|SIYE Time:18:17 on 20th August 2018|
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: 10625; Chapter Total: 2395
LIGHT FROM AN OPEN WINDOW
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?”
“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?”
“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.
“I can’t Ginny.”
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