Hi Amanda. I've come back for chapter 2!
It seems like Ginny is a lot more upset about her nightmares than she's even letting herself think. One of the things I couldn't get over about this chapter was how instantly relieved Ginny felt after talking to Hermione. It seemed almost manic, the way her mind shifted into "this will all be over soon", when clearly, she has a lot to work through. I got to experience this reaction before in people who are so close to the edge and they don't know it. You offer them the hope of a solution, and then they grab onto it so eagerly, thinking that it's all over, when the process of getting better hasn't even begun yet. It frankly sent chills down my spine, seeing it in Ginny here. I don't know if you meant it to read this way, but from a recent personal experience, it was very real and scary for me, and it rang true on all different kinds of levels.
I'm glad that Ginny had someone that she felt comfortable going to for this. I liked how you showed us her relationship with Hermione, like they were sisters. Poor Hermione didn't look so good, but if you expect anyone with a one week old to play hostess (nightmares or no), you're really asking for too much here. The lack of sleep from tending to a newborn at all hours (even if you're getting help) takes some getting used to before a new mother can pull off looking "together". And unless she has a full time nanny, it definitely takes more than a week. Ginny was lucky she already had the tea out. :)
The thoughts you focused on with the Weasley siblings not being able to put the loss of their brother behind them, that seeing each other was a sad reminder instead of bringing them closer together, that was very sad for me. But I did like the way you brought up the effects of the war on these young people, that they are still trying to cope with the aftereffects of everything that had happened to them.
You asked in your author's note about the post-war behavior, so I'll comment on that here: I think in Ginny's case, she'd be going through all of this in her mind at this point, with having the nightmares returning and all, so it's very realistic for her. I believe that she might be projecting onto Hermione a bit, and since it's Ginny's point of view, I can see her thinking about everything in terms of the war, even though Hermione's condition is probably more because of sleep deprivation. Now that I think about it, wouldn't it be interesting if Hermione's lack of sleep triggers her to revisit her old, painful memories... hmmm.
I can still see Ginny trying to keep it together for herself and her family. I'm so glad she's still functioning externally, and has the support of the people around her (i.e. Luna and Rolf) so she can get out and do things like this, visiting a friend who might understand her issues.
Lovely, flowy chapter as always!
Author's Response: I actually did mean for Ginny to react that way. I think cognitively she knows that therapy is a process and that it won't be a quick fix (or necessarily work for everyone), but she's so desperate for a solution that anything besides continuing to suffer seems like it would be worth a shot.
I think the sisterly bond between Hermione and Ginny is really special. I was happy that they ended up being sisters-in-law in canon because the groundwork was already there. I definitely agree that Hermione would be really stressed with such a young child, but obviously there's even more wearing on her than that, poor thing.
I'm pleased to hear that the post-war behavior felt realistic. These characters are still young, and yet they carry a weight that some of their predecessors escaped only through death. It's a major pet peeve when I read Post-Hogwarts stories that operate under the assumption that everyone has moved past the war; not only is it not realistic, but it also robs the author of a chance to explore some really vivid and complex emotions. The different ways in which reactions to trauma can splinter out are really intriguing, at least for me.
Thank you for another kind review!