|SIYE Time:23:59 on 21st February 2018|
Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Summary: When the Weasley wedding is attacked, Harry grabs the first hand that comes to mind - Ginny's. They find Voldemort has hidden his Horcruxes in plain sight out of some of Muggle history's most important artifacts. Now the pair go across the continent, risking capture by both the Muggle and wizarding worlds, to end the war.
Hitcount: Story Total: 27167; Chapter Total: 1348
Awards: View Trophy Room
Harry turned around, wanting to grit his teeth but failing. "What?"
"I said I'll do it. I'll kill Grindelwald if it means we get the spell to destroy the Horcruxes," Ginny repeated. As the thought registered, she could see Harry’s heart break.
"Can I talk to you for a minute?" he demanded. A private conversation would be problematic in this cramped, stark prison cell, but he gestured over to the far corner just the same. Ginny got out of the chair with a slow exhale and joined Harry.
"Tell me this is one of your tricks," he whispered as soon as Ginny got close enough.
"No trick. It's the only way to get what we need. I can see it in his eyes."
"But there's plenty of people down in the village willing to manage it." Harry's face was slowly shifting to pleading, although he was willing his voice to stay authoritative.
"For some reason, he trusts me.”
"Because he's insane."
"That's not what I meant," Harry backtracked.
"It better not have been.”
"I just think he's using you for some reason. Trying to wedge us apart.”
"The only way that works is if we allow it. Is it working?"
Harry's gaze shifted down. "I don't know… I've never seen this side of you.”
"Where I accomplish anything I put my mind to? Yes you have. You liked that on the Quidditch pitch.”
'This isn't Quidditch!" Harry exploded. They both looked back at their host, who had an amused expression on his face.
"We’re wasting time. I'm doing it." Ginny announced as she turned back to the room. Harry caught her arm.
"This is my mission. I… I forbid it."
"I'm sorry… what?" Ginny's eyes could burn a hole straight through Harry’s skull
“This isn't how I want things done. We need to be different than the Death Eaters. If we start killing to get what we want, we’ve lost," Harry rationalized.
"Let go of my arm, Harry. I'm doing it with or without you. You'll have to curse me. Would you really do that? If so, you're just like them — one way or the other."
Harry’s eyes widened as he let go. Ginny got a breath and returned to the room.
"Do we have a deal, Potter?" Grindelwald asked.
"Not with me," Harry answered.
"Harry," Ginny whispered. ''Please.”
''Fine. Munch, take Mr. Potter back to the village." The house-elf waddled out of his crawlspace and cut across to stand beside Harry.
''Wait, what about the spell?" Harry asked as he shirked away from the creature's grip.
“People don’t receive rewards if they refuse to execute the work, Potter.”
"I'm not leaving Ginny!”
"It sounds like you already have. Dumbledore would have been very disappointed.''
With a nod and a pop, Harry and Munch were gone. Ginny couldn't help but to reach out for the space he was hardly a second before.
"You didn't have to do that!" she shouted at the old wizard.
"You'll thank me afterwards. Pull up that chair." Still scowling, Ginny did as she was ordered and sat down.
"You're lucky. Some of my best work came in reversing curses. I had to get myself out of some tight spots. Which makes Albus even more impressive. I've had 50 years to act here. I've not made a dent. Of course, I'm not naive enough to suppose he was coming to visit just for the conversation. I could see him going over his work."
"Can we get on with it?" Ginny asked. Grindelwald chuckled.
"My apologies. So you know how a Horcrux is made?" Ginny nodded. "It's greed. Selfishness. Death. Hate. Coming up with a reversal spell just means you do the opposite, which would be?"
Ginny knit her brow. "Generosity. Life. Love.”
''Exactly. Thus instead of destroying something, you strengthen it. Instead of ripping your soul apart, you make it grow."
Ginny looked up to the ceiling in thought. "All right, but how?"
"What do you love?"
"My family and friends. Quidditch-”
''And Potter,” he finished. "So you use your love to transfer Voldemort's soul from the original object to some other. One that is meaningful to you. Then destroy it. In that lies the sacrifice”
''What's the incantation for the transfer?" Ginny asked.
"Restituo Amare. But you also need to perform an action that represents the love."
A twinkle came into the old man's eyes. It reminded Ginny of Dumbledore. ''I'm sure you can think of something."
Ginny tried to fight blushing and failed. "So this will work?”
"I believe so."
"You believe so?!?”
"No one has ever done this before. In all of history, one wizard had made one Horcrux before Tom Riddle."
Ginny nodded. She looked about the room - anywhere but at Grindelwald. She knew what was coming next.
"Now. Your part of the bargain."
Ginny swallowed. "Okay," she stated softly.
“You agree with me,” Grindelwald said. “Otherwise you wouldn't have stood up to Potter. No one can win a war with a spotless conscience. He will need you."
"Maybe. But he won't want me."
"If that's true, he's an exceptional fool. And the world is doomed. Perhaps another reason for me not to see it. Take out your wand, Miss Weasley."
Ginny reached into her pocket and inspected it, perhaps hoping she had cracked it somewhere and the spell wouldn’t work…
''Thank you, dear girl," Grindelwald whispered as she started the wand's movement. Two simple words and it was done.
When they Apparated in front of Matilda's inn, Munch had to use both of his arms as leverage to keep Ginny on her feet.
"Thank you, Munch” she was able to croak out.
"No. Thank you, Ginevra Weasley." She nodded her understanding and the elf made his departure.
Matilda was at her usual stool behind the bar. with two shot glasses in front of her flanking a dark brown bottle. The old barkeep looked tired but made an effort to brighten herself when she viewed the state of Ginny. The younger girl walked over to the bar but didn't sit.
"I thought ve vould toast success. Or failure. Either vay, I figured you needed a drink,” Matilda explained.
Ginny shook her head slowly. She couldn't help but scan the musty bar.
"You haven't seen Harry?”
"He came back a couple of hours ago. Didn't say anything. Just stomped into his room and slammed the door. I heard things being thrown. About an hour later, he left. Didn't say anything. Hasn't been back.”
''Did he… have his luggage with him?'
Matilda's eyes narrowed. "No, dear." She searched Ginny's face for an explanation but came up empty.
"I'm going to bed," Ginny announced, having to push herself off the shiny wood surface to get enough momentum to move toward the stairs.
"Should I tell him anything when he gets in?" Matilda called after her as she was filling a glass for herself.
"Grindelwald's dead," Ginny said, as if testing to convince herself. She heard a glass shatter behind her.
Ginny needed a shower, but she instead found herself toppling onto her bed. The tears started slowly but she was soon gasping for air through a seemingly torrential flood. She doesn’t cry, she ordered herself. A lot of good that did. With her last rational thought, she wrapped her head in the pillow to stifle the sound. She wouldn't give Harry the satisfaction.
The cyclone of her thoughts started with Grindelwald, of course. How he could look death in the face. He didn't smile at the end, but he did look content in contrast to Dumbledore. The look of surprise on the Headmaster’s face would remain with her forever. Of course, Grindelwald would as well.
Ginny thought about their rapid connection. If it were 60 or 70 years ago, would she have been one of those witches who tortured Muggles and caused chaos across the world? Was she really that weak? At that thought, the cyclone grew until it seemed as if it would consume her mind forever.
Then it dug deeper, to the most private regions of her brain - the places only Harry can go. He would deny it, but she could see the expression on his face before he left Nurmengard. He didn't recognize her. It wasn't far from how he looked at people like Bellatrix Lestrange, which meant it wasn't far from disdain. Disgust. Was there a way back from that? Right now, Ginny couldn't imagine not seeing that hateful face every time she looked at him… if she looked at him again. She was surprised he had not left already. If she wasn't so worn down, she would have.
Then her breathing became more regular, her eyes shut, and a silvery mist appeared. Ginny was greeted by Harry's parents, appearing the same as they did in that old picture at Grimmauld Place. Then Sirius. They had never talked much, but when they did, it was as if he recognized something about her she did not. He had that look now and it made her smile. She knew what it was now. Then Dumbledore. He was always kind to her. She was so grateful to him for not holding what happened in the Chamber of Secrets against her that she nearly hugged him every time their paths crossed. Lastly, the intensity of Gellert Grindelwald. The certainty that what he was doing is right.
But more came out of the mist.
Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, both looking bloody, battered, and defeated. What are they doing there? They just got married too. Colin Creevy, the boy who always held a camera, usually trained on Harry. He took her favorite picture. Her and Harry, sitting by the lake last term. It’s still in her room in the Burrow.
And, finally, out of the mist came a tall red-haired young man. Every single inch bruised or broken. Her brother Fred. It was now that Ginny screamed, willing everyone to go backward into the mist, begging. But they just kept coming.
Som eone is holding Ginny's head, straining to keep her from thrashing. She doesn't want to open her eyes. Maybe the mist is true, but only if you confirm it.
"Ginny, wake up. You're fine. You just had a nightmare" A familiar voice. The most familiar. Ginny scrambled up to the nook of the bed, hugging her knees tightly.
"What are you doing here?"
"I heard screaming," Harry explained. Ginny noticed he had drawn his wand.
She closed her eyes. ''I'm fine."
Harry shook his head. "You're always there for me when I have trouble sleeping.''
Ginny's head fell onto her knees. "But you hate me. You hate what I've done. I could see it on your face.”
Harry crawled to her side of the bed, held both sides of her face, and slowly, softly landed his lips on hers. She tried to pull away but he held her there until he got his point across, then released her. Ginny was out of breath.
"I could never hate you. I hated him for putting you in that position. Mainly, I hated myself for not being able to save you from it. I'm supposed to be the hero and here you are, saving me again." Harry wanted to look away but Ginny's eyes wouldn't allow him.
“Really?” Harry nodded. Ginny softened. "I would do it all over again. Because I'm here to protect you. Not just from hexes and danger, but from yourself. It's your code, your nobility that makes you our leader. You lose that and we lose the war." Harry gave a reserved nod. "But part of being on the good side is mercy. That's why I did what I did."
“I know. I thought about that after I finished throwing things,” Harry said sheepishly.
Ginny smiled. "I heard you made a mess."
“I already paid Matilda for what I broke.”
Ginny just shook her head. "This trip is getting expensive, Potter."
Harry grinned, but it departed just as soon as it came. "So… what was it like? I mean, you don’t have to talk about if you don’t want to.”
Ginny sighed. "Can you lay with me? I'll tell you the whole story." She wobbled back to her laying position. Harry slipped in behind her, wrapping her waist in his long arms. Ginny couldn't help herself cooing contentedly.
"I didn't do it," she whispered.
Harry raised himself onto his elbow. "What?!?”
'Well, I helped. But I didn't actually kill him.”
“What do you mean?" Harry’s heart was racing, while Ginny’s was as serene as it had been in hours.
''Did you notice that cauldron by Grindelwald's bed?" Ginny asked.
"Yeah, but I thought it was just for bathroom… stuff.”
"It held the ingredients for Bloodroot Potion. Grindelwald couldn't make it for himself because of the wards Dumbledore set up, so he needed my help. I made it and handed it to him. He drank it and was gone." She extracted herself from Harry’s grasp and rolled around. "Does that count? Am I a killer, Harry?"
He lifted his hand to her face. "No, Gin. It means you're a kind, compassionate person - even to people who don't deserve it." He kissed her forehead and she rolled back around, with Harry’s arms resuming their role.
"So you knew his plan the whole time? Why didn't you tell me?"
"You were too busy yelling.”
"Fair enough. I'm sorry I doubted you.”
“It's okay. I doubted myself until it was over.”
"Why? That's one of the bravest things I've ever heard. You’re amazing."
Ginny let those words wash over her, cleansing any lingering sadness. She could feel herself drifting off again.
“So what happened to Munch?” Harry asked.
“Oh! That’s one of the best parts! So you know how Dumbledore was his master? And now that Grindelwald is gone, he really doesn’t have anything to do?”
“Well, Munch goes to Dumbledore’s heir, obviously. Which according to his will is…”
Harry sat bolt-upright in the bed. “Don’t tell me I have another house-elf!”
Ginny giggled, receiving the reaction she hoped she would. “Hogwarts, silly. He only left you Gryffindor’s Sword and the snitch, and Hermione and Ron that other stuff. Everything else goes to Hogwarts.”
Harry resumed breathing. “Oh. I knew that.”
Ginny shook her head. “So anyway, he’s on his way there now. I told him to be on the lookout for Hermione Granger, who may get him to sign up for a liberation movement but other than that has a heart of gold, and to tell her and Ron that we’re okay, what we’re up to, and to figure out a way to communicate with us.”
“That’s brilliant!” Harry exclaimed, squeezing Ginny from behind. She snuggled in as close as she could to him.
“Can you stay with me tonight?"
''Of course, Gin."
"Would you like to kiss me again?"
"Absolutely." Harry rearranged himself to prepare. Their lips were only an inch apart. From out of nowhere, Ginny's wand appeared, pointed at Harry’s mouth. She flicked from romance to malice like switching a door lock.
"If you ever forbid me to do something again, I'll hex your mouth shut and you’ll be eating through your nose. Understood, Chosen One?" Harry gulped and nodded. Ginny lowered her wand and gave him a slow, lingering kiss.
"Good night, sweetie!" Ginny turned and fell into a peaceful sleep within seconds. It took Harry much longer.
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