|SIYE Time:18:16 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: 6303; Chapter Total: 1877
Part 3 Truths
Harry’s arm felt warm around her shoulders, and against her better judgement Ginny relaxed into him. Slowly the confusion and fear she had been feeling began to dull until it was just a small aching throb. She had been right when she had thought that Harry was like her Patronus. He made her feel safe. He didn’t take away the fear, and pain and anger — but he somehow made it feel a little more bearable. Like she wasn’t alone.
The past two days had been a blur of emotion. She had started so happy and almost carefree. The simple conversation she had overheard had affected her so much that Ginny now had to assume that all the worries and fears she thought she had overcome had merely been lurking beneath the surface. The knowledge that people like her parents and Dumbledore were seriously worried for her safety, and her own anxiousness for Harry had been too much to contain anything any longer.
Ginny hated the fact that she could still be so weak. But then, she also didn’t mind that Harry acted like her shield. She had flared up against her brothers and mother for treating her like something in need of protection, so why did she allow Harry to make her feel this way?
Harry furrowed his brow. He had to tell Ginny now. Explain to her that she meant a lot to him, and that she had helped him more than she would ever know. Show her that she was someone special before she got lost in uncertainties that he knew was too easy to do. But he was at a loss for words; his mind was utterly blank and he couldn’t he find where to begin.
There was also that lurking doubt that Ginny would brush him off, or worse. Although what that worse thing could be he also had no idea at present. For the thousandth time that evening, Harry wished that he could have been blessed with a simple life.
Ginny sighed. She should tell Harry. She could tell Harry. She had to confess her deepest fear, and if it meant that he would withdraw away from her, so be it. She couldn’t live knowing that she might be putting him in danger just by being near to him.
She took a deep breath, and pulled herself to sit straighter on the couch. Harry’s arm fell from her shoulders, and she felt a chill across them. Momentarily she wished for the warmth again, but then she steeled herself to talk.
“Harry, I need to tell you…”
“Tell me what, Gin?” Harry’s face was unreadable, and that was good because it would be like talking to a brick wall.
“Sometimes I think I’m afraid of being lost to him again; of him possessing me and using me for Dark purposes again. And then I’m afraid that he will get to you through me, or I will hurt others. I want to help so much, and be useful. But right now I can’t see how I can — I’m nothing but a hindrance to everyone. A pathetic figure they all need to protect!”
She expected Harry to recoil away from her, or look concerned. She didn’t want to see pity on his face. Thankfully, Harry only looked down at his hands.
“How can that be?” he asked.
At first Ginny thought he meant how could she be a pathetic figure, but she quickly realised he was talking about her being used by Voldemort. “I don’t know,” she replied despondently, “but he has done it once before, and even Dumbledore is afraid that it might happen again. I’m afraid that he will get to me, and hurt me, but more than that…” she trailed off.
“…you are afraid for me,” Harry finished quietly. Ginny didn’t reply, but merely nodded her head.
Again she was a little surprised when both of Harry’s arms folded around her. He pulled her towards him, and she sat there silently. She didn’t cry and she couldn’t speak. She had used up most of her emotions already this evening, and she was running dry. When Harry began to speak, she simply sat and listened, and tried to take it all in.
Harry told her that he needed all of his friends. She had been the one to tell him that. He needed Hermione, because she knows things, and has helped him so much before. Because Hermione would always be there no matter what.
I’d like to see you try to force Hermione to stay away, Ginny thought to herself. She’d tell you in no uncertain terms to stop being an idiot, and then proceed to organise everyone.
Harry kept talking, in that soft voice that she loved. The one no one else seemed to notice, but showed the lesser seen side of Harry’s personality. The gentler, sensitive side. He told her then that he needed Ron, because Ron has always been his best mate, and would stick to his side through anything. Ginny couldn’t help but chuckle a little when Harry said that Ron made him laugh. Yes, she understood that.
He makes me so mad sometimes, but I love Ron to pieces too. I remember when it was just him and me, against the twins. He made me laugh then too, and still does come to think of it. Especially when he makes such a fool of himself. Usually around Hermione…
But Harry wasn’t finished.
“I need you too Ginny, because if anything, who else will yell at me like you do.”
Thoughts were flying around poor Ginny’s head like a merry-go-round. Harry’s presence and his words were muddling her up even more by heightening her awareness of just how much she really did still like him, no matter how much she thought she shouldn’t. She fished wildly for a second, trying to come up with a response to his latest statement.
Ginny huffed. “Is that all I am — someone to yell at you?”
Harry grinned. She sounded put out, but he could see through the façade. Underneath he knew that Ginny was really quite touched at his words. “Well, no one else can yell like Ginny Weasley,” he replied cheekily.
Ginny rounded on Harry, folded her arms across her chest and tried to look offended. But the face was so comical to him that he couldn’t help but start laughing. Pretty soon Ginny herself joined in.
“We make a great pair, don’t we?” Harry reflected ruefully.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, here we are — you were telling me off for being too hard on myself, and trying to pull away from everyone. Now what are you doing to yourself?”
Ginny smiled wryly. “I guess once this is all over, they might need to lock the two of us up.”
“Preferably not together.”
Ginny looked at him oddly. “I don’t fancy spending my gloomy self-inflicted misery with you yelling at me all the time,” he explained.
“Oh, ‘fess up Potter. You just said you like me yelling at you,” she grinned. He was happy to see her do that. It was the first sincere grin he had seen on the youngest Weasley’s face all night.
“Well…maybe. I guess I do.” Harry sighed. “You seem to be the only one who’ll do it these days.”
“Hermione and Ron really care about you, Harry,” Ginny said soberly.
“I know, but I just wish they would argue with me once in a while. Not give in so easily. Hermione is so good at arguments, and I know for sure that Ron has a temper. I wish they’d fight with me again. Like they used to.”
“Maybe it’s time you told them a few things.”
“Like the prophecy?”
“Ye-es. That I suppose. But perhaps how you really feel about certain things first. Like Sirius. Like your fears for us all. Be honest with them. They deserve it as much as you do Harry.”
“What about you Ginny?”
“Yes, you. You can’t go hiding things to yourself anymore either.”
“I’m not hiding anything —” she started to argue.
“Yes you are,” Harry interrupted. “Tom Riddle, for instance. Among other things. If it’s good enough to tell me to talk to friends, then it’s good enough for you. You don’t have to always confide in yourself, you know. Or the stars for that matter,” he said a little quieter.
Ginny just stared at him in astonishment. “What on earth do you mean, Harry Potter?”
“You know what I mean, Ginny Weasley.”
She blushed and looked away. “That’s different…”
“Rubbish. How can it be different?” Harry sighed in anticipated frustration and ran his hand through his hair. He didn’t know how the hell to say this. Voldemort was easier to work out than Ginny.
“Ginny, I —” he tried to start.
“Harry…” Ginny began at the same time. They both laughed.
“You go first,” Harry said, mentally cursing himself for trying to postpone it again.
Ginny blushed. “I…I can’t. I don’t really know what I was going to say.”
“Well, that makes two of us again.”
Harry took a deep breath, and looked away. “Ginny, I don’t know. We’re — we’re friends, aren’t’ we?”
“Well, I hope so, after tonight,” she said wryly.
“But that’s just it Ginny, I don’t feel like we’re friends anymore.”
Ginny’s face fell and Harry hurried to try to pour out the tangle of words. “I mean, I don’t want to be friends…no wait! That’s not right! Well, it is right, but not in the way it sounded…Oh hell…”
“It’s okay Harry. I understand. You’ve got Ron and Hermione, and it would be like me barging in.”
“But you’re not barging in!” Harry exclaimed. “I like having you around, and talking to you. I miss it when you don’t talk to me. I just meant that I …I…” he stared at her helplessly. Romance was not his forte, and he was buggering this up completely. Ginny wouldn’t want anything to do with him after tonight, much less speak properly to him. Not when he could talk, and babbled instead like a raving fool.
Ginny’s heart was caught. Was she imagining this whole situation? It couldn’t possibly be real. She had dreamed it so much, for so many years, that it was entirely possible that she was just projecting her dreams into reality, or something like that. Wasn’t it?
Harry seemed to be struggling with something. Ginny’s eyes quested for his, but Harry’s green eyes were darting around, as though trying to find something benign to settle on. They were failing.
Ginny sighed. It never ended, did it? The up-down, up-down game that she had played since meeting this boy. One minute head-over-heels with a new crush, the next reasoning that she was being silly. Then over-the-moon with girlish love, and crashing to un-noticed reality. Now she was back on the upward spiral, and dreading the fall back to earth that usually came on the other side.
Harry grabbed her hand. “Ginny — I think I like you,” he blurted.
Time froze. Neither Harry nor Ginny seemed to blink for an endless moment, until slowly Ginny stirred, and blinked slowly. Her breath was irregular. Like you? What, was that like like, or just …like? As in friends, or…or…she didn’t want to complete that sentence. It was too unreal. Calm yourself Ginevra Weasley. As usual you’re jumping to conclusions, and he’s going to laugh himself silly at your foolishness any moment.
“Well, Harry. I like you too. We’re…we’re friends aren’t we?” she said, cursing the hesitation in her voice.
Harry tried to hide his disappointment. “Friends?”
“But everything you said…about what you…” Harry let go of Ginny and ran his hand through his hair. It was all much to confusing for him. He distinctly remembered hearing her say that she still liked him. He would never work girls out. And a lot of experience you’ve had in that department, Potter. One girl, and you have all the wisdom of experience. You couldn’t even really say that you were dating Cho. One Hogsmeade trip and sobbing kisses. Hardly girlfriend/boyfriend.
Ginny was staring at him, with an indefinable expression on her face. He didn’t know why he did it. Frustration at not being able to say anything properly? Lack of experience in how to approach a girl? Memories of miserable kisses with Cho and wish to know something better?
Whatever it was, on impulse Harry leant forward and kissed Ginny softly on the lips. He pulled back just as quickly, and a small gasp escaped from her. Then before he realised it, Ginny had grabbed his hands and was kissing him back. Cho and his teary wetness were swept from his mind as Ginny re-wrote his personal opinions. This was better than anything. As cliché as he knew it would sound, it felt like flying. He was soaring, and his soul felt the same lightness of burden that he got when he went flying on his Firebolt.
It would have been magic to stay that way for the rest of the night, but Ginny broke the kiss after a too short moment. She was blushing furiously, and the tips of her ears were turning an amusing pink. Harry could feel his own face warming, but it certainly wasn’t due to the fire.
“Ummm…”Ginny said, averting her eyes to the loose strands on the carpet that had held Harry captivated attention earlier.
Silence fell, but it wasn’t an awkward one. Harry brushed his forehead, feeling that the common room had heated up a little too much to be entirely comfortable.
“I thought the fire was dying down,” he said. “Little, ah, warm in here now, isn’t it?”
Harry’s eyes cast around the room, knowing that he should say something else, but his sight alighted instead on the window. Sudden inspiration struck.
“Ginny, d’you want to go for a fly? You know, cool fresh air — clears the mind.”
“I don’t have my broom. I left it at home…”
“We can go on mine. Together. You and me. Like last time, only no yelling.”
Ginny grinned. “Are you sure? I thought you liked my yelling.”
Harry smiled, and it was a genuine smile that reached deep into his eyes. “I like you Ginny,” he said simply. Without another word he Summoned the Firebolt from his dormitory, and held out a hand for Ginny. She took it and settled herself on the broom behind him. Harry felt her arms tighten around him, and he squeezed the pair of them through the window into the air beyond.
Sunlight was beginning to creep its fingertips across the distant horizon, but morning was still distant and hazy as Harry and Ginny flew together around the darkened and shadowed castle. The world had come to a hushed standstill, and neither of them wanted to break the spell with useless words. To Harry, it was as though he had found a pocket of pure happiness that had been missing for so long, and that the friendship of Hermione and Ron had only gone so far in filling. The war, Voldemort, the prophecy: all were suddenly in perspective and he didn’t feel tormented anymore. He still feared, but without fear you can’t have courage, or hope. And Harry had discovered that there were quite a lot of both to go around, if only you tapped into the right sources. Namely, the true friends who were willing to share their supplies. And he had the truest of friends. Which was more than Voldemort or his Death Eaters could boast. Maybe Lord Voldemort was envious…well he could find his own friends. These were Harry’s and he’d be damned if anyone would take them away. Especially in light of a certain new…awareness.
For Ginny, time had sped up over the past week to bring her right where she had been longing to be for around five years. She clung tight to Harry and let the rushing wind tear away the pain and fright of the last two days. Hurt would always linger, but she wouldn’t lock it away. It only grew when she did that, and she would sooner be a Death Eater than allow anyone to use her to hurt others again. And he could only do that through her weaknesses. Go to hell Lord V-Voldemort she thought spitefully and more than a little defiantly, before turning her mind resolutely to happier realms. One day she would tell Harry just how much he managed to catch her fears, and hold them so they hardly hurt. One day, but not today. One day when the time for fears was gone. Today was for purely living.
Both were in unspoken agreement that they would go slowly now, so as to keep this special, and cherish every bit. Harry and Ginny didn’t need to be told that life was precious, but they had taught each other that it can’t be wrapped in cotton wool either. Life must be enjoyed and treasured, for it’s not worth anything unless used to the fullest.
Thankyou to everyone who has read and reviewed my little creativity. I’m terribly sorry it didn’t finish until after the release of HBP, but real life has a tendency to strike with spiteful busyness at inopportune moments. Particularly when I’m already busy!
Ah well. Now that we do have the long awaited treasure, I foresee a long wait til we get to clutch the next precious piece of canon. So I also predict quite a bit more in the way of fic-writing from yours truly, and I hope many of you will read it. I’m planning a longer fic, but won’t say anymore or put it up until I’m sure that something will come of it, because I’d hate to write half a story and then lose interest, and disappoint people. I’ll also probably scribble little one-shots now and then. Who knows? I have twitchy fingers, and they’re always tapping the keyboard, or getting splottered with ink.
Once again thanks to all the wonderful reviewers! You make me smile with some of your comments, and encourage me to keep on writing. May happiness be with you all!
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