| H. F |
‘‘The Dueling party?’’ His mother’s sweet but still loud voice rang out in Henry’s room, and her face contorted with joy and, it seemed, fear. '’This is something very big, don't you think? I mean… it's the
.’’ Arabella whispered the last part as if someone could hear them and take Henry off the guest list.
‘’I know.’’ He nodded, fidgeting with his hair nervously. ‘’But I need to go with Miss Weasley.’’ Her mother’s face contorted again, and even through the flames of the fireplace, he knew she was thinking that wasn’t a good idea. ''What's the problem?''
‘’There are none… really, I’m happy that one of us can at least step inside that castle.’’
‘’Henry, dear… It’s not our place. Who guarantees that Your Graces will treat you well? Especially when you're not going to be an employee of them, which they can send or dismiss, but you're an employee of Mr. Weasley. Entering through the front door.’’
‘’No need to worry, I’m always camouflaged among these people. I am at a safe distance from everyone, but I can still follow Miss. Weasley.’’ His mother sighed, and Henry wished he could hug her, try to calm her down.
‘’Well, Miss. Weasley could get married and get you out of this job, right? It’s so dangerous, son… You got hurt yesterday, and today you tell me that you were attacked.’’
‘‘We haven’t been attacked, Mom.’’ Henry looked at the small window beside him, night already falling like a gloom under the whole yard. ‘’I’m fine, she protected me.’’
''Poor girl ... How is she?'' He tried not to smile as he remembered how she yelled at him when he Apparated to their safe place, and how she made his heart ache when he realized that she was almost crying with only the idea of him being attacked in front of her.
''Good. We're close to finding a suspect.'' He shrugged, not to say that he had followed Mr. Weasley across borders and that the two had visited Yeovil a third time (fourth time, if he considered the time that went alone).
The city was still an endless war field, cold as if the winter were endless, with horrible cloudy weather, and so charged with the magic of darkness that it drained all your happiness out, being very difficult even to be able to smile. They had struggled to enter without causing confusion - as they did the first time - and Henry could still taste the blood in his mouth when he had to kill a Death Eater.
The boy should not have even reached the age of 20.
‘’I hope they’ll arrest the person soon. I miss you, and I’m so worried that you die or get hurt.’’ Arabella tried to smile, but Henry can see there were tears in her eyes.
''I will be fine. I promise.’’ He smiled at her, wishing he could hug her again. He hadn't seen his mother in almost a year. It was too risky to visit her and be in danger of being followed. There were some people who had reason to want to get back at him.
''Send me news. Now, tell me what you’ll wear at the Dueling Party. ’’
‘’Work clothes, mom. My black robes, and at most, the Auror coat of arms. It’s the best way to camouflage myself.’’
‘’Why don’t you try something new? Maybe you might meet a woman ..’’
''Miss Arabella, it is a party of the high aristocracy, there are no women for me there.'' Henry laughed, not wanting to delve into the thought that the only woman he wanted, he could never take out for a dance. Even though he always saw her at the back of the room, alone, looking at all the other couples while she just looked madly melancholy.
Henry would never understand why no one asked her to dance, when he was ecstatic at the thought of having her in his arms for a few minutes.
‘’If you say so,’’ The woman shrugged, then yawned. ‘’I’ll let you rest… please take care. I’m thinking you are too thin.’’
‘’I’m still the same.’’ He laughed, waving at her. ''Bye. Love You.''
‘’I love you, too.’’ And then she was gone, the flames turning red again, making him hear the sound of the loneliness that night provided. The elves' feet walking down the hall, the wind whipping the trees rough, some crickets and frogs, and a few creaking branches.
Henry sighed, lying on his bed and looking at the ceiling, trying to forget that morning...
As soon as Henry apparated inside their security location - a house where only Ginny was
- he was greeted by Ginny's scream echoing through the empty house;
‘’You could have died!’’ She threw herself at him, hitting his chest with closed fists. ‘’Died! In front of me and I couldn't have done a thing!’’ Henry grabbed her fists, making her stop. Feeling a little shocked by the reception, even a little dizzy from her explosion.
‘’But I didn’t die.’’ He reminded her as if to say that tomorrow day would still dawn. ‘’And it was the best thing to do.’’
''The best? How is it best to leave me behind while I can see you being murdered in front of me?!’’
Better me, than you.’’ Henry remained calm, even though her skin seemed to burn his with proximity. The brown eyes staring at him as if they were going to read his mind - and Henry thought she would.
‘’Don’t say that.’’ Her voice came out with a tone of hurt that he had never heard before, not even when he met her on a bad day. ''Never. I am not worth more than you. And I'm not saying that to you to say that 'bla-bla-bla of course it is, because you're here to take care of me'... You are my best friend Henry, and I don't know what would happen if that spell had hit you and I saw you die in front of me.''
Best friend... She, a daughter of a Viscount, who had been promised to a son of Duke, who was one of the most powerful witches he had ever met, considered him her best friend.
He, a poor man, son of a harlot who died for her Death Eater lover, abandoned in a dirty gutter, condemned to die... Best friend of a daughter of a Viscount.
Of course, if it were up to him, they would be much more than best friends. Henry would do much more than take a peek at Ginny's sweeping curves, and he would never let her sit at the back of a ball, alone and bored. No, Henry would dance with her, spin that red-haired woman, so alive that reminded him of fire, all over the hall, as he had seen some men doing with their wives.
Henry might even dare to ask for her hand in marriage ...
But that was only if he was someone else. Henry Figg, Ginny Weasley's bodyguard, needed to settle for Best Friend.
| G. W |
‘‘You don’t look good,’’ George said, moving the chess piece and waiting for Ron to counterattack.
‘’Shouldn’t Henry protect you? Why did you almost die?’’ Ron asked, without even looking at his sister, paying attention to the board as if it were the most important thing of the moment.
‘’What are you two doing here still? I thought that now that you had houses, and responsibilities, you would spend less time here.’’ She complained, irritated to the last hair. She overheard when her father argued with Henry about putting her in danger, even though he couldn't have predicted it. Besides, the image of him dying in front of her continued to haunt her like an endless nightmare. ''Wants to know? Don't answer me. I'm going to lie down.’’ Ginny turned her back on the brothers, stamping her feet against the floor and running up the stairs.
It had been so terrifying to see the green light almost hit Henry, and she hadn't even raised her wand before the spell came out and protected him, almost making her believe that she could do magic with her bare hands.
All day, after the attackin the morning, she was locked up at home, like a prisoner. She overheard Ron talking to his father about Miss Granger (and then with George), she continued to read the news in the paper about the Dueling Party - that her parents were seriously considering not taking her. Ginny almost cried when she tried to fly and was stopped by Henry, who seemed almost sadder than she was doing that.
Ginny didn't cry, however, but she was silent all day.
It was so disconcerting to read about what each lady was wearing at the last party, or who they had been dancing with, while she could barely fly out in her own backyard. It was almost torture when Fred arrived at their parents' house showing the new broom he had bought, and when she saw, as a prisoner, through the bedroom window the brothers taking turns to test the new broom.
She could have fought and tried to convince Henry to fly with her, or that she wouldn't go more than two meters, but Ginny was so tired of living like that - or, not living - that she just nodded and sat in the living room, reading another stupid romance book that would only serve to make her realize how… empty, her life was.
Ginny, before the attack, had the opportunity to have, what she likes to call, a near life; she managed to make some ‘’friends’’, and it seemed that little by little people forgot that she had been promised to the Dukes' son and all the drama. Until, someone threatened her in the middle of the park, and her first reaction was to blow up the greenhouse where her mother was.
She didn't remember that day very well, the only thing she could remember was that she felt someone enter her mind and make her feel a lot of pain, and then the next moment was when she woke up on the floor, surrounded by dead plants, glass, and dirt, being watched by so many wizards that it looked like a festival.
Everyone looked at her as if she were a monster, who had almost killed her mother and injured 10 other people who were around (including a child, who almost died).
''Doesn't she know how to control her magic?'' ''I heard she was possessed by You-Know-Who.'' ''She did it so she could finally make headlines.'' ''I heard it was a way that her father found, for them to call attention to her.'' ''That is the dark arts, I'm sure.'' ''I always knew she was crazy...''
Everyone suddenly had a history and had witnessed some crazy Ginny. Everyone was pointing a finger at her. Everyone never let her forget when she lost control over her magic as a child.
But a child does not do as much damage as she did.
And if it was only once... There was that other day, after all the confusion, when her mother took her to a party to try to make everyone forget, and a Marquis tried to kiss her in a dark library when they accidentally met.. She tossed him away, startled when she was grabbed by the arms and tried to be kissed by force.
Apparently, it was a lot of fun trying to make her lose control of her magic and take on that strength that seemed to rip through her chest.
He was badly hurt, but no more than Ginny, who was so embarrassed and scared that she didn't leave the house for weeks. She could barely get to the newspaper without shaking for fear that there would be more lies about her.
''She wants to draw attention.'' ''I'm sure she was the one who provoked him.'' ''I don't even know what he saw in her.'' ''Her father must have paid for them to meet… a man like that would never want to see himself next to a madwoman like her.''
Ginny had never had much freedom, but after the attack, it was as if she could never do anything that involved getting out of the grounds of their home. She couldn't even fly alone, a brother always needed to be together. Until Henry arrived.
Henry was the closest person she would call a friend. They talked, he never seemed to doubt that she would be able, and even in the moments when he needed to deny her requests - like flying alone - he seemed upset about doing it. It was as if he felt the pain with her, somehow.
If she had seen her one and only best friend die in front of her, because of her, Ginny didn't know what she would do.
‘‘It’s okay, Dootie, I can do it myself.’’ She waved to the Elf who was waiting in the room, ready to undo Ginny’s hair (even though she had just done a simple braid), and helped her put on her pajamas.
‘’Are you sure, Miss Weasley?’’ The little creature asked, head down.
‘‘Yes, thank you.’’ And then, after closing the door, Ginny observed her daily arrest.
The window was ajar, magically made to always seem closed when someone looked outside, and the wind blew into the room and caused the curtains to swing. Ginny wondered what Henry was doing, and maybe, if it wasn't so late and so inappropriate, she could go up to his room for them to talk. She always felt more alone at night.
He had been very kind to her - as always - during the day, even when he needed to leave to speak to the boss by Flu, he had promised her that it was not her fault.
Which was a lie, because it was obviously her fault. She, and damn fate, who decided that it was not enough to be promised to someone at birth, but the man needed to be kidnapped, leaving her the burden of carrying a hope that would not be fulfilled, alone.
She felt guilty when she thought of the boy's parents, who had lost a child, at the same time that she was irritated since no one thought she could do anything about it, and that as much as Godric's Hollow had hoped that the Dukes would give the city an heir and keep it under control and away from any dark activity, Ginny had little to do.
But still, people liked to talk about her, as if she had been the cause of the kidnapping.
Tired of a day that seemed endless, Ginny lay down on the bed, fiddling with her wand to make the room a little colder than it already was, and hiding under the covers, where it seemed to be the only safe place in the world.
For a few moments, she let herself think about how handsome Henry was, and how she imagined that maybe, just maybe, he could look at her differently, and even forget about the social rules and just kiss her.
Unlike the Marquis, Ginny wanted Henry to kiss her.
Maybe he would undo her braid himself and compliment her hair... maybe Henry would compliment her like no one ever did. Ginny couldn't even think of what that would be like...
Ginny heard a noise in the corridor of her room, something like footsteps, and if it weren't for the fact that her parents slept upstairs, and that no more siblings lived there, that floor shouldn't make any noise except when she was the one walking. And she was lying down.
She grabbed her wand, her heart pounding against her chest, rising as quietly as she could, trying to assume who might be there so late.
The footsteps stopped just in front of her room, and when Ginny prepared to put into practice the many dueling lessons she had with Henry, the person knocked on the door;
‘’Ginny?’’ Her body froze behind the door, hearing the low voice seemed to echo down the empty hall.
‘’Henry?’’ Ginny didn’t let her guard down, knowing that everything could be a big trap. ‘’Where did we fly together for the first time?’’
‘’We never flew together.’’ She sighed, it was him. Opening the door slowly, afraid that the wood would creak and her mother would get up, Ginny just stuck her head out, a little ashamed that she was wearing pajamas so old and ugly.
The man also wore pajamas, but instead of being a faded pink nightgown, it was black sweatpants and a white tank top. A tank top that let Ginny see his arms precisely, tanned by the sun and so well defined that it made her squeeze her thighs and swallow. She knew that Henry was strong, but not that strong.
‘’Did something happen?’’ She asked, trying not to let him notice the lack of a bra or how transparent that fabric could be. Ginny was not the woman with the most striking curves, she knew that, the Marquis had made it a point to point out that she needed a lot of effort if she wanted to be as beautiful as the other women.
"I… I just came here to thank you for protecting me." He ran a hand through his messy hair, looking a little bewildered, without glasses, and his green eyes seemed to shine even in the little light that came through the hall window and the fireplace that Ginny kept burning.
‘It was instinct, I think.’’ She shrugged. ''Are you alright?''
‘’Yes.. yes.’’ Henry took a step forward, entering her room for the first time in 2 years. He had never passed the door. ‘’I came here just to thank you, and... and do this.’’ Then he kissed her.
It was completely different from the Marquis' kiss, and Ginny would never be able to explain why. But before she could understand why, her chest seemed to burn and tear, taking all the air out of her lungs, like squeezing a fruit until there is no more left liquid. Ginny thought she might be dying.
She opened her eyes and looked at the white ceiling above her, alone and lying on the bed, sweating as if she had run a marathon. When she tried to reach for the wand to make the room even colder, the wand seemed to spit out magic and snowflakes began to fall everywhere. She was getting out of control.
Desperate, Ginny applied all the tactics she knew to calm down, fearing that her room would be buried in the snow. The same tactics that Henry applied to himself in the room a few floors below, also feeling his chest burn and sweating, frightened by the dream and the snowflakes falling under his room.