Chapter 1 : Desperate Desires
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A/N and Disclaimer: This is a one-shot that answers to Cedrics_gurl's challenge in the forums. I was inspired by the quote from Kelly Clarkson's song, Beautiful Diaster. The lyrics belong to her, and the characters in the fic belong to JKR. I would like to say quickly that this is AU because I have changed the outcome of the final battle. I've written as though Ginny died during the battle.
He drowns in his dreams
An exquisite extreme I know
He's as damned as he seems
And more heaven than a heart could hold
And if I try to save him
My whole world would cave in
It just ain't right
--Kelly Clarkson’s “Beautiful Disaster”
I lay in bed, my head propped up on the pillow beneath me. It was late, and Harry wasn’t home yet. Not that I expected him to be.
He often “worked late,” which I knew to mean he was at the bar again.
Harry had been going to the bar since the end of the war. In fact, that’s where I found him. It was a few weeks after the final battle, when he’d defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
"Harry?” I couldn’t believe my eyes. There, at the end of the bar, sat Harry Potter, the one who’d defeated the darkness that had so terrifyingly surrounded the entire wizarding world.
“Harry?” I walked up to him and tapped him lightly on the shoulder.
He turned, a half-empty glass still in his hand. “Cho,” he nodded curtly.
“Harry, how’ve you been? I haven’t seen you in ages. Well, I’ve seen you in newspapers and such, but I haven’t spoken to—”
“We haven’t spoken; I get it.” His voice was harsh and rough; I bit back my surprise. When I looked behind him at the bar, I saw three empty glasses lined up.
I gestured to them. “Been here long?”
He turned slightly to see what I was pointing to and let out a coarse chuckle. “No, I’m just starting.”
I sat down on the stool beside him and crossed my legs.
“What’ll it be?” the bartender asked me, leaning over the bar. I could feel his sticky breath coming toward me.
Harry had turned back to the bar by now, and he interrupted, “No, Cho, have something. It’s on me.”
I wanted to talk, so I agreed. “I’ll have a daiquiri or something… I don’t know.”
“Don’t know much about drinks?” Harry commented.
I shook my head. “Suppose that’s about right… So, why’re you here anyway, Harry?”
He looked at me—and I mean really looked at me, in that reaching into your heart way—and answered quietly, “It’s a place to be, isn’t it?”
Once I had my drink, I hinted heavily to the bartender that another customer was waiting so I could continue my conversation with Harry. However, when I turned back around, he was slapping a few coins down on the counter.
“Leaving already?” I asked.
He nodded. “I should be getting back to my apartment. It’s getting late. But it was good seeing you.”
I smiled and watched him leave. “Thanks for the drink!”
After that night, we started seeing each other again. We went out dancing or drinking; we had midnight visits together at my apartment. It wasn’t long before we moved in together. But we knew we’d never be serious about it. We never even talked about the serious things: the memories that plagued us in the middle of the night, the losses of our loved ones.
I knew that Ginny’s death was still haunting him, but we didn’t discuss that. We didn’t acknowledge that she once existed.
We just were. It was purely a physical and psychological relationship, and I knew it. I was the partial comfort he sought; he didn’t need me wholly, because he wanted to be able to feel the pain when he was alone, to know that she was still gone. I knew this because it’s how I felt about Cedric.
I couldn’t help Harry. I couldn’t be with him late at night and hold his head up or wipe away his tears. I couldn’t wrap my arms around him and really, truly embrace him. I couldn’t give him the emotional support and comfort he needed, just as he couldn’t do it for me.
If I rescued him from the cliff he was standing on, I’d jump over the edge. And if he took my place at the edge of the sea, he’d dive in. We were falling, and we couldn’t save each other.
And I wished—God, I wished so much—that I could help him. He was so beautiful to me, a gorgeous catastrophe that needed my hand just as much as I needed his, but it seemed that we were too far apart to reach each other. And how I wanted so desperately to even just graze his palm just for a split second. But it could never have happened. Because deep down we both knew that if it happened, we’d be saying goodbye to people that we didn’t want to let go of.
Ginny and Cedric were dead, yes. But we didn’t want them to be. Though we didn’t discuss them, we needed them. We needed the memories that made us bolt up in the middle of the night; we needed to see their faces in our dreams.
Losing someone you love can destroy a person. For Harry and me, it was torturing us. We could never gain what we so desperately desired.
I knew he was at the bar again, and I knew he would be home late again. I knew that his side of the bed would stay cold for hours that night. But I never expected him to walk in the way he did or to say what he did.
“Cho, I have something to say,” he announced loudly, his words slightly slurring together.
I sat up. “Harry, sit down,” I said, grabbing his wrist. “Come to bed; you seem tired, and I think you should rest.”
“No, I have something to say.”
I looked up at him, ready to tell him off for being so loud at such a late hour when I realized that he had tearstains down his face.
“Can you sit down and tell me?” I asked softly.
He nodded and sat down next to me. This time when he spoke, his voice was much softer; it seemed he could not quite form the words he needed to say. “I went somewhere tonight.” He paused, obviously struggling for words to express himself.
“Okay, and where did you go?”
He turned to me, looked me directly in the eyes and muttered, “I visited Ginny’s grave.”
I swallowed. I could feel my heart thumping, thrashing out of control, in my chest.
“And I couldn’t handle it. So I went out to have another drink.” His voice broke, and he looked away.
I swallowed again. I was beginning to have problems breathing. I didn’t quite know how to handle this situation. We hadn’t discussed this before.
But then he turned back to me, and his lips were crashing onto mine. Hot breath was spilling into my mouth; hands were gliding up my back. Before I knew it we were falling back onto the covers.
We were still too far to touch hands, too desperate for their love to find each other’s. And my breathing went back to normal. My heart was back in its rhythmic pace.
We were back to normal.
A/N: I'd love to know what you guys think via a review. =)
I want to send out a quick thanks to Cedrics_gurl for creating the awesome Quote challenge in the forums (you should totally check it out, fellow writers).
Thanks, as always, for reading!
PS: If you've got any questions, feel free to check out my Meet the Author page! =)