Chapter 1 : Something So Simple
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It’s funny how something so simple can be so hard.
Saying goodbye is one of those things. It should be short, and simple.
It’s just a word. All you have to do is say it. Maybe add a hug for good measure. But it’s not that simple.
Not for you.
Not when you’ve spent the last week agonizing over whether to do it at all. You know you have to. But you don’t want to, so you’ve avoided it and now you’ve run out of time.
Now you’re leaving. You’re leaving tomorrow and your soul won’t let you go without saying it.
So here you are, wandering through the Burrow. You check her room, but she’s not there. You already know where she is but you go through the motions of checking each room anyway. Perhaps you’re trying to put off the inevitable, or maybe…maybe you’re trying to convince yourself that you don’t actually know her that well. Trying to convince yourself that you don’t actually fit the way your heart says you do. Maybe you want to pretend that when you die it won’t kill her too.
Eventually you make your way to the pond. She’s precisely where you expected and your heart plummets; right before it breaks cleanly in two. You don’t even know how that's possible since it already shattered at Dumbledore’s funeral.
As you walk towards her, it finally hits you that you’re truly leaving. You might not be back. You don’t know if you’ll see her again. The fact that she’s going to be stuck here alone makes you feel suddenly nauseous.
It was like something out of someone else’s life.
That’s what you said. That’s what you want…what you’ve always wanted. You want someone else’s life. Seamus’ maybe, he seems to have a nice life. Maybe you can have his. Let the job of saving the world pass to Moony, or someone else…someone who’s ready for it.
Slowly, you sink down beside her and stare at the water. She doesn’t speak and neither do you, so you just continue sitting until you can’t take it anymore. You can’t take the silence because the conversation you hear in your head is so much worse than anything you would ever say out loud.
“I know,” she interrupts you.
You fall silent, letting your gaze flick to her face but she doesn’t look at you.
“You guys already said goodbye, Harry.”
Her tone tells you that she doesn’t want to have this conversation, but you ignore it. Maybe you’re selfish, forcing it on her because it’s what you need…or maybe you know her well enough to know that she needs it too. You hope you’re selfish; that hurts less.
You feel your head nod in response to her words and you run your hands through you hair. When did they get clammy and stiff?
“I know,” you mumble, irritated that your voice seems to have stopped working correctly, coming out gruff and hesitant. You push on. “I wanted to tell you again…I wanted to give you…”
You trail off as her head snaps toward you and she finally meets your gaze. You force yourself to swallow when you see the anger and fear in them.
“Don’t you dare give me anything,” she hisses before turning back toward the water. She is shaking slightly and you realize how close she is to blowing up at you.
You reach out, lacing your fingers through hers and pulling her hand toward you. You watch her eyes shut and her lips purse but she doesn’t pull away. You stare at her hand, watching your thumb trace her knuckles lightly. It is small and pale in yours and you force yourself to swallow.
“Why are you doing this?” she asks finally, her voice weary.
“You deserve a proper goodbye, Gin,” you answer finally. “Not one that involves your whole family and a bunch of false hope.”
You watch her crack, as the tears begin to flow before she squeezes her eyes shut and wipes them away quickly with her free hand. You smile, knowing how hard she’s trying.
“Maybe I want the false hope,” she whispers.
Knowing she doesn't mean that, you shake your head.
“No you don’t. You want the truth. You don’t want to wake up tomorrow, if something happens, and not have said and heard what you needed to…to keep going.”
She's silent for a few moments. Her tears roll steadily down her cheeks but she doesn’t seem to notice.
“Tell me the truth, then,” she says finally. She shuts her eyes and you feel her body tense in preparation.
You stare at her profile, taking her in as everything you love about her floods your mind.
“The truth,” you say softly, “is that I want to be with you. I think that if things were different…" Your voice catches and you swallow forcibly, never taking your eyes from her face. "If things were different we would be happy, and play quidditch and prank your brothers…”
You smile when she chokes out a laugh.
“…and I think…" Your voice becomes thick as your vision suddenly becomes blurry. "I think...I think we would get married and have lots of kids and…”
Whimpering, she tries to shrink away but you clamp down on her hand, not allowing her to leave.
"I'm not finished..."
She shakes her head sharply, trying to pull away from you. She shifts back, jerking her arm to try to break your grip, but you only hold tighter. When she begins to stand, you move quickly, catching her arm. You draw her to you, wrapping your arms around her as she struggles. She beats on your chest weakly before finally sinking into your embrace with a sob.
“I think…I think that I love you,” you whisper into her ear.
“Stop,” she chokes out but your shake your head. You run your hand through her hair as she links her arms around your neck.
“I want you to know that I’m fighting for that,” you whisper hoarsely. “I’m fighting for you…for that future.”
"What future?" she whimpers, her voice muffled by your shirt. "There is no future if you leave and he kills you."
"There's no future if I stay," you whisper, gliding your hand back down her hair, trying to soothe her.
“Take me with you,” she pleads her voice so soft you can barely hear it.
The pain in your chest increases and you bury your face into her hair. She smells like flowers and you shut your eyes, trying to lose yourself in the scent that you know so well. Your tears are falling, wetting the crimson locks below your cheeks. You don’t know when you began to cry and at the moment you don’t even care. You couldn’t stop them anyway.
Slowly, she wraps her arms around you as you sob against her. She holds you as you shake, your muscles trembling almost violently.
“I can’t, ” you manage finally. "I can't do this...not if I don't know you're safe. I know you want to come with me, but I need you here. I need to know that…that there is one thing still good, and perfect, and worth it…if I can’t protect anything else, Ginny…I have to protect you.”
You stay together, wrapped in each others arms until the sun begins to make a rainbow of colors across the pond as it sets. As the air begins to cool, you feel her shiver against you. Pulling away, you brush her hair out of her face as you meet her eyes.
“I…I love you, Harry Potter,” she whispers, bringing her fingers to your lips. You kiss them lightly as her confession fills you with warmth.
She just tugs on your hand. You follow without thinking, leaning into her and catching her lips with yours. It’s soft and you ache as everything wonderful and pure about her kisses automatically fills you. Eventually you pull back, but just barely. Your noses are close enough to touch as you drag your eyes open.
“Goodbye, Ginny,” you whisper and she shuts her eyes.
Resting her forehead against yours she brings her hand to your cheek. Your skin burns under her touch and you lean into it.
“Don’t say goodbye, Harry,” she replies tremulously.
“I have to…”
She shakes her head and you fall silent. You don’t understand, so you wait until she’s ready.
“Don’t say it,” she repeats softly. “It’s too permanent…it makes it sound like…”
…like you won’t come back.
Her unsaid words linger in your mind and you don’t know what to do. So you remain silent and still.
Finally, she’s the one who moves, shifting her lips so that she can kiss your cheek.
“See you later, Harry,” she murmurs in your ear.
The world is silent around you as you watch her stand up and walk away. She’s leaving you…leaving you so you can’t leave her. Moving quickly, you stand up.
“See you later, Ginny.”