The glaringly sterile hospital wing seemed wrong. It was so cold—so bare—it chilled her, gave her goose bumps. Nothing had the right to be so indifferent after what they'd all been through.
Ginny, sitting on the hospital bed, closed her eyes tightly. She saw nothing but black.
There were eternities of black, never fading, never changing—all of it hiding behind her eyelids. It swirled yet did not move…it blocked the world out when she didn't want to see it. It had been a source of comfort before. It was still, even though she was older and wiser.
It had helped her face the hospital wing her first year; it would help her now.
They were all in the hospital wing. All but Harry—Madame Pomfrey had said he was in Dumbledore's office—and that's where he still was. She had not seen him after he ran past her during the fight—
She had been at the Ministry of Magic not long ago. Fighting—for Sirius' life.
But Sirius was dead.
Her eyes were shut, but her mind raced down corridors, and she watched the memories flicker…
Luna's spell on her ankle, terrible pain—
Ron struggling as the brains wound around him—
Harry's eyes as he ran past after Bellatrix Lestrange.
His eyes glinted, burned…and frightened her. The bright green eyes she had once adored glowed with a very different light. They were filled with malice—hatred—all the loathing in the world. She'd heard everything he felt in one fearsome yell—
"She killed Sirius!"
A wave of sorrow broke over Ginny. A clench in her throat had formed, but she wasn't about to give into the tears. She didn't deserve to cry over Harry, she didn't feel that way about him anymore—there were more important things—
Ginny wished fervently she were truly alone, not just in a deserted room with four prone bodies. Ron, Neville, and Luna had already taken their sleeping draughts; hers was lying on the table—full, but not forgotten.
Hermione didn't need a sleeping draught.
And Ginny wouldn't drink it just yet. There was still so much to think about—it was all still such a blur. She didn't quite understand…
Sirius was…what had happened?
No—he couldn't be—no—
"Sirius is dead."
Dumbledore's face loomed before her mind's eyes.
"Now, I believe it is time for you all to go back to school. I'm sure Madame Pomfrey will take excellent care of all of you."
…And they had returned, until they settled into the Hospital Wing. Without Harry, but at least they were all safe—
Hermione on the floor, unconscious. Is she dead? No-no-no-no—
Hermione looked so real in her mind, as though she was right in front of her…so Ginny kept her eyes closed; she didn't want to see the actual Hermione yet on the bed, completely still.
The only one without a tear-streaked face.
But Hermione was going to get better, at least. She'd be well, she'd be fine…it was Hermione. Hermione knew she was needed—Ginny needed her, Harry needed her, Ron would be lost without her— Ron would be lost.
Harry was lost.
Sirius knew Harry needed him, and he died anyway.
Harry. What was he feeling right now?
No—no—not Harry—don't think about—not Harry—anything but Harry—
Ginny drew a long, shuddering breath. It was getting harder and harder to hold back the moisture gathering in her eyes.
No—don't think, don't like, don't…it's bad—bad for you—unhealthy.Too young.
He had stood in front of her, blocked her from attack. They had targeted her because she was smallest—he had protected—
A small sob snuck out before she could suppress it.
He had stood in front of her…
He made it so difficult…difficult…not to think about him.
She could hardly bear the feelings she was having…her stomach twisted and her throat filled with tears.
Try—try to think of something else, Ginny, something else… Were those…were those voices?
Perhaps it was students heading down to an early breakfast. It seemed impossible that there could be people in the world who still desired food, who laughed, who neither knew nor cared that Sirius Black was gone for ever… that Harry was going through such pain…
A shiver ran up her back, the room was still dark, she could sense it. She had learned to hate the remote furniture and detached atmosphere of the Hospital Wing. It was just…cold.
Harry— Harry—I'm not supposed to—He protected me—To think like this—Saved me—Too young—I can't feel like—I can't stop.
She was going down the stairs to the Burrow, a day just like every other. She was eleven, and he was right there…so unexpected…
Ginny's sobs were choking her, and she wished they would stop. She tried to be as quiet as possible. The tears would not come out—she wouldn't let them—
A diary. "Riddle's finished. Look! And the Basilisk. C'mon, Ginny—"
Chocolate eggs, not Cho, he didn't care about her… "The thing about growing up with Fred and George, is that you sort of start to think anything is possible if you have enough nerve…"
The memories began to swirl around in a blur. D.A. lessons, good morning's, Quidditch talks, secret smiles…
Anything is possible…
Ginny rubbed her eyes firmly, willing them to stop tearing, trying frantically to hold on to some sense—
She heard a door creak.
Her eyes swiftly opened. The reflected parts of the well-shaded room streaked because of her wet eyes, and she struggled to focus her sight.
The figure had walked over to Ron's bed. She blinked the wet haze away.
He must have just returned from Dumbledore's office, and is checking on Ron and Hermione.
And now that he's seen me staring he's coming over here.
Up close, Harry looked pale and withdrawn.
"All right, Ginny?" His voice was strained. "Why aren't you asleep?"
"I didn't take the sleeping draft." She gestured towards the goblet on the table beside her.
"Oh." Harry looked longingly at the potion. "D'you know where Pomfrey is? I could use some of that stuff."
She shook her head. "I have no idea. But…" He seemed so weary. "…You could have mine."
He blinked, and Ginny knew he'd be too tired to fight her generosity. Harry smiled, and picked up the cup. He downed it in one gulp.
"Harry! You're not in bed yet!" Ginny jumped up with energy she hadn't known she had left. "C'mon, move along, we don't want you falling. There's no point in getting hurt in the hospital wing."
She grabbed his arm and led him towards an empty bed. Ginny saw his face as he sat down. His eyes were brimming with tears.
"Harry…" The familiar lump in her throat had returned.
He was legitimately crying now. "Ginny—it's Sirius—he's—he's—"
"I know." She touched his shoulder. "Harry, lie down, you need to sleep."
Suddenly Ginny felt herself being pulled into a hug. Harry was warm, warmer than the blankets on the hospital bed had been. He was holding her tightly, as though she was the only thing that mattered. She felt comfort unlike her mother had ever given her… she was where she belonged…
And you won't even remember this, the first hug you've ever given, will you, Harry?
She squeezed him back, then proceeded to lay him down as she would a child. His dark hair stood out against the stark white pillow. Ginny sat on the side of his bed.
His brilliant green eyes were gradually dimming, but he seemed to be struggling against the potion.
"Ginny…" His hand clenched her arm.
She hushed him. "Go to sleep, Harry."
"Gin…" His eyelids fluttered; it seemed like there was one last thing he needed to say.
"Ginny…thank you…" he smiled faintly and allowed his eyes to close.
"Thank you, Harry." She stroked his hair in a maternal reflex. Ginny felt him shiver, and his grip on her arm eventually loosened.
Ginny let a single tear roll down her cheek…then many followed. She stayed there for some time—sitting at his side, stroking his hair, crying.
I'll just love him today… Until we both wake up. Just for now, just one day.
A/N: *sniffle* (Or at least I hope it had that affect…) There were quite a few quotes in here from the books, and I don't own any of it. The Fred and George quote from OotP is for another Rachel (Basil M) because Ginny-Syndrome is just that uncommon. And I'd like to thank Allie, who betas these things at the last second since I can never figure out which way I'm going.