Chapter 1 : Overshadowed
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Also, the first paragraph belongs to dragonwriterhp. It was a challenge in the SAYS forums.
She sat on the edge of the cliff, clutching the empty vessel in her cold, numb hands. Angry, powerful waves crashed into the rocks a couple of hundred feet below, and her wet hair whipped at her face painfully as the harsh wind caught it in its grip.
“Ginny?” A growing man could hardly be seen in the darkness as he limped towards her. Mud splattered up his wounded legs as he tried to reach her through the violent weather.
The young woman span around, squinting through wind and rain to find a familiar appearance of the man before her. Her mouth stayed in a firm, determined line.
“Ginny? What are you doing out here?” he yelled over the tremendous sounds from the wave.
Her stony eyes stared into his. “I don’t want to know,” her voice was almost unrecognisable.
“Don’t want to know what?” he asked, wiping off blood from the back of his hand.
“Well I’m here. That’s got to mean something,” he said, daring to edge closer to her, dropping his hands helplessly to his side.
She surveyed him. She looked from his torn jeans, to the blood that still semi-covered his skin, from his wounded leg with a gaping cut, and then to his cloak that was ripped, burnt and torn. A sharp intake of breath.
She spread her arms out and pointed to the area around them. “Then where is everyone else?” She turned back, her toes were curled over the edge of the cliff, the wind was howling around her.
The man eyed the empty bottle that she held loosely in her hand. “I didn’t know that you drink,” he noted uselessly, voice low now.
“And I didn’t know that you became my mother,” she replied sharply before letting the empty vessel slide from her slender fingers. The bottle fell so slowly, it seemed forever until it finally met the crashing waves far below them; barely a splash was made.
“Ginny, you need to step away from there, you could fall,” the man said pleadingly, eyes round.
“I should have been able to fight.” She snapped her face towards his.
“That wasn’t my choice,” his voice was so calm for the situation they were in.
She closed her eyes, her long, wet hair continued to flick harshly around her. “Is Voldemort gone?” she asked, not daring to look at him.
“You need to get away from the edge,” he said, watching her dangerously.
She literally leapt towards him, her face lingering only centimetres from his. “Is Voldemort gone?” her voice boomed. He felt her warm breath against his numbing face.
“Yes,” he whispered only loud enough her to just hear it over the howling winds.
Voldemort’s downfall was the whole reason for the horrific battle that took too many lives.
“And Harry? He’s gone too?” Her eyes darted to and from both of his, looking for answers. She already knew. She knew that if Harry was still here he would have come for her, not the wounded Neville Longbottom.
Neville’s face held a painful expression. He didn’t want to reveal the truth to her. He tried to stutter the words I’m sorry but they wouldn’t escape his tongue.
She began to sway on the spot, her eyes still glued on his; he could hear a small whimper break away from her lips.
He pulled her to his chest; her numb body was pressed against his.
“Daddy! Daddy, wake up!” A small boy shook his father, who had fallen asleep at his desk.
The father groaned and snapped his eyes open, unsticking his face from the parchment on the table he sat up and looked down at his son.
“Yes, Ronald?” he said, leaning forward so he was the height of the little boy.
The red-haired boy wrinkled up his freckled nose. “Don’t call me that, daddy,” he said.
His father chuckled and scooped his son into his arms.
“Mummy said that dinner’s ready, and you also have work tonight.” The boy could barely speak through his giggling.
Neville walked into the kitchen, his son wriggling in his arms. He placed Ronald into his chair before stepping towards his wife, who was piling large amount of food onto each place.
“Daddy,” another boy called from the table.
“Yes?” Neville said, ruffling his light brown hair, distracted.
“What’s wrong with mummy?” the oldest son asked.
Neville eyed his wife for a moment; she pretended that she was very interested on giving the exact same amounts of food onto each plate. “How about we just leave mummy alone tonight,” Neville said to the table of three young boys.
They all nodded together, their bright hair all bounced upon their heads.
Neville looked at each of them; they all had the same bright red hair. The oldest was only seven, he was named after Harry. He looked the most like Neville out of the three, apart from the Weasley trademark hair.
Ronald was six; he was the most out spoken out of his siblings and took most of the traits of a Weasley. While little Remus was barely even two but again, he looked very much like his mothers family.
Neville’s wife began to carry plates over to the table, giving the children their meals. Neville offered to help, but as he did, he knocked her elbow, sending one of the meals flying.
“Just…sit down,” she through gritted teeth.
Neville threw on his working coat while brushing off some soil from his front. He walked towards his wife and tucked a strand of ginger hair behind her ear.
“I’m going to work now,” he announced.
Neville stared at her expectantly. She wasn’t even turning to give him a kiss goodbye.
“Ginny, I—“ he started.
“What?” She spun towards him, her hands on her hips.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, his gentle face screwed up with suspicion.
“Nothing,“ she snapped, flicking her long sheet of hair behind her shoulder before turning back to the kitchen sink.
He bent towards her to kiss her goodbye on the cheek. She moved away swiftly, avoiding his lips. “Neville, just don’t.” She sighed.
Little Harry bounded into the room, playing with his toy broomstick, whizzing it around the table.
“I’m not him.” Neville’s voice was low and sad as though he was disappointed in himself.
“Neville!” Ginny said sharply, he had already said enough.
I can’t be him. His head screamed out in silent pain.
He watched his wife stand in front of him; she was failing in front of his eyes. She held onto the bench behind her for support.
Seven-year-old Harry paused, his eyes glued on his parents who both stared into each others eyes. Neville’s expression was enough to break anyone’s heart in two, meanwhile Ginny held a hard look as though to say ‘don’t you dare.’
“I—“ Neville’s throat got caught. Ginny stared at him, her hazel eyes starting to darken, her face began to turn a violent shade a red, she turned on her heel, throwing the tea towel at her feet and fleeing the kitchen.
Little Harry’s warm eyes looked from the door to his father, completely clueless about what his parents had just been talking about.
Neville went after his wife; she stood over the small table in the hallway, looking onto the photo frames that were scattered over the dark wood. She was looking at their framed picture of the 17-year-old Harry Potter, he knew it.
“I’m not Harry,” Neville spoke lightly.
She lifted up the frame of her loved one. “No, you’re not,” she said, her eyes brimming with tears. She raised her head and looked up at her husband. Her skin used to be so flawless…so smooth and porcelain-like, since Harry’s death, lines were appearing across her aging face.
Neville bowed his head forward; he too was fighting away the tears.
“God damn it, Ginny,” he said as quietly as he could. “He’s not here anymore.”
She bit her red lips. “Just go to work.”
He turned away from his wife, Harry stood at the kitchen door, looking at his parents, and he opened his mouth to speak.
“Bye Harry,” he said, sweeping his hand through his eldest sons’ hair.
He walked past the rooms that his other two boys played in; they looked too much like his wife, too much like her family.
Harry had died when Neville was barely even 17, Ginny was still 16. Nearly everyone they knew died in that war, family, friends, school peers, and teachers. They were the few who managed to survive.
Three years later Neville asked her to marry him, she agreed, and within three months they were walking down the aisle. Many people gossiped about it, most came to the conclusion she wanted to get it over and done with before she would talk herself out of it. He did his best not to listen, to believe that it was all nothing.
Three years later more gossip was made when they still hadn’t even thought about starting a family, then Harry came into the world. A year later Ronald came, it then took another four years before Remus became the third and last child.
His heart was breaking when he pulled his cloak over his head to step from the front door. Had she ever really loved him? Was all the pathetic gossip real? Did she really want to rush into the marriage before she could talk herself out of marrying someone she would never really love?
For his whole life he was overshadowed by the great and brave Harry James Potter. His grandmother would praise him to every inch of his life, but even in death he overshadowed him again, in a way that will never heal over completely.
He walked into the darkness to Apparate to his late shift of work.
Ginny wasn’t surprised to see her husband not home when she woke up. She threw on her patchy dressing gown before walking into the kitchen. Her three boys were already awake and running around the house, still in their flannelette pyjamas.
She yawned loudly and waiting patiently for the rusty old kettle to boil the water. She stared out into the front lawn, the grass was overgrown and the trees nearly blocked the pathway leading to the road. She remembered when her father was killed at work when Death Eater’s exploded the floor above him in the Ministry of Magic; had collapsed and crushed him to death. She remembered how her mother had stared out the window, waiting for him to come home. The hand with Arthur Weasley’s face on it on the clock was spinning around madly, as though unsure of where to land.
It was then an Auror walked to the door, wearing a blood red robe with a badge pinned to his chest. We had all heard of them before, they come and inform you of the death of your loved one, just like Muggle police do after a deadly car crash.
She heard Remus’ small voice by her side. “Mummy,” he said, tugging her dressing gown. She looked down at the hazel eyed boy at her feet. He smiled a wide, toothy grin before tottering off out of the room.
She sighed and looked up out to the window again, watching the sun rise through the thick vines and trees. Her heart started to race when she heard a noise that she recognised, Neville was home. She saw a figure walking through the trees, their face came into view.
She was relieved when she didn’t know the face. She didn’t want to confront Neville after what happened the night before. He knew she would never love him. She surveyed the man. He was young, his blonde hair was cut so short that it was barely visible, it only made his round and bludging eyes look even bigger. The mans body was hidden by the thickness of the greenery.
She walked to the front door to meet him there. She waited until he would knock on it before she pulled it open. Her eyes first fell onto his deep red robes with the shining badge attached sloppily to his chest.
She raised her hand up to her house and covered it. “No,” she whispered.
“Mrs. Weasley-Longbottom?” he said, speaking through a thick Scottish accent.
She nodded stiffly.
This man is too young, her mind screamed, too young to be reporting this.
“How old are you?” she asked shakily.
He was puzzled now. He cleared his throat, avoiding the woman’s eyes. “19,” he replied, trying to sound as mature as he could.
She shivered, far too young, what was the Ministry thinking?
“How did it happen?” she said, talking through her fingers.
The 19-year-old cleared his throat again. “He was attacked by a mature Devil’s Snare in the Greenhouse while he was attempting to do tests on it. It’s been reported that his death was almost sudden, his neck was cleanly broken before the plant could launch a full attack.”
She buried her face in her hands.” Dammit Neville!”she said in a muffled yell.
The 20-year-old Neville held his newly announced wife in his arms, swaying to the music so he wouldn’t tread on her wedding shoes, his face in her perfectly curled red hair.
“I love you Ginny Weasley-Longbottom. I’ve never told anyone that before, but I love you, more than you will ever know.” He kissed her forehead nervously before smiling, “I can’t believe how lucky I am.” He looked at her face. She looked so perfect in her white wedding dress, a green shawl around her shoulders, diamonds glistening around her neck.
He nestled his head into her hair again. “I really love you,” he whispered once again, holding her tighter.
He loved her; he loved her more than the world could ever know. But she had never loved him, and the last and final thing he would ever remember about her was the fact that he wasn’t Harry. She had lied to him for years, and their three children were the product of a lie.
Her heart seemed to be slowing down; her eyes were so full of tears that she could barely see. She had broken his heart, his soul and his life.
“Mummy?” She heard the voice of her son, Ronald. “Mummy, when will Daddy be home?”