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SIYE Time:14:20 on 1st July 2022


Cold
By Audra Lachesis

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Ron Weasley
Genres: Drama
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG
Reviews: 20
Summary: 'I'm NOT a stalker,' Ginny assured herself silently. 'I don't follow him around like a little puppy, I don't have his entire class schedule memorized, and I certainly don't send him dead animals via owl post...'
Hitcount: Story Total: 5468







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***

AN: Once again, inspired by a song I heard on the radio: Avril Lavigne’s ‘I’m With You’. I’ve got a glimmering of an idea for a continuation that I might write, for all you who think it’s not H/G enough… I’ll have to ponder it.

HP = not mine. You should know this by now.

***

This is stupid. He’s not coming.

Ginny tugged the ends of her scarf tighter around her neck and shivered at the cold. Her breath frosted in the air in front of her, but she ignored it, preferring to focus her attention on the top railing of the small bridge, where her arms were folded primly. She stared at the wood in silence, and resisted the urge to kick one of the lower rails.

I’ve got to stop doing this. I’m so pathetic.

The bridge was tiny and a bit dilapidated, but Ginny found it important for one reason: it was the quickest way back to the castle from the quidditch pitch. And since the Gryffindor team should be finishing up practice right about now…

I’m NOT a stalker, she assured herself silently. I don’t follow him around like a little puppy, I don’t have his entire class schedule memorized, and I certainly don’t send him dead animals via owl post. I didn’t pay anyone for information on his whereabouts tonight, and it’s perfectly harmless if I just happen to be here when he comes by…

Ginny groaned softly and dropped her head to rest on her arms.

I’m pathetic. I’m not a stalker — but I’m still pathetic.

Ron would kill her if he knew she was out here. Saints, even Hermione might have a few sharp words for her. It was the middle of January, past sundown, and definitely below freezing, and poor, sad Ginny Weasley was hanging around, hoping to bump into Harry Potter.

Not that anyone would think that the least bit suspicious, Ginny thought bitterly. Just about the only person who hasn’t noticed — is Harry. And he’s probably just being polite about it.

Five years, she had watched him. For five years, she had memorized his features, from those impossibly green eyes right down to the peculiar scar on his forehead. He hated that scar now, she could tell. Occasionally, in the middle of a conversation with Ron and Hermione, Harry’s eyes would unfocus, just for a moment, and a barely noticeable spasm of pain would ripple across his features. It was always brief, and neither Ron nor Hermione ever appeared to notice — but Ginny did. It had happened more and more since Harry’s fourth year, since the Triwizard Tournament — since Voldemort’s return. It had to be his scar, his connection with Voldemort. Ginny wasn’t stupid — she knew what that meant. And every time she saw that particular expression cross Harry’s face, she dreaded reading the Daily Prophet the next morning.

He had the weight of the entire wizarding world on his shoulders, and he was only sixteen. Ginny suppressed a flash of anger; why couldn’t everyone just leave him alone? Hadn’t it been enough, his defeat of Voldemort as a baby? Hadn’t it been enough, his close shaves every year since he’d arrived at Hogwarts? After everything Harry had done, everything he had been through — everyone still expected more. He had defeated Voldemort once, and everyone seemed to assume he would do it again. And Harry, in his infinite nobility and damnable sense of duty, would throw himself directly in Voldemort’s path in a heartbeat, just because everyone expected it.

No. Not because it was expected. Because he felt he had to. Because even if he was still a very young man, he would do anything to keep those he loved safe. He’d spent ten years of his life with family that would’ve abandoned him without a second thought, and now that he had true friends — he’d do anything to keep them alive. Even if it meant sacrificing himself.

And that was Ginny’s greatest fear: that the moment would come, and Harry would step up to face his so-called destiny — and Voldemort would pull some horrible, dirty trick and cut him down without a word. It haunted her nightmares, ever since Professor Moody had them study boggarts her third year. The sight of Harry, lying crumpled at Tom Riddle’s feet, just before her old nemesis turned to deal with her. She couldn’t face that again; it would be too much for her. She’d rather die herself first.

The night air seemed suddenly a lot colder than before, and Ginny gripped her cloak tightly, as if to physically hold onto what little warmth it provided. She wouldn’t think about Tom. She wouldn’t think about Harry. She would turn around and walk straight back up to the Gryffindor common room, and strike up a game of Exploding Snap with Colin, and pretend to be chipper and cheerful, as always.

“Ginny?”

Her head was still buried in her arms, effectively hiding the flush that crept up her cheeks.

“Yes?” she answered, her voice muffled.

“What are you doing out here? It’s freezing! You’ll catch your death…”

“No, I won’t,” Ginny responded. “That would be silly — dying of pneumonia. I’ve got a better flair for the dramatic than that.”

The laugh she earned didn’t lift her spirits any, but she could sense another warm body settling against the railing beside her. With a sigh, Ginny lifted her head and forced herself to meet her brother’s eyes.

“You were waiting for Harry, weren’t you?” Ron asked. It was more of a statement than a question.

Ginny didn’t answer. She just looked back at her elder brother without expression. He could talk to Harry whenever he liked. All he had to do was sit down and say something inane like, ‘Cannons look good this season,’ and they’d be off, arguing like the schoolboys they were, and cheerfully ignoring anyone else in the room. Ginny ached to be able to do that, but she didn’t begrudge Ron. If Ron could make Harry smile, she’d shut herself up in her room all next summer, and stay out of their way.

“Ginny…” Ron began,

“No. Just stop,” Ginny said softly. “I’m going back. I’ll see you in the common room.” She turned to go, determined not to cry in front of her brother.

“Gin, wait.” Ron was at her shoulder, a gentle hand holding her back. Ginny gave him an exasperated look.

“Walk back with me,” Ron said impulsively. “You shouldn’t be out here alone, and I won’t let you walk back by yourself.”

Ginny gave him a wry smile. “I’m a big girl, Ron. I think I can find my way back to Hogwarts castle.” She jerked a thumb over her shoulder. “It’s kind of hard to miss, after all.”

“Well, I can’t, so get moving. You can lead us both to safety,” Ron teased her gently. His teeth were chattering slightly, Ginny noticed. “And hurry up, missy, it’s bloody freezing out here.”

“Absolutely hopeless,” Ginny told him, shaking her head. “You are such an idiot, Ronald Weasley.”

Ron wrapped an arm protectively around her shoulders as they started back to the castle. “No, I’m not. Harry is, though,” he whispered, almost too low for Ginny to hear.

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a rotten night after all.

***

~END
01/20/03
Reviews 20
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