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Chapter 2: Letting Go
Beautiful Chapter Image by Eternalsunshine@ TDA! :)
Author's note: Rewritten chapter two! Please read the author's note at the end for a bit of despcription if you want to read chapter 3 :)
Early the next morning, Ginny sat in the Gryffindor common room with a Weasley blanket thrown over her battle-scarred legs, one crossed over the other. On her lap lay an open scrapbook, the first page adorned with a young baby boy with his two loving parents; his emerald green eyes stood out amongst the scenery.
Flipping each page had almost been flipping into another life for the young woman, as she saw some pictures that made her laugh, even though she wasn’t in them. Platform 9 ¾ in the background, it was a picture of Harry and Ron just coming back from their first year. Both of them had smiles plastered across their faces, their smiles a bit too goofy for the moment. Ginny then turned the page with a chuckle to find a picture from their third year, all three of them. Laughing so hysterically they used each other for balance, Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood in the Leaky Cauldron mere days before their third departure to Hogwarts.
As time and pages flew by, Ginny stopped at one particular picture. Taken by Colin Creevey, the common room filled with celebration, Ginny watched as Harry caught her lips in his. She saw Dean breaking a glass in his bare hand and Romilda’s jubilant expression turn to the opposite. Watching Harry kiss her, she realized it felt so much different than what it appeared to be. It appeared to be obviously shocking, but she simply felt relief and blissful in the moment.
“What a night,” She whispered quietly to herself, and slowly glanced over to the place where this all happened. It was amazing to Ginny, the amount of change that had taken place from that one kiss. Had he not kissed her, would she have taken the chance and kissed him herself? Pondering the what-ifs, Ginny turned the page.
“Where did you get that?” Harry gently touched her shoulder, to which Ginny responded by jumping out of her seat and grabbing her wand.
Harry had his hands up in the air as if he were surrendering, a smirk present on his face. Her hand clapped over her heart, Ginny’s heart started to slow its pace down, and she took many deep breaths. “It’s just me.” He said quietly.
“Sorry, I’ve just been paranoid the past few days…” She apologized, sitting back onto the sofa, pulling her knees to her chest.
“So, are you going to answer my question? Or is it another great mystery of Ginny Weasley?” Harry sat down, and Ginny gave a quiet chuckle.
“I just found it on the floor of your room,” She closed it and placed it onto his lap. “It had fallen out of some pouch, I think.”
“Have you looked through it?” He asked, tracing the letter on top of cover. Ginny turned away, hoping not to answer the question, which Harry took as his answer. “Gin, you never seize to amaze me.” Ginny turned around quickly, which caused Harry to get a mouthful of fiery Weasley hair. He spat it out quickly, and they both couldn’t help but laugh.
“How do I amaze you?” She questioned once their laughter had sufficed. She looked at his hand while he placed it on top of hers.
“Well,” He rubbed the back of his neck nervously with his other hand. “It’s just…it’s you.” A few moments of silence passed, a few birds chirped in the distance to fill the soundless air. Harry could hear Ginny’s calm breathing; her chest falling as she took deeper and deeper breaths. A smile crept up on her face, leaning over and planting a kiss on Harry’s unshaven face.
Harry smiled at this, and then turned the scrapbook over in his hand and tracing the gentle cover once again.
“Well, knowing you,” Harry broke the moment of silence. “You looked through this.”
“You know me too well, Harry.” She admitted, while moving an few inches more towards Harry’s direction, to see the pages better but also to be closer to Harry. He began to flip through the scrapbook, smiling at a few memories that he hadn’t seen in a while, some as simple as Harry and Ron playing wizard’s chess, Hermione scowling in the background whilst calling it barbaric. Others were pictures that Ginny had no idea where they took them, such as in a forest, but she decided to remain quiet.
“You see this one,” He pointed towards an older photograph that lay next to a fifth-year Hermione, reading her latest book of the time. “That’s the original Order of the Phoenix. Frank and Alice Longbottom are right there…Sirius… and my parents are right there.”
“You look like your dad,” She glanced down at the picture of the late James Potter, and back up at his son to see a similarity that could be said by any stranger.
“But I have my mother’s eyes,” He finished off for her. “Almost everyone I meet says that.”
“Actually,” She said. “I was going to say that you have her nose.”
“Her nose? Really?” He said, pondering with that thought. “Huh. I’ve never heard that one before.”
“No, I was going to say eyes.” He smiled at this. “And you have your Dad’s smile.”
The smile that she spoke of began to come up on Harry’s face, and one spread across her own face as well. Turning back to the scrapbook, Harry turned the page and pointed to another photograph.
“And right here,” A recent picture of the Weasleys in his sixth year was tapped to the parchment, all of them smiling like mad, Harry and Hermione’s hair standing out against the other red hair. “Is my family.”
Ginny looked up at Harry to find him smiling down at her.
“Everything seems so simple doesn’t it?”
“Simple.” Ginny snorted. “Don’t be ridiculous Harry.”
Laughing, Harry shook his head and looked back down to the scrapbook, flipping through pages of memories and childhood memoirs. “Well, you know what I mean. More innocent I guess.”
“Well…” She began to argue.
“I think we’re fine Gin,” He cut her off with a smile, and she stuck out her tongue to receive the same gesture back.
“We all grew up too fast, but some of us are still child at heart.” He peered at her over his glasses, which had fallen down to the tip of his nose.
“Are you suggesting that I’m childish Potter?” She teased.
“No, not at all.” He said, his voice slightly higher than normal. Ginny, then, quickly threw a light punch on his bicep, surprising Harry. “What was that for?”
“For being a git.” Harry shook his head.
“And you’re not childish?” He scoffed lightly.
“Bugger off Harry,” She joked. “But I reckon you’re right, we have grown up too quickly.”
“But it was an amazing childhood,” He said. “But crazy nonetheless.”
“Mine wasn’t all too crazy, compared to yours.” She said. “I barely talked to you mental cases, you were too busy fighting you-know-who.”
“Voldemort.” He reminded her, and she fidgeted a bit. Harry normally didn’t see Ginny as a timid person, she was a confident woman. Seeing her afraid of a name sent chills through his body, a tiny stab at his heart. But he was gone, Voldemort was gone, he couldn’t hurt her anymore.
She took a deep breathe, his eyelids closed, and repeated the name slowly back to him.
“It’ll take time,” He said, moving his hand to her leg. “Anything good takes some getting used to, and it sometimes takes a lot of time.”
“Took us six years didn’t it?” She smiled, and Harry did the same back.
“But you had a schoolgirl crush on me from a while back,” He commented with a smirk. “I knew.”
She cackled with laughter, saying in-between laughs. “Everyone did.”
“But did everyone know that I would fall for you?” He questioned back, and Ginny shook her head.
“I don’t think that most men end up dating their best friend’s little sister.” She said, placing a soft kiss on Harry’s cheek and she could feel the blood rush to his cheeks.
“I reckon you know I missed you,” He said awkwardly. “It was hard for all of us to be away from you and your family. And after Ron left—.”
“Ron what!” Ginny turned toward him quickly, and Harry stammered.
“Ron left?” He repeated, and Ginny’s eyes were widened by shock. “He came back a few weeks later, and I forgave him. But Hermione was a mess.”
“I reckon she was!” Ginny said, her voice taking a louder tone. “Ron left her.”
“Hold on Ginny,” Harry placed a hand on her shoulder. “Relax, it’s all over and done.”
“No,” She fought back. “Tell me what happened.”
“Tell me.” She repeated sternly. “Now.” To ease up the tension, she flashed a quick smile, leaving Harry with a small laugh.
“Well,” He began. “It all started when Ron was splinched when we were apparating. We all took times wearing the locket, and when Ron wore it he was particularly… irritated. One day, Ron was wearing the locket and he was just pushed over the edge and left.”
“What locket?” She questioned, and Harry then realized what he had said and what she did not know. He made a quiet sound, and Ginny questioned again. “Harry?”
“The story is really long and complicated…” He stalled. “I don’t know if we’re ready for it…”
“We’ll manage.” She said back, the words that Harry had wished she had not said. “But if it’s hard for you, you can stop anytime.” She added. He didn’t want guilt from others, and he didn’t want people to know quite yet what had happened. However, he trusted her with all of his life and he began;
“Basically, it all started with Dumbledore in sixth year…”
“So you know now?” Ron asked, leaning back casually on the couch. Leaning against his legs, Hermione read an old Quibbler with the title Support Harry Potter plastered on the front, along with a picture of Harry. “That must’ve been a long story.”
“I could write a book about it all,” Hermione sighed. “As long as Rita Skeeter doesn’t beat me to it.”
“I won’t let her,” Harry responded with a slight growl, his voice still friendly. “And I’ll get your brothers to come and help me do that. I reckon that we could take her down.” Harry pushed Ginny slightly with his elbow.
“That’s right.” Ginny said, and Ron nodded along with her. Hermione turned back to her Quibbler with a shake of a head and a roll of the eyes; a classic Hermione gesture.
“Were you surprised by any of it?” Hermione said, her eyes just peering over her magazine.
“From you lot, I wasn’t surprised that much.” Ron tilted his head to the side to question Ginny’s statement.
“Are you joking?” Ron questioned. “We broke into Gringotts for Merlin’s sake!”
“Well, I was surprised by some of it,” Ginny admitted. “The thing that surprised me the most was when you broke into the Ministry, I mean, that was mental! Who’s idea was that?” Ginny laughed.
“Harry’s!” Ron and Hermione said in unison, Ron’s finger pointing in Harry’s direction.
“So I guess that was my fault.” Harry said, taking off his glasses and cleaning them with his shirt, too lazy to take out his wand. “But I wasn’t the only one with these insane ideas.” He fought back.
“Well,” Ron said, looking down at his twiddling thumbs.
“I’m not going to argue with anyone right now.” Harry laughed a bit. “I’d rather not make a complete fool of myself right now.”
“But Harry,” Hermione set her magazine down for the first time. “You will make a fool of yourself. It’s in your blood.” A smirk came from Hermione as she lifted the magazine back to her face and began to read again. Harry had let out a small chuckle, which Ginny brushed off, as she knew it would be a long story. Ron, on the other hand, was looking around with an extremely confused look spread about his face.
The steps seemed to grow longer as Harry and Ginny made their way down the staircases, their bodies still aching in places from the fatiguing battle. Many of the railings were chipped; some were missing massive pieces that were big enough to fit Hagrid through. Professor McGonagall had cleared the blood away the day before, and Filch had hung up the pictures that survived the battle.
“Good day to you Mr. Potter,” Sir Cadogan said, tipping his head towards us. “And to you, Miss Weasley.”
“You too,” Harry said back, and Ginny simply smiled back at him. The two took a few more steps down the staircases before Harry heard a voice.
“Harry.” A woman’s voice spoke; Harry stopped walking and looked towards Ginny’s direction.
“Did you say something Gin?” He asked, and she shook her head, a quizzical look on her face.
“I didn’t say anything, Harry. Are you sure you heard something?”
“I could’ve sworn I heard—,” He looked over her head to see another redheaded woman, her eyes exactly like Harry’s inside a portrait frame. An indescribable feeling
“I knew you could do it,” She smiled, and a cough came from James’s portrait next to hers, and she rolled her eyes. “We knew you could do it.”
“That’s right.” James nodded smugly. “We’re so proud of you son.”
“Thanks Mum and Dad,” Harry said. “Seems like I haven’t talked to you in a while.”
“Quite a while ago, wasn’t it?” James said.
“It was four days ago.” Lily corrected, and Harry soon remember where had had seen them.
“Yeah, it was…” Harry said awkwardly. He then felt Ginny move her fingers against his hand. “Oh, mum, dad. This is Ginny.”
“We remember you quite well dear,” Lily said, and Harry felt Ginny awkwardly move her fingers against his once again. This caused him to smirk a bit.
“So,” Harry said. “Do you have any idea where Remus is?” Harry questioned, a touch of sympathy and pain coursing throughout his body, his heart being stabbed by a thousand tiny knives; a lump gathered in his throat.
“He and Tonks have yet to be hung up on the wall,” Lily answered softly, a disappointed sound hidden in her voice. James noticed it right away.
“Come on Lils,” James pleaded, his arm cut through the two portraits as his hand lay on his wife’s shoulder. It looked as thought his arm has been chopped in two. “Talk to me, I’m not all that boring.”
Lily merely rolled her eyes. Harry stood there uncomfortably, his eyes moving back and forth from his mother and father as if his eyes were having a spastic attack.
“Lils,” He said her name again. Harry watched as his mother and father talked a bit, James attempting to calm her down. From what Harry had been told, Lily was not one to calm that quickly.
“I’m going to go see Ron and Hermione, I’ll meet you down there.” Ginny kissed his cheek and she began to descend down the stairs. Ginny was nearly at the Great Hall once Lily had noticed she had gone.
“Where did Ginny go?”
“Down to see Ron and Hermione, mum.” Harry felt weird saying this to his mother; he assumed that he would never talk to either of his parents again after the night in the forest. He watched as James tried to fix the situation, and she just smiled a bit.
“I just feel like talking to another woman, that’s all James. One can only take sixteen years of you alone.” Attitude dripped on the edge of her voice.
“Fine,” He crossed his arms. “I can get you to talk to me, just you watch.” He said this cockily.
“Might take you six years again mate, but she’ll come around.” Sirius commented from above, a snicker accompanied. Harry couldn’t help but hide a smile and sneak a chuckle. It looked as though Sirius had just gone and visited another portrait.
“Shut it Sirius,” Lily warned, but Sirius knew the limits, often pushing them, but never breaking them.
“You know him well enough Lils…” James defended him.
“James…” Lily shook her head, using her thumb and forefinger to pinch the bridge of her nose.
“So Harry!” Sirius interrupted. Harry smiled at his parents while they fought to the death of each other. “That was Ron’s sister, yeah?”
“She is, yeah.” Harry said as he rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably. Sirius smirked.
“So, how’d you snag her?” Sirius asked. Harry shuffled his feet uncomfortably, and the ground seemed to be more interesting than telling his parents and godfather about his love life.
“I-uhh… kissed her sixth year.” He replied sheepishly. “In the common room after a Quidditch match.”
“Was it special?” Lily asked, and she could sense James’ eye roll a mile away. “Oh James, shut it.”
“Uh, yeah, you could say that.” Harry replied awkwardly. “We were all pretty happy anyway, we’d just won the cup.”
“Way to keep Gryffindor on top, son.” James said. “So, you caught the snitch, I assume?”
“Actually, I didn’t play.” Harry replied.
“What? Why didn’t you play?” Sirius asked.
“I had…uhh…I had detention.” He said. He watched as Lily’s eyes grew a bit wide, and he felt his first scolding (that he could recall) from his mother coming on. His father’s lips grew into his famous smirk, and Sirius’ eyes glowed.
“Harry James Potter!”
“I’m so proud! My godson, in detention!”
“You’re proud, Padfoot? My son is the one in detention! So what’d you do to get in detention?”
“Boys, honestly?” Lily asked loudly. James looked down shamefully (you could still see a hint of a smirk on his lips) , and Lily looked back at Harry. He couldn’t help but smirk at these conversations between his family. They made him smile. He hadn’t seen this side of his family before, let alone seen his family that much.
“He has your smirk, James.” Lily commented. “I bet if you ask Ginny, she’d probably say that it’s rather…” She scanned for the word in her brain.
“Charming?” James added, and she nodded a bit.
“Yeah, I guess you could say that. But Harry, you two really are meant to be together.” Lily commented. “I knew the day would come when you and Ginny would see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Really? You saw them together?” James questioned. “Don’t be offended by this, Harry. You two are a couple, and all of that. Reminds me a bit of your mum and I. But I recall that I always saw him with that Hermione girl.”
“No, no, no.” Harry said quickly, before anyone else could get a word in. “She’s like my sister, I could never do that. Even if I did somewhat like her, she’s with Ron and—,”
“Ron and Hermione?” Sirius asked quickly, and Harry nodded his head. “When did this happen! I’m supposed to be told these things!” He exclaimed, and slumped over in a childish pout once finished.
“Well, if you haven’t noticed Sirius, we’re dead.” James poked his shoulder, to receive a slap from Sirius.
“I’m sorry that you didn’t have a chance to live with this Harry,” Lily apologized. “You would’ve grown up to be the oddest child.”
“I’m odd either way, aren’t I, mum?” Harry asked.
“Well…” Lily began, but Sirius cut her off once again.
“So tell us about Ron and Hermione.” Sirius spoke. “When did this happen? It was sixth year wasn’t it?”
“It was a few days ago…” Harry said, a bit frightened of Sirius’s curiousness about Ron and Hermione, a tad bit creepy in Harry’s opinion.
“Damn…” Sirius muttered whilst shaking his head. Harry merely stood there, confused. A bit frightened as well.
“What’s going on here?” Harry asked, and James nodded his head to Harry’s statement, as he too had no clue.
“Sirius?” Lily asked.
“Well, do you suppose that all the order did was lounge around all day talking Voldemort? We knew those two fancied each other before either of them did.” He chuckled. “We had a bit of fun with things in the order, kill us if you want to. We made a few bets, but it was merely just to lighten the mood.”
“That’s rather true, actually.” Harry laughed. “Now I can tell those two that everyone else knew about them two before they did. Gin and I try to tell them all the time, they never seem to listen.”
“Well, if they need sense talked into them every once in a while, send them down to my portrait, Harry. Now you’ll have a while to talk to us before you leave, so go on with Ginny.” Sirius winked.
“Alright, I’ll see you later.” Harry nodded goodbye as Lily blew a kiss. James and Sirius were just waving like lunatics. You know, the normal goodbye gesture.
Harry walked down the marble stairs, looking at all of the portraits, some empty but their nametags evident. Cedric Diggory, Colin Creevey, Remus Lupin & Nymphadora Tonks were only some of the many names that he passed that stabbed at his heart. He felt that he had to accept these deaths as triumphs of their lives, dying for the better good, he just hadn’t figured out how just yet.
The afternoon sun was beating down on the young wizards’ foreheads. Sweat dripped from Harry’s brow as he recollected the quaffle from behind the post. Ron flew by the three remaining hoops that stood in the remains of the Quidditch pitch. The only things not in ruin were the three hoops, and the Gryffindor spectator stands; Ron and Harry had already repaired them the previous day.
“Come on, mate.” Ron taunted. “My sister could make a better shot than that!”
“Well, you’re sister is a chaser, isn’t she?” Harry fought back, and Ron soon realized that his talk had backfired on him. Harry smirked at his win, and moved his broom a bit, causing Ron to do the same. “So you think that you’ll actually block this one?”
“You bet your arse I will. I even believe I have a song named after me.” He said smugly. “Weasley is our king, Weasley is our king…” He began to chant, each verse getting louder and more obnoxious than the last.
“Great…” Harry muttered as Ron boasted about his broom, using his arms in exaggeration of the song, shooting them up in the air. Harry felt a bit obliged to aim the quaffle in Ron’s direction as he paraded about the hoops in song, but he felt that drawing back his arm and launching it into the hoop was a much better choice.
“What was that for?” Ron yelled, pointing towards the hoops where the quaffle had soared through. “That was not fair!”
“That was fair. Totally and completely fair.” Harry fought back with a laugh. “While you were singing your little chant, I took advantage of the open hoop.”
“I never said I was ready,”
“That doesn’t mean I can’t shoot.”
“Yes it does!”
“I was just singing.”
“More like boasting.”
“Like I was boasting, It was more of a—,”
“HEY!” Neville yelled from below, mounting his broom and soaring up to Ron and Harry’s level. “I could hear you two bickering like a married couple all the way from the lower pitch.”
“We were not bickering like a—,” Ron fought.
“We were, but it was just a bit of competition that we were debating about, that’s all.” Harry said, and Ron pouted the slightest bit as Harry had cut him off.
“What were you two arguing about then?” Neville asked. “Did you launch the Quaffle at his face or something? I don’t see any more bruises than what we all had already.”
“I would’ve caught it had he done that.” Ron spoke up, and Harry rolled his eyes at Ron’s response. “No, the real deal is, is that Harry had shot the Quaffle before I had said that I was ready. That means that the shot doesn’t count.”
“But you were singing your own song around the hoops, it’s not my fault you weren’t ready!”
“Well, I’ll let you two finish this argument by yourselves. I merely came to tell you that dinner was ready, and that Hermione had been asking for you two.”
“Oh,” Ron said. “Tell her that we’ll be right there.”
Ron flew down a tad bit and Harry threw the Quaffle into the posts once again.
“That wasn’t necessary, mate.”
“Ron, that was fair!” Hermione said. She had taken Harry’s side on the matter. “You were being a prat, therefore, Harry took advantage. It’s a fair game.”
“Hermione, I don’t think you understand…” Ron took her hand in his and turned his body to face her. “He’s a cheater, therefore, I won.”
“I didn’t cheat…”
“To hell you didn’t cheat.” Ron mumbled.
“Really? Cause I was fair.”
“You were not!”
“How was I not fair?”
“You threw the bloody quaffle before I was ready! It’s against Quidditch rules!” Ron exclaimed.
“Oliver Wood got knocked out during a game and Slytherin kept shooting goals, now how could that not be fair? Based on that game?”
“Okay! Nobody won.” Hermione exclaimed, rubbing her temples as she said it. “If you guys can’t settle it, then nobody won. Is that fair?”
“I guess.” Harry said.
“No, it’s not!” Ron exclaimed. “I won.”
“Ron, just settle with a tie. It’s not that big of a deal.” Hermione rolled her eyes. “It’s just a silly little game of Quidditch.”
“Well, it wasn’t the Slytherin vs. Gryffindor, now was it?” Hermione retorted back, and Ron shrugged in an awkward agreement.
“Well, that’s settled then.” Harry smiled, and Ron coughed loudly.
“So, Harry.” Hermione spoke. “What’d you do this morning? Other than telling Ginny this complex story of ours.”
“Yeah, just a bit complex.” Ron laughed.
“Oh shut it.” Hermione leaned against him and moved a bit closer. He smiled at the sudden difference in interaction between Ron and Hermione. They were a couple now, and although he’d known about them before they had realized, it was still a new change he would get used to. “So, are you going to answer my question, Harry?”
“Uhh…yeah. I talked to my mum and dad for a while. Gin & I had some breakfast, and then Ron and I had a completely fair game of Quidditch going.”
Hermione saw Ron raise his arm, his mouth open to protest, but Hermione pushed it down.
“That’s your dream from last night? The one with your parents.” Hermione said, and Harry shook his head. “How could you possibly…”
“The portraits on the staircases.” Harry cut her off before she had time to counter attack. “Everyone who died at the battle or in the war got hung up near the staircases. Or at least the ones they could conjure into a portrait.”
“Really?” Ron asked, a lump in his throat gathering. “Does that mean that he’s there? Is Fred there?” Ron asked.
“He’s there, but I believe that he’s gone off to another portrait. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him.” Harry said. “We can go down and talk to them if you want, Ron. I reckon he’s back by now.”
“That’s alright. I reckon it’s better if I don’t see him right now…” Ron pushed down a lump in his throat, and smiled weakly. Hermione hugged him closer while taking his hand in hers. Ron automatically melted into her and held her even closer.
“So, how was your day so far, Hermione?” Harry said, saving Ron from saying anything more than he needed to.
“Well, I woke up around five, out of habit I guess. Then I had breakfast with Ron and then I merely just cleaned the grounds for the rest of the time. Ron left me around halfway through to have that little match with you, and that’s it.” She smiled.
“We woke up too early in that tent.” Ron grumbled. “We had nothing to do! Why did we have to wake up so early?”
Hermione merely laughed at this, and Harry smiled. “So, I think I’ll be off. We’re leaving tonight and I wanted to get one last word in with my parents before I leave.”
“Does that feel weird, Harry?” Hermione asked as Harry stood up. “If you don’t mind me asking, of course.”
“Does what feel weird?”
“Talking to your parents, and saying that you’re going to talk to them. Doesn’t it feel a bit odd?” She questioned.
“You could say that.” He nodded and smiled. “Well, I’ll see you lot at dinner.” With that, Harry made his way down the staircases to find the portraits once again.
“Harry!” He heard his name being projected from a portrait. “I hope you remember me.”
“How could I forget you?” Harry asked, looking at Fred Weasley’s face.
“I don’t know, I reckon you’ve been snogging my sister long enough to get some sort of brain damage.” He laughed. “But I reckon it can’t be too bad, you still remember your favorite Weasley brother.” He puffed out his chest, and Harry gave a slight chuckle at this.
“Exactly.” Harry laughed. “So, how’s it been for you?”
“A bit quiet, actually. I don’t work that well with quiet. Makes me fidget quite a bit.”
“Okay then.” Harry said awkwardly, rolling back and forth on his heels.
“How are they doing?” Fred asked, his voice more soft. “I mean, my family.” Harry shuffled his feet a little bit, and then ran his fingers through his hair.
“Depends on who you are talking about here.”
“George and Mum.” The names seemed difficult for Fred to say, and his eyes settled on the bottom of the portrait. He looked up into Harry’s eyes, a single tear down his cheek. “How’s Georgie?”
“I honestly haven’t talked to him.” Harry admitted. “He’s been with your mum for a while. He’s keeping to himself nowadays.”
“She’s getting better with each day. We all still miss you though.” Harry commented, and he saw Fred nearly shed another tear. “Would you like me to send them up?”
“Not right now...I couldn’t take it.” This nearly broke Harry’s heart. All of this, though the portraits were a good idea, might make him realize things even further that don’t help the situation. “Harry. I’m going to talk to Cedric now, if that’s alright.”
“Yeah, give him my best yeah? And you too.” Harry smiled as Fred dipped his head in a goodbye and walked out of his portrait, tears beginning to free flow from Fred’s glossy eyes.
Again, he began to walk down the staircases; with each step he heard a voice that he had once heard in a time that seemed a long time ago.
“Harry!” Tonks said, and Harry kept on walking.
“Harry, for Merlin’s sake!”
“SON! Turn around!”
Harry did, and he realized that he had passed the place that he had been searching for. His parents and Sirius had been joined by the Lupins.
“Good to see you Harry!” Tonks exclaimed. “It’s been quite a while.”
“Seems that way, doesn’t it?” Harry said, a sad blanket covering his heart. The realization of the portraits had just hit him. Although it was nice to finally talk to everyone, he had to accept that all of these people were not there anymore and he must let go. He had to move on, somehow, but one day wouldn’t hurt as much as the next would. It was like what Dumbledore quoted about the Mirror of Erised, men would go insane in front of it.
The portraits are the same way. They are both a positive and negative impact on the process of recovery and acceptance, and they are the obstacles that everyone must overcome. But, the question Harry was still wondering was, how?
“So, have you seen him?” Tonks asked, her emotions well hidden behind her face. “Teddy? Is he well?”
“He hasn’t even changed.” Harry smiled weakly, his acting skills clearly not presenting themselves. “Though, I feel that he is going to be like you, Tonks. He likes to scrunch up his nose quite a bit.”
“I figured that he would be like me, however Remus was afraid he would inherit his condition. But I believe Teddy could never hurt a fly, he’s a loving little boy.”
“I can tell already.” Harry said, and then began to rock back and forth on his heels awkwardly.
“TONKS! James is being an arsehole again, please come over here?” Harry heard another woman yell, and this made Harry laugh. Tonks rolled her eyes and then glanced over to Harry.
“Your mother calls.” Tonks saluted Harry before diving down into the portraits where Lily and James sat in the same portrait. Harry began to walk past them, but not before telling his mother to watch her language. She merely told him to bugger off, and then winked at him. He laughed at this, knowing this was his family.
His crazy and mixed up family.
“Harry!” He heard someone else call out his name, and he turned to find nobody behind him. “Up here on the wall, Harry.” Harry looked to find Cedric Diggory in a portrait, beaming smile and all.
“Hey Cedric. Sorry, I’ll never quite get used to that.”
“No, no. It’s quite alright.” Cedric laughed and then gazed down at his fidgeting hands. “I was actually wondering if I could ask you a question.”
“A question?” Harry repeated and Cedric merely nodded. “Err…yeah, sure. Shoot.”
“Have you seen Cho around the castle at all?” Cedric asked, and Harry felt his heart ache. “Or has she gone home with her family already?”
“I haven’t seen her since the battle…I’m sorry Cedric.” Harry apologized awkwardly.
“No, it’s not your fault.” Cedric laughed nervously, looking around the rest of the room (or what bit he could see). “And I do have another question, this one is bit less awkward.”
“Brilliant.” Harry laughed.
“The prize money, from the tournament…what’d you do with it?” Cedric asked with a smile. “Knowing you, Harry, you either saved it or gave it away.”
“Ahh… I gave it away. Fred and George needed money for their joke shop, so I was the main investor.” Harry responded with a small chuckle and a smile.
“Ha, I knew those two would end up in that business. I would’ve bet good money on that, if I had thought of making the bet in the first place.” His eyes seemed to sparkle with happiness when thinking of those days, when laughter and work was all school was really about. Before the darkness settled over the world. “Speaking of Fred, I think I’ll go pay him a visit now.”
“Alright, but hey, Cedric.” Harry said before Cedric had left his portrait.
“Yeah?” He asked.
“Cho was pretty beat up when you didn’t come back. It broke everyone’s heart to see her like that, and with you gone…the school was sad for weeks.” He said. “She loved you, you know.”
“I know.” Cedric said, a small tear in the corner of his eye. “I also know you asked her to the Yule Ball.”
“Come again?” Harry asked, taken aback by the sudden change of conversation.
“I knew you fancied her, she said to asked her to the Yule Ball. And then Fred told me you dated the next year. But I’m fine with it… truly.” Cedric said with a weak smile. “Now, go see that girl at the top of the steps. She’s been waiting for you for a few minutes now.” He said with a wink, and then he was out of sight.
Harry turned around to see a smiling Ginny sitting on the top of the staircases. He began to walk towards her, but he felt the ground move underneath him.
“Damn staircases.” He muttered a bit too loudly, to which he had Ginny laughing, almost to tears.
“Ron and I are going down to the lake, would you like to come?” Hermione asked. Ginny sat in the Gryffindor common room reading the newest Daily Prophet that had just been flown in today at breakfast. (Harry Potter Defeats Voldemort! Exclusive story on page 7.)
“I’m alright, thank you though.” Ginny smiled and pushed a stray hair out of her face. Hermione began to turn and walk out of the common room but Ginny said something to stop her.
“You two are good, then?” Ginny asked, placing her paper on the table and pulling her knees to her chest. “I mean…it’s my brother. He can be a lot to handle sometimes.”
“I’ve come to notice that much.” Hermione smirked, and then she nodded her head. “We’re good, yeah. We’re really good.”
“No rows yet?” Ginny raised her eyebrows and Hermione laughed quite loudly.
“No, not yet. I’m sure they’re going to be coming in the near future.” She laughs. “But if I am to meet Ron in five minutes, I’ll be going now.”
“Alright, we’ll meet up with you later.” A smile was shared between the two girls before Hermione left the common room, leaving Ginny to another time of silence. Ginny had just picked up the Daily Prophet from the table when she heard a loud scream followed by a sound of shattering glass. As fast as she could, Ginny nearly sprinted up the stairs towards the boys’ dormitory, from where the sounds had come from.
Ginny burst through the door, her hair in a puffy mess and her eyes distraught. She looked around quickly to observe the scene. Near the wall across the room, a puddle of broken glass lay in front of it. Harry sat on the side of his bed with his face buried in his hands and sobs were racking over his body. Ginny’s face softened as she slowly walked over to the broken frame.
“Reparo.” Ginny whispered, the glass flying back to the frame. Ginny bent down to pick up picture that was in the frame, and she soon discovered that there were two photographs. The photograph in front was a picture of Lupin & Tonks with their son, Teddy’s hair already a vibrant turquoise. She frowned at this, and then glanced over at Harry. Surely he had noticed she was in there, but he hadn’t moved an inch. Then, Ginny flipped to the next photograph.
James & Lily held a baby Harry, their smiles as wide as the horizon behind them. The bouncing baby giggled with happiness, his parents looking as happy as he did. Her pitiful eyes glanced to Harry, and then she placed the pictures inside the frame. She threw the fixed frame carefully onto Ron’s bed, being careful that it didn’t bounce off.
Cautiously, she made her way over to Harry and sat next to him. Harry’s form didn’t change when he felt the bed dip to Ginny’s weight, his body still leaned forward and tears still fell from his cheeks.
“Harry…” Ginny said, her hand at the small of Harry’s back. “Love.”
Harry sniffed and glanced up at Ginny. His troubled eyes met her brown ones only for a second before he quickly diverted them. Then, Ginny took one of Harry’s fisted hands into her own soft one and unfolded it, her thumb running over the top of his hand gently. After a few moments of silence, only accompanied by Harry sniffing his nose, Harry turned his face to look into her eyes.
His eyes were red & bloodshot, filled with salty tears. Emotions seemed to be brimming at the edge, and then finally spilling over in his eyes.
“I-I…” Harry began to say, but Ginny shook her head.
“You don’t need to explain, Harry. I understand.” Harry looked at her lovingly, but then shook his head.
“No, I need to… get this off my chest.” He said slowly, a deep breathe followed. “It’s been driving me mad all day.”
“Go on.” Harry smiled weakly, and then took another series of deep breaths before starting.
“These portraits…they’re of people that have died. People who have lost their lives for this war against Voldemort, and yet they are still here. They live in those portraits and they can still talk to me. It’s like they are still here with me and it’s like they never died. I can talk to them, and they can even talk to me.” Harry confessed, the tears in his eyes lessening. “And then I’m expected to get over all of these people leaving…and dying…I just… can’t handle all of this.”
“Harry…” Ginny said, running her hand through Harry’s hair and then letting it fall upon his cheek. She brushed away a few stray tears from his cheek. “You’ve been so courageous the past years. You’ve been so strong in all this fighting. And now that’s it’s all done…” She paused, and then turned his head so he’s looking in her eyes. “You’re free, Harry.”
“I’ll never be free, Gin.” He whispered, and her hand fell from his cheek. “It’s all over, yes. But I’ll never be free.”
“Harry, you can’t think like that—,”
“But it’s the truth, Ginny.” He said back, his posture relaxing a bit. “I’ll always be haunted by these people. The people that died while I could’ve been saving them!”
“You can’t save everyone, Harry.”
“But I didn’t try!” Harry said loudly, and then Ginny stood up quickly.
“Oh, to hell you didn’t try! YOU defeated Voldemort. Harry, you. Not anyone else. You saved millions of lives by defeating him!” She yelled back, her voice at a much higher octave. He opened his mouth to speak, but Ginny quickly cut him off. “And I swear, Harry Potter. If you try and argue with me and say you could’ve done something else, you’re wrong. You did everything you could.”
“You really think that?” Harry asked quietly after a few moments of silence.
“No, I know that.” Ginny barely had enough time to say that before Harry stood up and pulled her close to him. His arms wrapped around her waist tightly as he pulled her closer into a hug, his head buried in the crook of her neck.
“Thank you.” He whispered into her neck, and chills ran down Ginny’s spine. She brushed her fingers through his hair for a while, then she broke the silence.
“Ready to go home?” She whispered a few moments later as pulled his head back and looked into her eyes.
A/N: HOLY HIPPOGRIFF :O Over 7,000 words… WOW. I added a lot then… XD
So, here’s the rewrite of chapter two. This took a while to rewrite and structure this differently, to be honest. I had to make sure that everything from the old chapter two was in here, but I took out some of the cheesy things that were in my younger and cheesier brain. I also added a few things that I just wanted to add. Just a few fun moments to make the story longer and less underdeveloped, I guess. I tried not to change it too much, because I chat back and forth with one of my readers and they say this is one of their favorite chapters. I tried not to change it that much, but if I did, would you please forgive me?:)
Also, it’s only the second chapter of this story. The first two chapters have been rewritten, so they are considerably longer than my other chapters. The other chapters have, obviously, not been rewritten yet. The quality of writing is not as good as this chapter is… Please keep that in mind. Now you haven’t known me too long in these author’s notes, so here it goes.
I. Love. Reviews.
They always make my day. Whenever I see that number of reviews go up, even if it’s only by one, it makes my day. So, if you don’t mind… could you? I mean, you had time to read the chapter. It’s just a few words (or more, if you like typing long reviews) that take seconds to type. It’s just a button click to send it to me and make my day.
So that’s my rant about reviews…I can’t quite remember if I had a rant in the following chapters. I’m too lazy to go back and check. That’s a 164 pages of word document and 64,000 words, I think I’m good;D So, I guess it’ll be a surprise….
To those of you that read this far in the note, good job. You’re my favorites:)