Finding Answers by bbrod8
Summary: Five years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Ginny's relationship with Harry is falling apart before her eyes. She seeks help from the one person who might be able to save it.
Categories: Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/AB
Finding Answers by bbrod8
Chapter 1: Finding AnswersAuthor's Notes:
Ginny sat down on the bed, her head in her hands. This was not what she had envisioned at all. By every measure imaginable, she should be the happiest girl alive. At just 21 years of age, she already had her dream career — and her dream man. But while playing Quidditch with the Holyhead Harpies had been everything she had hoped for so far, she could not say the same for her relationship. She loved Harry Potter with all her heart — that wasn't the issue. She loved his boldness, his courage, his fierce loyalty, his sense of humor...everything down to his bright green eyes and untidy black hair.
Nor was there a problem with Harry reciprocating these feelings, Ginny reminded herself as she looked down at the sparkling new addition to her left hand. But lately, Harry had been increasingly distant from her emotionally. She had confronted him about it the night before — she saw no need to be passive about the matter — but that conversation had erupted into a row that left her worst fears confirmed. As Harry quickly rose through the ranks of the ministry's Auror office, he was becoming increasingly afraid that one of his many enemies would use her in an attempt to get to him. It was exactly the frame of mind that had caused him to break up with her mere weeks after they had initially started dating. He had recently proposed to her in order to prove that he wouldn't leave her this time, and while she was overjoyed at the thought of marrying Harry, she found that, much to her dismay, it did little to remedy the problem at hand. She had thought that moving in together would help, and while she was glad to be nearer to him physically, his emotional walls were still up. It has to stop, she thought as she sat on the bed, I can't marry him if he's going to be a shell of himself around me. And after everything we've been through...
For Ginny, the worst part was that she felt like she had nowhere to turn. The fact that she was unable to figure Harry out on her own, the way she usually could, was frustrating enough — she resented any situation that compromised her independence. Talking to her brothers wouldn't do; she needed a woman's perspective (besides, she reminded herself, my brothers are all gits anyway). She had tried asking her mother and Hermione for advice, but given that Ginny had always understood Harry better than either of them to begin with, their counsel was of little use. With her usual avenues leading to dead ends, and thinking of no one else she knew whom she trusted enough to handle a situation like this, Ginny came to the conclusion that she was truly on her own to figure things out.
No, thought Ginny. That's impossible. She had to dash her hopes as instantly as they had risen. For a brief moment, Ginny surmised that there might be one person who could help her. One person who could understand Harry better than anyone. The problem was that the person in question was dead. She felt foolish for even allowing such a ridiculous thought to creep into her mind. Even so, she glanced over to Harry's nightstand, upon which rested two framed photographs. The first was of her and Harry together, beaming brightly with joy. It was the first photograph they had taken together as a couple, and it meant just as much to her as it did to Harry. She smiled weakly at the faces looking out at her. They looked so carefree and innocent. She would give anything for Harry — and herself — to be able to feel like that again.
It was the other photograph, however, that her eyes were seeking. The second photograph bore an uncanny similarity to the first — a beautiful red-haired witch in the arms of a grinning wizard with messy dark hair. This photograph, however, was much older than the one next to it. Harry's reason for keeping it on his nightstand was obvious — it was one of the few things he owned that connected him to his parents. The thought of Harry's parents always made Ginny feel a twinge of melancholy. Everyone who had known them couldn't say enough about how they were such a talented, brave, and loving couple. Having grown up in a loving family herself, she had always felt it unfair that Harry's had been ripped away from him by Lord Voldemort before he ever had a chance to know them, especially considering how horridly his next of kin had treated him throughout his entire childhood.
She picked up the photograph, examining it more closely. Harry really did look exactly like his father, save for his eyes — she could see the same eyes in his mother, Lily. Harry had once said that if he had a galleon for every time someone had pointed this out to him, he could buy out Gringotts. It was the thought of Lily that had given Ginny a flicker of hope a moment ago. If only Lily were still alive. If only there were a way that she could talk to Lily — she would surely have the insight she needed, the answers she sought. But no matter how desperately she longed for a conversation with Lily, it was never going to happen. She was dead. Even Harry had never had an opportunity to speak to Lily — and if Harry never got the chance, why should she?
The realization hit her instantly. She let out a loud gasp. She had been so preoccupied by sympathizing with Harry for never having known his parents that she had forgotten that he had met them before. It had been a brief encounter, seemingly little more than a footnote in Harry's epic adventure that preceded Voldemort's downfall, but neither she nor Harry could help but tear up when recounting it. Harry had told her that he used the Resurrection Stone, one of the three Deathly Hallows that she had always believed to be a myth, to speak with his parents (alongside Sirius and Lupin) shortly before surrendering to Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest during the Battle of Hogwarts. If he had done it, perhaps it could work for her, too.
Ginny began to process the logistics in her head. She knew that Harry had dropped the Resurrection Stone in the Forbidden Forest, and given that she knew of the clearing in which he had ultimately met Voldemort, she could deduce the stone's possible location. She would still have quite a large area she would need to search, however, not to mention the fact that she had no idea what the stone looked like — or if it was still there, even. Nonetheless, it was the only recourse she had left. For Harry's sake, as well as her own, she would have to give it a shot.
This is utter madness, she thought
Ginny stood at the gates of Hogwarts — the point closest to the forest to which she could apparate. Fortunately for her, it was still August; term had not yet started, and security was thus minimal. She walked briskly across the grounds, trying to block out any sense of doubt that would deter her from her mission. To her surprise, it wasn't the difficulty of finding the Resurrection Stone that intimidated her; after all, she had been on far more dangerous missions before. Compared to dueling against fully-grown Death Eaters at the age of 14, finding a rock on the ground was nothing. No, it was the prospect of meeting Harry's mother that made her nervous. Surely, this woman would have high expectations of whoever wished to marry her only son, especially because Harry was the last living descendant of the Potter line; whoever he married would be solely responsible for continuing their legacy.
As she reached the edge of the forest, she realized that her nerves would have to wait. She would have to find the Resurrection Stone first. It would be no small task; the ground was littered with rocks and pebbles. Was she really going to have to inspect every stone in the forest? No, she thought, that's ridiculous. Clearly this stone will be marked somehow. There has to be something special about it. Ugh, why didn't I ask Hermione?
Because Hermione would have tried to talk you out of it, she reminded herself. It was a good thing she hadn't, because even without Hermione's imposing moral compass, Ginny had enough doubts relating to what she was about to do. Was she out of line disturbing the dead like this? Hadn't the Tale of the Three Brothers warned of the dangers of the Resurrection Stone? Harry, after all, seemed to want no part of the stone after the battle, in the same way in which he had rejected the opportunity to wield the Elder Wand. Would the stone even work for her, considering that she had never actually known Lily?
But Ginny had come too far to give up now — nor was she one to abandon a mission as important as this, regardless of the risks or the probability of failure. She continued to scour the ground, the sight of every rock and pebble giving her feelings of hope and disappointment in rapid succession. If only the bloody stone would just reveal itself!
"Of course!" Ginny muttered, suddenly feeling foolish. She took out her wand. "Specialis Revelio". Sure enough, she saw one of the rocks in the distance emit a glow, revealing its magical properties to her. Bingo, she thought. She might not have Hermione's sheer brilliance, but Ginny prided herself in her wit and ability to think on her feet. She bent down to pick up the small stone. It was cracked, but she could still see the symbol of the Deathly Hallows engraved upon it. "Please," she whispered,, as though the stone could hear her, "I need to see Lily."
She turned the stone over in her hand three times, just as Harry had done, and nearly jumped when a spectral figure appeared before her. It certainly wasn't a ghost, but it wasn't fully human, either. If anything, it resembled the incarnate memory from Tom Riddle's diary, though the figure standing before her was a more welcome sight in every conceivable way. She was a beautiful and confident-looking woman, a few inches taller than Ginny (although that wasn't saying much, given Ginny's petite stature). Her dark red hair was an obvious clue to her identity, but it was when Ginny looked at her in the eyes — those brilliant green eyes — that she came to realize the significance of the fact that she was standing in the presence of Lily Potter.
"M-Mrs. Potter?" sputtered Ginny, even more nervous than she had been before, "Erm, hi. I was, er, hoping to talk to you about —"
"Please, sweetheart, call me Lily," the elder woman cut in, with a tenderness in her voice. This helped Ginny feel at ease, though she was still nervous.
"Right. So, erm, the thing is...I need your help. It's about Harry. He and I have been dating for a few years now and we're engaged to be married. I love your son, Lily. Honest, I do. It's just so hard to understand him sometimes. He can be a right git, even. And I didn't know where else to turn. I thought you might know how to get to Harry better than anyone and, well, I had to try, didn't I?"
Lily smiled. "Tell me your name, sweetheart."
"Oh, erm, my name is Ginevra Weasley. Er, Ginny, if you like." She was blushing; how could she have forgotten such an important detail?!
"Weasley? As in...Arthur and Molly Weasley?"
"Yes. You knew them?"
Lily smiled even more brightly. "Well of course! James and I were in the Order with Molly's brothers. Your parents were the nicest couple I'd ever met. Come to think of it, I remember there was quite the to-do when they had a baby girl. Supposedly the first Weasley girl in generations. I take it that was you, love?" Ginny nodded in earnest.
"I suppose it should have occurred to me that you were a Weasley," Lily continued. "After all, with that hair of yours — it seems to me that Potter men just can't resist red-headed witches, can they?" Both women let out a laugh.
"They aren't the only ones," added Ginny, thoughtfully, "Professor Slughorn invited me to be in his Slug Club the day he met me. I think I reminded him of you."
"Ah, yes," Lily replied with a nostalgic smile, "He always loved having me at his gatherings. But I'm sure you gained his favor through your own merits. He was always very picky about who he let into his inner circle."
"Well," Ginny blushed, "he did see me unleash my Bat-Bogey hex on some prat on the Hogwarts Express. Apparently that impressed him. I thought he would give me detention, honestly."
Lily grinned, "You know, I found myself having to hex some prats of my own in my Hogwarts days. Of course, the two biggest prats back then were James Potter and Sirius Black. Funny how love gets us in the most unexpected ways, isn't it?"
"It is," agreed Ginny, "although Harry was never a prat like that. Not at all. It's funny, really — I actually had this huge crush on him when I was little. His story was legend growing up — almost like a fairy tale. It didn't help that he rescued me from certain death at the end of my first year at Hogwarts. It took me years to stop being a nervous wreck around him. But when I did, I realized that he was more than the boy who lived. He was kind, gallant, loyal...but most of all, he was genuine. He never let the fame get to his head. Not to mention that he and I shared a similar sense of humor and passion for Quidditch. We started dating during my fifth year — his sixth — but he broke up with me because he was afraid Voldemort would use me to get to him if he knew about our relationship. We got back together after he defeated Voldemort but now," Ginny sighed, a tear beginning to form, "he's still afraid that someone will hurt me. He's an Auror now, and he's convinced that if he's too close or intimate with me, that his enemies will use me to get to him. And I'm so afraid that our marriage will fail if he keeps being detached like this."
"I see," Lily nodded. "It appears my son is as stupid and noble as his father, bless him."
Ginny's heart skipped a beat. Call it woman's intuition, but she had been right all along — Lily was the one who could help her! Then again, if Harry was as similar to his father as everyone said he was, it was only logical that Lily would know how to handle him.
"What do I do, Lily?" she said, her voice beginning to quiver, "How do I love him when he's afraid to love me?"
"Ginny, sweetheart, you have no idea how much you must mean to Harry. I don't regret giving my life to save him all those years ago, but when his father and I were killed, he had to live with my sister, Petunia. I loved my sister, but she was jealous and insecure about being a muggle when I was a witch. She and I became estranged as we grew older, and she came to resent everything to do with magic. Then she married that awful Dursley man and I knew that if anything happened to me or James, Harry would have a rough go of it under their roof.I've encountered Harry twice in his life, and both times, it was so clear to me how much he longed for his father and me. How desperately he hoped for a loving, stable family. I couldn't imagine what my sister and her husband put him through."
Ginny hung her head. "It's true, Lily. He told me living with his relatives was awful. I try not to ask about it much. It isn't something he likes to discuss."
"No, I wouldn't expect it to be," said Lily, somberly. "But what you must understand is that Harry wasn't able to grow up with the love of his family. That means he must rely on his friends to fill the void, and as his partner, you have an especially important role to play. Marrying Harry means that you become his family — the family that he never got to have with my sister. That's why he needs you, no matter how difficult it may seem. I see how much you love him, Ginny. The fact that you came all this way just to talk to me shows me that you would do anything for him."
"I would, Lily. I really would."
Lily chuckled and shook her head. "And therein lies your problem. My hunch is that Harry, much like his father, feels the same way. He loves you so much that he would do whatever it takes to make sure you are protected from harm. Even if it meant closing himself off from you."
"So it's from his father that he gets his penchant for being such a chivalrous git?"
Lily smiled and nodded. "I remember when we found out Lord Voldemort was after us. Dumbledore said he got information from an anonymous source that Harry, James, and I were the subject of a prophecy relating to his downfall. I was undeterred. Afraid, of course, but ready to fight. But James wanted none of insisted on hiding me away with Harry so that no one would find us, while he went off with the Order to try and fight Voldemort. James wanted to place Harry and me under the Fidelius charm and have Sirius be the secret-keeper, so that he wouldn't even know where we were, just in case some Death Eater tried to torture our whereabouts out of him. That's how distant he thought he needed to be in order to love me."
"That's exactly what Harry would have done," Ginny mumbled, looking down at the ground.
"It wasn't as though he didn't trust my abilities or didn't consider me his equal," Lily continued, "it was nothing like that. He made that much very clear. He just knew he couldn't live with himself if I was harmed."
When Lily said this, Ginny could feel some of her confidence restored. As the younger sister of six older brothers, Ginny sometimes felt that her loved ones would never see her as anything but a helpless little girl — an insecurity that was not assuaged by Harry's instinctively protective nature. But hearing Lily's perspective made Ginny realize that Harry's reasons for being so protective were much more similar to James' than to her brothers'. She turned up to face Lily again. "How did you convince James not to leave you? Harry's just so thick. I'm usually good at getting through to him, but when it comes to protecting me, he won't budge."
A sly grin unexpectedly took root on Lily's face. "Yes, it took me a while to make James come around, too. It was so silly of me to think that reasoning with him would work. I realized that appealing to his mind was useless, because when it came to this, he was thinking with his heart. So I knew that I would have to do the same."
"What did you say to him?"
"He was so focused on not letting me die while he still lived that he hadn't once thought about what it would be like if HE died and I was left alone. How my heart would break just as much as his would if something happened to me. I knew there was risk involved, but I had to show him that every moment we had together was precious, and worth the risk. I had to tell him what I felt in the deepest recesses of my heart: that I would rather die with him than live without him."
"I snogged the living daylights out of him before he could come up with a retort," said Lily, with a mischievous smirk on her face. "That seemed to do the trick. Remember, Ginny, we women have a very powerful magic of our own sort — one capable of compelling even the densest of men to see things our way."
Ginny looked at her elder counterpart in awe. She was as cheeky and clever as advertised. If only she were still alive...she could have learned so much from her. No doubt the two would have become very close.
"Did James ever regret staying with you? I mean, considering what, er, happened..."
Lily smiled again. "No. It's ironic, I know, seeing how his worst fears were confirmed when Voldemort found us. But without the events that happened that night, Voldemort might never have been defeated. We might still be living in a constant state of fear. And, for all we know, Harry might never have met you."
Ginny allowed the tear in her eye to fall. She had never considered that Harry's parents' sacrifice had been for more than just Harry. It had been for everyone — for HER.
"Everything happens for a reason, Ginny," Lily pressed on, "Life is too precious to live in fear and apprehension. We have to cherish the time we have with the ones we love, and have faith that whatever happens is for the better. Harry's father found great solace in that, and while our time together on earth wasn't long, it was happy. Even when we were in hiding, we had each other, and we had Harry. We had everything we could ever need."
Ginny was touched. Lily's love for her family was every bit as real as she imagined it would be. It was as deep, strong, and unshakable as her own feelings for Harry.
"I'm so sorry you didn't get to see him grow up, Lily. Even with all the things he and I have been going through lately, he has become an incredible man. You and James would be so proud."
"We've been there when he's needed us," said Lily gently, though Ginny could tell she was starting to get emotional at the thought of her son. "But please, Ginny," Lily continued, "please do for him what his father and I never could."
"You have my word, Lily. I'll give him the loving family he's always deserved. I promise."
She ran up to her soon-to-be mother-in-law and embraced her. Or, she tried to. Her arms caught nothing but air, completely forgetting that Lily was but a vision. The realization hit her with a jolt, and in a moment of confusion, she dropped the stone.
Ginny found herself brought back to reality. The forest was quiet and still; Lily was gone. Yet, though her surroundings suggested that she was alone, she had never felt more at peace. She had found the answers she most desperately sought. When Harry got home that evening, he would be in for the snogging of his life.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story archived at http://www.siye.co.uk/siye/viewstory.php?sid=130297