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Chapter 13 : Coming Clean
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Life Collides Chapter Thirteen:
The entire world seemed to have stopped. Curious Muggles that were walking by no longer existed; mere blurred figures surrounded Harry, and he saw none of it. All he saw was Ginny’s shimmering face. When she had fainted Harry had been quick to react, grasping her thin body firmly before it crashed on to the cobblestone street. He had carried her over to some steps that led to a Muggle office building. Propping her up, he scrambled to retrieve his wand to awaken Ginny without anyone noticing.
The first time he had tried he dropped his wand as fingers shook due to the shock that had overcome his body. After getting his wand again, the second time he tried he pointed his wand (hiding it inside his jacket) when Emily return looking completely baffled by the scene before her.
“What the hell happened here, Harry?” Emily exclaimed, stuffing her phone inside her pocket as she hurried over to him and Ginny
“She fainted,” Harry said heavily, shoving his wand into his jacket. He couldn’t very well perform magic now that Emily had returned; he had no use for it.
“Yes, I can see that, but why,” Emily said impatiently, moving Ginny’s slumped body away from Harry.
“Seeing me probably did it…”
“That doesn’t make any sense Harry,” Emily argued not paying attention to him at all as she proceeded to try and wake Ginny up. “Come on, wake up now.” She said soothingly, almost motherly, tapping her gently on the cheeks with the palm of her hand. Very slowly Ginny’s brown eyes opened, rolling into the back of her head a few times before being able to fully focus on Emily. “That’s a girl… can you tell me your name?”
“Ginny Weasley,” Harry answered, staring at Ginny’s alert face. Her brown eyes flickered to Harry’s, and they stared at each other intensely. She could not believe she was seeing him just as he was seeing her. Harry could hardly breathe as happiness began to evade the shock. Ginny was awake.
“What…?” Emily trailed off, bewildered and confused, looking from Ginny’s face to Harry’s before it dawned on her. “Oh my God, this is her isn’t it Harry?”
Ginny sat up, and Harry quickly stood up, hopping off the steps. Ginny reached out her hand, her eyes not parting from Harry’s. he took it gently, almost afraid that she was a ghost, and helped her stand, still keeping the same gaze. Once Ginny stood, almost a head shorter then Harry, Harry finally looked at Emily who was now standing herself.
“This is Ginny Weasley, my…” Harry couldn’t finish the sentence, glancing at Ginny.
Ginny didn’t look at him, but at Emily. “The girl he left behind.” She finished, sounding emotionless, almost humorous about the statement.
“Oh,” Emily mumbled, clearly uncomfortable now. “Well, I’m Emily Thorn, uh, Harry’s friend from Canada – which is where he’s been the last two years after he left… oh… um… I think it might be best if I go back to the inn now.” Emily stuttered, looking from Ginny to Harry, not sure of what to make of the entire thing.
“That won’t be necessary,” Ginny protested, letting go of Harry’s hand; he had not been aware that he was still holding hers. She looked to Harry. “I have things to do, and I am sure that you both have your own plans.”
As if an arrow had pierced his heart, Harry saw a glimpse of the hurt in Ginny’s eyes, as she moved away from him, about to leave him for forever. He looked to Emily, and she simply pushed him towards Ginny saying, “Go Harry.”
Harry raced after Ginny, who had already had walked quite a distance, biting her lower lip all the way. He caught her arms once he had caught up, and turned her to face him. “Ginny please don’t go,” Harry said breathlessly.
Ginny was fighting back tears. “No I will not stay when you have been living your damn happy little life. I see where I stand. You went to – to Canada and you made friends, and you’ve been living there for two years! Did you ever think of me Harry? Did you ever think about anyone but yourself? …But I don’t want to hear it. You can say what ever you’d like Harry, but you’re not going to change my mind. You walked out of my life, and now it’s my turn to walk out of yours.”
Ginny tore her arm from Harry and started to walk again, pounding down her feet. Harry quickly caught up again. “Ginny you know it isn’t true, of course I thought about you every day. I just… I was afraid to come back.” He admitted, looking into her misty brown eyes.
Ginny breathed heavily, staring back at Harry with an unwavering expression. Just when Harry thought she wasn’t giving in, she relaxed, running her hand through her hair shaking. “Why did you come then, hmm?”
“Because I’m a, uh,” Harry found himself unable to admit the truth. What would Ginny think of his new pass time? She would probably think he was crazy, and not believe him if he told her any way. He decided he would keep it from Ginny, right now. “I’m here with some friends and their musicians on tour. They wanted me to come along.” Harry finally said.
For a long time, Ginny just stared at Harry. She didn’t say anything, and nor did Harry. Harry was praying with every ounce of him that Ginny would stay and listen. Though he had been so hesitant about seeing her, about going back to England and having to face everyone, Harry felt completely different. Ginny was awake and well, and beautiful as ever.
“What do you mean?” Ginny finally said, confused as ever.
“My friends, the people I live with, including that girl I was with, Emily, um, and they’re Muggle musicians. And they asked me to go on tour with them, and were here in London for a few shows.” Harry tried to explain.
“Are you telling me–”
“Yes, I’ve been living as a Muggle.” Harry answered for her.
Ginny took a deep breath. “People thought you were dead, Harry. They thought you ran away and something bad happened to you. Nobody heard from you, saw you, anywhere in the magical world. You dropped off the Earth. And I woke up and all I could think about was you, and you were gone.” Ginny eyes glazed over. “You were gone.” She repeated in a drifting whisper.
“I’m sorry.” Harry said not knowing what to say. “I’m sorry that I hurt you Ginny, but I… I’m so happy to see you.” Harry’s voice broke, and his hands drifted to Ginny’s face which he caressed gently. She allowed him sighing deeply, but still looking pained. “If there was anything I could do to rewind time, I would. But we both know we destroyed all the time-turners.” Harry cracked a smile, and Ginny couldn’t help but doing so either. “I missed you Ginny, I missed you so much it hurt.”
“I know...” Ginny was silent for a long time, but Harry waited. He knew he deserved what was coming. “Harry, its not that.... I need time. You can't really expect me to just forgive you like that?”
Harry took a step back, looking to the ground. “No, it makes perfect sense. I... regret what I did but I do hope that you'll change you're mind.” Harry glanced back up, and saw that she was frowning.
“I guess... you have things to do?” Ginny assumed.
“What?” Harry frowned. Did she really think he was just going to leave now? After seeing her again, he was afraid to leave.
“Well you seem pretty busy...”
“Ginny, I thought I was never going to hear you talk again, I never thought I would see your eyes again. I'm not going anywhere.” Harry reached for her hand.
Ginny looked down at his out-stretched hand, but shook her head. “I can't, Harry, not yet.”
Harry's hand dropped, and he nodded. “I get it, I'm sorry.”
There was a long silence, neither of them knowing what to say or do.
“So what now?” Harry asked her.
“I suppose... do you want to come with me?” Ginny asked.
“To your parents?” Harry asked, not knowing what she asking.
“No, we should go see Ron and Hermione first. They’ll never forgive me if we don’t.” Ginny said absently, not seeing the change in Harry.
“Ron and Hermione?” Harry repeated, his voice a soft whisper.
“Yeah, Ron and Hermione. They’re living together now, by the ministry and this real cute flat. Actually, they’re married I should say.” Ginny explained, a small sliver of amusement dancing in her eyes.
“They’re alive… they’re married?” Harry choked out.
“Oh.” Ginny said, looking a bit sorry. “I should explain. They returned not too long after you left, alive and well, and married. Apparently it happened while they were in hiding. They were pretty upset about you leaving Harry, we all were. It was shock, I didn’t think you would ever do that. But we all moved on eventually, they work for the ministry, and live in a flat not too far away.”
Harry blinked, still frowning. “And you Ginny, did you move on?”
“Harry, there is not a day I don’t think about you, but yeah I moved on. What did you expect me to do; I’m currently on the reserve team for the Holyhead harpies, and work part-time at George’s shop. I live at home, but I visit my friends often, including Ron and Hermione. I wasn’t just going to stop everything, Harry because you weren`t there. I thought you knew me better than that.” Ginny explained.
“Do you still love me?” Harry asked, fearing the answer.
“Yes,” Ginny said, and Harry saw she telling the truth. “But I need time, Harry, before I can do anything further. Okay?”
“I understand, I can wait, just like you waited for me.” Harry agreed.
“Good,” Ginny sighed deeply. “I guess we should get going, I was supposed to be at Ron and Hermione`s ten minutes ago.”
“How are we going to get there,” Harry asked.
“I’ll Apparate for us, you don’t know where they live yet.” Ginny suggested.
Holding out her hand, she tried to remain indifferent when Harry took her hand. Harry saw this on her face, but chose to say nothing. He had to give her time, he understood that. He had a lot to explain still, like what he had been doing in Canada, and he was glad that they were not together yet, so he would not have to bring it up after the fact.
Ginny’s face screwed up in deep confusion, and Harry felt the old familiar feeling of Apparation. His surrounding’s disappeared in a blur, and it was barely a second when Harry felt his feet hit solid ground. They were standing in a long corridor, covered in pealing paint with five or six doors on either side. There were sounds of people talking, a distant television, and music playing. But what was most noticeable was the terrible smell that seeped from everything. It smelt of a sewer, and cat piss. It was so bad Harry felt as he was going to wretch.
“This is where Hermione and Ron live?” Harry asked, glancing at Ginny.
“They just make it as unappealing as possible so Muggles don’t get interested in coming to live here.” Ginny explained, plugging her nose. “Once you’re in the flat you can’t smell or hear anything either. It’s actually a really nice place to live.” Ginny smirked at Harry’s skeptical look, and then proceeded to walk to the end of the hall to the last door on the left. She went to go knock, and stopped looking at Harry. “Stay there for now.”
Harry cocked his brow at her, but listened. He watched as Ginny knocked on the door, and ten seconds later he heard the turning of locks and the door opened.
“Hey Ginny, got off early from work today.” A low voice spoke slowly as if having just woken up.
Harry felt his heart pound heavily as the sound of his best friend, Ron echoed around his head for a few seconds. It was a familiar sound, and reminded Harry of a home he had long since left. He throat tightened, and his ears zoned in on the voice that belonged to an invisible face that Harry could barely remember.
“Yeah, is Hermione home?” Ginny asked, entering the flat.
“Yeah, she’s just in the kitchen now.” Ron answered, and the door was closed.
Without thinking, Harry rushed over to the door, and pushed his ear against the door. After doing this for a few seconds, he realized he was being stupid to try such a thing. It was most likely charmed so that no one could hear, besides that the door seemed to be solid wood.
Leaning against the wall next to the door, Harry breathed in deeply through his mouth, avoiding the stench of the corridor. In a few minutes he would be facing his two best friends that he had abandoned. What would they say to him? Would they even want to speak to him? He didn’t even know what to say to them. They were married now. He had never been there to see it happen. He guessed he deserved that though, he had been the one that left in the first place. Knowing Hermione and Ron, they probably had another wedding for Mrs. Weasley’s sake.
Harry stood in the hall for fifteen minutes, much longer than he had expected and he was beginning to get worried. Maybe Hermione and Ron refused to see him, and Ginny was arguing with them. Maybe they would be convincing Ginny to turn her back on him. Once again, he probably deserved it. But that did no good to comfort him.
Eventually Harry slid to the floor, sitting down and putting his face in his hands. It had been nearly half an hour and still he was out in the hall. All he needed now was for someone to come out of their flat, see him and recognize him, and rise up a storm because he’s Harry Potter, and supposed to be dead. That was the last thing he needed.
Beginning to wonder if there was any purpose for him to stay, he stood up and began walking down the hall where he saw steps that he assumed would lead him outside. Running his hand through his hair, he pulled his leather jacket a little tighter around him. It was cold outside, and the same feeling was seeping into his soul. He had hoped that something good would come of all this, that Hermione and Ron would be so happy to see that he was alive that they would ignore the fact he had run away. They were his best friends, and if any one understood him it was them. But maybe he had been wrong; maybe he was letting himself off light again.
Harry spun around so fast he nearly fell over from loosing his balance. He fell into the wall, taking heavy breaths forgetting about the awful smell, but he ignored it when he saw Hermione standing a few metres away from him. She looked so much different from when he had last seen her, but so much the same all at once. Her brown frizzy hair was tied back, and was wearing a long flowery dress. Her face was plumper then before, and glowing. Tears were streaming down her face, and her mouth shook.
Hermione went to run to Harry, but he stopped her by taking four long steps and hugged her.
“Harry I can’t believe it!” Hermione squealed, holding on to him tightly.
“Hermione let him breathe.” Ron had entered the hall.
“Shut up Ron,” Hermione retorted, letting go of Harry.
Harry looked at Ron. He had changed drastically. It seemed he had grown another inch, a good four inches taller than Harry now. There was a hint of a beard on his jaw, and his hair was messy as if he didn’t have enough time to put a comb through it. He looked tired, and so much older to Harry.
“Harry,” Ron said lightly.
Harry laughed, and the two hugged briefly before Harry was shuffled into the entrance of the flat. Harry didn’t have time to take in his surroundings, though he noticed a staircase that led to an upper floor, and a long hall way that led off to different rooms. “I though you had forgotten about me out there.”
“We should have,” Ron joked.
“Well, we were arguing.” Hermione admitted.
“It wasn’t like I was going to spring it on them that your were here, Harry. I needed to lead them into it.” Ginny explained.
“Let’s sit down,” Hermione suggested, and ushered every one down the hall, past the stairs and into the last room of the hall. It was an open white kitchen, a kitchen table in the centre in front of a large fireplace that had a burning fire in it. Ron gently pushed Hermione into a seat, and Harry and Ginny took the other seats while Ron went to put the kettle on.
Hermione stared at Harry, tears still in her eyes. “We thought you were dead.” She said barely above a whisper.
“That’s what Ginny told me.” Harry said, feeling a little awkward. “It wasn’t what I wanted.”
“Are you sure about that?” Ron said harshly, turning to look at him.
Harry struggled to come up with an answer, but Ginny cut in. “Ron, stop it. You agreed to let him in, to talk to him.”
Harry frowned. “No, if he has something to say to me then so be it. If he thinks it was so easy for me to forget about everyone then let him.”
The mug Ron was holding, cracked in his hands, but he ignored this. He glared at Harry unwaveringly. “Then why did you run away? If it was so damn hard, why did you run away, and stay where ever the hell you’ve been for two years?”
“Because I was a coward.” Harry replied simply.
“Damn right you’re a coward.” Ron shouted, annoyed by Harry’s calm attitude. “What did you think it would accomplish, running away to-to-to-”
“-Canada- ” Ginny quipped in.
“-to Canada!” Ron finished, fumbling a little.
“I thought it would help. I wouldn’t be a burden on your parents anymore, wouldn’t have to force them to being nice to me any longer. You yell at me for having you believe I was dead, but you did the same to me! A year, Voldemort had been dead and you were still gone. No one knew where you were, and no one had seen you. They told me Ginny wasn’t going to ever wake up – I was alone and I had to face the guilt of that responsibility every time I saw your family. I couldn’t stay, for my own sanity and their’s. I know it was selfish, and I know it was the wrong idea. But I’m here now, and I’m sorry for what I did. But your alive, and I’m alive and that should mean something.” Harry finished, searching Ron and Hermione’s faces.
A long silence fell over them, and nobody said anything or moved. Ron, Hermione, and Ginny all looked to their laps, and Harry switched his focus on them in turns until finally Ron spoke.
“I’m sorry.” He said softly, his hands in fists on his sides. “I’m sorry, okay?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry too.” Harry answered, his heart thumping. Ron moved to the table and reached out is hand for Harry to take. Standing up, Harry took Ron’s hand and shook hard, meeting his eyes. They had reached an understanding, and when they let go of each other’s hands, they smiled at each other briefly and took opposite seats.
“You have to tell me what happened, and how the hell you two ended up married.” Harry said finally, looking back and forth between Ron and Hermione.
“Well it’s a long story.” Ron started, looking a little embarrassed.
“I’ve got all day.” Harry said, and looked to Hermione.
“Then settle in.” She laughed.
A/N: I will not promise you guys anything about the next chapter, but at least I haven't left it on a major cliff-hanger like last time. So thanks for reading, and please review! I really love reading and responding to them!
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