as he was not Hermione, he was forced to settle with sidelong glances, hoping beyond all hope that she wouldn’t notice, that she’d be too immersed on the events of the day, on the wedding; that she’d fail to notice his eyes locked upon her.
He was wrong.
They were leaving at dawn. They had waited until the celebrations had died down and then taken their cue. It was an emotional affair. There had only been a moment of stunned silence before everyone had acted. Everyone, that is, except Ginny.
Resolute. She had neither fought, nor argued, nor cried. She hadn’t made an annoying display of histrionics, as so many members of both the Weasley clan and the Order of Phoenix were prone to; although, he had almost wished she had. Instead, she had sat in a stony silence, never letting him know what she felt or thought about the situation. Eventually, she had quietly pushed herself away from the table, leaving the room, leaving him to wonder. He had yearned to follow her, grab her arms and shake her in order to incite some sort of emotion from her. Even the smallest yelp would have sufficed.
It wasn’t until they had finally convinced everyone that there was no way of changing their minds, that they would be leaving at dawn and that it would just be best for everyone if they accepted it as a difficult truth, that he was able to search for her. After spending nearly an entire summer at the Burrow the previous summer, he had quickly learned her various haunts. One by one he searched them, each time coming up empty handed.
Finally admitting defeat several hours later, he muttered a vague excuse about wanting to be alone and wandered off on his own. Casting a glance over his shoulder, he was nearly strangled by the warmth the Weasley home possessed. Feeling an unwanted surge of emotion, he turned his gaze away from the home, moving further and further away from the house until he finally settled on a small, secluded spot far enough from the house, yet still inside the protective wards that surrounded them.
Leaning fully against the back of a tree, he slowly slid his way down the length of the trunk, reveling in the biting pain that shot through his back as his shirt slid up and the bark stripped away at the soft flesh, landing finally in a small crouching position.
It was barely a few moments later when he heard someone approaching. In a flash, his wand was in the air, its tip pointed with a deadly aim. It was only upon seeing her emerge from the shadows that he dared to lower his wand. So now she wanted to come out of her hiding? Anger quickly flared through him, so much so that he turned his head away from her. The silence was thick once more. She was always so full of words, so why had she suddenly decided to become quiet?
“Harry…” So now she speaks.
“I looked for you,” he cut in angrily.
“I know,” she whispered. “I heard you calling.”
Lifting his head, he looked into her eyes. “Then why didn’t you come?”
She stood quietly for a moment, scuffing the toes of her boots in the dirt, before responding, “I’m here now.”
Dropping onto the ground with a mixture of exhaustion and resignation, Harry let his legs sprawl out in front of him. “I know.”
Call you up in the middle of the night Like a firefly without a light You were there like a blowtorch burning I was a key that could use a little turning
“Why what?” she asked, startled.
“Why…why…why did you…”
“Why did I what Harry?” Her voice began to take on an edge. He realized that he was quickly losing his footing, something that he never really liked, and Ginny always managed to accomplish it with such ease.
“Why did you…no, how could you just sit there?” As soon as the words had escaped from his lips, he began to regret it.
“Why do you think I just sat there, Harry?” she asked, indignantly. Merlin, when she became angry, most people ran for cover. He just sat in awe. “Although the three of you blatantly refused to tell anyone what you three were discussing constantly behind silenced doors, it doesn’t take an idiot to figure it out. I’m not blind, Harry and I most assuredly am not stupid.” Her voice continued to rise in volume as she became more and more infuriated. Harry watched as her hands clenched into tight fists and her eyes began to water. He longed to reach out for her, to envelop her in his arms. But he couldn’t. He wouldn’t.
And then, almost as quickly as her anger had come, it was gone. Ginny sniffed, batting angrily at her eyes before continuing, “I’ve known you were leaving for quite awhile, Harry.”
Harry was easily amazed at her resilience. During the last two years, Harry had quickly come to realize that people generally didn’t want to associate with him when he was in one of his moods. In truth, it seemed that Ginny was one of the few who went against the mold and generally pointed out how irrational he was being. She always managed to keep him on his toes.
He should have expected her response. It shouldn’t have hit him as hard as it did, striking him into silence. He was ashamed. She had been so amazing at the funeral, so understanding. And now he felt as though he was openly betraying her.
“I,” he let his head drop back, hitting the trunk much harder than he had expected. “I,” he began again, closing his eyes, hoping to block out the pain he so openly saw in hers. “I hadn’t planned on it happening this way.”
“Yes you did. You didn’t tell anyone until tonight because the three of you knew that no one would be able to stop you. There would be no time for arguments or second thoughts.”
“You,” Harry sputtered as a battle raged inside of him.
“I what, Harry? I…wouldn’t have understood? I…can’t be close to you because I might get hurt? I…have no idea what I’m talking about?”
“You are,” he tried once more, as she continued to list out reasons.
“I am...I am what, Harry?” she finally, paused. “I am what, Harry. Make up your mind. Say something.”
“You…you’re,” everything.You’re everything. He wanted so badly to make her understand. But he couldn’t. No, you’ll just hurt her, he thought. Don’t say anything else. Be quiet. Bite your tongue.
He couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t be this near to her. She was ruining everything. “I’ve got to go. Got to make sure I have everything ready for tomorrow.”
And with that he was gone.
~*~ So tired that I couldn't even sleep So many secrets I couldn't keep I promised myself I wouldn't weep One more promise I couldn't keep ~*~
Merlin, could Ron possibly snore any louder?
What is wrong with me? Do I really want to answer that?
Weasley is Our King. Ginny Weasley that is, but she’d be a Queen. No. Will not think of Ginny.
“Harry?” Okay, now I’m delirious.
“Psst. Harry.” He then heard a light tread of footsteps across Ron’s floor; something he deigned as very unrealistic as they didn’t run into anything. Maybe he had finally fallen asleep. Whack! Or, maybe not.
“Ow, what was that for?” he asked, rubbing his arm.
“Get up, now. Our conversation wasn’t finished.”
“Yes it was, Ginny,” Harry responded louder than necessary. Ron stirred and both figures froze instantly. He then mumbled something in his sleep, turned over, and began snoring once more. Taking a cue from Ron, Harry began to turn onto his side as well, putting his back to Ginny.
To his surprise, he soon found a wand point at the end of his nose. “Harry Potter, don’t make me hex you,” she whispered angrily. Having seen the effects of many a spell cast by Ginny Weasley, Harry finally complied.
Taking the farthest seat away from her when they reached the kitchen, Harry felt a surge of guilt upon seeing the veiled hurt in her eyes. Looking away, Harry’s eyes settled on the vacant spot where the Weasley’s family clock had once hung. Harry visibly flinched as he clearly remembered Mrs. Weasley’s constant grip on it, each hand resting on “Mortal Peril.”
“Quit what, Ginny?” Harry responded, dragging his eyes away from the spot.
“Quit…that. Quit doing that. Quit acting like what I have to say doesn’t matter and quit ignoring me. It’s extremely exasperating.”
Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat. She was spending way too much time around Hermione. He had no idea what the word exasperating meant, but he could easily infer the meaning. And he knew it wasn’t anything good. Sagging as though weary of the world, Harry remained silent knowing that his silence was the only true fight he could use at the moment.
“Harry?” Ginny cut in once more. Grabbing his arm, she jerked him forward bring him face to face with her. How had she gotten so close so fast? Wasn’t she seated on the other side of the table? “I am sick and tired of you doing this. I told you that I understood and I do. But give me a break, Harry. I like you and I’ve liked you for some time. So look at me, will you?”
Mortal Peril. The words continued to spin through his brain at a dizzying pace. Mortal Peril. They were all in mortal peril. They all were but she would have been, especially, if he had continued to date her. Didn’t she understand that? Didn’t she?
“Fine then,” she finally whispered. “I hope you,” at this she paused, a slight hitch in her voice. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry. “I hope you are content with your empty self-loathing and loneliness.”
~*~ It seems no one can help me now, I'm in too deep; there's no way out This time I have really led myself astray ~*~
Oh Merlin, what had he done? How could he have just let her walk away and not say anything? Dumbledore had once said that the largest distinguishing factor between Harry and Lord Voldemort was the fact that Harry could love. That Harry would love. And what had he done? He’d just gone and thrown it all away.
Dyspeptic: it was a word that generally described him. Other than that short, happy period he had spent with Ginny and a few sparse moments here and there, he could easily say that he had a dyspeptic disposition. He was morose, surly, brooding…and- considering what he had just done and how he had just acted- dyspeptic he certainly was.
He was an idiot. A blithering idiot. She was right about everything. He was alone and he hated himself. He hated everything about himself. He couldn’t understand why she put up so much of a fight. He wasn’t worth it. He was dangerous to be around and he had a terrible temper. It wasn’t as though it was a winning combination. But still she fought. Still she tried. She was so bloody confusing. And he wanted so desperately to hold her in his arms. To tell her what a stupid fool he was and apologize until she truly believed it.
But- it was better this way. Although he repeatedly had to convince himself of this fact, he knew that it would, in the end, be better if she wasn’t around him. Maybe if she hated him, if she despised the sight of him, if she cringed at the mention of his name and scowled upon seeing his face in the papers, then she’d be safe. And he wanted her safety more than he wanted his own.
It was all falling apart. It was as though he had distractedly performed a Reparo and the pieces just didn’t want to fit together. She was right, he was empty. There was nothing there anymore. Nothing but a void where there had once been something greater. He couldn’t really place exactly what had been there, but he knew that it had slowly started to chip away bit by bit so long ago that he hadn’t even realized it until it was gone.
“Harry,” a soft voice broke into his thoughts. Was she actually there or was he just imagining it? Harry looked up, hopefully. “Oh Harry, I’m sorry. I told you that I understood and then I’ve been nothing but horrible. Harry, I…”
“No, Ginny. No. It’s me who should be sorry. Me. I’m…sorry, Ginny. So sorry.”
~*~ Can you help me remember how to smile? Make it somehow all seem worthwhile How on earth did I get so jaded? Life's mystery seems so faded ~*~
He had slept barely a wink before his alarm went off. While Ron yawned and stretched in his bed, mumbling about wanting more sleep, Harry shot up, his eyes wide and searching. It was finally dawn and they were leaving. They were leaving everything they knew and loved, everything of familiarity and comfort, in order to go on what was perhaps a futile search for Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Part of him was so happy that Ron and Hermione were joining him, they’d always been there with him, at his side, helping him, but there was that part of him that feared for their safety.
It was a gloomy day. Dark clouds filled the sky, clouds that threatened to burst at any moment. Perfect weather for a perfectly horrid day, he mused.
With stiff, jerking moments Harry pulled himself out of bed. Everything had been packed the night before: only the most important items, placed into a small knapsack. As useful as his trunk was, Harry seriously doubted that he would be able to lug it around due to its large and bulky size. Eyeing the clothes he had lain out for himself with reluctance, Harry grabbed the small pile and slowly made his way toward the shower.
Emerging some time later, Harry returned to Ron’s room to find Ron riffling through the large pile of clothes at the foot of his bed. Rolling his eyes at Ron’s lack of preparation, Harry grabbed his bag and told Ron that he’d see him downstairs.
It had come as quite a surprise to Harry to realize that nearly everyone in the household was already awake and downstairs, waiting to consume the sumptuous breakfast Mrs. Weasley had already prepared. Harry remained hidden watching the easy way the Weasley family and friends interacted with one another: the simple affection that each person felt for one another and the easy way in which they showed it. Swallowing, Harry willed away the knot in his throat and quickly forming tears. He was leaving. He was actually leaving. There was no going back. He had made his decision and he was going to stick to it, as difficult as that was. He had to go; the fate of the world rested on whether or not he found and destroyed all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
“You can’t stand there forever, you know,” he heard a soft voice remind him softly. Turning around, he smiled sadly, reaching out and grasping her hand.
“I know,” he whispered back, “but Hermione, isn’t it amazing to watch them? Look at that. That’s what this is all for, right?”
“Yes, it is,” she whispered back, squeezing his hand. “Come on. We’ve got to eat sometime. Our train leaves soon.” Nodding resolutely, Harry dropped her hand and rounded the corner.
“Oh Harry, dear. Do sit down and eat. You too, Hermione. You three will need all of the energy you can get,” Mrs. Weasley said, ending with a little sniffle. Turning back to the stove, she quickly brought another plate piled high with rashers over to the table. “Where is that Ronald?”
~*~ I can go where no one else can go I know what no one else knows Here I am just a-drownin' in the rain With a ticket for a runaway train ~*~
It was five minutes until they departed. Five minutes until the train left and their journey truly began. Harry felt the pit of his stomach drop as the whistle sounded, alerting them to the urgency of the situation.
Only a small group had huddled around the trio, most saying their goodbyes at an earlier time. As much as each and every member of the Weasley family and the Order would have liked to have been present at the train station, it wasn’t exactly the most logical of plans. Thus, only a select few had been chosen to accompany them to the train station and see them off.
Saying goodbye was harder than he had ever thought possible. Everyone was trying to be so brave, so understanding. Molly was so pale Harry was afraid that she might faint at any moment. She was tightly grasping Arthur’s hand, using him for support.
Ron and Hermione were the first to move toward the huddled group. Harry found that he had to look away as Molly fiddled with her youngest son’s collar, smoothing it as she tried so desperately to maintain control of her emotions. It was just too much to believe that he could watch mother and son saying their goodbyes. Maybe even their last goodbyes.
“Hullo Remus.” Turning, Harry soon found himself face-to-face with his last link to his parents, the only remaining Marauder. Tonks was at his side, her hair a vibrant colour of purple. Harry noted that their hands were clasped, fingers interlaced.
“Wotcher, Harry,” Tonks said, her facial expression not quite matching the vibrant hue of her hair.
Smiling at the pair, Harry gave each a tight hug (making sure he added a few manly pats on the back during his hug with Remus).
“Harry, if this mission becomes too dangerous, or if something goes wrong...” Remus started.
“I’ll keep on going. I’m not returning until this is all settled.”
“Stay safe,” Tonks added.
“Harry, you take care of my boy,” Molly cut in. Turning toward Mrs. Weasley, the sight of her nearly caused Harry to lose all of his determination to leave. “Make sure he comes home.”
Nodding his head, Harry winced as Molly pulled him into a bone-crushing hug, practically winding him. “I’ll do my best. I promise.”
“Good, good,” Mr. Weasley chimed in. “I am trusting you to bring Ron and Hermione home when all of this is over and done with. Is that understood?”
“Yes sir,” Harry responded, taking in a deep breath for strength. He could do this. He had to. This was for the future. This was for the end of Voldemort. He was going to do this. Even if…
Harry stopped in the middle of his train of though. No use in going down that particular avenue at the moment.
Feeling another bag being thrust into his hand, Harry turned to look confusedly at the pair to his right. “Supplies, Harry,” Fred supplied as Harry’s mouth opened in question. “We just decided that it would be beneficial…”
“…to you as well as us if we supplied the three of you with a few of our products,” said George.
“Very true, my dear brother,” Fred continued. “You see, Harry. When you win…”
“…and you will win, mind you…”
“…we believe that it will be quite profitable once everyone discovers that our products helped you along.”
“Quite,” George added, looking much more solemn than Harry had ever seen him. “We also hope that these will help to keep the three of you safe.”
“Yes,” Fred grimaced, “there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting you to come home in one piece.”
There was a long pause as the three truly came to an understanding. And then, almost as if the silence had become too overwhelming for the likes of Fred and George Weasley, Fred continued. “Well, unless Ron happens to splinch himself during Apparation.”
George smirked. “Too true. In that case, we want pictures, as well as a full account of the situation.”
Smiling, Harry hugged each goodbye. “Thank you,” he added.
“Our pleasure,” the pair stated simultaneously.
The whistle blew once more, signaling the need for them to board the train. His heart began to pound rapidly in his chest as his palms became clammy. Not yet. He couldn’t leave yet. He wasn’t ready. There was still so much to do. Still so much to say.
Reaching Ginny last, Harry froze. Raking a hand through his hair, he sighed deeply. How could he tell her goodbye? How? Taking in a deep breath, he smiled painfully. “Goodbye, Ginny,” he muttered, realizing that there was no better way than just…saying it.
Ginny smiled sadly in response, shaking her head. “Not goodbye, Harry. Goodbye sounds so final. Always say ‘See you later’ with the hope that we will see each other again.”
“I,” Harry started. What would it hurt to give her a little bit of hope; to give him a little bit of hope? “See you later,” he whispered, taking her hand and squeezing it.
“See you later,” she responded, squeezing his hand in return.
Taking in a deep breath, Harry dropped her hand, turned and followed Ron and Hermione toward the train.
He was actually leaving. He couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe he was leaving her behind. Sneaking one last glance over his shoulder, he tried so desperately to memorize everything about her. The morning sun was starting to shine brightly upon her hair, a multitude of colours suddenly becoming evident, making it look as though it was on fire. Merlin, she was so beautiful. Smiling at her one last time, he turned and boarded the train.
“See you later.”
~*~ And everything seems cut and dry Day and night, earth and sky, Somehow I just don't believe it
Runaway train, never going back Wrong way on a one-way track Seems like I should be getting somewhere Somehow I'm neither here nor there ~*~
And then she was there, tears streaming down her face, trying with all her might to catch up with the train. Jerking out of his seat, Harry pushed open the window and leaned out as he desperately tried to make out what she was yelling. With a surprising burst of speed, she managed to catch up just enough for him to hear her…
“Harry saw the boys’ mother waving and their sister, half laughing, half crying, running to keep up with the train until it gathered too much speed, then she fell back and waved. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, pg. 98).