|SIYE Time:18:00 on 21st January 2019|
Light From An Open Window
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Category: Post-OotP, Buried Gems
Genres: Angst, Fluff
Story is Complete
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.
Hitcount: Story Total: 11519; Chapter Total: 3227
LIGHT FROM AN OPEN WINDOW
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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