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Chapter 1: Moonlight
The bluebell flames in their mason jar cast high, thick shadows upon the canvas wall of the tent, and you are somehow mesmerized by them. You are no stranger to shadows – your whole life, you have been followed by them, even before you knew it – and maybe that is why you stare at them now. But you are not thinking of the shadows. You are not even thinking of the hunt for the Horcruxes, though you know you should be. You are not thinking of Ron, or Hermione, or Voldemort.
You are thinking of her. You are always thinking of her.
Could it have been only last year, mere months ago, that you had held her in your arms and thought that everything might, for once, be normal? It feels like years, and simultaneously, like days: You can still feel the pressure of her hands on your arms, and smell the flowery perfume she always wore, and hear her laughing at a joke you know wasn’t funny enough to make her eyes that bright.
Perhaps, you think, it was all a very wonderful dream that is slowly coming to an end. You shift positions slightly on the uncomfortable cot, and bring your clasped fingers up to your lips, pressing down in thought. Your eyes shift to Ron and Hermione, sitting in the corner, talking about something; you think that they, too, are not as focused on the Horcruxes as is necessary.
They have each other; you cannot blame them.
You have never liked having the bed that faces east. The sun is the first thing you see in the morning, long before the four other sixth-year Gryffindor girls were awake, and the moon kept you up at night long after the rest of the world had gone to bed. Since he left, however, it’s become something of a comfort. He might be far away, but he sees that same sun, that same moon. In a very abstract way, it binds you to him.
Your grades have been slipping this year; it feels like he is always on your mind. You wonder where he is, and if he’s safe, and if he’s alive. They are deadly, torturous thoughts, but you must think them anyway, because choosing the alternate option – not thinking about him at all – is infinitely more painful.
You slide from the bed, wincing at the cold floorboards beneath your bare feet, jutting from the legs of your too-small pyjamas. Winter is approaching, and you hope, almost instantaneously, that he is somewhere warm and safe and out of immediate danger.
You wish with all your heart that he would have agreed to take you with him. Out of everyone, it feels as if he chose you specially, just to leave you behind.
You rise from the cot and cross to the opening of the tent; even before you lift the flap aside, you can feel the icy wind that cuts through the trunks of the surrounding trees and bites at your skin through your jumper. Ron and Hermione glance in your direction, but they don’t rise to stop you; you cannot go far, and they know this. Besides, nighttime wanderings are not infrequent.
The moon is shining brightly on this small forest clearing, and the dirt beneath your socks is cold, like soft ice. For half a moment, your mind is consumed with the brief but insistent want for something a bit more substantial, as far as foot coverings go, but it passes quickly. You wrap your arms around you against the cold, and look up.
There are thousands upon thousands of stars in the sky, or so it seems to you, each a tiny pinprick of light in the otherwise vast void of space. The moon, of course, burns more brightly than them all, and it is nearly full tonight; the clearing is well-lit and peaceful, despite the bitter breeze. Dark shapes of leaves on trees prevent you from seeing it in its entirety, like tiny wings of butterflies against the vision of the world.
She would have loved this night; she was always one for seeing beauty in things like cold, damp weather. You think that is the reason why you yourself see beauty in cold, damp weather now, where before you saw it as nothing more than one of four cyclic seasons, as the rest of the practical, logical, boring world.
The ache for her now, in seeing beauty, is nearly physical in its intensity; the creature in your chest, no longer roaring for her, is instead wounded with the loss of her, necessary though it might have been. It has been silent for a long time, but you know its pain. You lay your hand to your chest, as though it might do some good, and pretend that you are comforting her as well.
You know that it is foolish to be out of bed so late, but the dormitory room holds nothing for you tonight; you have to get away. There were rules against wandering the corridors at night even in the best of times, and it is even more dangerous now. One false step could mean the end of more than just your time here at the castle. But this is a risk you feel it is impossible not to take.
This side of the castle faces east, just like your bed does, but you like it that way out here. Square patches of icy moonlight fall in neat, orderly rows on the stone floor, and you make it a point to step in each one of them, the heels of your bare feet pressed intentionally into the center of each one. The light paints your feet paler than normal, making the freckles on them stand out even more.
On the opposite wall, across the one with the east-facing windows, is a splash of black paint; someone else has taken virtual arms, and hastily scrawled yet another message on the wall, wishing him luck. Your lips curve into a smile as you read the words; it looks a bit like Neville’s handiwork, you think, though of course it could be anybody’s.
You are so proud of what those left here have done for him; you take it almost as a personal favor, though you know that that’s not necessarily the case. Neville, almost the entire rest of Gryffindor house, Luna, even Cho – they are making sure the war for Hogwarts is not one that will be easily won. And you, too, will not go down without a fight.
It is what you can do for him here, when he is out there.
There is a small niche, just a few paces up the corridor, and you pad silently over to it, gingerly seating yourself upon the cold stone. There is a low window here you have never noticed – this school will always hold secrets for you. The edges of it are fringed in delicate frost, like lacework edging. You reach forward and push; the window gives easily, and a cold wind blows in through the small crack. You close your eyes as it touches your cheeks, and pray for him. It is so cold.
You hope he is alive.
The wind soon becomes too much for you; it is cold, bitterly so, but it has cleared your head, if only for the moment. It lifts the hair off your forehead, and wraps itself around you, and you feel strangely at peace.
You turn to go inside the tent again, back to the reality of your life, or what is has become: Ron and Hermione, the smell of canvas and wool, a thick locket chain around your neck as you sleep, and an ever-growing sense that maybe this is all for nothing.
But tonight, you are alive, and that is what matters.
You lay your hand flat against the window, and it is almost as though he is here with you.
You open your mouth and whisper her name
and you pray that you will see her again
and it will be all right.
A/N: I think I've said it before, but it still stands: When I get restless, I write one-shots. And though I'm not normally a huge fan of Harry and Ginny being paired together, I had that feeling again earlier this week to write a one-shot, and this just sort of came without too much forethought or thinking. I really enjoyed writing Coming Home earlier this year, and writing a Harry/Ginny in the same style as that Ron/Hermione one-shot seemed a very natural decision to me. That being said, I hope you've enjoyed it, and I'd love to know what you thought! Thank you for reading!