In every heart, there is a room A sanctuary safe and strong
Ginny Weasley sat with her face pressed against her bedroom window. Drops of rainwater burst against the windowpane and slid down the glass, collecting on the sill in tiny puddles. Behind her, a clock noted the minutes slowly disappearing. Downstairs her mother was busily cooking a welcome home dinner for her and her brothers. No one wanted to think about why the dinner was weeks earlier than it had been last year. There was a soft knock on the door. Ginny sighed and turned from the window.
"Who is it?" she asked.
"Ron," replied her youngest brother.
"Come in," she said.
Ron pushed the door open and walked in. He stared at his little sister for a moment before speaking.
"All right, Gin?"
Ginny heard the words, but did not understand why he was asking. Of course she wasn't all right. Nothing and no one was all right anymore. It was a dreary day, in more ways than one, but Ron was surely not perceptive enough to notice.
"All right. You?"
"I suppose. I'm worried about Harry. He can't... Dumbledore... We shouldn't have let him go back to those Muggles. I haven't heard from him yet..."
"It's only been one day, Ron. Give him some time," Ginny said tonelessly. No, he hadn't noticed. He had mentioned Harry. He shouldn't have done that. Things were hard enough…
To heal the wounds of lovers past Until a new one comes along
Harry Potter lay on his bed staring at the long zigzag stain on the ceiling of his bedroom. He blinked, and the crack resembled a snake. He blinked again, wanting it to disappear. He wasn't going to think about that. Not today. He'd only been back at the Dursleys' one night, and tonight he wanted to be able to sleep. Tonight, he didn't want any nightmares. After that... Harry cast around for something else to think about.
Quidditch, that was a good idea. Harry reached and grabbed Flying with the Cannons out from underneath his bed. He flipped through the bright pages, trying to occupy his mind, but his heart had other ideas.
There was only one Quidditch player Harry cared about, and she certainly didn't fly with the Chudley Cannons. Harry remembered the Quidditch match that had been the beginning of it all. "If only I had figured it out earlier..." Harry thought regretfully. "If I hadn't wasted my time with Cho like an idiot…"
"I'm sorry, Ginny," Harry whispered. "I should have realized... We could have had so much together, and now I don't know if we'll ever get the chance."
I spoke to you in cautious tones
Ginny was sitting at her desk, sucking on the end of her quill, a blank piece of parchment stretched out in front of her. It was now a week into the summer holidays, and none of the Weasleys had heard anything from Harry. Bill and Fleur's wedding wasn't for another two weeks, and Harry had insisted that he was going to spend his last time at the Dursleys' as he always had: alone. But this was too much. She needed to hear that he was all right
How are you? Bad, I suppose, with those wretched Muggles around. Everything here is all right. Mum's driving me mad with all the wedding preparations, though I think I may get used to Fleur after all. I haven't heard anything about Hogwarts yet, but I doubt they'd close the school. It's as safe as any place, even without Dumbledore... Are you okay? I don't really know what to say to you. I mean, we all knew him, you know, but you… I'm so sorry, Harry, it must be hard for you. I hope you're okay. If you change your mind about staying with the Muggles, you're always welcome at the Burrow. Mum would have tried to come and take you home already if she weren't so preoccupied with the wedding. I'm not angry Harry. I understand if you don't answer me. But please send an owl to someone. I need to know that you're okay. I miss you.
You answered me with no pretense
Harry awoke to the sound of an owl tapping on his window. He undid the latch and the owl hopped through the window and perched on his bedpost. It hooted softly and dropped a letter onto Harry's bed. Harry's heart rose to his throat as he recognized the handwriting on the envelope. Ginny...
Harry read the letter several times. "What have I done to you, Ginny?" he asked silently. Why did she have to go and write him? It was hard enough just thinking of her, but to hear her voice when he read the letter… She made him feel as though he didn't have to worry. "I guess that's why I love you so much," Harry whispered, thinking back to Ginny's words to him the day of Dumbledore's funeral. Harry sat down to write his response.
Thank you for your letter. I'm sorry I haven't written yet. I didn't know what to say and I'm not sure that I do even now…
Things are okay with the Muggles. I haven't spoken to them since the day I got back. Uncle Vernon looked like he was about to chuck me right back out of the house when I showed up early, but Aunt Petunia must have said something to him, because he hasn't done anything yet. They're all avoiding me, I think. It's just as well. I don't think I could stop myself from hexing them this time.
I suppose I'm doing all right, all things considered. Dumbledore used to say that death was just the next great adventure, so I'd like to think that he's enjoying himself. It's just hard, because I think part of me thought he'd always be there to pull me out when things got too rough. Now I know I have to face it alone. I... I had to Apparate us back that night, and just hours before that I'd been telling Ron and Hermione that I'd be fine because I'd be with Dumbledore... We traded places, that night, and I'm alone in it, like he was.
I'll be all right though; I have to be. There are things I have to do. As for coming to the Burrow, I'm not going to change my mind. I'll be there for the wedding, but not before. There are some ghosts in this house that I need to put to rest before I leave, and I don't think I have the strength to do it just yet. Please take care of yourself, and don't write me anymore. I can't stand to have you acting as if I haven't hurt you. You don't deserve this. I'm sorry.
And still I feel I said too much My silence is my self-defense
Ginny let Harry's letter float slowly to the floor, her eyes staring blankly at the wall.
"Don't write me anymore. I can't stand to have you acting as if I haven't hurt you. You don't deserve this. I'm sorry. "
The words repeated over and over inside her brain. He had hurt her, but it wasn't his fault any more than it was his fault that he had a lightning bolt scar. That "saving people thing" was in his heart, and she wouldn't want him to lose it, no matter the pain it caused. He didn't get it. He hurt her more by blaming himself than he did by leaving her here alone. The leaving she could understand, the guilt she didn't want to.
"Don't write me anymore. I can't stand to have you acting as if I haven't hurt you. You don't deserve this. I'm sorry."
The words wouldn't go away. Ginny collapsed onto her bed and let the tears come. She would write no more letters. She couldn't bear to read any more of Harry's attempts to push her away.
And every time I've held a rose It seems I've only felt the thorns
Dudley stalked into Harry's room. Harry had unwisely left the door open.
"Back again, are you?" Dudley sneered.
"Yeah, I am. What do you care?" Harry snapped. He was in no mood to deal with Dudley's feeble taunts.
"I heard you last night. You were screaming in your sleep," Dudley said, grinning. "Still scared of the dark, are you?"
"What do you care?" Harry hissed again.
"You said: 'Ginny, no!' over and over. Who's Ginny?"
Harry's blood turned cold. He stared at Dudley. This was the second time that he'd heard things from Harry's nightmares. Last night he had dreamed that Ginny had followed him to destroy the Horcruxes.
"She was my girlfriend. I broke up with her because I was afraid that Voldemort would kill her to get to me. Happy now? Want to ask me anything else about things you don't understand?"
Dudley's face turned white. He didn't say anything. He just stood there, staring at Harry.
"Get out of my room," Harry said quietly.
And so it goes and so it goes And so will you soon I suppose
Ginny smiled sadly as she and Harry moved slowly around the dance floor. Bill and Fleur had just been married, and Ginny had asked Harry to dance. He had looked so miserable, sitting all alone at a candlelit table while Ron and Hermione danced nearby. She had asked him to dance, and why not? It was a wedding. Everyone danced at weddings. It didn't have to mean anything. Ginny wanted to put her arms around Harry and hold him, but she kept a friendly distance.
Harry wasn't looking at her. He was gazing up at the stars. It was a clear night, and the crescent moon shone just above the horizon. Ginny followed Harry's gaze.
"Do you think there's really anything there?" Harry asked quietly.
"What do you mean?"
"The centaurs always read the stars. I wonder whether there's really anything written there."
He lowered his head to look at her. The light from the candles hanging in midair reflected in his eyes.
"I don't know, Harry. Even if there is, I don't think it matters all that much. The stars can't make our choices for us."
Harry stopped moving. He let his hands fall to his sides. Determinedly looking away from Ginny, he said, "You're right Gin; they can't."
He walked away into the darkness outside of where the wedding decorations cast candlelight onto the grass.
But if my silence made you leave Then that would be my worst mistake
Harry stood just outside the perimeter of the wedding festivities. He was turned away from the candles and the music and the laughter. Silently he stood there until he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around.
"Hello, Hermione," he said softly.
"What are you doing over here Harry?" she asked.
"I dunno. I guess I don't feel like celebrating," he replied.
"You should let yourself enjoy tonight, at least. Voldemort can wait until morning," she commented.
"It's not Voldemort… I've dealt with him all my life. It's…" He gestured towards a table Ginny was sitting by herself, her face in her hands.
"Oh… Oh Harry, what happened?" Hermione asked. Harry avoided her eyes. What could he say? Hermione wouldn't understand. She and Ron were together at his side, but Ginny… She had no part in what he was going to do. He didn't want her to have a part in it. Harry sighed.
"We can't… I broke it off with her, Hermione. She can't come with us. She's not of age, and even if she were I wouldn't want her to come. I can't even think of what could happen to us, and if she were with us…"
Hermione stared at him, and suddenly her eyes were glistening. Harry continued to avoid her gaze.
"Oh, Harry… Are you sure… No, it's your choice, but, well, I don't know if this is best for either of you. Look at her Harry. She loves you. You should go talk to her."
Harry finally raised his eyes to meet hers. How could he explain to Hermione that he had talked to Ginny, that she understood why he had done it? How could he explain that understanding didn't make it any easier?
"I can't, Hermione. She knows that I can't. She understands why it has to be this way. She's always understood," Harry said. Then he whispered, "I love her." He turned away from Hermione again.
"I hope you've told her that, for both your sakes," replied Hermione, and she walked over to rejoin the party.
So I will share this room with you And you may have this heart to break
When Harry left Ginny standing alone on the dance floor, she stood there unmoving for a few moments, and then she trudged over to the nearest table and collapsed into a chair. She scanned the guests for Harry but she didn't see where he had gone. It didn't matter anyway.
With her face in her hands, Ginny let the tears come. She wanted to be angry with him, to rage at him, to force him to take her back. But she knew she wouldn't. He needed her to support his choices right now. The two of them would have to endure this together, even if it broke her heart, and his.
And this is why my eyes are closed It's just as well for all I've seen
Hours after the wedding reception had finished, Harry was staring out the window of Ron's bedroom. Ron was snoring softly with a faint smile on his face.
"Probably dreaming about Hermione," thought Harry with a smirk.
Harry hadn't been able to sleep. There were too many thoughts and memories vying for his attention. What he wouldn't give to have Dumbledore's Pensieve in front of him right now…
Harry felt sick. Thinking of Dumbledore brought images of the cave, of that horrible green potion, and worst of all, of Dumbledore sliding down the wall of the astronomy tower, pleading with Snape… Harry shook his head. He shouldn't think about that. It didn't help things. But he couldn't think straight with Ginny so close to him. He needed to get out of this house. No matter what, he had to keep Ginny safe. As long as she was safe, Harry could convince himself that everything would be all right. That had to be enough.
And so it goes, and so it goes And you're the only one who knows
Ginny glared at Hermione.
"You don't get it. I'm not going to talk to him. Let it be Hermione. It's none of your business," she snapped.
"It was enough of my business for you to follow my advice last year," remarked Hermione, hurt. Ginny continued to glare at her, then said, "Things were different last year, Hermione. I don't want to talk about this with you. Thank you for your concern and all that, but I just… You don't understand. I can't talk about this right now." Her voice broke and she sat down on her bed.
"Oh Ginny, what are you going to do? Sit here and wait for him?" asked Hermione sadly.
"Yes," replied Ginny, and she lay down and turned to face the wall. Hermione watched for a moment as the blankets on Ginny's bed trembled. Then she turned and left the room. Ginny was right, she didn't understand.
So I would choose to be with you That's if the choice were mine to make
Harry threw his belongings into his trunk without looking at them. After pounding on the pile of books, clothes and potion ingredients, he slammed the lid shut. Pulling his wand out of his pocket, he muttered a spell and suddenly the trunk was the size of a small rock. He shoved it in his pocket.
He turned to leave the room when the door swung open and Ron burst in. Harry was just about to say hello when he noticed that Ron was glaring at him, his face red.
"What did you break up with Ginny for, eh?" Ron shouted at him. Harry took a step backwards.
"She's been miserable since we got back from school, and I've only just figured out why. I trusted you with her and you've hurt her! Why?"
"She can't come with us, Ron. You know that. Don't you think I'd like it more than anything to be able to stay with her? But it's not my choice to make anymore. I made my choice a long time ago. The fight against Voldemort comes first. It's not fair of me to expect her to be happy with being second. She deserves better than that. It has to be this way. She knows that, and so should you."
Ron continued to glare at Harry, then turned and stomped out of the room.
But you can make decisions too And you may have this heart to break
Ginny jumped when her brother threw open her bedroom door and stormed in.
"Ronald!" she snapped. "Ever hear of knocking?"
"You're just going to let him leave, are you?" he asked her.
"Yes, Ron, I am, and it's none of your business," she replied scathingly. "I seem to remember that you didn't want your little sister going out anyway…"
Ron scowled at her.
"This is different!" he said fiercely.
"Why?" asked Ginny. "Because it's Harry? Because you can't decide between you little sister and your best mate? You don't have to choose, Ron. I've accepted Harry's decision. What else was I to do? I can't expect him to be anyone other than Harry, idiotic hero complex and all. I wouldn't want him to be anyone else."
"So you're just going to wait for him?"
Ginny met his eyes and said, with no hint of doubt, "Yes, Ron, I am."
And so it goes, and so it goes And you're the only one who knows
Months later, late at night, Harry sat keeping watch. Ron and Hermione slept fitfully beside him. Gripping his wand tightly, Harry stared out into the dark night and thought of what the next day would bring. Tomorrow would bring the end of this war. All but one of the Horcruxes had been destroyed. All that was left was the snake, and Voldemort himself.
Harry watched his two best friends sleeping, and thought about what they had given up to be here. He thought of Ginny, who had stayed behind, and suddenly, he knew what he had to do. Ginny had understood, when Ron and Hermione never would, that Harry had to face Voldemort alone this last time. In Harry's mind, this was a private struggle, and Harry wouldn't risk anyone else being caught in it if he could help it. Ginny understood because she had been face to face with Tom Riddle. Tomorrow, Harry would be able to tell her that that would never happen again. This was the last time either of them would have to face the dark alone. Quietly, Harry raised himself to his feet and walked out of the cave where the three of them had been hiding. He cast a Concealment Charm on the entrance to the cave, and crept away into the darkness one last time.
A/N: Song Lyrics are from Billy Joel's "And So it Goes." The characters are, obviously, JKR's and not mine. I had fun playing with them though. Thanks for reading!