Light From An Open Window by seshhat



Summary: A warm summer night, some pensive thinking, a broomstick ride-the beginning of a new friendship and perhaps something more. Harry sees Ginny in a new light, and Ginny falls in love all over again. A night of dark memories, light-hearted conversation, deep understanding, and the glimpse of light peering from a newly opened window. In five parts. Written from the alternating perspectives of Harry and Ginny.
Rating: PG starstarstarstarstar
Categories: Post-OotP
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2005.05.23
Updated: 2005.06.15


Index

Chapter 1: Thoughts
Chapter 2: Flight
Chapter 3: Revealing
Chapter 4: Acceptance
Chapter 5: Return


Chapter 1: Thoughts

LIGHT FROM AN OPEN WINDOW


Part1

Harry felt the rush of air streaming past his ears as he kicked off from the ground. The Firebolt took him higher and higher into the warm summer night leaving the flickering lights of the Burrow below him. The dark blue of the sky reminded him sharply of the deep depths of the lake beside Hogwarts, and he closed his eyes and imagined he was drowning among the stars.

Maybe Sirius was now a part of these stars, Harry thought, half smiling to himself at the idea. Watching him through the night. Maybe his parents were there too, and Cedric… Harry pulled hard on his broom; he shot up and then sharply plummeted to the ground, pulling up inches before collision. His pulse was racing, and his vision blurred. The stars drifted and linked up in his sight, creating a network that blazed star-fire across the sky. Then it cleared, and he was left lying horizontal along the smooth polished surface of the broomstick.

Harry’s fingers trailed on the grass. The dew had barely begun to settle, and shadowy softness was cool to his touch. Sitting abruptly up, he pushed off again, and soared. Lifting his arms, he pretended that this is what it felt like to have release. No earthly ties. No more people gawking at his scar, no Dursleys and their snide comments, no Voldemort chasing after him, no prophecy…

Why did it have to be him? Hadn’t he lost enough? He had nothing, and yet still the prophecy existed to taunt him. Tease him and threaten to cut the last strings that attached him to a normal life. The first gift it had given him was to take Sirius; the godfather he had only learned existed two years ago. Sirius had offered him a home, and now he was gone. There was no one left he could happily call family.

Harry frowned. No, that was not right. He had Ron. And Hermione. His two best friends were like family. And the Weasleys, who had opened their arms to him from the start, sharing their home and their love with him as though he were truly one of them. It was easy to melt into the Weasley family and pretend for just a while that he was surrounded by his brothers, who teased him and watched out for him. Oh, and a sister. There was Ginny too. The shy little girl who used to hide from him, and who now sometimes scared him with her resemblance to the twins.

But was it really the same? Did any of them really understand the feeling of loss? Ron was a great friend — Harry could hardly ask for better — but how could he even begin to contemplate the empty feeling that gnawed away at Harry every day and night. Especially at night. Harry knew he was being unfair to his friend; Ron would be there for him always without question. But just for once it would be nice to have someone who could completely understand. He thought he had found that someone in Sirius, but even before they had barely begun to discover each other, his godfather had been snatched away. And the emptiness had grown larger. It was like a terrible black hole, that no light had been able to pierce.

One by one, the lights in the rambling house below flickered off, until a lone one shone like a beacon out into the still night. Shadows moved about, refracting the light. Weaving in and about through the treetops, Harry drew closer, drawn to the light like a salamander to the flame. A couple of metres away, he realised what he was doing and pulled up, blushing. The light was Ginny’s room; the shadows were her moving around preparing for bed. A silhouette gracefully outlined against the thin curtains…Harry shook his head, trying to clear it of the thoughts that kept creeping in. He had never, ever thought this way about Ginny before. Ever! She was like his sister, wasn’t she?

Music began to echo softly from the room. Harry flew close to the wall; he didn’t know why he did it, but he found himself floating beneath the eaves of the floor below Ginny’s room. Bright light suddenly flooded from her window, and the sash squeaked in protest as a shadowy figure drew it up. The shadow that played across the grass moved away as Harry watched, and then suddenly there was a loud crash.

“Damn!” Harry chuckled as he heard Ginny’s muted cursing. “Damn, damn, damn!” A loud squeak again, and the sound of something being thrust under the offending window to hold it up. The shadow fell across the grass again, and Harry could hear a quiet sigh. He didn’t know whether he should stay or go. What if she spotted him flying away? What would she think of him being so close to her window, hiding out of sight in the dark? Stuck in his dilemma, Harry forgot to be miserable.

>~*~**~*~<


Ginny rested her chin on her hands, and stared out into the darkness. This summer had been so quiet. She supposed she should consider herself lucky that they had been allowed to spend most of the time at home. That had been Mum’s doing. She’d argued long and hard with Professor Dumbledore about letting Harry stay at the Burrow.

“He shouldn’t have to go back to that place! None of them should! It’s depressing. For Merlin’s sake, Harry’s just lost his godfather, and you want him to go back there?”

Ginny could have told the Professor it was no good trying to argue with Molly Weasley once she got on a roll. In the end, the wise old man had had to give in. Still, it had been a very withdrawn Harry who had finally joined them in mid-July. Skinny as a scarecrow, with great dark circles under his eyes. He had been listless and almost lifeless. She and Ron had been horrified. Poor Ron had not known how to approach his best mate, and to be brutally honest, Ginny hadn’t either.

“What do you say to someone who thinks their world is steadily falling apart?” she thought to herself.

Two giddy figures raced across the lawn. Despite her mood, Ginny grinned to herself. She’d recognise that bushy hair anywhere. Hermione had only arrived at the Burrow that morning, to spend the last two weeks of the summer with her friends. Ron had brightened immediately, and had actively set about distracting her from Harry. Everyone knew that Hermione would be itching to try to ‘help’ Harry, but Ron and Ginny were also firmly convinced that this was the last thing Harry himself would like.

Ginny watched as Hermione pulled back from Ron. Her voice floated softly up to the window. “Ron, we can’t. I told Ginny I’d only be gone a couple of minutes. She thinks I’ve gone to get a…” her voice of muffled by Ron pulling her close into an embrace. They broke apart, and Hermione allowed Ron to pull her on. They disappeared into the dense thicket of trees at the edge of the Weasley property.

Ginny smiled at their antics. Well, at least some people are happy and enjoying their lives. Living for the moment. Didn’t she wish she could do that? Just throw caution to the wind and live for one blissful moment. But every time she turned around, there was a new problem niggling in the back of her mind. Sure, she had tried to push it away with a little light-hearted romance, but even that hadn’t worked out. If she was going to spend the night being brutally honest, she may as well admit it to herself. No romance would ever work out. Not until she got someone else out of her mind first.

“Oh Harry,” she sighed. A soft clattering startled Ginny, but she quickly dismissed it as a gnome, or the possibly the ghoul. Her thoughts drifted…

…She was eight, and her mother was laughing at her begging for the story of Harry Potter again…

…She was ten, and a shy little boy had approached them at the train station, looking for directions to Platform 9 & ¾. A skinny boy with messy black hair and a thin lightning bolt scar…

…She was eleven, and Ron’s best friend had turned up at breakfast. His laughing green eyes had teased her the rest of the holidays…

…Again, she was eleven, but a much different eleven, sobbing in a puddle of water in the Chamber of Secrets, a black diary and silver sword lying nearby, and her black-haired hero comforting her…

…Green eyes stared at her painfully, and she felt she knew the feeling deep inside them. It was loss, and pain, and wretched self-loathing. But she didn’t know how to reach out — didn’t know how to make it go away. Then there were others there, and she drifted to the background…

“Oh Harry,” Ginny sighed again, a wave of emotion flooding through her. “I thought I could give you up, but I can’t. I want to help, but I don’t know how. Why does the world have to be this way? Why can’t bloody Vol-Voldemort go back to where he came from, and let us all have some peace. Why can’t the stupid adults of this world treat us the same, or at least stop relying on us to get them out of all their stupid messes. Why did it have to me? Why does it have to be you? Why can’t you just change your name, and run away? Leave the saving of the world to someone else. And take me with you…”

“What are you doing now, I wonder? Sleeping peacefully? Or staring at the ceiling, trying to sort out your life. I know that feeling. The feeling where you just wish you could step out the window, into the air and float away. You saved me once Harry, I wish I could save you.”

She drew back from the window a little. “It wouldn’t make any difference, would it? Changing your name wouldn’t change who you are. You’ll never change, and I don’t think I want you to. Even if you were called — I don’t know — Neville Longbottom: you’d still be the same brave, sweet, caring, humble boy; the one who thinks he has the power to right all the wrongs of the world. The one I love, and can’t seem to stop loving. If anything, I think I fall more in love with you the more I try to stop myself.”

>~*~**~*~<


Harry nearly choked when he heard Ginny call out his name. He’d been preoccupied with his dilemma, and the amusing sight of Ron and Hermione disappearing into the little copse of trees. Did she know he was there? Had he been caught? But no, her voice didn’t sound reprimanding. She sounded…wistful. He chanced a quick look up at the window from his hiding place. She was staring out at the sky, and talking to herself. Or was she talking to him?

Why was Ginny speaking to him in this way? Harry knew she used to have a crush on him. He grinned as he remembered her elbows in the butter dish back at the beginning of his second year. The smile fell as he remembered how much she’d changed after that year. She wasn’t so shy, or lost anymore. She’d been hurt, but she hadn’t shown it. Ginny had grown up. She toughened up. Ron just said his sister had always been a hard nut, someone you didn’t want to cross. But Harry had seen in her eyes the distance her pain must have taken her. He had been slow at recognising that pain though. Only in the last year, had he started to come to understand the person that had evolved into Ginny Weasley.

He had never felt anything more than a kind of brotherly friendship towards Ginny. She had always just been there. Nothing more. And then…there was that episode last Christmas, when Mr Weasley had been attacked. He had felt so low and despicable, and Ginny had woken him out of the misery.

“…that was a bit stupid of you,” she said angrily, “seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels…”

It was as though someone had turned on the lights suddenly, and he was blinded by the brilliance. Why hadn’t he noticed her before? Mooning after Cho, moping over Sirius, and Cedric…and all along Ginny had been the answer. Surely he could talk to her? She knew things, didn’t she? Knew horrors that no one else had witnessed. Knew what it felt like to be helpless, yet responsible for the lives of others at the same time. Knew the terrifying fear that came with the knowledge that you had to fight the darkest of beings, and there was little chance of survival…

At first he felt embarrassed, and then Harry began to listen intently to the soulful outpouring of the girl at the window above him. Should he announce himself; make his presence known? Would she be horrified, or would she understand his accidental loitering?

“…I think I fall more in love with you the more I try to stop myself.”

Harry caught his heart as it made to leap out of his chest. She still loved him, and he had barely given her the time of day. Intense guilt started to overwhelm Harry while he sat on his broomstick in the shadows below Ginny’s window. She couldn’t — she shouldn’t feel anything for him, not after the way he had been acting, or the things he had done. He didn’t deserve this at all. But you wouldn’t mind it a little voice whispered in his ear. This knowledge hit Harry with the full force of a rampaging herd of hippogriffs. He lost control of his broom, which hit the side of the house sharply, jarring all the bones in his body. Harry fell with a cry, only just managing to hold on by his fingertips.

>~*~**~*~<


Ginny heard a sharp cry, and the sound of a crash against the wall below her window. Alarmed, she grabbed her wand from the bedside table, and held it in front of her as she leant out the window. To her surprise, she saw Harry dangling from his broomstick, grimly trying to hold on with only the fingers of one hand curled around the handle.

“Harry! What are you…?”

“Gin! A little help please?”

Ginny raced into her room, and seized the blanket from her bed. Throwing out the window, she called for Harry to grab hold. Wrapping the blanket around his free wrist, Harry hauled himself back onto his broomstick. As Ginny folded the blanket up, her heart racing, she turned back to the window to see Harry hovering just outside, his face faintly flushed, and a guilty expression on his face.

Suddenly aware that she was only dressed in her nightie, Ginny pulled her dressing-gown off her chair and threw it on. “Harry James Potter! What the hell do you think you are doing hovering outside my window, and scaring me half to death! I thought you were a bloody Death Eater!” Her heart was pounding ten to the dozen, and her cheeks burned, but she wasn’t about to let him know that. Merlin! Had he been listening? How much had he heard? Ginny wasn’t sure whether to continue to berate him, or hide her head under her pillow and howl.

And I’ve hidden it so well for so long…she thought. Shut up, she cried silently to her heart. The emotions she had been feeling before in her supposed private moment were getting to her. But damn! Why did he still have the power to cast away all her strength, and make her feel so weak in the chest?

“Ginny, I’m…I mean…I…”

Ginny cast a stern look on her face, although inside she was melting. My god, I wish he would just leave. I am so in danger of completely losing it here! “I’m waiting to hear why you were lurking outside my window.”

>~*~**~*~<


Harry smiled ruefully with the full awareness of his most recent thoughts. Why was it that Ginny was the only one who seemed to want to argue with him lately? Sure, usually it infuriated him, but just now he didn’t care. It was actually refreshing to see her standing there, an indignant look on her face, while she blasted him with a rapid torrent of words. At least she can’t use magic here at home . And this time at least he knew he deserved every bit of fury she was throwing at him.

>~*~**~*~<


Ginny was perplexed. He wasn’t getting angry back at her. Why? And what the hell was he doing there? Merlin! Why was he looking at her like that? Where had the moping, miserable Harry of the last two weeks gone?

A short while ago Ginny felt she would’ve given anything to have Harry’s attention fixed on her, with that bemused half-smile on his face, and his hair tousled from a flight on his broom. But now! This wasn’t supposed to happen! Not like this!

Her heart continued to pound so loudly she was sure it was echoing around the Burrow. Her mother would be in at any minute to find out why her daughter was thumping the walls. And yet, although sheer embarrassment threatened to envelope her entirely, Ginny could still feel traces of outrage at Harry’s skulking behaviour. And … and amusement?

Yes, amusement. He looked so sheepish sitting there, and she knew that when her embarrassment eventually disappeared, she would be able to laugh at this moment.

Harry threw a small smile in her direction, and Ginny stamped her foot, shaking her confusing thoughts away. Oh no, Harry Potter. Don’t think I’m going to let you get away with this she thought.

She crossed her arms over her chest, and stared stonily at him. “I suppose you think you think it’s funny to sneak around spying on people. Well, maybe we should see how funny it is when I call Mum, and you get to explain yourself to her, instead of to me. Or maybe I should get Fred and George?”

>~*~**~*~<


Harry gulped. Why did she have the power to scare him so? He could face basilisks, dragons, Death Eaters, even bloody Voldemort himself, but suddenly Ginny Weasley in a temper had him cowering. He knew she could quite easily make good on her threats. He searched his mind for a plausible excuse, but nothing seemed to be coming.

“I… I was just out for fly,” he said lamely. Ginny’s eyebrows raised in obvious scepticism.

“And the best place for flying in the whole of Ottery St. Catchpole was right beneath my window?”

What other excuse did he have? None. And the truth just seemed ridiculous. I was drawn to the light of your window, and entranced by your silhouette on the curtains? No. Definitely not a great excuse. Damn. Not so long ago he was mourning his life and losses, and now Ginny Weasley had managed to turn his world upside down. How on earth had she managed it? Then the stampede collided with him again.

“Gin,” he timidly ventured.

She put her arms on her hips and scowled at him. Oh dear, she’s mad. What do I do? Dare I —

“Did — did you see Ron and Hermione running across the grass?” Stupid! He cursed himself. Obviously you dare not.

Her eyes were still wary, but she relaxed and nodded. “Seems an awful long way to go to get a glass of water,” she chuckled. “Thought it was about time. Was that what you were doing? Hiding so they couldn’t see you?”

Harry hesitated a moment. “Yes,” he replied.

“Then, then you didn’t — I mean, you weren’t spying, er, listening to me?”

Harry didn’t answer. In his silence, Ginny blushed a deep red. “I’ve, I’ve got to go,” she said quickly, moving to close the curtains.

“Ginny — wait!” Harry called. She turned but wouldn’t look him in the eye.

“Did — did you really mean that?” Harry asked softly.

The Ginny’s eyes widened and the colour drained from her face. “M-mean what, Harry?”

“All those things you just said?”

Her cheeks flushed pink, and she stared at her feet. Then, so softly that it might only have been the gentle breeze sailing through the window, she murmured “Yes.”

>~*~**~*~<


A/N - This is my first fanfic that I've published. I've had to split it into five parts, because it just kept growing! Please let me know what you think!!

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Chapter 2: Flight

LIGHT FROM AN OPEN WINDOW


Part 2

Ginny felt she was burning from the inside. Her face was aflame, and her hands were clammy. Oh Merlin! Had she just told Harry Potter to his face that she loved him? And he was still just … just floating there!

He’s already heard you spouting romantic rubbish from your window. What does a minor detail such as him hovering before you on a broomstick matter? an inner voice argued.

A lot, she replied to herself. I feel as though I’m eleven again. Weak at the knees and sticking my elbow in the butter dish. I can’t look at him. Merlin, all I wanted was for him to acknowledge me as a friend, so I could be there for him. So I could help him. Not to be swooning all over him. I’m sure that’s the last thing Harry wants. He’s not talking. He hasn’t said anything. Did he not hear? Or maybe he’s in shock. Maybe he’s flown away.

Cautiously, Ginny raised her head. What she saw she was not prepared for. Harry was still sitting just outside her window. Grinning. Like a Cheshire cat. Okay, well maybe not that broadly, but there was a sort-of contented and happy look on his face.

The heaviness lifted from around Ginny. Suddenly she felt lighter than she had in a long, long time. She had just confessed to Harry that she was still in love with him, and rather than frightening him away, he was smiling at her.

>~*~**~*~<


A thousand thoughts crashed into Harry’s head when Ginny whispered that little word. Why was it that so much importance could be held in such a tiny word? He hadn’t even realised that the answer was important until she had uttered it. He had been so thick. He hadn’t even noticed how important Ginny was until that night.

He hung in the air, not sure what to do or say. He was barely conscious of the fact that he was smiling at Ginny. The redness in her cheeks dimmed to a light pink, as she twisted her fingers in her dressing-gown.

It’s not love he told himself. I would know if it was that. I don’t feel dizzy this time. Besides, this is Ginny! But he felt a kind of serenity settle over him. And confusion. Ginny still loved him? And what about him? Did he love her? Did he even like her, in that kind of way? He’d never thought about it before.

Harry suddenly became aware that they were both staring at each other awkwardly. What should I do now?

>~*~**~*~<


Heavy clattering footsteps outside her room startled the pair, and Ginny skidded around, feeling she no doubt had an incredibly guilty look on her face. It was probably Hermione returned from her rendezvous in the woods with Ron. Merlin! Couldn’t they have stayed away a little longer?

“Ginny dear. Hermione? Shouldn’t you be getting to sleep now? We’ve got to get an early start into town tomorrow.” Molly Weasley’s voice drifted through door, sounding both gentle and commanding at once. “Ginny?”

“Ah, oh, yes Mum. We’re, ah, going to sleep now. That is, er, Hermione is already practically asleep, and I’m just reading.” Ginny stammered back.

“Good girl. You have a good sleep, won’t you?”

“Yes mum. G’night.”

“Goodnight girls.” Molly’s footsteps disappeared back down the hallway. Ginny turned back to the window; it was empty of life. She sighed. Perhaps it had been a dream after all. She leant back out the window, and got a sharp fright when a warm hand closed around her wrist. She stifled a squeal as she found herself looking into Harry’s grinning face.

“Harry!” she hissed, not sure whether her mother was still within hearing distance. “What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

“You know what I mean. What if someone sees you floating there? What if Mum catches us?”

“Us?”

“You! Just floating outside my window! Like a spy, or, or…something.” He frustrated her so much. Years of next to no attention, and now here he was, and she didn’t know what to do. The house was full of eyes, and she could only imagine what her parents would think of the situation. She didn’t like to think of being caught, and having Harry sent away.

“If they catch you, my brothers will tease us mercilessly. You know what they’re like. They never forget, and they never give up.”

His eyes had a hurt look. Harry back up slowly. “I’m sorry, Ginny. I thought…I thought…”

Oh, don’t go away! she cried silently. But please, please go away! Oh, my head hurts! And my chest, and my eyes, and everything. Why does he keep looking at me like that? She reached out to him.

“Harry, I —”

>~*~**~*~<


Harry drew away from the window, his emotions in a stir. Did she, or didn’t she? Did he, or didn’t he? Wasn’t she confessing her love for him to the open night-sky just before? Now she was pushing him away. And did he even want her to feel like that? He ran his hand through his messy hair, and sighed. Why couldn’t life ever be straight forward? Why did everything that involved him always have to end up incredibly complicated?

Ginny’s face was twisted in an obvious expression of distraction and nervousness. Harry shook his head. He needed another death-defying dive to clear his head of this scene. Should he feel embarrassed, confused, foolish, or … or what?

Lifting the handle of his faithful Firebolt, Harry gently began to rise away from Ginny’s window. She turned to watch him leave. The look on her face turned swiftly to a forlorn and wistful one. Harry’s mind gave way, and he half glided back through her window. He stretched out his hand.

“Come fly with me.”

Ginny’s eyes widened, and for a moment he doubted himself, sure that she would refuse. She withheld her hand.

“We’ll get caught. Someone will see us,” she said softly. He could tell by her tone that she really either didn’t care or didn’t believe what she said. So why was she making up excuses?

“No one will see us. I promise. The air will clear your head. Come on — just step out the window and float away into the air,” he urged her.

Still Ginny hesitated. “Why?” she asked warily.

“Because we are friends?”

Ginny smiled at his words. With a swift look back into her room, she took the offer of his outstretched hand. Gently he helped her seat herself on the broomstick in front of him. Kicking off from the sill, Harry again felt the rush of the wind in his face, only this time Ginny’s hair was tickling his ears.

>~*~**~*~<


Her body was warm where her back pressed against his chest. He slowed the momentum of the broom, and they glided over the tree-tops, their feet barely skimming the top-most leaves. Ginny sighed, and relaxed back against him, her head tucked into his shoulder. Neither said a word, and Harry felt the silence was bliss. He was thinking of everything, and nothing.

Ginny. The shy awkward girl he had first seen at King’s Cross, and then again nearly a year later at her home, where she had spent most of her time squeaking at him, and hiding. Why had he spent so much time chasing after Cho, when all he needed had been right under his nose the whole time? They say the grass is always greener on the other side, and that couldn’t be more true. Only thing is, it’s a lot more comfortable in your own backyard, where you are free to be yourself.

Harry held the broom with his right hand, and wrapped the other around Ginny’s waist. She wriggled closer, and closed her eyes.

Harry thanked Sirius again for the gift of his beloved Firebolt. It needed barely any guidance to fly soothingly through the calm night, and he was free to concentrate on the girl in his arms. Half-closing his eyes, Harry breathed in the scent of Ginny’s hair. He felt calm for the first time in oh so long. Nobody had ever made him feel this way. Hermione provided logical answers to dramatic problems. Ron made him laugh when he took something too seriously. The other Weasleys made him feel like he belonged somewhere. But no one as yet had been able to make him feel such … serenity. He didn’t forget the troubles of the world, or the looming threats of Voldemort and the war; they were still tucked in the back of his mind, forever present. But high in the air, with Ginny wrapped in his arms and a easy silence shared between them, Harry experienced peace.

“Friends,” he murmured to no one in particular.

>~*~**~*~<


Ginny felt the coolness of the breeze blowing the tendrils of hair away from her face. She felt the warmth of Harry pressed against her back. With his arm wrapped about her she could have imagined that this was what it is meant to be in heaven. Or better still, this is what it would feel like to be enveloped by a Patronus. Because Harry made her feel safe. She hadn’t realized just how much her ordeal in first year had scarred her. Tom Riddle had undone eleven years of Weasley warmth and security, and left her to rebuild the ruins of innocence. She wasn’t fragile — dare suggest that and you’d be spending three weeks fending off the wrath of giant flying bogey globules. But Harry made her feel as though nothing could ever touch her again.

Right now this silence was somehow comforting, but Ginny knew that any moment it was bound to get awkward. Would he want to discuss what he’d overheard at her window? She wasn’t sure how to approach that topic. After all, she’d thought she had been getting over Harry, and now all of a sudden she had fallen helplessly in love with him, and this time deeper than ever. Tucked in the security of his arms, she closed her eyes and imagined Harry as her knight in shining armour, whisking her away to an enchanted castle on his noble steed.

Together they glided over the Burrow, careful to avoid any possible eyes that might be peering out into the darkness. Harry gently steered the Firebolt, aiming to fly over the small wood at the edge of the Weasley property.

“No Harry. Not there,” Ginny said as she realised where he was headed. Twining her head to look at him, she could see he had a confused expression on his face. She smiled. “I don’t think Ron or Hermione would be too happy about being discovered, do you? I mean, they took such pains to be inconspicuous.”

Harry chuckled softly. “You’re right. I don’t think I’d like to discover them either. Well, any other suggestions Miss Weasley? I don’t think we’re going to want to sit on this broom all night, and it’s too nice out here to go back in.” His tone was casual, but she could hear something else behind the simple suggestion.

Ginny bit her lip in thought. Where could they go? Not anywhere he might construe as being romantic. She didn’t want him to think she was have any ideas in that direction. Why? the little voice in her mind niggled. He’s already heard enough damning evidence. Stubbornly, Ginny ignored it. No — much better to try to keep this as purely companionable. Of course! Her old tree house, in the giant elm. It was concealed from the Burrow by a thicket, and was nowhere near the little wood. Ginny used to like going there when she needed to escape from her brothers. Truth be told, it wasn’t really a tree house. Just a wooden platform in the fork of the tree. Her father and Bill had built it for her when she was six, and she had claimed it for her sole use. Fred and George had tried to hijack it on several occasions, but always come off the worse for wear. There was now an unspoken understanding that anyone so much as plotting to use the platform had better seek permission, or else rethink their plans.

There would be a nice breeze there which would alleviate some of the summer heat. There were also a couple of apple trees nearby that might be fruitful. Not that she was planning on staying there very long, of course!

>~*~**~*~<


Harry glided onto the platform, and Ginny hopped off the broom. She stood a moment, surveying the situation. Scuffing her slippers on the ground, she knocked some dry leaves to the ground.

“Too bad I didn’t think to bring something to sit on,” she said.

Harry shrugged his shoulders. “This is fine. It’s just somewhere to sit, and there’s a bit of a breeze here. It’s kinda like being still in the air, but a little more comfortable than trying to control a broom.”

They both sat down, and gazed out at the stars for a while. Ginny twirled a strand of hair idly, and Harry heaved a sigh of rest.

“So,” they both said together, then laughed. Ginny recovered first.

“Can you believe it? Ron and Hermione?”

Harry snorted. “Well, it’s only taken them how long? He’s liked her since fourth year, and I think she’s the same. All that rubbish about Krum.”

“Yeah, but it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?”

“Wonder what?”

“How long they have been together? How long they’ve been acting out in secret?”

Harry took a moment to turn this idea over in his mind. Would it make any difference if Ron and Hermione had been keeping this a secret, any more than it would change things that they were now together? It had always been the three of them: Ron and Hermione were the first friends he had ever had, and sometimes were the only ones who ever saw him as just plain Harry. The rational part of his mind told him that they’d always be there for him, but another niggling part, which had been growing louder and louder told him that he was going to be alone.

Ginny sensed a shadow descend over her companion. “Where are you, Harry?” she called, in an attempt to lighten the air. “You’re a million miles away. I hope you’re not conjuring up images of my brother that might scar us for life. If that’s the case, I think we’d better change the topic.”

Harry snapped back into reality. “Yeah, no — let’s not go there. Umm, what’s gonna happen with Quidditch d’you reckon this year?”

Ginny grinned at him slyly. “Why? Are you worried that you may not get your treasured Seeker position back?”

He coughed and coloured slightly. “Well, I’m just guessing that with Umbridge gone, my ban will be lifted, and I…just thought that…” he risked a glance in her direction, and noticed Ginny holding back a laugh. The penny dropped, and Harry batted her arm.

“Prat,” he said.

“You should’ve seen your face when you thought that I might like to keep playing Seeker!! It was priceless!” Ginny wiped a couple of tears away from her eyes. “But in all seriousness, Harry, I meant it when I said I think I prefer to try out for Chaser. There’s more excitement.”

“Mmm, I guess so. Hey look! Was that a shooting star?” Harry pointed up at the heavens.

Ginny shuffled over quickly. “Where?” she asked, her hand resting on Harry’s knee for balance.

Harry found himself staring at the gentle curve of her ear, rather than the sky. “Uh, I don’t know. I think it’s gone.” he said slightly breathlessly. What was happening to him? Why was he thinking this way?

“Oh,” said Ginny, disappointed. “I suppose that’s why you should stay Seeker. You’re good at spotting things Harry.”

Not always he thought to himself. He had never spotted Ginny until this night.

She hadn’t moved back away from him again. Now they sat close together and discussed a range of topics, including who could possibly be the new Defence professor, to Fred and George’s roaring business trade. As they chatted, Harry could feel the last of the tenseness he had been experiencing earlier melt away. There was something about Ginny’s non-demanding, light-hearted company that relaxed him completely. She never asked him how he was feeling, or brought up the war in conversation. They laughed and joked, and plotted amusing things to do to an unsuspecting Ron and Hermione. The time flittered away while they sat in peaceful repose.

Harry found he was beginning to see Ron’s little sister in a new light. Not just because of what he had overheard earlier, although that too deserved some careful consideration, especially because of the feelings it had stirred up inside him. But also because of the way she was presently making him feel. He felt that he could tell Ginny Weasley anything, and she would keep his confidence, and not judge him in any way. Ginny had gone through a period of utter darkness as well. Had experienced the torment of intense guilt and being possessed by Voldemort. She of all people might be able to help him deal with the overwhelming sense of being lost within his fate.

Fate. Destiny. It always came back to that and the prophecy. Why did he have to think of that right now? He had been feeling so happy and relaxed. Immediately his mind tensed again and was on guard. It was eating away at him from the inside, this unwanted knowledge. Sometimes he was sure it would have been better had Dumbledore not told him about it, even though he had spent most of the previous year railing at the Headmaster for keeping him in the dark all the time.

He wanted to tell someone. He had to get it off his chest, and into the open somehow. His first thought was to tell Ron and Hermione, but something held him back there. He wasn’t sure he was ready for the barrage of questions, concern and research that was bound to be Hermione’s reaction. And Ron, well he’d probably just refuse to believe it.

Harry plucked a leaf from a nearly branch and began to shred it into minute pieces. Could he tell Ginny, perhaps…?

No! He couldn’t burden her with the knowledge of the prophecy! She was Ron’s little sister, for crying out loud! She was not a part of this, and he would not be responsible for putting her in anymore danger than that which she had already faced. No one should know, for that matter. It would only put more people at risk. It was his destiny, his prophecy, and he would keep it secret.

But how the loneliness was killing him. Harry remembered being alone as a little boy, before Hagrid had swept him back into the wizarding world. He ad dealt with it then, and survived. What difference did it make to be alone now?

I want to help,” said a quiet voice in his mind.

>~*~**~*~<


The shadow had descended around the black-haired boy beside her again. Ginny sensed it as a cloud of gloom. Poor Harry. He couldn’t even remain in a moment of peace for a while before the weight of the world settled on his shoulders once more. Twice she caught him looking up at her, and then just as quickly looking away again. A small mound of shredded leaves was growing at his feet.

Ginny hugged her knees close to her chest. This was certainly not the way she would have imagined spending a warm summer night with Harry. It had been going so well. He had been laughing and joking — something he hadn’t done for so long. She’d managed to shake away the embarrassment of being caught speaking her heart at the window. Harry was too nice to tease her mercilessly about it, unlike her brothers. Of course, knowing Harry, he’d probably be uncomfortable discussing something like that. But now it was as though that conversation had never taken place. She originally thought maybe he had let go some of that which he kept bottled up inside, but obviously it was still there. She had only managed to push it away for a little.

That he was hiding something was clear. But she had no idea what it was that he was hiding. What good am I? she thought bitterly. Ron and Hermione should be here. They’re his best friends. Harry would never tell me anything. I’m just stupid little Ginny, who doesn’t know anything.

She gasped as she recognised the voice in her head, whispering the thoughts to her. Why was he returning? Wildly she looked at Harry, but he hadn’t noticed her outburst.

He wouldn’t notice anything, the voice continued. Why should he even remember silly Ginny Weasley exists? He’s probably even forgotten what he overheard earlier. Ginny could feel the familiar weakness coming over her. No! She wouldn’t listen to this any longer. It had been four years. Four years!

Firmly pushing aside the voice of her nightmares she focussed on Harry. She was not wrong this time. There was something warring within the boy beside her. And she’d be damned if she’d let it continue for much longer. She hated seeing him like this. It reminded her too much of the despair she had found herself in once. Who cares how he felt about her, or whether he considered her a friend or not. She would not sit idly by while he tore himself apart.

She prodded him in the side. When he took no notice, she did it again, but harder this time. Harry rocked, and snapped out of his reverie to rub his side.

“Ow! What was that for?”

“Where were you this time, Harry?”

“What do you mean?”

“You just have this habit of disappearing from reality. It kinda puts a dampener on conversation.”

Harry looked away from her and stared into the distance. His expression remained brooding, a frown wrinkling his forehead. Ginny decided to cut to the core.

“Is there anything, I don’t know, that you want to tell me?” she asked quietly, while at the same time preparing herself for the outburst that was sure to follow.

There was none. Silently, he stared at her for a moment as though she’d grown two heads.

“Err, maybe we should head back. Your mum might catch us, or Ron and Hermione…”

“Harry…”she said, a warning tone in her voice. She was not going to take no for an answer. For the second time that night, Ginny mustered a stern expression and sat facing him directly with her arms folded in front of her.

Harry could only stare at her.

>~*~**~*~<


How did she do that? It was as though Ginny had a radar for sensing whenever he got into a dismal mood.

Again he a sudden urge to tell her. He couldn’t describe it, but it just felt right to tell someone, and Ginny felt right as that someone.

The warring within in him died away as he looked into Ginny’s fierce eyes. You heard her earlier, his inner voice called gently. She’s a friend. Probably one of the truest you have. And she knows.

But…

“I can’t Ginny.”

Back to index


Chapter 3: Revealing

LIGHT FROM AN OPEN WINDOW


Part 3

Ginny was frustrated. Part of her felt like she wanted to try to beat it out of him. If he had been one of her brothers, she probably would have done it too. Ron could never hide anything from his little sister. But Harry was different.

Would he ever see her as anything more than his best friend’s little sister? But then again, why would he ask you to go for a fly if that was the case? He had called her his friend, hadn’t he? Well, friends looked out for one another. They didn’t give up, and they certainly didn’t allow one another to lose themselves by wallowing in gloomy thoughts.

“Harry,” she entreated. “Earlier you called us friends. As your friend, I want to help. Whatever it is, you can tell me.”

Harry kicked the pile of shredded leaves from the platform in one swift movement. “I’ve already told you Ginny, I can’t,” he said, his voice wavering.

“But why?” she persisted. Let him think her a whining brat. If there was one thing she’d learned from having six brothers, it was that you didn’t get anywhere by giving up and staying silent.

“Don’t you get it Ginny? I can’t tell you. I can’t tell Ron, or Hermione. Not anyone, anything. It’s too dangerous. It’s mine to bear, and I won’t risk anyone else.”

Oh great, here we go again. Ginny admired his courage, his strength, and his compassion, but this stubborn streak was just too much to handle sometimes. Like you can talk, she thought wryly to herself. Yes, but I’m not the one indulging in self-pity here.

“Spare me the nobility, Harry,” Ginny snapped. “You know, sometimes you might like to stop and realise that others want to help, whether you like it or not.”

The eyes that stared at her were drained of emotion. Not fiery, not cold: just hollow.

“Please, Ginny. I can’t. Not you. You … I can’t.” Harry determinedly looks away.

Ginny sighed. She should’ve known. The talk of friendship was probably just Harry’s way of showing some pity toward her. She’d never really be anything other than someone who barely existed on the periphery. It hurt her somewhere deep inside, in a place that she thought she’d tucked so far away that it couldn’t hurt her anymore. Another thing she’d been wrong about. A fine night this was turning out to be. Harry had probably only brought her out here as an apology for listening at her window, and was by now regretting it.

She stood up. The cool breeze on the platform was no longer enough. She needed to move away to clear her head before she suffocated. Needed to get Harry out of her thoughts. You’ve been trying that for four years; as if it’s going to happen overnight! Shaking her head, she carefully she eased herself onto the nearest branch and made to climb down. Time to go for a walk, and then try to sneak back inside the Burrow without getting caught. But with the way her luck was running tonight…

She cast a look back at Harry, who was still staring into the distance away from her. He hadn’t even registered her movement.

“I wish you would trust me, Harry,” she said quietly.

>~*~**~*~<

With a jolt Harry heard the Ginny’s soft words, and felt a tinge of guilt. Why oh why had he brought her out here? It had been a spur of the moment decision, that had seemed right until now.

Now. He’d thought his world had been confused before, but since adding Ginny to the puzzle, everything had turned upside down and inside out. His mind tossed from problem to dilemma with indefinable unpredictability.

Somewhere deep inside of Harry his emotions were bubbling furiously, melting together, mixing and swirling into a great thick and messy soup, all the time threatening to overflow. Anxiety about a new school year; fear for the safety of his friends; worry about how he was supposed to defeat the greatest Dark Wizard of the time; vague feelings about Ginny that he had yet to recognise; and grief for all he had lost. All it would take would be a small thing to tip the pot, and there would be a lot of mopping up required.

He looked up at Ginny’s retreating figure. Intense anguish filled his emerald eyes as they met with her distanced brown ones. The floodgates broke.

“I can’t do it,” he said, his head dropping into his hands. Ginny stopped suddenly. At some instinctive level Harry knew there’d be no going back once he started to share his secret with this girl. But he had gone past the point of caring. It was hurting so much; he had to release the pressure now before he completely feel apart.

Tears began to wet the arm of his shirt as he sat hunched up. In the darkness of his mind, eyes stared accusingly at him. Green ones, brown ones, blue ones, black and grey. And then a pair of malicious red eyes. Harry let out a uncontrollable sob.

>~*~**~*~<

What had he said? Ginny wildly scrambled back onto the platform, and stood a moment wringing her hands. Harry seemed to have shrunk inside himself, his whole body shaking with anguish. Well, oh great healer. You said you wanted to help. So help!

But what should she do? This was so completely different to consoling Ron when he fell off his broomstick, or helping the twins recover from the loss of their inventions after their mother had thrown them out. Harry looked so lost. Ginny bit her lip, and went to his side. Gingerly she knelt beside him, and rested her hand on his shoulder. He flinched, but stopped shaking.

“What can’t you do Harry?” she asked. Great Ginny! Isn’t there anything better you can say?


“I’m not what he says. Not what they want.” He lifted his head, but Ginny felt as though he was not looking at her, but through her. His eyes were searching for something. “What do they want?” Her heart was pounding again, but she had no idea why. Something stirred within her, and she felt a fear she had not know since her first year begin to creep upon her again.

Harry’s eyes focussed on her, and she thrust the fear away and mustered a look of compassion and concern.

He shook his head. “I’ve said too much. You can’t know. He can’t know,” he mumbled.

Ginny shook his shoulder. “Harry! Whatever it is, you can’t keep it to yourself! Can’t you see what it’s doing to you! Harry, nothing is worth hiding away.” He tried to avoid her, but she forced him look at her. “Look at me! I hid things away, and look at what it nearly did to me. At what it did do to me! Harry, it nearly tore me apart to keep the secrets I did, and I won’t let you do the same.”

Ginny took it as a bad sign when he didn’t even try to argue with her. Normally Harry would’ve been frothing at the mouth had someone dared to yell at him like this. He hated being told what to do. So why was he taking her ranting in so silently now?

“Harry please,” she said, her voice softer now. “Whatever it is, I’m sure I can handle it. It can’t be any worse than facing You-Know-Who, and I’ve already done that…” She stopped when she saw the mute message printed on Harry’s face.

“It…it has something to do with him, doesn’t it?” she asked hesitatingly. Harry nodded. He took a deep breath.

>~*~**~*~<

This was it. Ginny’s eyes were imploring him to tell whatever it was that he had wanted to hide away. He wrenched his eyes away from her concerned face.

“Ginny, do you know why we were in the Department of Mysteries?”

“We went to save Sirius.” Harry flinched at the name, and Ginny went on. “And, he — he wanted something that was there, didn’t he?” she asked, looking at Harry to confirm. He nodded again. Ginny cast her mind over what could have been hidden deep within the Ministry of Magic. She gasped.

“No — the prophecy! But, but it broke, didn’t it?”

Harry closed his eyes. Oh, if only that were the end of it! Slowly, he nodded. Ginny let out a breath of relief.

“But I know what it said,” Harry murmured. Ginny could only stare at him.

“How do you know,” she breathed, her eyes wide and fearful.

“Dumbledore. He heard it the first time. I saw it in his Pensieve. Did you know Trelawney was the one who said it? The old bat really is a Seer,” he mused darkly.

Ginny licked her lips. “What did it say, Harry?”

He stared at her with a dead expression. Ginny shivered. Too right, he thought. All he needed was a thunderstorm to finish the mood of the night off perfectly. Some wonderful friend you are Potter. Is this how you entertain all your friends on warm summer nights. By regaling them with tales of disaster and tragedy? And then drop the bombshell that it’s all one hundred percent true and still lurking in the future to boot?

“Harry…?”

He closed his eyes. The words were there. It was as though they had permanently been etched into his brain. He’d never be able to forget them. They’d be forever stored away inside the vault in his mind where he kept an assortment of nightmarish memories. The sound of his mother’s dying screams; Voldemort’s callous “Kill the spare”; Sirius’ laugh as he fell through the veil…

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…And either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives.”

>~*~**~*~<

Ginny felt as though someone had spitefully switched off her air supply. Her breaths came in short and sharp. Harry just simply sat there staring morosely at the jarringly clear sky while she stared aghast at him, willing him to take those words back and say it was all some stupid kind of a joke.

How on earth could he just sit there? Ginny fought to empty her head, but her vision swam and her thoughts stubbornly remained woolly, and fixed on one single thing: the prophecy.

Damn, damn, damn! What on the…why the hell…when was he…why Harry?!? Ginny twisted the end of her dressing gown sleeve. Maybe it wasn’t real. She tried to grasp at any idea she could. I mean, come on. Trelawney? A bigger fake couldn’t possibly exist. The wannabe Seer had already predicted Harry’s death on numerous occasions, and he was still here, wasn’t he?

Ginny gave Harry a hurried glance to check that he was still breathing.

What did it mean? Could it possibly mean what she thought it meant? Was it at all possible that Harry could…he could…No! She wouldn’t even go there!

Oh Harry! Had he been keeping all this in since that night at the Department of Mysteries? No wonder he constantly had this haunted look about him. How could he have not thought of telling anyone about it sooner?

When had Trelawney made the prophecy? And why had Dumbledore kept it hidden for however long, and then decide to spring it on poor Harry at that moment? What sort of cold-hearted person could reveal something so distressing, so painful, at a time when Harry had just experienced a great loss? Sirius had died for Merlin’s sake! The one person Harry had felt truly close to. Gone in the blink of an eye. And now this blasted prophecy. Bloody hell. Forget Molly Weasley in a rage, Dumbledore would be cowering by the time Ginny Weasley had had her say!

She continued to rage inside, her shock and anguish turning to anger as she fought to become calm. She wouldn’t speak until she knew she could do it without ranting. Endlessly babbling about the obvious was Ron’s way, and Merlin knew she hated it, never mind how Harry would react if she started channelling her brother. All the same, Harry’s lack of emotion was getting to her. He was just so bland…so blank.

>~*~**~*~<

Harry’s mind was actually surprisingly calm. So calm, that he was a little surprised himself. Truth be told, he hadn’t felt this calm in a long time.

What was she thinking? Based on his past experiences with Ginny and her temper, she was probably just about ready to explode with the injustices of it all. He winced. As long as she didn’t break out with something reminiscent of Ron or Hermione. He couldn’t bear it if she got all weepy-eyed or tearfully emotional. If she did, he’d just have to get back on his broom and fly away for solitude again.

Harry knew he should be feeling the anger that bubbled up every time he thought of the prophecy. He had just shared it with someone else — someone he had never even contemplated sharing it with for crying out loud!! The anger and frustration was still there, but it wasn’t coming to the surface. He shivered. This time it was being over-ridden by sadness.

Sadness that it had to be him. Still angry that it was him, but also a kind of despondent acceptance of the validity of the prophecy. Saying it out loud, to another person, had reinforced the facts in his head. And for the first time in a while, he felt tired of his life, and more than a little fearful of what was to come.

>~*~**~*~<

A/N — I’m sorry, much of what I have to say here I meant to say with the last chapter, but I was a little distracted by many other things when I posted it. Life just got so hectic all of a sudden, which it tends to do. Anyway, that is also the reason for the delay in posting this chapter. I’m terribly sorry, and I’ll try to get the next two up quicker. Oh, and trust me, things will get lighter and happier again, now that we’ve got the darkness off poor Harry’s chest a little.

I want to give a big thankyou to everyone who has reviewed! I never realised just how nice it was to get them! So — thankyou a million times over. Oh, and Gryphon, as per your email: the line is usually “Like a moth to the flame”, but I try to steer clear of things like that when I can, as they can end up sounding too cliché-ish. I play them a little, and in this case, I think I’d just finished reading a novel which had fire spirits in it which were salamanders. So, hence the phrase in chapter one: “…drawn to the light like a salamander to the flame.”

Back to index


Chapter 4: Acceptance

LIGHT FROM AN OPEN WINDOW


Part 4

The silence stretched out into the dark. Ginny’s mind continued to reel, darting from sadness to bewilderment to rage like a half-crazed dragonfly. No wonder Harry had been acting as he did. How did anyone manage to cope with such a revelation, particularly when it involved them in such disastrous proportions?

So this is why he had been trying to push them away. He wanted to protect them. Well she’d be damned if she’d let him have his way. Harry Potter had to wake up and realise that his friends, including new ones, would be by his side always. And it wouldn’t hurt if certain other people realised that as well. Ginny scowled. Her already low opinion of the actions of adults had taken a sharp fall. She settled on a steely, determined look.

“So…so, you’ll have to fight…him?” she asked.

“Yes,” Harry replied, somewhat vacantly. Ginny’s fingers itched to shake him to wake him out of his reverie. Then she mentally shook herself for wanting to do such a thing. He’s not one of your brothers, Ginny she scolded herself.

“You know we’ll fight with you though, Harry. You don’t have to…”

“No Ginny,” he said, not even looking up at her. Emotion had returned to his voice. He was serious now. “You can’t. I have to do this alone. It’s what the prophecy says. Besides, it’s much better that way. Nobody else will have to die for me, except me. And I will do it alone.”

Ginny was silent a moment. How could he think like that? Merlin! What had happened to the twelve year old boy who had turned up at the Burrow one morning, frightening her out of her wits with such a maddening crush? Where had that smiling, laughing boy gone? Why had he been replaced with this grave, humourless boy…no — man almost?

“I don’t think so Harry. I don’t think you really want to be alone,” she said firmly.

“Yes I do,” he whispered.

“But, why?”

“Because it’s better that way. Safer. Easier?”

“For who?” Ginny retorted. “For us? I hardly think so. Ron and Hermione certainly won’t take lightly to you pushing them away. And I definitely won’t either. And you? You don’t want to be alone Harry. Loneliness is too hard to bear.”

“What would you know?” Harry said, raising his head and freezing her warm brown eyes with a icy green stare.

Ginny surprised him with a frozen look that mirrored his own. “You of all people, Harry James Potter, should realise that I know far more about loneliness and guilt than anyone else, excepting yourself. But I had people around me who didn’t give up on me, or scorn me for what I’d done.”

“Nobody died for you,” Harry said sardonically.

“No, but they very nearly did! Harry, I’ve had to live with the fact that I could’ve kill so many, including Hermione! And you! He used me, and in the end it was to get to you! I had so much guilt after the Chamber, that I didn’t know if I wanted to go on living! I was sure that no one could possibly forgive me ever again. But they did, Harry. Nobody blamed me, Harry, just like no one blames you. We’ve both been used Harry, but it’s not our fault.”

Harry was now staring at her, somewhat aghast, his eyes opened wide in realisation of what they had both just said. But Ginny didn’t see it. She was lost now. Lost in a swarm of memories that had been buried so deep she’d thought never to see them again.

She saw herself. Standing in a long dimly lit corridor. Dark stains glistened on her school robes and on her hands. All around her was silent, and yet Ginny could hear a voice whispering to her.

“That’s right Ginny. I’m your friend. You’re my friend. I understand you Ginny. No one else does but I do. I want to help you Ginny. Tell me how you feel today. Write to me Ginny. Tell me everything…”

She remembered seeing those horrible words painted on the wall, and then trying in vain to recall what she had been doing the night before. Rumours flying rapidly about the words having been written in blood, and then her horror at the sight of her robes. A small connection beginning to form in her mind. Could she have…? Had she really…? Was it possible…?

“It’s okay Ginny. You’re a good girl. I would know if you’d done anything. You’re an obedient girl. You always do as you’re told. You tell me everything. Tell me all you can…”

The first attack on the students. Rumours that Hogwarts might have to close. The Heir of Slytherin. Who was it? She stood trembling in a corner, clutching a black book in her pale hands. She didn’t know why, but she had to get rid of it. Writing in it only made her realise terrible things that she didn’t want to know. It was an irrational thought, but it poured through her head all day, only stopping when she heard the other voice…

“…I’ll look out for you Ginny. You just keep on being a good girl, and do what I tell you. Everything will be okay. Just listen to me, your friend…”

Then he had it. Harry. He had found the diary. What if he read it? What if he guessed that she might somehow be behind the attacks. She still wasn’t too sure on anything herself, but to have Harry hate her, despise her, denounce her…She had to get it back. And she missed her friend. She needed to talk to someone. Someone who wouldn’t judge her. Someone who would understand.

“Is that you Ginny? You’re back. I was expecting someone else. Never mind. What is it you say Ginny? What do you think you’ve done? That’s terrible Ginny. Are you sure? Don’t worry, you just take the advice of your friend…”

Then Hermione was Petrified. Ron and Harry were despondent without her. Ginny felt the darkness within her. It was growing and growing, blotting everything else out. Huge chunks of her memory were missing now. Who was she? What was she? Whatever it was, she had to make it stop. A small part of the determined Ginny fought against the darkness. She had to tell Ron. He’d always been close to her. He would help. And maybe Harry too. They’d make it stop.

But she didn’t tell them. She told her friend instead. He’d also always been there for her.

“I will always be here Ginny. Ron has other friends now, he doesn’t need you. He has Harry. Who is Harry? Tell me about him…”

And Ginny told him. She pored out every detail she could remember, from the bedtime stories her mother had told her, to what Ron talked about, to her personal crush. And then she confessed her fears. How she didn’t think he could ever like her, especially now…

“Why now Ginny? What have you done?...That’s terrible Ginny. You can’t do things like that and expect to get away with it. Never mind. Just listen to your friend, and he’ll sort this out. You just do exactly what I tell you…”

Coldness. Intense coldness. Weakness. The darkness overwhelming her. All the light blotted out. And the voice, constantly in her head…

“Don’t fight it Ginny. You have to do this. You’ve done evil. You’re evil. I will fix this, but you have to disappear. The world can’t have you exist anymore. You’re evil. Your brothers will despise you. Ron will forget you. Harry will hate you. You have to go. Don’t fight against me, Ginny…I am in control…I control you…”

>~*~**~*~<


How could she? Didn’t she realise that she would die? They would all die if they followed him. It was inevitable. Hell, he would probably die anyway. She’d been close to death before. Surely she should understand.

Then her words washed around him, and he felt the mounting anger dissipate into a dawning realisation. Of course Ginny understood. She knew the loneliness, the helplessness. He smiled wryly. He’d had to save her from it all, and now it seemed she had turned the tables and was trying to save him. Not from the perils of the Dark Arts, Death Eaters and the Dark Lord, but from his own morbid seriousness. She was still wrong. They shouldn’t be fight Voldemort with him, but Harry began to accept that he may have no choice. Just another thing that’s being taken out of my hands. He couldn’t protect his friends, not in the way he’d like to. But while he was annoyed, and fearful for them, at the same time he was grateful for the unconditional love and support they gave. That was something worth fighting for.

As he collected his thoughts, Harry tried to express some of what he felt to Ginny. But when he turned to face her, she was staring at nothing, a glazed look in her eyes. Her forehead was wrinkled with tense lines, and her mouth in a tight line. Her whole body was stiff and taut.

Was it the prophecy? Should he have told her? Harry was wracked with guilt for a moment. It was too much for himself to take in sometimes; he shouldn’t have inflicted Ginny with it.

But wait — they had been discussing something else. Or rather, Ginny had mentioned something else. Was that what was plaguing her? He’d never seen Ginny like this. After her first year she’d always seemed so strong. She grew so fiery. He’d rarely given any thought to how the Chamber must’ve affected her, because she never gave any outward signs.

Stupid. You don’t just “get over” being possessed, attacked and nearly killed in your first year at school.

Hesitantly, Harry reached out and rested his hand on Ginny’s. She blinked, and looked down at their hands. She looked up at Harry’s concerned face, and blinked again, as though trying to shake away the remnants of her dazed state.

“Was it…was it the Chamber?” he asked quietly.

Ginny bit her lip and nodded, small tears reflecting in her eyes.

“It comes back now and again. I think I’ve moved past it, and then I hear his voice again…”

“Yeah…the voices are the worst,” agreed Harry. The voices were what plagued you in the middle of the night: who caught and held you, until you were too weak to fight anymore. Then they proceeded to destroy you from the inside out with rambling emotions of guilt, fear, frustration, anger and worst of all, desperation.

It wasn’t just the voices of his parents anymore. They were still there, the echoes of his mother screaming, and his father yelling out — the last moments of their lives that the Dementors had reawakened. But now they had been joined by Cedric’s voice whispering across his nightmares, asking why he had insisted they go together into death. The voice of Sirius demanding to know why people had to die for him, when they were perfectly happy living. Why was Harry so special?

>~*~**~*~<


Ginny wiped her eyes on her sleeve. “I…I think it’s gone now. Thankyou Harry.”

“For what? What have I done? Why do people keep thanking me?” Harry jumped up and began pacing across the platform. Ginny sighed, and shivered as she threw off the final coldness of the memories. And we come back to this again. Really, he’s got to stop this, or he’ll drive me crazy, and I might have to do something drastic.

Ginny was tired of the depression and darkness. The Chamber had scarred her so deeply, but through sheer determination she managed to push it away. She dealt with it, but didn’t let it rule her. Those days of being dominated by something else were over. It was very rare that it got away from her now. She was going to teach that determination to Harry. He could either accept that freely or she’d force him to. Ron and Hermione’s method of letting Harry be was not working. Neither was Dumbledore’s habit of feeding him information bit by bit. Harry needed brute force to pull him to his senses. And if no one else wanted the job, then she had better pull her socks up and get on with it.

In a well practiced way, she thrust the last weakness of her memories deep into the recesses of her mind. Biting back a grim grin, she firmly pulled up one sock that had fallen in wrinkles around her ankle. Now to wait for the moment.

>~*~**~*~<


“I haven’t done anything worth thanking me for. Not really.” Harry ran his hand through his hair and sighed. “All I seem to do is lead people into danger. I told Cedric to come with me: to take the Cup together. And look what happened to him, just because he was with me, and they didn’t need him around. He never even had a chance!

And Sirius! He wouldn’t have even gone to the Ministry if I hadn’t! I should’ve known there was no way that Voldemort could’ve gotten hold of him. He was never in danger until I dragged him there! And you!” Ginny started, but Harry waved his hand, and shook her away. “Riddle even told me that the only reason he had dragged you into the Chamber was because of me! He was after me. You were just the bait. And because Riddle wanted me, you almost died!”

Ginny made a noise that sounded as though her throat had gone hoarse. “Harry…” she tried, but he continued over the top of her.

“It’s my fault my parents are dead!” he cried.

“Harry…!” A little louder this time, her tone was indignant.

“If I hadn’t been born with that stupid prophecy,” he continued morosely, “Voldemort wouldn’t have come after them! I ruin everything…”

“HARRY JAMES POTTER! Can you even hear what you’re saying?!” Ginny cried. Harry spun to stare at her wildly.

“What you’ve said is unrealistic, and you know it. Yes, life has been harsh to you, but you’ve got no right to sit and wallow in it! If that’s all you can be bothered doing, well I don’t think I want you as my friend. And I’m surprised the Hat placed you in Gryffindor. In fact, I don’t think you deserve to be in any house!”

She glared at him, a fire in her eyes, and her arms folded severely across her chest. Harry got the vague impression of being thrown into a dragon’s lair. He couldn’t speak, but just stood staring dumbly at her. Part of his brain wanted to yell back at her, tell her she didn’t know, didn’t understand, to leave him alone. It’s what you would have done if it was Ron or Hermione he told himself. And then they would have backed down, too frightened to anger you further. But he strongly doubted that Ginny Weasley would back down. He had the feeling that if he tried to fight with her, he would come off very badly.

Instead, his shoulders slumped, and he dropped to his knees.

“What am I to do Ginny?” he asked despondently.

Instantly the fire her mood cleared, and her face softened in sympathy. Ginny reached down and took Harry’s hands in her own. “I know you blame yourself, but you mustn’t. You have to realise that you need your friends, just as much as they need you. Only by sticking together can we defeat anything. You don’t have to anything alone.”

Coldness still enshrouded his heart, but as Harry looked into Ginny’s concerned face he felt a glimmer of warmth spark someone deep within him. It flickered a moment, as though it would die, and then held firm. A tiny seed, growing where he thought nothing could ever live again.

They settled down on the platform. Ginny sat closer to Harry, and the warmth of her body nestled around him like a cocoon. There was a peaceful, contemplative silence. Ginny sighed, and Harry realised that she hadn’t let go of his hand. He looked down at her small fingers twined around his. He smiled a little, and twisted his hand to grip hers as well. Then he stared out at the stillness, taking in the view properly for the first time that night.

Apple trees blocked some of the view, but there wasn’t a lot to see. The Burrow was back behind them, hidden by a thick clump of tall conifers. Harry couldn’t hear anything. No traffic noise, no households murmurs, not even Ron and Hermione, who were up to who knew what. Despite the prevailing mood, Harry couldn’t but chuckle silently in his mind and shake his head. Surely they were the most unlikely of couples — bound to raise a few eyebrows at school in the coming year.

Ginny moved a little, and Harry wondered. Maybe his friends weren’t the only ones who’d be the object of whispers. But in this case, he still had a pressing question.

“Why?” he asked aloud softly.

“Hmm? Why what?”

“Why do you do it? Why do you bother?” Harry frowned. Surely Ginny had better things to do, or at least her own problems to deal with. Why did she bother with him, when they hadn’t even really been friends before.

Ginny had a confused look on her face. “What do you mean? Yell at you?”

Harry hesitated a fraction, and then nodded.

She bit her lip and looked away. “Because…because…weren’t you listening?”

“Listening?” Now Harry was confused. Listening to what?

“Earlier. At my window. I said…things.”

He cast his mind back and a flood of soul-searching words flew back at him. Merlin, it seemed so long ago. Had that really happened tonight? He blushed as he remembered that he had heard every word perfectly. He could probably quote her word for word too, or at least close to that.

Ginny read his blush correctly, and blushed herself. ‘I…I care, Harry.”

“About me.” It wasn’t a question.

“Ye-es. And Ron and Hermione, and…and…”she trailed off.

“But the point is you care. How much do you care, Ginny?” he asked pointedly.

She couldn’t look at him.

“Why…” he started again.

“Why, why, why. What does it matter why? I just do. I can’t help it. I see you hurting and I want to help. I see you and Ron and Hermione laughing and talking, and I want to be a part of it. I see you flying on your broom, and I want to fly with you. I want to help, because I care. I always have and I probably always will…”she cut herself off as she realised she had said too much. Harry went silent.

Did it matter that Ginny cared so much for him?

He remembered Ron telling him that his little sister had had a huge crush on him for the longest time, and then Hermione informing him last year that Ginny had “given up” on him. She’d been teased by her brothers, Malfoy, other students about being part of the “Harry Potter Fan Club”. He’d never teased her, but he also hadn’t taken much notice. Had he hurt her, by ignoring her feelings?

It might have been due to the emotional pressure that he had been under since the night at the Ministry, but Harry was suddenly painfully aware of just how much he had ignored about Ginny Weasley. And if he had any more room for feelings of guilt, then he had just added some more.

“Ginny, I — I’ve been such a prat.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, puzzled.

“How could I have not noticed you for all these years?”

>~*~**~*~<


Ginny was finding it a little harder to breathe properly again. Damn Harry Potter and the way he made her feelings get all jumbled up! Was this what it felt like to have your dreams start to come true? Or was this still a dream? Maybe she had fallen asleep at her window, and was dreaming about the touch of Harry’s fingers still entwined with her own. Ginny closed her eyes, half-hoping that if she didn’t open them then she could stay that way forever.

What a night! They’d been from soul-wrenching personal confessions, to awkward new friendships. Thrown in some disastrous revelations, painful memories, and yelling and whispering. Together they’d trespassed beyond the border of despondency, and hauled each other back. Merlin! — she’d yelled at him, and in doing so even managed to frighten herself with just how like her mother she could sound!

Most people do this over a long period of time, she mused. Typical Harry and I, we have to do it all at once in a marathon session. Well, neither of us has much patience, do we? Although I think it’s fair to say that I seemed to have exercised a fair bit of it these last few years!

Harry was still staring at her, and the depth of his gaze sent a shiver down her spine. It wasn’t love that was in there, but a kind of recognition. For now, she’d settle for that. Close friendship. They had hurried to get to this point. From now on they would have to slow down. She smiled. Who knows? Maybe she’d be able to coax something more from the boy beside her. One day. Give it time.

>~*~**~*~<


Harry was still trying to get a grip on the rambling feelings he was experiencing. Ginny Weasley! What on earth…? And she was smiling — at him. The peace that he had felt earlier settled around him again. It was because of Ginny. He had thought that earlier, and now he was sure of it. She did something to him that lessened the pain in his life. She didn’t make it go away — nothing was likely to do that — but she made it more bearable. Ginny’s light companionship gave him strength and hope. He felt selfish in that he didn’t want it to stop. Was he right to demand this of Ginny? She’d be in danger being close to him, but that didn’t seem to worry her.

Harry sighed. He still couldn’t see how he deserved any of what his friends did for him, but it felt nice to be loved in such a way. And if he had to face countless horrors — if he had to battle Lord Voldemort himself in a deathly duel — then he was glad to know he had this particular group of friends surrounding him. He wouldn’t be able to bear it if any of them were hurt or killed, but there was no stopping any of them. Ron’s humour and mateship; Hermione’s wit and concern; Ginny…yes, Ginny was part of that close network now. As she should be. He had them all, and he’d be damned if he’d let any dark lord snatch them away without a bloody good fight first!

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A/N
Thankyou for all the reviews! Only one more part to go.

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Chapter 5: Return

LIGHT FROM AN OPEN WINDOW


Part 5

Harry leapt up. His broomstick was back in his hand before he even realised that he’d reached for it.

“What are you doing, Harry?” Ginny asked, somewhat bemusedly.

“I’m going for a fly. I need to clear my head. Want to come?”

“I don’t know…will we be going really, really fast?” she asked, a frown on her face.

Harry paused a moment. “Well…”

“Are you going to attempt one of those deadly plummets, pulling up inches before death, or almost certain paralysation?”

“Umm…”. He had been thinking of something like that. It was his favourite type of flying — it certainly got the heart racing and cleared your mind of anything unrelated to flying. But now that Ginny had mentioned it, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea with two people on a broom…

Ginny grinned at him. “Cos a near-death experience is just what I could use after all this heart-wrenching darkness we’ve been carrying on with tonight. Merlin! I think they might have to lock the two of us up one day, don’t you think?”

Harry smiled. This was why he found it hard not to like Ginny. She made light of everything, and at the same time, she understood the seriousness. But Ginny didn’t let it drag her down. Hopefully, she would teach him her secret. But in the meantime…

“Well don’t just sit there then! C’mon!”

Harry mounted the Firebolt, and Ginny sat on it behind him. “Hold tight,” was all he had time to tell her, before he kicked off and flew like a rocket into the sky. Ginny made no sound, but he felt her arms tighten around his waist. When he had reached a height of at least three times that of the trees below, he hovered a moment.

“Are you ready?”

“Let’s go!”

Harry pointed the tip of the broom in a sharp nosedive, and the two of them plummeted to the ground. The air whistled through their ears and Harry’s eyes were streaming with the powerful speed of the Firebolt. With barely a second to spare, Harry remembered to pull out of the dive. He had to pull hard, to make up for the extra weight. Their toes skimmed the grass, and Ginny relaxed her hold.

“You know, Harry. I understand everything now. Even down to why you love to fly so much. It’s — it’s like being weightless, isn’t it? Like having some sort of release. Up there, you’re not attached to the world, or to anything, except the air, your broom and yourself.” Ginny sighed. “It’s pure freedom.”

Harry twirled a tendril of red hair that had crept onto his shoulder around his finger. “Sometimes I wish I could stay up there,” he confessed.

He glided the broom two feet gently above the ground.

“Was this what you were doing before…before you came to my window?” she asked.

Harry nodded.

“Do you do it often?”

“Mainly it’s just when I really can’t take things anymore.”

“Like tonight.”

“Like tonight,” Harry confirmed.

“I wonder…” Ginny mused.

Harry was curious. “Wonder what…?” he asked.

“Nothing, really. I was just thinking.”

Harry snorted as a stray thought crossed his mind. “Do you think Ron and Hermione are going to be open about each other, or will they hide it a bit longer?”

“Probably hide it…oh no!” Ginny cried.

“What? What is it?” Harry the broom to a quick halt, and swivelled around to look at Ginny.

“We’ve got to get back! Hermione’s probably already returned and will be wondering where I’ve got to. Hopefully she doesn’t call out the search party.”

“Are you really sure that she’ll be back by now?” Harry asked, a smirk on his face.

Ginny hit him on the shoulder. “Prat. Where has this Harry Potter come from all of a sudden? What happened to the mournful, moody one I was just with?”

Harry shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he answered truthfully. “I don’t feel much better. I guess he comes and goes. I’m still not happy about you and the others wanting to involve yourselves all the time. But… it’s…I don’t know.” He went quiet a moment. “I think it’s you Ginny.”

Ginny was surprised and a little perplexed. “Me? What do you mean?”

You’re the one who makes me feel a little lighter he wanted to say. Something had flared in him after talking with Ginny. He had just recognised what it was. Hope. The kind of hope that brings strength, and the ability to endure. The kind that can only be given, not found. Ginny had given it to him. Had nearly whacked him around the head with it to be honest.

And that was when Harry decided he wanted Ginny to stay as his friend. He needed her, in a way he’d never thought he’d ever need the youngest Weasley. But he couldn’t find the words to shape his answer, and right now he wasn’t too sure that he’d be able to say it properly anyway, without getting either of them embarrassed or confused.

“I’ll take you back to your window, now then,” he said quietly.

>~*~**~*~<


Ginny held on as Harry swept the broom back into the air, and headed to the Burrow. Her mind was all in a whirl. It hadn’t exactly been the night of her dreams. Harry wasn’t falling all over her in a rush to confess his undying love. There was no shining silver armour, no evil monster slain, no tall tower reflected in the sunset. But he had said that he needed her. Not in so many words — but it was there.

She was nearly overwhelmed with all the emotions racing through her and conflicting with each other. Distress over the contents of the prophecy; resolution that Harry would succeed; shared grief and sympathy for him; a rekindling of the love that had been put aside for so long. Her heart warred with her mind over what feeling should take precedence, and it was a furious battle. Love that had once seemed so flimsy had grown into a firm and solid entity. She could not push it aside again. Instead, with the determined effort of one who is used to doing such things, she found a quiet corner of her mind in which to base her thoughts, while the rest battled on.

Still, Ginny felt as though her heart would burst. She had been through so much. So had he. And now finally, they would help each other. Her soul twisted as she thought of the prophecy. He will do it, she thought firmly. I know he will do it. All he has to do is believe it too. And I will help him.

Harry shivered, and instinctively Ginny wrapped her arms tighter, as though to keep him warm.

“What is it, Harry?”

At first she thought he wasn’t going to answer. Then he slowed the broom. They were perhaps a few short paces from the Burrow, but worry about being seen was the last thing in Ginny’s mind. There was simply too much else going through it.

“I…I’m scared, Ginny. What if I can’t do it?”

Oh Harry. Ginny wished she could show him just how much she believed in him — she wanted to pass that belief on to him in a bundle, so that he would never have to feel the fear and pain anymore. But she could only try to express what she knew.

“You will Harry.”

“But how can you just say that?”

“Because I know you can do it.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I believe in you. If not you, then who else? You saved me, didn’t you…”

“Yes, but…”

“But nothing. It’s okay to be scared, Harry. I think that’s what makes us human. But you will do it, and you will survive. And what’s more, you won’t be alone — ever. Ron and Hermione will stand by you always, and I’ll be there too.”

“But Ginny…”

“Don’t ‘but Ginny’ me, Harry James Potter. Accept the fact that we are your friends and we love you.”

“You do?” he asked quietly.

Her breath caught in her throat. “I do,” she whispered back.

>~*~**~*~<


Harry glided the broom back to Ginny’s open window. A glance inside told him that the room was still vacant. Gently he helped Ginny off the broom and onto the window sill. She tripped as she got down from the window, but his hand was there to steady her. Grasping it, she clambered down, and turned to face him with a flushed look on her face.

“Thankyou Harry,” she said.

“I should be thanking you.”

She smiled. “You already have. But I never got to thank you. For taking me for a fly, for never teasing me, for being my friend, for saving me in the Chamber…”

He looked away. “You don’t need to…”

“Stop interrupting me! Now, where was I? Oh yes, thankyou — for saving me, and for then trusting me.”

She leant out the window, and caught hold of his hand. Pulling him closer, Harry was breathless when she lightly kissed his cheek. Wide-eyed he could only stare at her. She stared back for a moment, and then she laughed.

“Oh, your face, Harry!” she chuckled.

“What was that for?” How could she just say that, then do that, then …then laugh? On top of everything else, Harry was thoroughly confused.

“I told you. For everything. For saving my life, for being my friend. To remember that I am your friend, and that you will get through this. With all of us behind you. And…to remind you that I’ll always be here when you need me.”

“What, here in the window waiting for me to fly past again?” he joked, trying to lighten what he feared could become another heavy moment.

She smiled. “Maybe. But don’t let me catch you spying on me again Harry Potter!”

“But look what comes of it. You learn so much from eavesdropping.”

“Do you?” she murmured absently. Do you? he wondered. He thought of how calm Ginny made him feel. How she argued with him, and comforted him. How she made him laugh, and tried to force his stubborn self to his senses. How she was incredibly stubborn too. He thought about hearing her confession to the stars, and then he thought of the small certainty which was slowly growing inside himself.

He tucked a stray lock of red hair behind her ear. “You do.”

>~*~**~*~<


Ginny could’ve started dancing on the spot. He likes me! He likes me! He really does! she cried. Then her annoying habit of contradicting herself piped up again.

He’s never said that you know. You’re just friends.

Pshaw. Friends was a start. A year ago she would’ve given anything for Harry to have even noticed her, let alone declare them friends. All right, so the night hadn’t been perfect, but at least one thing was going right for her. She had kissed Harry Potter. And he hadn’t run away. Instead he was watching her with a funny light in his eyes.

Ginny sighed. His very, very green eyes.

“Ginny,” Harry started hesitantly. “What about Dean?”

“Dean?” Ginny was confused for a moment. Then she remembered, and she laughed. Merlin, all she wanted to do was keep laughing. At anything and everything. “Oh, right. Did you really believe that? I just told Ron I was interested in Dean because he’s always poking his nose into my supposed love-life. Him and my five other extremely pesky brothers.”

“So…so you don’t — I mean, you’re not going out with him?” Why was he asking her that? Her heart did a funny sort of flip.

“No. Never. He’s not really my type. I think he likes Anna Pritchett anyway.”

“Oh,” was Harry’s only reply. Ginny was curious. Just what was that supposed to mean? Damn Harry and his questions! She had helped him through hell tonight, and now he was going to leave her wondering again! Don’t be so selfish, her inner voice reprimanded. Besides, you said you wanted to be able to help him, and you have. Admit it, you liked that more than any mushy stuff with little meaning attached to it. Liked was perhaps not quite the right word for it, Ginny reflected, but the essence of that statement was true.

Voices echoed up from below, and Harry dived into the shadows against the house. Ginny ducked down, hopeful that no one had seen.

“C’mon, Ron. We’ve got to get back. Do you realise how long we’ve been out here?”

“Oh, Hermione, stop worrying.”

“No — what if Ginny has been wondering where I’ve been all this time?”

“I’m sure she’s probably asleep.” Ginny snorted. Carefully, she peeped out the window. Ron and Hermione had disappeared inside. Any moment now, and they’d both be upstairs.

“It’s okay, Harry — they’re gone. Harry?” There was no answer. She leaned out the window and saw that he had flown away and was nowhere to be seen. Ginny sighed, and reached for the curtains. “Goodnight Harry,” she whispered to the night, and then drew the curtains shut.

>~*~**~*~<


Harry soared skyward. He closed his eyes and let the wind rush through his hair. He opened them again when he had gone high enough, and stared into the twinkling abyss of the night sky. He was no longer drowning in the darkness of the night, but bathing in the twinkling of starfire that was lighting up the heavens. Like a tender caress, the breeze felt as though the love of his parents and Sirius was wrapping him in a blanket of protection. With sudden intuition, Harry knew that although they were not able to be there for him in person, he would never be without their support. He was always watched, and he felt all the more at peace because of it.

Ginny had done this. She had not destroyed ever inch of the darkness that had earlier threatened to overwhelm him. He doubted that anything could get rid of that completely. But she had somehow managed to instil in his mind a sense of hope. No, not in his mind. In his soul. Harry sighed as he reflected that maybe happiness was achievable, even in the midst of such complete turmoil.

He would try to remember that Ron and Hermione didn’t need him to look after them all the time. He knew that he needed their friendship, more than anything else, and that it wasn’t worth trying to push them away. Doing so would only hurt them all far more, than allowing them the right to choose to remain by his side. And it was their right. He could see that now. He could never ask for better friends. They might not really be able to understand what he was going through, but at least they made an effort to try. They were loyal, and brave, and as close to him as family.

And Ginny?

Harry smiled as he thought of her cajoling, teasing, yelling at and sympathising with him, all in the space of one night. He was shocked to admit to himself that he was sorry to have never really noticed the person that was Ginny Weasley before. Her offering of pure friendship and understanding was something his soul had been craving without him realising. Ginny had dared to go where few were willing — she had trespassed on the inner sanctum of Harry’s pain, and managed to emerged almost completely unscathed, dragging Harry with her. He hoped she would always be there to do it, just as she had promised. Although he was unsure about admitting it, Harry found he wanted to make sure that she came to know just how much he valued everything she had done, and was doing for him.

And just how do you plan on showing her that, Potter he asked himself. Her self-confession had suggested that she couldn’t help but be there for him — that she still held some kind of stronger feelings for him. His cheeks burned in response. Could it be at all possible…? He shook his head smiling. I don’t know…

His fingers brushed across his cheek, where Ginny had left her ‘thankyou’. He had found a small piece of freedom tonight, and he knew that that was what he would fight for. This was what the prophecy will deliver. It wasn’t the normal humdrum life Harry has been dreaming of; no — this was so much more.

Harry flew high and felt the release of something that had been pent up inside him. The light from the newly opened window in his soul was shining brightly.

>~*~**~*~<


A/N
Thankyou to everyone who has reviewed! To those who haven’t, please do — I love to hear what people think. I’m very proud of my first little foray into the world of fanfic!
Thankyou so very much!

This was just my little vision of the starting point something between Ginny and Harry. As much as they got through in one night, I didn’t think Harry would be quite ready for romance, even though Ginny yearns for it (poor dear). Possibly, with time…

Sequel is up - Light Reflected.

Please Read and Review!!

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