|SIYE Time:10:45 on 20th February 2018|
Light In The Dark
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Category: Post-DH/AB, Holidays
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, Romance
Story is Complete
Summary: Its the first Christmas since the Final Battle. Ginny is back at school and there is Hogsmeade Trip to be taken. Who will she meet along the way and will this Christmas be a merry one? Can she and a certain some finally begin again?
Hitcount: Story Total: 3634
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Light in the Dark
Hogsmeade was covered in snow that Christmas, as usual. Just about the only normal thing to happen that year. To call it turbulent was somewhat lacking in the ferocity that had passed.
Ginny's feet sunk six inches with every step she took across the main street, heading further and further from the shops, the chaos, the people and her hand clasped tightly to her wand in her pocket; a side effect of the war; constant vigilance.
She could see him across the valley, leaning against a large oak, hunched and scuffing his feet aimlessly against the trunk of the tree. She still wasn't sure why she was here. Yes, she was in Hogsmeade because it was a planned trip and a chance to get out of the school confines for a while but she wasn't sure why she was there meeting him.
He'd owled her in the week asking and she had said yes without even thinking what it was he wanted to see her for. Before she'd come back to school, Harry had been distant and she'd granted him his space. They had time to discuss things when they were ready, they had no need to rush things any more, no need to say things with an irrational state of mind.
But then she'd come back to school and within a few days of being back, he'd owled her; apologizing for being quiet, expressing how he'd wanted to give her space and time to grieve. He'd wished her good luck for the new term and told of how he was looking forward to seeing her and making up for being so conversationally rubbish. Importantly, he'd repeatedly detailed how much he'd missed her. And she hadn't replied.
She took her turn to be distant. She didn't know what to say to him. She didn't want to say the wrong thing and make him feel guilty for something that wasn't his fault and she didn't want to burden him with her sadness or anger. So she kept quiet.
He owled again a number of times after that, the messages getting shorter and shorter as her replies continued to not come. And then the letters stopped.
Consequently, no more owls flew in and dropped parchment into her cereal and she realised after a while that she missed seeing his scrawl for handwriting and reading about his day. She missed knowing that he was still interested in having some kind of civil relationship with her, despite them being apart for nearly year. She missed knowing that he still cared.
So, when, on Wednesday morning, a scrap of paper fell in her lap, her heart went giddy.
But she still couldn't quite work out why she was walking towards him now. What did he need to say that was so important, that couldn't wait another two weeks till she was home for the holidays?
She didn't want to get her hopes up but this was Harry and her hopes were always up when it came to Harry. She didn't think that perhaps he didn't have anything to say at all and maybe just wanted to see her.
The crunching of snow beneath her feet alerted him and he turned to see her approaching and beamed wider than she thought she'd seen since before Dumbledore had passed.
"Hey, yourself," She smiled back.
They stood awkwardly for a moment, both inching closer and then further apart, debating whether a hug was possible. In the end, Ginny decided, "Come here, you."
She wrapped her arms around him and he around her, tight and protective and needy. They breathed each other in and Ginny sighed as Harry buried his face into the side of her neck, feeling warm and safe with him there.
"Bloody hell, Gin, I've missed you."
"You said, in your letters," She pulled back slightly to look him in the eye, "I'm sorry I didn't reply; I didn't really know what to say."
He pulled back further, taking his warmth with him and nodding in understanding, "Its okay, I get it. We all needed a little space."
They looked at each other again in silence before Harry spoke, "So..."
They chuckled, "So, I was hoping you wouldn't mind taking a little detour?"
Ginny's forehead creased, "Detour? Where to?"
"You'll see," He jerked his head to the side and began to lead the way, "Come on."
"Okay," And she followed him.
They walked in a comfortably awkward silence, in step with one another and a sizeable gap between them, hands dug deep into their own pockets to prevent any brushing of hands.
"How's school?" Harry asked lamely.
Ginny scoffed, "Boring. Anti-climatic, almost."
Harry raised a brow at her, "How so?"
"Oh, you know, one minute you're fighting evil and the next you're sat in class listening to Binns wittering on about something or other that happened when he was actually still a living being."
"Wouldn't you rather peace and quiet over battles to the death?" She caught the hint of outrage in his voice.
"Yes. But I'd also like a little more emotion and less awkwardness. Everyone is so afraid of saying something that will upset someone else and no one has the guts to just open their mouths and say what they have to say."
"It's understandable, no one wants to cause more tears than there already has been, still is," Harry conceded.
"Hmm..." She nodded, "It'll come with time, I suspect."
"Probably. Everyone's different. What happened, the last couple of years, it'll probably never get easier for some people."
"Like you? I'm not stupid, Harry. I can see everything's still sitting heavily on your shoulders," Harry stopped in his steps and Ginny watched as a million emotions ran across his features.
"Like I said, it'll be easier for some. There are so many layers and walls to break through before you can even begin to think that none of the lives lost were you're fault."
"You seem to forget that we weren't fighting for just you, Harry and for some, you didn't even come close to the equation. We were fighting for ourselves. Perhaps some of us fought for you, with you, trying to help you specifically, like Ron and Hermione, Mum, Dad, my brothers... Fred... Me," She paused, "But for others, they were fighting for their freedom and they don't blame you for their lost comrades. Harry, nobody died for you. They died for the cause," Somewhere along her speech, Ginny's hand reached out and fell on his forearm.
"But I led everyone there, Gin. Maybe if I'd found a way to get it as just me and him alone, away from Hogwarts, away from everyone, then nobody would have even had to fight," Harry argued indignantly, pulling his hand out of his pocket and letting his fingers link with hers.
"What, and let all those Death Eaters get away and start some other cult, with some other leader, some place else? It was a war, Harry, not an arm wrestle. It was never going to be just the two of you," She squeezed his hand pointedly and he looked her in the eye for the first time since the debate had ensued.
"Maybe," He nodded, defeated, though she wasn't convinced that he believed her.
"Fred died with a smile on his face, do you know why?"
Harry looked at her and seemed caught in her confrontation, shaking his head, for lack of a better way to answer her.
"Not because of some joke he was telling with Percy but because he was quite content in fighting for what he believed in. He was quite happy knowing he was doing his bit to take out some fool and his minions who thought that they could decimate anyone they thought weren't 'pure enough' and he was well aware that he and everyone else might not be standing at the end of it. And I'm proud of him. I'm proud of who he was and what he did and no matter what, I know he didn't blame you. Nobody blames you, Harry. They thank you."
A rogue tear escaped her and before she knew it, Harry's spare hand graced her cheek, wiping it away, "I'm so sorry, Ginny."
Without thinking, she buried her face in his chest again, hiding in embarrassment and not wanting him to think he was the cause of her upset, "You've nothing to be sorry for."
They stayed that way a while, again just soaking each other into every nerve and pore, remembering with ease how they had spent those few short days together so long ago and how those feelings had and still did consume them.
Still snuggled into him, Ginny looked up at him and said, "Aren't you supposed to be whisking me off somewhere?" She noticed just before he could stop her that tears had fallen to his cheeks too.
She brushed them away as he replied as jovially as he could manage, "Yeah, I am, aren't I?"
Resuming their walk towards their destination, Harry and Ginny remained clung to one another, most inhibitions forgotten.
It was as they reached a short, steep hill that Ginny finally deduced where they were heading, "The Shrieking Shack? Harry, really?"
"I know, its not exactly the most desired of places to be but it's guaranteed privacy and I happened to have been here a few hours earlier trying to make the place just a little more appealing," He said quickly in what Ginny gathered was his, 'I'm trying to do something impressive here so please don't hit me if it all goes horribly wrong' voice.
"Lead the way." Ginny had to laugh as Harry all but dragged her towards the dreaded building. It felt good to laugh.
Ginny couldn't have counted on both hands how many times Harry told her to 'mind her head' as he directed her through the once down right filthy hovel she was now in.
However, the longer she was in there, the more she began to wonder if Harry had persuaded her mother to come and do a Spring Clean on the place. It wasn't immaculate by any means, but it was definitely clean and sanitary and she didn't fear she would catch a disease because she'd put her hand in just the wrong place.
"It's just through here," Harry muttered as faint hints of her mum's vanilla pastry hit Ginny's nostrils.
"Oh Harry," She gasped.
Never once did Ginny suspect Harry to be the romantic type. Yes, the awkward and lacking-in-any-knowledge-of-how-the-fema le-mind-works type but never romantic.
She needed to give him more credit in the future.
"Ta-da?" Harry squirmed slightly, waiting for some kind of direct reaction to whether he'd done good or not.
Oh, he'd definitely done good.
After all, who could say he'd not, when a delicately laid picnic was sat right in front of them.
"It... is lovely, Harry," She grinned as he visibly relaxed at her words.
They sat down on the thick blankets and tucked into the turkey sandwiches, mince pies and mulled wine that Harry had managed to bring along.
They talked and talked, sticking to the trivial subjects; Hermione's moaning that Ron hadn't replied with the same enthusiasm to her letters as she had to his — taking a day to reply, rather than just a few hours, oh woe is her, - Harry's entry into full time Auror training with Ron and Mrs Weasley's inability to let Harry go half an hour without eating a sandwich or a slice of cake.
Later, as they allowed the food to settled, Ginny stood and wandered to a small, crooked and cracked window, watching as another batch of snow fell to the ground. She felt Harry follow her, standing close enough for his breath to tickle the nape of her neck.
"A new year is coming Harry. A new start. Christmas'll be difficult but do you think people will be able to see that things are only going to get better, despite all the loss and heartache?" She asked, wistfully, looking at his reflection in the glass, rather than him.
"I hope so," He sounded like he was talking more about himself than anyone else.
On instinct, Ginny reached behind her, found Harry's arms and pulled them around her, holding them around herself and smiling as his chest slowly made contact with her back.
"I've missed you so much, Harry, for so long," She closed her eyes briefly, her head falling back to his chest.
"I've missed you too. But you've kept me going, you know that?" He said earnestly, "The thought of you being there, at the end of it all; the light at the end of the deepest, darkest tunnel... The feel of your hands in mine, your voice in my ear, the smell of rosebuds and tulips," He nuzzled into her neck again, breathing in as deeply as his chest would allow.
Ginny blinked, hazily, blindly, only just noticing the trickle of greenery and white buds falling from a stem floating just below the ceiling.
"Would you look at that?" She muttered, so dreamlike that if she'd been paying enough attention she might've considered spending just a little less time with Luna Lovegood.
"I wonder how that got there," The look on his face told her that he had no idea and neither did she, but they didn't question it further.
"To a new year?" She asked, swivelling in his arms to face him, her hands resting on his chest.
"Merry Christmas, Ginny," He muttered just loud enough, before he descended purposefully, with ardour, and met her lips with his own.
It was going to be a very Merry Christmas after all.
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