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Chapter 2: Static Age
She could hear him snoring.
The low, steady rumble was resonating even through the walls of the bedroom and down the hall to the kitchen where she stood cleaning up the remnants of a half-wasted breakfast. Despite the fact that she'd gone through the trouble of making a large breakfast that had largely gone uneaten, she couldn't keep a small smile from gracing her lips as she listened to the noise.
She'd wanted to welcome him home with a large spread of his favorites, hoping to coax him up this morning. But it seemed that plan was all but bunk with it being almost noon now and he was still very much asleep. Lunch seemed more appropriate now.
But that would have to wait. She was due into work in about an hour or so and didn't have time to whip up another meal. No, she'd rouse first and let him know he could heat up the remainders of breakfast when he finally did roll out of bed for the day. As much as she'd wanted to give him a well-deserved lazy morning, her day wouldn't allow her one and she needed to get ready.
With the last of the pancakes and bacon put into the refrigerator, Ginny made her way down the hallway quietly, stopping outside the second door on the right.
She gently placed a palm on the worn wood of the door, listening for a moment. He still seemed to be asleep.
Quietly, so as not to startle him, she knocked three times.
She repeated the knocks, this time a bit louder.
She smiled as she heard an interruption in the rhythm of the snores, followed by a creaking of bed springs.
Thinking it safe to proceed, Ginny gently pushed open the door, stepping into the dim room, lit only by the sun filtering through the heavy curtains. There were clothes littering the floor, spilling along with books out of the opened trunk in the corner of the room. A broom sat propped in another corner.
It was a mess. He’d have to clean it later.
But for now Ginny’s attention settled on the bed and the figure laying stomach-down, sprawled across the mattress. His long limbs were thrown asunder; his too large feet hanging off the end as he lay wrapped and tangled in his comforter. His face was buried within the pile of pillows at the base of his headboard. His impossibly messy black hair stuck up at odd angles from their depths, magnifying the usual unruliness tenfold.
Without trying to disturb him too much, Ginny sat down on the edge of the bed, letting the mattress sink down slightly with her weight.
“Hey…sleepyhead…wake up,” she whispered, reaching over to the shake the mess of blankets with an outstretched hand.
There was a groan of annoyance in response and a mass shifting of blankets and limbs away from her touch. She suppressed a smile as his pale, slightly freckled back and shoulders presented themselves from the mess of covers.
She placed a hand upon his warm, bare shoulder, shaking him more firmly now.
“W-what?” a muffled and drawn out response came from within the sea of pillows.
“It’s time to get up,” she replied sweetly. “You’ve already slept half the day away.”
“Really?” he asked, face still buried in the pillows, sounding only slightly interested in that fact.
“Really,” she answered. “And you’ve missed breakfast.”
“Ooohhh,” he groaned, this time conveying some level of dismay.
“Don’t worry…I saved you some. I had to clean up…I’ve got to be off to work in a bit…so it’s in the fridge,” Ginny assured him, leaning in to kiss the crown of his head.
At this touch he rolled towards her, half of his face still plastered against the pillow; one brilliant green eye gazing blearily up at her.
“Thanks, Mum,” he responded, the half of his mouth showing curled into a grin. “Sorry for oversleeping,” he apologized through a yawn as he rolled over the rest of the way. He paused, stretching his long arms over his head in an attempt at a full body stretch, his bones creaking and protesting against the movement. He then settled back into his covers, smiling lazily up at her.
“Well…I was sort of expecting it…what, with all the Firewhisky you had Uncle Ron sneak you last night,” Ginny said, trying to sound a bit disproving, but failing to stop her smile from reaching her features.
“Don’t think for one moment that your dear old mum didn’t notice, Jackson,” she added, shaking her head.
“Huh?” He responded looking instantly alarmed. “I…didn’t…” he spluttered.
“Mmmhmm…right…” she goaded, rolling her eyes at her son’s panic. “Your uncle isn’t a very good liar…and sadly, neither are you,” she said, reaching up to ruffle his hair a bit.
“He said it’d be ok,” Jackson tried to explain, unsure if he really wasn’t going to be chastised. “I mean…I’ll be seventeen in a couple of months anyway… What’s a few sips?” he asked as his voice trailed off. He looked away sheepishly.
“Well, let’s just try not to go on any whisky benders until then,” Ginny added. “I’ve still got you under my control for a while longer...so how bout asking me if you’re allowed?” she asked him, getting a responsive nod from her teenage son.
“Or at least ask if I’d like a glass or two myself?” she added, causing Jackson to look shocked, but amused at his mother’s candor.
“Alright…deal,” Jackson said laughing deeply. His wide grin filled his features and reached his bright eyes, causing Ginny’s breathe to catch slightly as she caught them with her own.
Last night the entire, extensive Weasley family had gathered at the Burrow for a “welcome back” party for all of the children returning from Hogwarts for the year. It was a way of celebrating the last year’s achievements and catching up with all the various nieces and nephews that had been away at school for birthdays and other holidays.
It was a chance to be all together under one roof.
Jackson was the oldest of all those kids.
He was the first grandchild for Molly and Arthur Weasley.
He was Ginny’s eldest child.
Though, watching him now with his seemingly endless mess of long arms and legs and the ever-sharpening features of his previously boyish face, it seemed almost wrong to call him a child anymore. He would be seventeen in 3 months and then starting his seventh year at Hogwarts at summer’s end. After that he’d be, hopefully and presumably, heading for Auror training the following summer.
Her little boy was no longer just that. He was on the cusp, but well on his way into growing into the wonderful and amazing man she always hoped he’d be. He was extremely funny, very intelligent and highly talented. But most importantly, he was a good, kind-hearted person.
Being only thirty-four herself now, Ginny had had Jackson young and in difficult and devastating circumstances. She had just lost everything in a war that itself had very nearly killed her. And then she had been faced with the prospect of becoming a mother at only seventeen.
She had very nearly given up and turned away from the new burden of life that had been thrust upon her.
But she hadn’t.
And they’d managed–she was proud to admit that they’d managed quite well thus far with the help of family and friends. At all instances of difficulty in both her pregnancy and in raising her little boy, she’d always had someone to turn to, someone to help her and guide her through the rough patches of being a young mother.
And Jackson had faced and overcome every little obstacle that had come his way too.
Jackson had grown up without his father.
He’d dealt with the trials and difficulty that came with never knowing or meeting his dad. She’d watched him go through the resentment and the sadness that came with each passing Father’s Day or missed birthday. She’d witnessed the slightly hollow moments he experienced when another male figure stepped into the role during those occasions and milestones that a son should share with his father.
And then she'd watched him push past the stares, deal gracefully with the whispers and the fingerpointing and accept the attention and open curiosity from perfect strangers.
She and Jackson both knew most people couldn't help it.
Jackson's dad was the most famous name in recent wizarding history. He'd saved the world from the brink of destruction and cleared the way for the happy times they were now living in. He had been their savior.
He had also given his life for all of them; died so that they could all live on...
Died without knowing he was going to be a father...
Jackson James Potter was the son of Harry Potter.
Besides carrying his father's famous last name, Jackson also had inherited nearly all of Harry's looks. He had the same impossibly messy jet black hair. His eyes were the same almond shape and the brilliant emerald green hue of his eyes were a near match to his father's. He had, however, escaped without the need for glasses thus far.
The resemblance between them had only grown as Jackson himself had. He had the same long, thin face and likewise slight and lanky frame. It was however apparent now that Jackson would be quite taller than Harry had been. Besides a few well placed freckles, Ginny often mused that the only thing Jackson had gotten from the Weasley side of the family was the height that some of her own brother's possessed.
Without all that placed on him, it was easy to see how Jackson couldn't go unnoticed for who he was by most of the wizarding world. As the years had gone on, he'd grown, if not completely comfortable, understanding of the attention and the draw. Today he would politely listen to the stories of anyone brave enough to approach him in public, possibly shake their hands and thank them for any kind words for him or his father. He always very gracious about it.
She'd once asked him what he thought about the way people somehow reacted to meeting him. He'd admitted, like Harry had years ago, that sometimes he wished he could just go somewhere and melt into the background for awhile; that he could have the same anonymity that going into the Muggle world most times afforded him.
But he had also admitted that a lot of the time he felt proud when people came up to talk to him; proud to be the son of a man that was so respected in their world. He had even said that sometimes he'd learned things he hadn't heard before from people who had known or been around his dad when he was alive. No one had been outright mean or disrespectful to him, so there wasn't any harm in it all.
Ginny was so extremely proud of the way Jackson handled himself in the wake of his dad's fame. She could only imagine it was a hard thing to be compared and linked to someone you've never met. But he'd been so great about it. He was such a funny and charismatic young man that Ginny couldn't help but be amazed.
'It's that smile,' Ginny mused as she watched him grinning back up at her, still laughing at her last words. He had a beautiful smile, one that could catch one's breathe and light up a room.
"So what are you going to be up to today?" Ginny asked, turning the conversation back in a more serious direction.
"Not much, probably," Jackson answered, cracking his neck. "I might stop by Uncle Ron’s. The twins want to show me some of the plans they have for setting up some new Quidditch goals in the clearing. But I’m sure they just want me to help them persuade Aunt Hermione to let them,” he chuckled.
“Other than that…I’ll probably just hang around,” Jackson finished.
“Or think about cleaning up this room?” Ginny teased, looking around at the mess. “You haven’t even been home 24 hours and it’s a mess.”
“Yeah…well you could tidy up in a matter of seconds,” Jackson pleaded with, puffing out his bottom lip slightly with a rather comical affect. “Wouldn’t that be easier on the both of us?”
“You wouldn’t learn anything if I did,” she replied, picking up a spare pillow and whacking him upside the head with it. “And what kind of mother would I be if I allowed that?”
“A good one?” Jackson responded, instinctively placing both hands in front of his face as Ginny swung the pillow his way once more, hitting him more than once.
“Stop…Mum…stop,” Jackson laughed as he tried to fend away the blows. “I’ll clean it…I’ll clean…”
“See was that so hard?” she said in a mock motherly tone.
“Yeah…that hitting with the pillow thing was,” Jackson teased.
“You big baby,” Ginny said, shaking her head. “But I mean it…Pick up; put your clothes at least away in the closet and dresser sometime today.”
“I will,” Jackson promised. “When are you coming home from work?” he asked.
“Why? So you know when to start cleaning?” Ginny asked with raised brows.
“No,” Jackson replied. “I was just curious.”
“I’m only going in for a few hours,” she told him. “I’ve just got a few stories to go over and then we have a staff meeting. I should be home by 5 or so.”
“Cool,” Jackson said with a nod.
“Why ‘cool’?” Ginny asked suspiciously.
“No reason,” Jackson shrugged. “I just…thought maybe since it’ll be just be me and you and you’re not going to be too late or anything…we could–get some takeout?” Jackson continued, ending with more of a questioning tone.
“Hmmm,” Ginny said. “We could make some sort of night out of it, I guess. That is...if you're ok with hanging out with your dear old mum?" she teased.
"I'm more than cool with spending an evening with my amazingly, wonderful, dearest mother," Jackson teased back with a sly grin.
"Smart ass," Ginny shot back.
Jackson could only shoot back that glowing grin of his.
"Pizza or Chinese?" Ginny asked, giving him the choices for dinner.
"That's a hard one..." Jackson mused. "Hmmm....pizza....from that little Italian joint we went to during Christmas?" he offered.
"Sounds good," Ginny agreed readily. "I'll swing by there before I come home...but right now...I've got to go," she added, glancing down at her watch and catching the time.
"Bye," she said, leaning in and kissing Jackson on the forehead.
"Bye, Mum," Jackson said in return.
"Be good," Ginny warned one last time as she stood up from the bed and moved towards the door. "And clean--"
"--My room," Jackson finished, flopping back down on the bed with a yawn as Ginny closed the door.
“Merlin this is heavenly,” Jackson sighed as he bit into another slice of pizza.
Ginny bit back a smile as she watched him begin to devour his 5th slice of pizza. Thankfully she’d ordered 2 pizzas for the two of them, otherwise she wasn't sure she would have gotten to eat at all.
"I'd have never guessed," she poked fun, gesturing to the half empty pizza box on the living room table before him.
"Hey...I'm a growing boy," Jackson defended his pizza consumption indignantly.
"You don't have to tell me that," Ginny laughed, after taking a bit of her 2nd piece. "I'm the one who has to keep buying you new pants and shoes each time you come home."
"Yeah...which reminds me," wiggling his foot and showing off the bit of skin from his big toe that was peeking through the hole in his sock.
"Jack, really?" Ginny sighed.
"Really," he nodded in confirmation. "Most of them are like that...my feet grew again."
"And you couldn't have told me this before. Instead, you'd thought you'd rather like going round with unraveling socks for an entire term?" Ginny asked.
"Grandma will knit them for me," Jackson shrugged. "I didn't think it was a big deal as long as there weren't holes showing in my shoes..."
Ginny sighed, shaking her head in amusement of her son. He was so a teenage boy when it came to things like this.
"Maybe they should teach you a darning charm at school and you could fix your own socks?" Ginny suggested.
"Nah. Then what would mums and grandmums have to do when we came home?" he teased.
"Well-played," she shot back with a laugh. She always enjoyed being like this with her son. Jackson had always been easy-going and open with her. Sometimes they way they interacted and reacted to one another was in the manner of friends than of mother and son. Although, Ginny had no problem turning on the mum switch when he needed to be put in line...
"So...did you hear from Alex at all today?" Jackson asked as they had lapsed into momentary silence; both watching the movie playing on the television before them for the bit.
"Oh yeah," she replied quickly. "His letter came this afternoon while I was at work," she added.
Alex was Ginny's 11year old son from her marriage that had ended a few years ago. It had been Alex's first year at Hogwarts this last year and he was spending the first few weeks of his summer vacation at his dad's before he came to live with her and Jackson for the rest of the summer. He had promised to write her almost every day and he had delivered with a letter just that afternoon.
"He says he's settled in and he and Paul are going on a little fishing trip tomorrow," Ginny said, speaking of both his little brother's and former step-father's plans.
"And he says he'll write you a letter when he can and to tell you 'hi'," she added, watching Jackson smirk a bit.
"That's good," Jackson nodded. "He and Paul got home alright from the station?"
"Are you worried about your little brother?" Ginny asked with a smile.
"No," Jackson replied. "I just...I dunno...I got used to seeing him every day at school. I hadn't been able to do that for a few years while I was away and he was back here."
"He'll be here sooner than you know," Ginny assured him. "And...Paul did say that you're welcome to visit any time you want."
"I know..." Jackson shrugged. "I just--wanna let him have his time with his dad..." he trailed off, focusing back on the television almost as if trying to deflect his mum's attention from him.
She had met Paul when Jackson was four. They'd met when she had gone on a rare night out with a bunch of friends. He had been with his own and they'd gotten to talking as they both watched their respective groups grow rowdier as the night wore on. Shortly after, they had begun to date.
She had, for all intensive purposes, fallen in love with him. He was smart and funny and amazing to her and Jackson both. He made her laugh and listened to her whenever she needed to vent or release. After a year, they'd wed. Another year later, they'd had Alex.
It had all seemed to be going so well. She had thought perhaps that she had finally found a place in life where she could move on and be completely happy. She was a mum to two amazing little boys and married to a man who was kind and provided that sense of security that she wasn’t sure she’d ever find again.
But despite how perfect things had seemed sometimes…there was always something missing. Paul was a muggle and although he had come to know and accept the magical world (she'd been very upfront about being a witch), there were parts of her life that he just couldn't fully participate in or understand. That itself was sometimes grating on their relationship and created a barrier on a day to day basis.
And no matter how hard she tried; no matter how much she got in return--she could never love Paul as much he truly deserved. Part of her herself and her heart had died along with Harry and she knew she could never get that back or completely give all of herself to another.
Paul knew of Harry and what he had meant to her. It had been hard for him to escape the mention of Harry at family gatherings over the years and the fact that he was helping raise Harry's son didn't help either. Paul had never been jealous or bothered by the fact that she had once loved someone else so much. She'd always been able to talk to Paul about her past, knowing that he'd always listen with an open heart.
Near the end of their marriage, he'd even gone as far as tell her that he wished he could give her Harry back, if it would make her happy. And she knew he'd meant it.
Four years ago, she and Paul had decided to divorce. It did neither of them any good to remain in a marriage that lacked passion and true love for one another. She did love Paul--as the father of her son and as her best friend who'd been there for her. But Paul was such a good man, that he deserved someone better than her, someone who could give him more--someone who wasn't in love with ghost...
The split had been amicable and both of them still remained friends to this day. There was never any disagreements or disputes over possessions or who would take care of the kids when. They’d split time with Alex and lived near enough each other where he went to the same primary school no matter who he was with during the week. Now that he was at Hogwarts, time was a bit more limited, but they had still worked out weeks and days they’d see him.
Jackson, who had been 13 at the time, had decided to stay with her full-time. He spent an occasional day or so at Paul’s, enjoying family gatherings on Paul’s side. But he had, early on, expressed his wishes to remain with his mum. Paul had never objected or pressed; he was always respectful of the fact that he wasn’t Jackson’s real dad and Jackson had always drawn that distinction. He had always referred to Paul by his first name and corrected anyone that may have referred to Paul as “dad” instead of “step-dad.”
Harry Potter was Jackson’s father, and he always held fast to that fact.
“So…what are you up to for the rest of this week?” Ginny asked, watching Jackson’s eyes fixated upon the now meaningless television screen. “Do you and Liam or Luke have any plans?” she asked, referring to his best friends from school.
“No,” he said shaking his head. “They’re both gone for the first two weeks of vacation. Luke’s family is in America visiting relatives and Liam’s dad took him with on a business trip to Japan…” he said, after taking another bite of pizza. Changing the subject seemed to do the trick and Jackson looked away from the T.V.
“I see,” Ginny replied softly. “What about…um...Lara?” she asked hesitantly, inquiring about Jackson’s girlfriend.
She watched and waited for Jackson’s reaction to the subject. He swallowed and let out a deep breath before responding.
“Lara…and I…aren’t dating anymore,” he said slowly, turning to face his mum. “So…no…she won’t be coming around this summer.”
“Oh,” Ginny said measurably, trying to hide her initial reaction. “I’m…sorry, Jack…”
Shockingly, Jackson’s features curved and mouth curled into a grin.
“No you’re not,” he laughed. “You hated her,” he said with a smile.
“I did not–hate her,” Ginny said, shaking head.
“Don’t lie, Mum,” Jackson teased. “I know you couldn’t stand her.”
“I…just…she wasn’t right for you,” Ginny admitted, recalling the few times she had met her son’s former girlfriend. “Even your grandmother said something when you brought her to Christmas. She was too bossy and…clingy,” she added, searching for the right–tactful–words to use. The boisterous blonde girl had been admittedly overbearing and had clung so tight to Jackson that Ginny was reminded horribly of Ron and Lavender Brown back at Hogwarts.
“Maybe I enjoyed being bossed around?” Jackson challenged playfully, waggling his brows suggestively.
“Don’t even–” she began to warn, not wanting to even entertain where he was going.
“You know…to tell you the truth…I’m not even really that sad about it,” Jackson admitted with a shrug. “You…er…were sort of right about her. I guess it just took me a little longer to figure that out.”
“Jackson, I didn’t mean to be rude about it…” Ginny offered. “Can I ask what happened?” she inquired gently.
“She…er…dumped me…I guess…” he said slowly. “She said that she didn’t think I was showing enough interest in our relationship. I think that was code for ‘I don’t want you hanging out with your friends anymore’,” Jackson continued on.
“Yeah,” Jackson replied. “And I told her that I just needed some “guy time”–that I needed to hang out with my mates sometimes.”
“And?” Ginny asked.
“She told me that I could hang out with my mates anytime I wanted to…” Jackson explained. “And…that I could shove my “guy time” up my ass.”
“No,” Ginny said disbelieving.
“Yeah…and in front of the entire Gryffindor tower,” Jackson said with a nod. “That was actually probably the nicest bit of the entire thing though…”
“She just went off?” Ginny asked a bit confused. “You didn’t do anything to her, did you?” wondering if her son somehow acted like any teenage boy and unintentionally said or done something that had started a war.
“That was a topic of conversation,” Jackson said with a chuckle. “The fact that I didn’t want to–do–anything with her seemed to be a bit of a problem,” he explained a bit further when his mum showed her confusion.
Ginny’s mouth dropped slightly at the open insinuation that her 16 year old son had made. She knew he was growing up and wasn’t as naive to think that he didn’t entertain certain thoughts, but she’d rather not go any further down that path. He was still her little boy.
“She dumped you because you wouldn’t…sleep with her?” Ginny asked in clarification.
“More or less,” Jackson nodded.
“That was horrible of her,” Ginny admonished. “And telling of what kind of girl she really is…” she added.
“So...you...hadn't...at all?" Ginny pressed on a bit further after a few moments of silence, unable to ask the question outright, yet wanting to know.
Jackson's smile grew wider.
"Why don't you just come out and ask me if I'm still a virgin, Mum?" Jackson asked slyly, shaking his head in amusement.
Ginny's mouth dropped, if possible, even further and she spluttered incoherently for a moment at Jackson's audacity.
"Suffice it to say..." he began when Ginny couldn't find the nerve to speak. "That you've successfully raised me to be a perfect gentleman..." he added with a reassuring nod. “So don’t worry, Mum,” he added.
“I wasn’t worried,” Ginny tried to brush off his last comment. “I just have to remind myself that you’re getting older and there are some things that you’re going to be–experiencing,” she added, hesitating slightly for the right word.
“Well I’d always planned on–that–experience, when the time comes, will be with someone I love. Like it’s supposed to be, right?” Jackson added, offhand. “And I certainly didn’t love her…maybe the idea of her–dating the most popular girl in school–but not her.”
Ginny nodded her approval.
“I mean–God forbid if I’d have gotten her in trouble,” Jackson said, shaking his head as if disturbed at the thought. “And been stuck with a kid at my age…”
As soon as he had said the last words, Ginny watched him grow suddenly still and then swallow heavily. Even his breathing had grown shallow and undetectable.
“I didn’t mean anything by that, Mum,” Jackson whispered quietly, unable to look at her. She was confused for a moment as to what had caused the complete one-eighty in his demeanor and the sudden solemn-ness in his expression.
Then it clicked.
“I didn’t take it like that,” Ginny replied softly, trying to sound reassuring. “And I know you better than to think that, Jack,” she added.
She knew why he’d been upset at himself now. She had gotten pregnant at that age and had been burdened with the task of embracing an early foray into motherhood–and all that came with it. Jackson had rattled his thoughts off without giving much thought, making light of it–but he hadn’t meant, in his horror at the idea, to belittle anything about her situation.
“I just–I didn’t mean to be so–callous–“ he apologized quietly.
“You weren’t,” Ginny reassured him. “I know I’ve told you this before–but there hasn’t been a day since you were born that I regretted having you. I know I was young…but I couldn’t imagine you not being here.”
Jackson seemed to relax a bit and he actually turned to face her with a bit of a relieved smile on his face.
“And I’m extremely proud of you and the kind of man you are becoming–and the choices you make,” she told him. “Not a lot of guys your age would have put things the way you did just now,” she added.
“Well I do have a really good mum who’s taught me pretty well,” Jackson replied with a smile.
“Merlin only knows I’ve tried my best,” Ginny smiled back. “You and your brother are the most important people in my life. I want you to remember that.”
“It hasn’t always been easy…and--I wasn’t in a good place back then,” Ginny said quietly. “But you are the best thing that ever happened to me. Sometimes I think having you made it alright to go on…” she said quietly.
“After Dad died…” he added more than asked.
Harry’s death wasn’t something they talked about a lot or at length. That wasn’t to say that they didn’t talk about him. Growing up, she had always made sure that Jackson knew about his father and what kind of man Harry was. Ron and Hermione were always ready with stories and tales from their years together; stories and quirks about Harry that only his best friends would know and that Jackson always enjoyed hearing.
But there had only been a few times where they’d discussed how he died. When he was younger, she could explain it to Jackson by telling him his dad was a brave man who had died fighting in a war to save them all and that he was a hero because of it. But that had seemed to only placate him then; now that he was older, Jackson would ask subtle, yet carefully placed questions about his father’s death and the war that had taken him. And because he was no longer a child, Ginny felt she could and needed to be honest and open with him.
“I couldn’t imagine…” Jackson said, letting out a long breath.
“It was hard,” Ginny admitted.
“Do you–” Jackson began to ask, but paused and looked away as if thinking better of what he was going to say.
“Go on, luv,” she said encouragingly.
“Do you miss him--still?” he asked quietly and hesitantly.
Ginny felt a small smile form on her lips as she let out a long sigh.
“I don’t think there has been a day that has gone by all these years…that I don’t think of him–at least a little,” she admitted with a nod. “I know I said I was young…we both were. But I loved him–so much–that it’s hard not to…”
“It’s–not like it was back then,” she continued on as Jackson watched her quietly. “It physically hurt sometimes to think about him then. Things were still so chaotic and uncertain…wounds still so fresh. Sometimes I’d wake up and forget…thinking he’d be there again…”
“There was still the shock of it and the massive hole he’d left. He was just–gone,” she added as she stared blankly ahead as if reliving those trying times in her mind’s eye.
“It’s different now?” Jackson asked curiously, breaking her out of her reflection.
“Now it’s more of a–wondering–than grief, I suppose,” she explained. “Like I–wonder what he’d be doing today, what he’d be like now and how our lives would be different. I know we’ve all changed a lot as the years have passed…I certainly have. So…I think about what he’d look like at thirty-five now. I mean…I have an idea in my mind...but it’s the knowing that I’m never going to find out that’s the worst.”
“Any time that the grief has crept up on me in the past few years…has been when I look at you. I’ve gotten to watch you start to grow into a man--and I can see so much of your father in you,” she confessed.
Jackson looked down in response and she suddenly regretted her phrasing of her thoughts.
“It’s not a bad thing at all,” she reassured him, reaching across the couch cushions to grasp his free left hand. She squeezed it encouragingly. “What hurts me–is that you don’t know and can’t truly understand how much he really is a part of who you are. I get sad for you…and what you lost that day too.”
“Not only do you look incredibly like him–so much more now than ever…” she told him, taking her own time to rake in his facial features and the stark and sometimes haunting similarities that stared back at her. “But there is so much of your personality and your demeanor that is totally–Harry,” she continued.
“Like what?” Jackson asked quietly.
“Your smile…that crooked grin you get when you’re amused,” Ginny replied simply. “And lately I’ve noticed–even the way you laugh reminds me of him.”
“Mainly…it’s the way you carry yourself,” she continued on. “You respect everyone–no matter what they might want from you. Your dad was like that. He’d always hear people out first and use his instincts and what he knew was right to make judgments. You’re funny and intelligent…and incredibly kind-hearted to those you care about and hold dear.”
“You’re a good person,” she said simply. “And so was your dad.”
“I miss him,” Jackson said simply and as though the words had come without restraint.
She watched him blink and shake his head as if he suddenly he found something disbelieving in what he had said.
"I know it sounds funny...to say…" he breathed out.
"What?" Ginny asked quietly.
"To say I miss him," Jackson replied. "I ask myself sometimes, you know--how do I miss someone that I've never even met? But I do..."
"That doesn't sound silly at all, luv," Ginny reassured him. "You feel loss for not having your father growing up and you miss not having the chance to have gotten to really know him."
"Yeah," Jackson responded with a nodded, looking away. Ginny wondered momentarily if he was embarrassed at how this sudden conversation might be affecting him. “I think it’s just gotten harder as I’ve gotten older,” he added quietly. “I think about him more now than ever.”
"He would have loved you so much,” Ginny whispered to her son. “He does love you…from wherever he’s looking down from right now. And I know he’s just as proud of you as I am,” she said; her voice full of conviction.
“I know,” Jackson admitted softly, meeting her gaze again.
“And it helps to think that too–to know that he’s up there...or wherever–watching,” he added, gesturing upwards towards what was perhaps his understanding of the heavens. “It’s kinda comforting…”
Ginny wanted to reach out and hug her son, to physically reassure him that these thoughts were okay. But he had turned his attention back to the previously forgotten movie on the flat-screen and was digging back in the pizza box for another slice. She could tell by the way he’d disengaged that he wasn’t going to add any more to the conversation. He’d said what he’d needed to in order to express his feelings and now he wanted to move away from the subject.
She sat in silence for a while, her eyes on the screen and her hands busy with her dinner, but she was more focused on how to breach any more conversation with Jackson.
Finally, the end credits of the movie rolled across the screen and Jackson took the opportunity to yawn loudly, stretching his neck and back as he did so. Ginny also took hold of the opportunity.
“Don’t tell me you’re tired already,” Ginny openly teased, waiting for a return jab. “It’s only 9.”
“Like I said before…I’m a growing boy,” Jackson shot back with a tired smile. “I need by beauty sleep…” he added as another yawn shook him.
“A likely story,” she laughed. “Although I do know that your exhaustion can’t be from actually doing anything all day…I see your room is still a mess,” she said with an attempted glare.
“I’ll get on it,” Jackson reassured her. “I’ve got all week.”
“You’ve really got nothing going on the rest of the week?” Ginny asked with a bit of concern in her voice. Jackson usually had something to do, albeit with friends or cousins. It wasn’t like him to just hang around the house all the time.
“Not really…” he shrugged. “I mean–Anna comes home day after tomorrow…” he trailed off, suddenly becoming engrossed in the hole in the sock that covered his foot resting upon the table.
Ginny watched him momentarily, feeling a small smile tug at her lips as Jackson mentioned his best friend.
Anna Mitchell had been Jackson’s best friend since they were 6 years old. She and Jackson had gone to the same primary school until Jackson went to Hogwart’s. Anna was a muggle and had gone off to high school at about the same time. She would be entering university this following term. Despite the distance and the differences in the world’s they lived in, they’d continued to write and communicate regularly with one another, taking every chance during holidays to hang out. Anna was a wonderful girl who, Ginny had to admit as his mother, she had hoped Jackson would have started to notice as more than a friend.
“She’ll be home from school?” Ginny asked, hoping to prod him further.
“Yeah…” Jackson replied with a nod. “In her last letter, she said she wanted to hang out when she did get back. She’s gonna let me know when she does and we’ll plan something,” he added.
“Great,” Ginny said, trying to keep her voice even. “And you’ll have to invite her over for dinner one of these nights too. We’ve got our own catching up to do.”
Anna’s mother had died when she was just a toddler, so Ginny always enjoyed having her over to enjoy a little girl time, much to Jackson’s chagrin.
“Girl talk, right?” Jackson asked with a slight grimace. Ginny smiled.
“I think I’ll excuse myself from that one,” he said with a slight shudder, ducking as an unexpected pillow thrown by his mother sailed towards his head.