|SIYE Time:18:17 on 20th August 2018|
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Genres: Angst, Fluff
Story is Complete
Summary: The sequel to Light from an Open Window.
Ginny's firm grasp on her world has started fraying. After overhearing her parents discussing her one night, an avalanche of realities start crashing in, and it is Ginny's turn to feel as though she is drowning in too many worries and fears. Harry too is trying to grasp new feelings that are steadily growing for the girl who forced him out of his self-pity. Can Harry overcome his doubts on his own and reach out to help Ginny, by returning the favour she gave to him?
Hitcount: Story Total: 6304; Chapter Total: 2063
Part 1 Doubts
Ginny skipped down the stairs of the Burrow, two at a time. Her trunk was neatly packed and labelled and standing patiently waiting in the centre of her room for her mother to float it downstairs the next morning. Hermione had disappeared earlier, muttering something about seeing that Ron got organised. Ginny strongly doubted that neither her brother nor Harry would finish packing until the time came for them all to depart for King’s Cross.
Sure enough, as she rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs, there was Ron and Harry engaged in a completely one-sided battle of chess. Ginny smiled as she shook her head. Hermione was curled in a chair, reading one of her new textbooks, and occasionally shooting pointed glances in the direction of the two boys. Ginny was interested to note however, that most of the glances tended to be more focussed on Ron.
Hermione looked up and gestured for Ginny to join them, but Ginny shook her head. Maybe later, but right now she wanted a big mug of steaming hot chocolate. With marshmallows. And she would try to snitch one of the brownies her mother had baked for the train tomorrow. But only if Molly Weasley wasn’t anywhere in the vicinity of the kitchen.
Ginny padded around, heating up milk and peering into tins in the pantry for the elusive brownies. Her mother had become very good at hiding things since Fred and George had managed to devour an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies on their own. They had done it when they were seven, and all in the short space of time it had taken for Mrs. Weasley to put Ron and Ginny to bed with a short story.
Voices in the dining room startled her, and she backed out of the pantry with a guilty look on her face. But no one entered. She rushed over to get her milk before it burned. Her father’s voice echoed through the partly open door.
“Did Dumbledore suggest anything, Molly?”
“Hush!” responded her mother. Ginny perked up her ears. Maybe they were going to discuss Order business. This was too good an opportunity to miss. She ducked down behind the bench in case someone thought to check that there was no one listening in the kitchen. But no one did. Odd that they weren’t even attempting to ward the dining room with a silencing charm. Her parents must have thought that they were a little safer at the Burrow with so few people around.
‘It’s okay, Molly,” Arthur said. “Ron, Harry and Hermione are in the lounge, playing chess.”
“That’s alright then. And Ginny’s still upstairs, packing her trunk. She won’t be down for a while. So, what are we to do, Arthur?” Molly’s voice had the plaintive tone of someone who was worried about something close to her heart. Was it about Harry? Everyone knew that Harry was like a seventh son to the Weasleys. Ginny’s heart skipped. Maybe it was Bill, or Charlie? Percy? What had he done now?
“I don’t know, Molly.” Mr. Weasley was tired. Ginny knew he’d been out all the previous night doing something for the Order, but he wouldn’t say what no matter how much she pressed him. She knew she drove her parents crazy with asking questions, but nobody else seemed to be bothered. Ron had given up trying to get answers out of his parents, and for that Mr and Mrs Weasley seemed relieved. But they didn’t know what Ginny did, and that was that her youngest brother and his friends actively sought information on their own through other more devious channels. Namely, the twins.
Cautiously, Ginny crept closer to the door to the dining room. She didn’t dared peek through to see her parents. Hearing them would have to be enough.
“I can’t afford…couldn’t bear to lose her.”
“We won’t lose her, dear. Dumbledore just said that she was at a risk of being targeted. But she’ll be safe at Hogwarts.”
Ginny’s heart descended through the floor. They were talking about iher. Dumbledore thought she was at a risk. From what?
Tom. He’s still trying to get me she thought erratically. But he couldn’t! That was just a memory — in a diary. And the diary was gone! Harry had destroyed it. Tom could never hurt her again. Dumbledore had promised!
“You don’t think…surely he wouldn’t bother with her now, Arthur? She’s just a young girl. What could You-Know-Who possibly want with our little — ”
There was a shuffling sound, and Ginny could picture her parents embracing. “Dumbledore said something about how her mind was susceptible to his influence. Perhaps not greatly, but there is a risk. Right now he’s focussed on Harry — ” he paused as Molly sobbed, “— but there is a chance. You, you saw him this morning. Did he say anything then?”
“No. Just that we shouldn’t tell anyone, not even her. She can’t know, or she’ll be in more danger. He said she’d be safe at Hogwarts, and there they could keep an eye on her for us.”
Molly broke into sobs again, but Ginny couldn’t listen to anymore. As silently as possible she left by the outside door, ran around the house to re-enter through the front door and then dashed upstairs to her bedroom. There she threw herself onto her bed and wept.
“Check mate”. Harry sighed and leaned back against the couch. It wasn’t surprising that Ron had won again. He was easily the chess champion, and Harry could probably never even hope to beat him. But playing against Ron was made even harder when you couldn’t focus on the game.
Harry’s mind had not been his own. Hadn’t been for some time. Alright, for a long time if you wanted to count that, but he didn’t want to. At least not tonight. Not when things had reached a rare peacefulness. No, lately his mind had been on a slighter figure; one with deep red hair and warm brown eyes that pierced him right to the soul and shook him until he didn’t know how to react anymore. Ginny Weasley had righted his world when it was upside down and falling apart. And then she had proceeded to turn it on it’s ear again. And he hadn’t the faintest idea how she had done it.
What the hell was he feeling? Friendship, yes — he had told her that he wanted to be friends the night they went flying. The night he had spilled everything to her, and not felt ashamed, or horrified for doing so. Why? Because it had felt right to tell someone, and Ginny had felt right as that person. But then, that was another thing he couldn’t really explain. Why was she so right?
Harry watched idly as Ron tried to cajole Hermione into a round of wizard chess. Briefly he knew that sooner or later they would start another argument, and chess would be forgotten. Yet his friends’ arguments didn’t seem to be as long as they used to be. They weren’t even really arguments anymore. More like casual bickering. I wonder if they realise just what they sound like, he thought to himself, and then his mind wandered again, and came back to rest on Ginny.
Was he going crazy, or did he feel more for Ginny than just friendship? How could that be? He smiled wryly. Look at yourself Potter — if you don’t watch it you’ll either go round the twist or simply mad. Since when did you become so philosophic? Since Ginny had forced him to see things, that’s when.
The trouble was, Harry didn’t think he should even be contemplating that which he wasn’t even sure he was contemplating in the first place. He didn’t have time for that sort of worry. A rampaging Dark Lord and the imminent threat of a disastrous war should have been foremost in his thoughts. In fact, it had been up until one week ago. Damn Ginny! Far from making his life easier, she had only succeeded in complicating things. Now what was he supposed to do?
Getting up, Harry stretched, and left the room. Hermione and Ron hadn’t even noticed. He climbed the stairs to Ron’s room and got to work packing his trunk. There wasn’t much to do. He hadn’t really unpacked since arriving at the Burrow. Only a few odds and ends were lying loose, and Harry checked around to make sure he didn’t miss anything.
Maybe, just maybe, when they got back to school, things would sort themselves out. It was probably only the fact that the four of them were locked into such a confining space and society that Harry was having these strange thoughts. When they got back to Hogwarts, things would become clearer.
Ginny protested a headache and missed dinner that night, knowing full-well that she wouldn’t be able to face watching her parents share concerned glances. She slept fitfully, and was much subdued in the car to King’s Cross the next day. But it wasn’t misery, or sadness that had dampened her previously happy mood; Ginny was actually quite disgusted with herself that she had broken down in such a way.
After everything that has happened to, I snap over hearing something as small as what Mum and Dad were discussing! She had come face-to-face with Tom Riddle and Death Eaters before. It was natural that she would be at some risk, and she’d thought she already had accepted that. Truthfully, it wasn’t really the threat of being targeted that was worrying Ginny the most. It was more the realisation that her firm hold on her fears and past trials might have begun to fray.
She had woken up in the early hours of the morning, shivering because she had heard his laugh again, ringing maliciously in her ears. She hadn’t heard that laugh so much for at least three years. Not since the Dementors had appeared on the train in her second year. Her hands had been icy cold, and she had rubbed them furiously until they were bright pink, before curling herself into a tight ball and willing herself back to sleep.
At Platform 9 & ¾ she allowed her parents to kiss her goodbye, stubbornly refusing to notice the look of motherly concern in Molly’s eyes. Silently she followed Harry, Ron and Hermione on to the train, and settled herself in the corner of a compartment and stared out the window. Ginny barely raised her hand when Ron and Hermione left she and Harry alone when they headed off to a meeting of Prefects.
She could feel Harry’s studious gaze resting on her every so often, but she ignored that too. If he knew how pathetic she had been last night, he would scorn her. Did Harry bawl his eyes out every time he heard something about himself? No. Because Harry was strong, he could deal with things. She had thought she could deal with things too, but obviously she must have been wrong. Pull yourself together, Ginny, and don’t be so pathetic.
What was going wrong? Everything had seemed so good this past week. Harry had opened up to her; they had shared their fears and come to a deeper understanding of their friendship. Well, Harry had actually done most of the sharing, and she had listened. Then she had argued, cajoled, and sympathised. Honestly, she had been shocked at just how much Harry had been hiding. His guilt, his fears — how it hadn’t overwhelmed him she had no idea. Would she have been able to stand keeping all that in? Probably not, Ginny thought bitterly, especially if your display last night is any indication. Just the knowledge of the prophecy would have tipped you over the edge.
A sudden numbness in her fingers nearly caused her to drop the wand she had been twisting. Oh Merlin! The prophecy! Grey memories of Tom Riddle were now making all that Harry had told her seem even darker, colder and more drastic. Until now the full implications of what it meant hadn’t seeped in. Her heart sank as she mentally cursed herself for being an insensitive git. All week she had been daydreaming about the fact that Harry Potter had finally seemed to notice her, and she had forgotten the more pressing issues at hand. How could she even think to expect things from the boy sitting opposite her, when he already had too much on his plate? Selfish Ginny, only thinking of herself.
Ginny felt tears start to form in her eyes. It was too much. Too, too much. Talk about a delayed reaction. Her love for Harry had risen to unimaginable heights, but it now warred with a growing sense of fear and panic. Why had these fears returned? She had been sure that she had gotten over them to a large extent, and the rest she had pushed far enough away so that they could never rise and make her feel that helpless ever again.
Ginny had built herself a secure world, hidden away from stark realities, and there it had been somewhat peaceful. But she was quickly finding out that reality could not be held at bay forever, and her stable world was unravelling.
What was wrong with Ginny? She had hardly spoken to him all day. Had he done something wrong? Had he said something? Harry frowned. It couldn’t be just him, because Ginny had was barely speaking to anyone. She had stared out the window all the way to the station, and apparently the view from the train was just as fascinating, because here she was — staring out the window again. Staring at anything actually, as long as it didn’t possess a pair of eyes that could stare back at her.
Harry felt frustrated. He had been starting to think that Ginny was a fresh source of friendship; a person to whom he could share things without feeling as though he was being put under the microscope. She had been so open and understanding, and now she seemed to have closed up. What had he missed that could have caused such a change in Ginny?
You miss a lot of things, Potter, he thought dismally. He had never noticed Ginny Weasley until he had really needed her. How selfish was that? He always seemed to be missing details, or important facts it seemed. Like he had blinkers on, and couldn’t see around himself.
So he sat there, in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express, thankful that no one else had joined the two of them. He sat there in a shared silence with Ginny, and every so often tried to be more observant by watching her as she resolutely stared out of the window. Harry knew he had bigger problems to worry about, but he couldn’t focus on anything larger than the petite redhead opposite him. Even the small voice in his head that liked to argue with him was thinking along the same lines as the rest of him.
She won’t look at you, and you know what it reminds you of the voice whispered. iShe can’t bear to look at you, because it has all suddenly sunk in and when she does look at you, all she can see is the tragic little hero that everyone else sees. That’s all you are, a pathetic tragedy to be sighed over and pitied.
By now Harry knew well enough that he couldn’t trust the voice. Hell, Ginny had as good as forced him to see that the voice lied. But it still confirmed suspicions he had held since telling Ginny everything. Maybe he had been wrong in offloading everything onto her. They hadn’t really been friends before, and it certainly wasn’t the way to begin a friendship. You couldn’t just stroll up to someone, tell them that you and only you were responsible for stopping the entire world coming to an end, and expect things to be downright chummy afterwards. Probably Ginny hadn’t fully comprehended the extent of things at first, but surely she must by now. And that would be why she was avoiding him.
But hadn’t she said that she wanted to help? That she understood the darkest of memories, too painful to share with just anyone? Hadn’t she kissed him, albeit just on the cheek, in a friendly sort-of way? Harry smiled. He could still feel an echo of her lips faintly touching his skin. If that was only a friendly gesture, then why does it still make me smile like this he wondered. It didn’t make him feel all funny like Cho did, but the memory of Ginny’s kiss left a small piece of peacefulness inside.
Laughter echoed up and down the corridor of the carriage, and Ron and Hermione were yet to return from their meeting. Harry had seen classmates and DA members go past, some with a wave, but none had entered. He wondered briefly where Neville and Luna were, but on the whole his mind was well and truly preoccupied.
Then he heard the rattle of the lunch trolley, and the calling out of the lady who served the train. Just as Harry reached for him money he heard Ginny let out a small gasp, and looked up quickly to see her wand twisted awkwardly in her hands. She recovered a firm grip on it, and still didn’t even glance in his direction, but a fool wouldn’t have missed the tears that started to form in her eyes.
Harry swallowed a guilty lump that had formed in his throat. It wasn’t enough that he suffered from intense bouts of melancholy and woe, but he had to spread it around like a contagion. What is it I’ve done? he thought miserably.
A/N — heehee, the shoe is on the other foot now, isn’t it? This will be shorter than Light From An Open Window, but a little more rewarding, I think you’ll agree! Oh, and Ginny won’t stay mopey, I guarantee it!
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