Penname: GHL [Contact - ]
Member Since: 2014.01.08
Last Login: 2020.12.30
The change wasn't cataclysmic, and nobody else much noticed it, but Ginny and Harry had both been a bit subdued. As the broochless morning slogged its way into dreary afternoon, Ginny could tell things were off, and the evening had brought no respite.
Harry was still friendly, but without any real zest or humour. He still smiled when their paths crossed, but she knew it to be his 'I-want-you-to-think-nothing-is-wrong' smile. And Ginny discovered, in herself, old fears and childhood insecurities she thought she had long since banished.
In short, it seemed like she and Harry had lost a measure of confidence. They had run low on hope.
Several times, when she was supposed to be reading, Ginny had caught herself staring at the trunk into which she had stowed the brooch. She kept wondering what would happen if she never again picked up those charmed silver wings? Or worse, if the brooch was taken away and she never saw it again, what would she be left with?
Well, at the very least, she'd apparently be left with nagging questions...
Why would the brooch cause such dreams? And what did they mean? Where they truly a key to fighting Voldemort, or merely elaborate hallucinations?
Was it true that her involvement been somehow helpful to Harry? Without the brooch, would she ever again be so useful?
And what of these new feelings she'd experienced – the ones that felt rather different from girlish hero worship? Had she been on the verge or a deep and abiding friendship with her former crush?
Or was it more? Or much less? Could it all just have been the brooch talking? All those moments when she'd begun to believe the feelings were being reciprocated?
Was ANY of that real?
Ginny growled, kicked idly at some clothes strewn on the floor, and finally convinced herself to return to the study desk that her mother had asked Sirius and Lupin to haul into the bedroom.
Taking a seat, she took a book from the top of the stack, opened it to a random spot in front of her… and collapsed, face down onto the page, emitting a long, slow groan of ennui...
“Harry, we need to talk...” she murmured to the text stuck to her cheek.
Ginny burst up. “Who is it?”
There was a pause, then she heard an intake of breath...
“Er, Ginny… it's me. Is this an okay time to talk?”
Ginny leaped across the room, popping the door like a Champagne cork.
“Erk!” Bereft of resting place, Harry's right shoulder lurched forward, pulling the rest of him into the room.
Ginny scrabbled for him, catching his chest and clasping one hand, and they stood there, blinking at each other in an impromptu embrace.
“Hi...?” Their greetings almost perfectly coordinated and awkwrd, the pair gazed at each other bewilderedly for a moment, then laughed.
Harry's eyes still looked sunken, but they sparkled. He smiled. It was genuine. “Hey, have you been doing okay since… you know?”
“Not really. You?”
“Nah.” Harry shook his head. “Moody. Glum. I suppose people would call me a right old 'Harry Potter'.”
“You? No, that's impossible!” Ginny shook her head sternly, then broke into a grin. “So sir, what brings you to my humble hovel this evening?”
“Well, as you asked, I jotted down some queries you could look into tomorrow.” Harry decoupled his hand and reached into his back pocket for a parchment. “But mostly I wanted to see if everything was okay with you and, uh, with us?”
“With us, Harry?”
Harry's eyes widened, as if he hadn't really thought through this part. An unintelligible rasp followed; his vocal cords seeming to lose their resonance.
Having not yet released Harry's upper arm, Ginny squeezed it gently. “Listen, I don't know what the brooch may or may not have been doing to us, but it didn't make me do or think anything that I wouldn't have done or thought on my own.” She lowered her gaze and took a fortifying breath. “So, if you meant to ask whether I'm still as keen to help you as I was before putting the brooch away, then the answer is yes."
Taking another breath, she raised her eyes to find Harry nodding earnestly. Heartened, she proceeded with more confidence. "If you're also wondering whether I still consider you the perfect best friend I never knew I had, then that answer is also yes.”
Harry finally managed a creaky whisper. “Yes!”
She smiled and met his eyes.
He met hers.
Above the coursing beat of her own heart, Ginny distinctly heard her voice (rather bolder than she remembered it) saying, “So, was there anything else that you were going to ask about us, Harry?”
Gazing deeply into those exquisite emerald pools, Ginny inhaled… her lips parted…
Harry closed his eyes; Ginny followed suit and tilted her head back, just a little…
And then Harry spoke.
“Would you, uh, be…?”
Harry's vocal cords were still having difficulty. He coughed.
Ginny opened her eyes and peered at him questioningly. She nodded her head slightly, encouraging him to continue.
“I, er…, well, was just wondering if you would…?”
Ginny nodded, wide-eyed.
“… if you'd still be such a great friend… even if it, uh, took me a while to sort through, errr, some things?” Harry finally finished.
Ginny deflated… but then the great actress stepped up, smiling gamely. “Of course, Harry. I will always be your friend – as good a friend as I can be.” She met his gaze for long enough to make her words seem convincing, before letting her eyes drift downwards.
As Ginny lowered her gaze, Harry could not help seeing, for just a flicker of a second, the downcast expression in her face. His heart sank, feeling immediately so dreadful for... well... for whatever he'd just done to sadden this kindest and bravest friend of his. And yet, a slow wave of astonishment also washed over him, for in that moment he began to understand, on this strange and dismal day, what it was that he had just said… or not said.
Ya. So, the problem is that the longer I spend away from my old stories, the better I see how they can be properly edited (witness the above segment from Splinters), but unfortunately SIYE database glitches have locked up the original stories so I can't edit chapter text. Yes, I know I'm an administrator, but even Tom Beach wasn't able to figure out the problem, so....
Anyway, a surprising number of people recently started reading the old stories (I blame the pandemic, but am still flattered), so I do think I'll push through on a judicious rewrite of Splinters, and will likely post it elsewhere. Once I figure out where, I'll add a link here.
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