Harry's feet ached as he trudged wearily back to the common room. Even now, after all that had passed he still felt the dead weight of guilt on his shoulders. Fred's face was there, scorched into his mind with a branding iron. His last laugh echoed, chilling him to the bones. Tonks and Lupin. Their son now an orphan. That was not meant to happen, Teddy should not have to be put through what Harry had endured. Parents killed under Lord Voldermort. And yet they had died in the last battle ever fought, the one that finally brought down the greatest of evil. But is that something to be proud of or not. If it hadn't been for, well a number of things, they'd all be alive and well. Harry's brain was awash with memories, regrets and pain.
He approached the Fat Lady. Standing there he realized he didn't know the password.
"Er..." he said.
"Harry Potter" Came a quiet voice from behind him.
The portrait swung open, but not before Harry caught the flowery scent on the air. He turned slowly and there stood Ginny. Her clothes blood and muck stained, her hair bedraggled and her skin pale.
Harry almost gasped at the sight of her. She was thinner since he'd last seen her and her hair had lost the Crimson glow it once possessed. Gazing into her chocolate eyes he saw hate, fear and pain, all bursting to get out. But there was something else in those eyes as well. Something which possessed more power than all of those things put together.
"Ginny" He spoke, his voice harsh from lack of use.
She said nothing. Her eyes still fixed upon his.
"I'm sorry..." He stared at the floor.
"No Harry. You did what was right."
He looked up.
"But promise me one thing."
"Anything Ginny, anything."
"Tell me everything."
Harry nodded, trying to keep at bay the monumental force that was building inside of him. It wanted him to run to her, hold her, tell her of his travels and his fears.
Her lips quivered. Was she thinking the same thing? Harry was not sure. Yet the force inside made him walk forward. Placing his arms round her waist he held her close. She hugged him back yet not with the same vigor as he was using. She started to shake. He felt her tears on his neck. They were moist against his parched skin. Burying his head in her sweet smelling hair he tried to hold back his own tears. He squeezed her tighter. She took a sharp intake of breath and Harry suddenly became aware that there was a warm sensation on his left hand. He pulled away from Ginny. His hand, pale before was now covered in crimson. Harry's eyes widened. There was a dark stain rapidly spreading across her white shirt.
He caught her just before she hit the floor. Laying her down carefully he cupped her head in his hands. Her eyes were swimming and her voice was barely a whisper.
"Ginny, I'll go get help..."
"No... don't go Harry."
He reached for her hand and held it. Her eyes were fluttering, sometimes closed, sometimes open. Harry rested her head on his robes and laid her out flat. She was shivering. There was now a pool of blood collecting on the marble floor. His hands reached to pull up her shirt, then hesitated. Should he really be doing this. A faint moan of pain escaped her lips and Harry realized this was no time for pleasantries. His heart skipped a beat as he saw the damage. It was almost certainly a sectumsempra curse.
Taking off his shirt he tried to stem the bleeding. Within minuets his shirt was soaked through. Ginny had stopped shivering. She now lay quite still on the cold floor. Her chest barely rising and falling.
Dark had fallen outside and there was silence in the castle. The couldn't have been there for more than ten minuets but to Harry it felt like hours. He dragged himself up and placed a hand on her forehead. It was as cold as ice. Fear bubbling in his stomach he said to her.
"Ginny... please wake up."
Her eyes flickered but she did not move.
He couldn't loose her. Not after all this. She was the only one that made him feel complete, the only one he ever wanted to be with. Sudden strength came to him and he lifted her up off the ground. Staggering slightly under her dead weight he moved as fast as he could toward the hospital wing.
The castle flew by and within moments Harry found himself panting in front of the doors to the hospital wing. He staggered through and called out. Several hands appeared as if from nowhere, pulling Ginny from him and forcing him to lie down. He felt woozy as the shock took hold. Finally he welcomed the darkness that took him.
Harry could hear several muffled voices. He felt as though a blanket had been pulled over his head and as he battled to surface from the wooly darkness he could hear a voice becoming ever clearer.
"...going to be alright, mum's coming as fast as she can..."
He felt drowsy, everything was heavy. With what felt like such a monumental effort, Harry opened his eyes.
The hospital wing swam in and out of focus. There were several bodies occupying the surrounding beds as far as the eye could see. A young girl was crying several beds to the right of Harry. Looking over he could see an older brother with his arm around her, whispering in her ear and stroking her hair. Tears were pouring down her cheeks and he hands were clasped in tight fists. The whole atmosphere of the room was filled with the sense of impending dread and foreboding.
Harry tore his eyes away and noticed a small huddle of red haired men gathered in front of a set of pale screens. They were talking in undertones to each other and kept shifting around impatiently. Propping himself up by his elbows, Harry tried to sit up. One of the red haired men noticed and rushed over to help him.
Ron looked at him grimly and arranged his pillows so he could sit comfortably.
"How is she?" Harry's voice cracked.
Ron was silently shaking.
"Madame Pomphrey won't let us anywhere near her. It's been a good hour since we found you two."
Harry's head was beating a steady rhythm, it felt like a thousands drums crushing down on his skull. He tried to move, to get up. This was his fault; he should have gone for help earlier, if only he had done something before it was too late. Now another Weasley was lying dying, possibly even dead at his hands. But this was Ginny. His Ginny. After all the torment and pain his life had brought him he had finally found someone who understood him, someone who cared for the hero beyond the scar, someone he truly, for the first time in his life, loved.
With some newfound strength that he didn't know he possessed, Harry tossed aside his bed covers and staggering slightly made his way over to the screens. The silent vigil of weasleys' watched as he paused slightly before slipping in between the screens.
Ginny was lying with her head propped on many soft pillows. The white sheets seemed to highlight her fiery red hair that was spread like a fan around her head. Her face was pearly white and harry was reminded of those stone angel statues he used to see scattered around Hogwarts. She was unmoving and cold with one hand resting across her body, the other tight by her side. Madame Pomphrey was bent over her muttering some incoherent incantations. Harry's eyes were so transfixed on Ginny's face he did not notice her look up.
"Potter!" Madame Pomphrey's harsh whisper broke the silence.
"What on earth are you doing? Wait outside with the others!"
Harry shook his head silently and moved to sit in the vacant seat beside the bed.
"Potter, I must insist that you-"
She stopped mid sentence. Harry had taken hold of Ginny's hand and was stroking it gently, his eyes still on her porcelain features. Pursing her lips she resumed the muttering of enchantments. After several moments Harry whispered tentatively;
"Will she be alright?"
Madame Promfrey's face was grim as she shot him a glance. Just then the dulcet tones of Mrs Weasley wafted over the air. Harry felt himself collapse inwardly. He felt so ashamed. First Fred and now Ginny. He braced himself for the battle that was to come.
But it never came. All he felt was Mrs Weasley's warm embrace, like he was a small child being held after scraping his knee. He found himself sobbing uncontrollably, all his pain and fear and dread poured out. He wanted to tell her how sorry he was for everything, for Fred, for Ginny. But she seemed to want none of it. Sitting him down again with a warm blanket he felt so smothered with affection he did not rightly deserve. This was wrong, this was all so so wrong.
Mrs Weasley was talking in hushed tones to Madame Pomphrey. The two witches exchanged a last look before Madame Pomphrey left them. Mrs Weasley sank into a chair opposite Harry. She looked very old all of a sudden, as if the years and pain had finally caught up with her. Harry found himself asking the same question, this time in a softer and more attentive manner.
"Will she be alright?"
Mrs Weasley gave him a forced, drawn smile.
"She's going to be just fine."
Relief so great flooded over Harry he felt himself go light headed.
"She needs plenty of rest and blood replenishment potion for the next few days, but yes, she'll be fine. Thank goodness you got her here Harry... I can't believe I didn't notice she was hurt earlier..."
A shifting of sheets interrupted her. Ginny was beginning to stir. Her eyelids fluttered open and her eyes flicked from he mother to Harry, still holding her hand in his. Mrs Weasley, noticing this, smiled again a less drawn smile than before and silently left.
"How are you feeling?" Asked Harry, immediately regretting the question.
Ginny seemed to sense this and she smiled. Her smile however quickly turned into a grimace as she clutched her side. Harry's face creased with worry again.
"Do you want me to get someone?"
Ginny shook her head.
"No it's fine."
She breathed out and gathered herself before staring back into Harry's deep green eyes.
He looked away. He did not deserve her thanks. She seemed to sense this too.
"This is not your fault Harry. None of this. Don't blame yourself for things that were outwith your control. You have done so much good for this world, for our family, for me... please Harry- Harry, look at me-"
Her last words made Harry's eyes snap back to hers. Two of the purest pools of chocolate brown stared back and he was temporarily lost.
"I love you Harry Potter."
There was sincerity in her voice that Harry had never heard before. He knew she meant it. And that she meant it with all her heart.
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