The street was filled with rushing vehicles; the sidewalks were covered with early risers, chatting happily and drinking their coffees. The buildings around me were twinkling on one window at a time, seeming to laugh like the groups of ladies walking across from me. Sydney was starting to come alive that morning. The happy atmosphere signaled the start of the day for wizards and Muggles alike, but I was not one of them.
There I was, sitting on a lonely bench along the bay directly behind the Sydney Opera House. My eyes had been fixed on a spot on the pavement for almost ten minutes now. Ten, twenty, thirty, I didn't care. In fact I didn't have any idea how long I had been sitting there that cold morning.
I lost him. I had completely lost him. My heart was being crushed into pieces; I could've have shriveled up and died right then and there. My heart was almost on the point of bursting, my eyes were puffed up with nearly fallen tears and I could feel the cry of anguish building up inside my throat. I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry out loud. But for some strange reason, I just couldn't do it. I was left staring blankly at one spot, not caring, not feeling.
The sound of a falling object brought me back to reality. I saw the map of Sydney Hermione lent me before I left London sitting on the ground beside the bench. From its position, I could clearly make out the page full of Xs that marked where I'd searched in the dark morning. My lip trembled, my eyebrows knotted together so suddenly, and I could feel the hot tears falling down my cheeks.
I have swept the whole of Sydney for three weeks, and I hadn't seen hide nor hair of him. Why the hell are you still doing this, Ginny? That voice had been here inside my head for three whole weeks now. You know it is getting more and more impossible, why don't you just let it go?! But whenever that evil voice started in on me, I just shook my head. I know I can find him, I thought, because deep inside his heart Harry knows I'm here and he's waiting for me. Because I love him.
But after what had happened a few hours ago, I just knew that I really should have listened to the voice inside my head. I buried my face into both of my hands, letting all of my anguish and misery out.
* * *
"Here's your change, Ma'am."
I snapped back to reality and turned my face to the man at the counter. He was giving me a weird look, and I suddenly realized that maybe I was the one looking at him funnily, with my eyelids drooping because of lack of sleep. I blushed from embarrassment. "Pardon?"
"I said, here's your change," he said, handing me a few cents and a brown bag.
"Thank you," I said and quickly grabbed the brown bag as I stuffed the cents inside my jeans' pockets. I took the cup of coffee and turned to leave the coffee shop.
I was starting to have breakfast this early on a regular basis. This had been my daily ritual ever since I had arrived in Sydney. I woke up early, grabbed a croissant for breakfast, and started my quest to find Harry.
Yes, so much for a breakfast. But I couldn't afford the time or the money to eat at a fancy restaurant. I'm not here on vacation, I thought, I'm here to find Harry! Maybe when I find him, I can finally eat in one of those restaurants—yes, with him.
But I knew all the hardships I had were worth it. The moment I read Harry's words from the letter Ron handed me the day he left for Sydney, I knew I had to be here. I had to follow him. I had to tell him everything, I had to change what happened that night of his farewell party, and I had to let him know that I love him back.
It was pretty stupid of me to drop into Australia without any lead to where Harry was, especially in Muggle Sydney. My safety was at stake, which Mum made sure I knew. I didn't know anyone in Sydney—or in any part of Australia, for the matter—but I knew that if I believed that I can find Harry, I will be perfectly all right.
It had been three weeks and there was still no lead to where my Harry was. The day I arrived, I had immediately Apparated to the Auror Office to ask where he was at the moment. I expected an answer, but.the grumpy old man just shooed me away and told me that all Auror assignments were classified information.
Harry and his damn work. I knew my quest was impossible. How the hell do you find one man in the middle of a very large city? I thought bitterly. But I remembered Harry's disappointed face and the amount of hurt in his eyes that night at the Burrow. I loved him and was willing to do anything to find him and tell him what I should have those many weeks before. I just couldn't let it go.
Today hadn't started out much different than the previous three weeks. I would ask around, and sometimes people would give me leads, good or bad. Sometimes those leads are useless, sometimes they're a bit helpful. Oftentimes I'll ask someone about Harry to have them tell me that he'd just left, or that he had just been there a few days before.
The answers I received frustrated and encouraged me at the same time. Sometimes my heart would jump up with excitement as I realized that I almost found him.
But usually every single dissappointing answer would just discourage me. If I was this close to finding him, then why the hell was I still not with him?! I cried a lot. Every single night, I cried myself to sleep. I honestly didn't know what exactly made me cry, but a lot of mixed emotions were usually inside my chest and I just didn't know how to handle them anymore.
I had thought of giving up, yes. But whenever I broke down and cried. I just remembered the words in his letter, that was my own source of strength.
I took a swig from my coffee and yawned. Coffee didn't wake me up anymore. I badly needed some sleep. I hadn't had a good night's sleep for weeks, anyway. I knew I should still be resting but I couldn't waste time. I loved him. There was no force on earth that could make me repeat the same mistake again. But sleep was starting to overtake me, so I decided to let my body do the decision this time. I was ready to get some rest before I take on Sydney again.
I threw the empty cup of coffee in the waste basket and started on the half-eaten croissant, as I passed by a couple of women my age coming from a tall building at the corner.
"—lots of English guys, that one," a girl said. "I've never seen so many Brits in one place. And have you seen that dark-haired man by the balcony? He looks odd."
"Absolutely," said another girl. "But you can't deny it. He's handsome, especially those eyes. I swear, those glasses were made for him."
I stopped on my tracks. Dark hair, spectacled swoon-worthy eyes, English…it all fits…
"Did you ever get his name?"
"No, he looked a little smug for someone that gorgeous," said the first girl. "But I heard the woman he was with call him Porter or something."
It was as though my legs had a mind of their own. I turned back, quick as a flash, entered the building, and ran as fast as my legs could carry me to the passage where a swarm of people seem to be coming out. I didn't even notice that the croissant fell from my hands.
Harry was there. I knew it. Not just from the girls' description, but because my heart said so. My heart was beating erratically; it felt like it could burst at any moment. This is the moment I have been waiting for, for three weeks. I am going to see him; I am finally going to be with him.
I entered the room to find it empty except for a couple of men arranging the upturned chairs and a man who looked like the host, talking to the last guest. I waited patiently for their conversation to end, rubbing my hands together like a scared little girl before approaching the man.
"Excuse me, sir," I asked, my voice quavering a bit. "But did you happen to see this man around?"
The man looked at the picture of Harry I was handing him and he smiled. I felt my heart tighten with excitement. "Oh, yes. Of course. He was just here."
"Do you know him, sir?" I asked again, and now I couldn't keep my face from smiling amidst the tears starting to form in my eyes.
"Yes," he nodded. "I met him just a couple days ago. Harry."
The tears were threatening to fall down now. I swallowed the bile forming in my throat. "Harry Potter was his name sir?"
"Yes! Harry Potter!" he said, smiling fondly. "He always comes here. Says he loved the view of the Sydney Harbour from my restaurant. Nice chap."
I smiled, excitement building up in my heart. Finally. After three long weeks, I had finally found him. I was ready to jump with ecstasy. "Do you know where I could find him sir?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, lass," he said. "But I don't know where lives. You could ask the lady he was always with, though. She comes here everyday too."
"Woman?" I asked, my heart starting to tighten. Please, not that. Please, anything but that.
He nodded. "I think I have a picture of them here. I always take snaps of my customers, you see." He suddenly brought out a Muggle photo and handed it to me. "There you go. That's him with his girlfriend."
I didn't need any more explanations to know who that girl was to him. The picture spoke volumes. Harry, my Harry was standing against the restaurant's balcony, smiling brightly. And beside him, with his arm casually draped around her, was a redheaded woman standing close to him.
I knew that right then and there, my heart simply broke. He told me he loved me! It was all in his letter! You were the only one for me, the one who could forever hold my heart. I was the only one who could hold his heart. I belong to him. He belongs to me! Then why? Why?
A sort of haze clouded my brain and I began to sway dangerously in place. I felt the man steady me and ask if I was all right. But I couldn't talk. My whole being was just clouded with hurt. Pure, unadulterated hurt. I could feel the bile coming back to my throat, I could feel my nose itching and my eyes burning. I couldn't tear my eyes off the picture.
* * *
The sky began to lighten, the dark blue was becoming to look like blue ink diluted in water. The sound of birds could be heard, and the Sydney Opera House was beginning to appear behind the veil of blue. Suddenly, as if sensing the change of scenery, the early morning air was filled with a familiar music. It was the song that made me fall in love with him all over again. The tears began to fall nonstop. I turned to the music to see a man playing something Muggle-looking and singing the song—our song.
Heaven knows what to say Even though for right Now you're so far away I hope and I pray Somewhere in your heart I'll always stay
Crying was a good thing. At least I was able to let it all out, but I know that it wasn't enough. After I'd found out about Harry, I'd just wandered around Sydney and slumped myself on this bench miserably, unable to tear my eyes off the blankness. And there I was crying, still not able to pour everything out.
The more that I thought about how much I loved him and about the girl the more the hurt grew. I knew I hadn't been cheated, I knew I hadn't been betrayed and I knew that I shouldn't be hurt. There was nothing between me and Harry, he was just a friend.
It would be normal for Harry to try and find someone in Sydney. But what hurts me most is that I was at fault with everything that happened. If only I had told him I love him, then we would have been together, there wouldn't be anyone between us.
Never noticed what it feels like to be without you Feels like I took my last step And my last breath in my life's ending
I buried my face into my hands. It's over. I was alone now. I have lost him forever.
"It's too early for tourists to be here."
I ignored the voice beside me. Why can't other people leave a sobbing woman alone? Can't he see that I am in no mood for small talk? I continued sobbing into both of my hands, barely noticing the fact that the man sat beside me.
"Please," I sobbed, "I just want to be alone."
"Looks like you don't want to be alone," the man said, in an awfully familiar voice.
"As if there's something I can do about it," I cried, the words muffled by my palms. "I am alone. He's really gone."
The man didn't speak to speak, but I could tell that he was listening. I just wanted to be alone, yes. But the hurt, waiting, and misery I had been feeling for a month now burst out of me before I could stop myself.
"If only I was brave enough to tell him how I felt," I said. "If only I told him I loved him before he left us, then we could've been together, and I wouldn't be here at the crack of dawn sobbing like an idiot. I tried to find him. I traveled three continents just to see him, tell him the truth. And when I thought everything's going to be fine for us when I arrived here, I found out that he has forgotten me. I lost him completely. If only I wasn't so stupid! He's gone. He's really gone…I guess I won't be able to tell him how much I love him…"
I couldn't continue. Another wave of tears washed me and I continued to sob again. The man might have thought I looked stupid, but I couldn't stop it. It was my fault he's gone. It was my fault I lost him forever.
Then suddenly, the man handed me a white handkerchief. I shook my head slightly but he nudged the hanky to me again. My hands and face were wet from tears anyway, so I took it.
Minutes past and I was starting to calm myself. I could feel him still beside me and I lifted my face from the white hanky. The cloth was soaking wet from the tears, and I blushed slightly from embarrassment.
I started, "I'm so sorry about your—"
I wasn't able to continue speaking. I was just staring at the corner of the square piece of cloth in my hands. I knew that hanky. Mum always did the same thing to all of her hankies including Harry's…
My eyes widened, still staring at the corner. It couldn't be, but it was really there. Embroidered on the corner were three letters, three letters that I knew only belonged to one person....
I looked up and a pair of bright green eyes encased in a pair of round black glasses were staring at me, wrinkled at the sides with laughter. I felt the hot tears fall down my cheeks again as I stared at Harry. He was really there. The green eyes, the black hair, everything was him down to the silly little grin he was giving me.
"You are one crazy woman, you know that?" Harry asked, laughing slightly.
Amidst the tears and the grin in his face, I swatted him hard on the shoulder. "Why didn't you tell me it was you?! I've been crying here like an idiot, pouring myself out about you and here you are!"
Harry ignored me and laughed again, staring at the harbor as the sun began to rise. The scene was eerily familiar to me, in a reverse sort of way. Just a month ago, I had been waiting for the violet to wash out the orange, but now we were both staring at the same sun, waiting for it to wash out the purple.
"I love sunrises in Sydney," he whispered, still looking at the horizon.
I couldn't believe my ears! After pouring out my soul to him, he wants to talk about the sunrise? "What do you know? The sunrise in Britain is beautiful!" I snapped sarcastically.
He chuckled again and turned to me, staring into my eyes. God, I've missed those eyes, I thought. Green as a fresh pickled toad...so green I could drown in them...
"But not as beautiful as you," he whispered.
My heart jumped the moment I heard those words. I had finally found him, and I wouldn't let him go ever again. But even before I could savor the flight of my heart, it sank down once again as reality sank into me. I broke down again and squeaked. "But what about her?!"
"That girl you always bring to the Sidewalk Café." I sobbed, my heart burning.
"You did your research then," he smiled, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear, his hand resting on my cheek. "But she's not who you think she is. She's Jessica. My partner."
"She's married, Gin," he smiled at me again, running his finger across my jaw sending shivers down my spine. "She's just finishing this assignment before she moves to America with her husband."
I opened my mouth to say something, but no words came out. A slight line of yellow illuminated the side of his face facing the harbor as he stared at me, his eyes full of love, boring into mine.
"I'm sorry!" I finally sobbed against his hand, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you that I love you, but I do! I really do! Please believe me Harry! I was just too scared to tell you because I thought you don't feel the same way and—"
"Ssshh," he whispered, leaning down on me, his other finger touching my nose lightly. "It's all right. What's important is what's in front of me now."
"I love you, Ginny," he whispered, his eyes shining uncharacteristically brightly. "Please love me too."
"Of course I will," I whispered with the tears still falling down my face. "I love you. I always did."
Without another word, Harry leaned his face towards mine as I watched his eyes drop to my lips. His eyes fluttered close signaling me to do the same. The last thing I saw was the bright orange light washing Harry's whole face, telling me the sun rose completely.
The moment his lips touched mine, I knew there were fireworks. It was different from the other kisses I'd had; it was uniquely awesome, uniquely Harry's. His soft lips literally made my knees go weak, made my heart almost burst with love I felt his other hand close in the other side of my face angling me to face the harbor. I could feel the sun's glare penetrating through my closed eyes, but I didn't care. I was too busy kissing him back with the same need and passion he has, my heart soaring into the highest heavens.
Harry broke the kiss and we were left staring at each other. The moment was finished too early for my liking when he smiled at me before turning to the harbor.
"I always spend my mornings here waiting for the sunrise. But I never enjoyed it; it wasn't bright enough for me," he whispered, his eyes still fixed on the sun. "And now, I think I had my wish. Look, the sun's shining brightly now."
I turned to the sun and yes, there was it, a round orange ball of fire shining brightly upon us. "I never knew you liked sunrises," I whispered.
"Not until today," he said. "I always wanted to spend my sunrises and sunsets with you, Ginny. Only you."
I was smiling and crying at the same time at this point. I could feel that the sun was fully out now, making a halo of white around the orange ball. The light blue sky was showered with dazzling white light, making the sea gulls flying around the Opera House look like small ants crawling on white linen.
Yes, Harry is right, I thought. Sunrises in Sydney are definitely beautiful.
I launched myself at him, kissing him again. And this time I won't allow him to break it off. Not now, not later, maybe not until the sun sets.
A/N: This one is for Cherie, because if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be caught doing this sequel. Another round of thanks to my two evil witch sisters, Cai (Galena) and Jess (Alcarcalime) for being with me all through the writing of this piece. I was already on the verge of giving up, but with their constant encouragement, I FINALLY did it. Thanks to Cai for being my official Sydney tour guide, helping me with the Sydney details and for joining me and Jess in the usual brainstorming. Thanks to Jess for the beta reading, and of course, our usual YM chats filled with tears, laughter, craziness and of course, wickedness. I love you guys to pieces. *hugs*
Uber thanks to Solveig, for the patience and the crash course on first-person writing. You are a sweetie! Thanks a lot!!!