Chapter 1 : A heart can be broken; but it keeps beating just the same.
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"A heart can be broken; but it keeps beating just the same."
-- Fried Green Tomatoes
Soft raindrops fell down from the dimly lit sky, murkiness fogging everyone's view. Ginny Weasley didn't need it to haze her view, for her own brown orbs were already pooling with tears, threatening to spill their sadness down onto her face for all to see. But it was fine; she really didn't want to see anyway.
She shuffled her feet along the dark, wet grass, her toes muddying, turning a terrible shade of dirt brown, yet she showed a distinct lack of caring on her petite features. She also showed a distinct lack of any emotion that was not sadness. It was almost as if Ginevra Weasley had forgotten how to do anything but cry. She barely heard the sobs, sniffles, cries and moans emitted from the throats of those around her as they too tried to choke back their tears. It was time.
Ginny looked up at the mossy steeple, thinking about another time she might have been happy to see a church, no matter how old or decaying, but now was not that time. She entered into the greying church behind the rest of her family, Hermione clutched to Ron's hand at long last. It was almost as if they were inseparable. Ginny remembered having that once herself, but she was sure it wouldn't have lasted, because there was something that was ripping them apart, something that meant she could almost never go back. Maybe in another life, a long time from now.
The congregation had begun, the masses having come to pay their respects to those lost in the battle. Those whose deaths had not been in vain, who had given their lives for a better cause. Some bodies were never found, but those that were had somehow made it to the church. Everyone's head bowed in reverence, but also in fear of the sobs their throats would let out if they even dared to look up, but Ginny did. Ginny did look up and at the forefront of it all; there he was amongst the last resting places of her friends, and of her brother Fred. He lay down a single white rose upon each coffin to signify the innocence he hoped they would have. She looked down at her own flowers: deep red. They weren't a patch on his own, she saddened further.
She couldn't deny that he looked brilliant, even in this light.
Her flaming red hair blew into her face, blocking her face in protest as the first tear fell, be it for him or for the dead she was unsure. She didn't bother to try to brush it away. After all, Harry Potter had broken her heart when he left.
Ginny was thankful when it was all over, when her tears all but ran out, her cheeks dried up and the mocking stares ceased to face her. She'd lost a lot of family in the battle, and even more friends (so close that they were almost family.) The final coffin was lowered into the ground, the final dirt thrown, the final prayers said. Their tombs were ready, their ends met. It all seemed so final, so unreal.
Today was that other life. Ginny stepped into the dark elevator. After the funeral, almost a year ago, she had realised she was not yet ready to let go of those memories, to let go of him. He was too much a part of her now. It was a shame they couldn't have been friends if nothing else, but she knew that with Harry Potter it was always going to be all or nothing, hit or miss, just that before then she hadn't known which it was, for her at least.
A year of waiting, a year of keeping herself busy, of yearning and pacing back and forth in front of the fire, contemplating what could have happened if only things had been different. Then one day something finally clicked amongst the far corners of her mind, and that was how she had ended up here in the Ministry of Magic, shaking rain from her new coat as if she were a mangy old dog. After all, she had never been glamorous, even after Fred and George had made their fortunes (not that it did Fred much good now, she thought bitterly to herself), because, quite simply, it had not been the way she had been brought up.
She had changed though, be it for the better or for the worse she was unsure. Independent had been a word Ginny strived to obtain from a young age, always standing in the shadow of her older brothers, but now she was a grown woman, although she was just out of school. A lot of things had taken her to this point and she had made her final decision that morning. She stepped up to the desk.
"Hi, I'm looking for a Mr. Harry Potter, of the Department of Mysteries," her ability to speak quavered slightly at the sound of her own voice speaking his name at long last. The taboo was over; now was that now or never point.
"Aren't we all love?" the man behind the desk queried sarcastically, turning back to the computer he was sat at, typing away. She was confused at the need for a muggle invention, when they were not within a muggle community, but it would have made her father smile. The man must have had a hundred requests a day for Harry Potter, she reminded herself.
"Could you please go and get him? Tell him it's Ginny Weasley. Please. It's really rather urgent," I pleaded with the man, but his features showed no sign of letting up. My face sagged as I lost hope.
"He's just gone on his dinner break," were the only words he spoke, not even bothering to look at her with his dull grey eyes this time. They say from a person's eyes you can see into their soul, and that much seemed true when she looked into this man's eyes. There was nothing. He did not understand the pain held behind her own chocolaty pools, perhaps because he had never understood love.
"Thanks," she mumbled, her voice cracking. Thanks for nothing. She turned away from the desk and began to limp away, the pain of her last chance weighing heavily down upon her.
The elevator door pinged open and a soft breeze rushed past her face just as she breathed in. Even through her thick locks, which lay limp so often nowadays, having lost their fiery touch, she would recognise that scent anywhere. Her heart lurched forward into her chest and she felt as if she was about to be sick. Just as it came, it was gone, but as she brushed the matted hair from her eyes, something new brought colour to her cheeks and the fire was alive once more.
"Ginny?" he croaked out, uncertainly.
"Ha-Harry?" she wanted nothing more than to run at that point, but there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide but in his arms. She knew that was where she belonged from the aching in her legs as she held them back from their frantic wishes to run into him, to be with him, and from the throbbing of her lips as they begged to kiss him once more.
"What are you doing here? It's good to see you," he took a step towards her and she nibbled her lip as she fought back the urge to take the second step. That second step into fate, of which the first had been taken for her. The first step was always the hardest.
She'd desired this moment for all of eternity, but now the whitewashed walls began to fade away and she felt sick as the fear sank in. Never mind what she wanted was this really what she needed? She tried to push him away, "Shouldn't you be getting back to work?"
"If spending even five seconds with you, Ginevra Weasley, meant losing my job then I would gladly give up work in a heartbeat." It was like an elastic band. No matter how far away they tried to shove one another, the other would just keep on springing back. His eyes were pleading sharps of green, flickering mischievously in the light the way they always had done. She gave in and followed him to his 'lair' of sorts. His work office as head of the Department of Mysteries.
Her heels clapped the floor noisily as she shook her head of the memories of the last time she had seen him. After the funeral, at the wake, she had spotted him staring at her from across the room, but she knew she could not act upon it right that second. She was too fragile, too lost in anger and grieving to act upon anything. She hadn't known how she'd felt. Meeting him again, meeting him here, had swept her off her feet and stunned her. She had been so sure before that she wanted to be with him, but somehow this changed things.
The white walls faded away as they stepped into his office, duller and less lit than she would have imagined, until he turned on the light. It was a normal office with an odd sort of twist. His carpet was a navy blue, the blinds following suit, and the walls cream. There was a plant pot in the far corner and a desk in the middle of the room, with a chair on either side of it. However, the walls were adorned with photographs of friends, times at Hogwarts, his mother and father. Then she spotted it, the photograph of herself gleaming brightly at him, as she swatted the camera away, happily swaying from side to side. That had been years ago; two in fact.
"Care to take a seat?" He offered her the better chair with his hand and moved round to pull it out for her, sliding it carefully under as she sat down, more daintily than either of them would have imagined possible, especially from her. She had always been so headstrong.
He sat in the chair opposite, the one usually reserved for guests. An awkward silence followed suit. "So, how have you been?"
She didn't bother to answer his question, going straight to the point. She did, after all, want to work things out between them, even if only a friendship came of all this. Ginny needed Harry in her life. "You broke my heart, Harry."
He stood up and leant across the table, placing a warm hand against her chest. She could have sworn it skipped a beat. "It's still beating," he smiled at her genuinely. Apparently she had been wrong about that much, then. Perhaps it was just determined to fool her into thinking his hands made a difference. He didn't move until she shrugged him off, the tension growing fiercely between them as they gazed longingly into one another's eyes.
At long last, he took his seat once more, "A heart can be broken; but it keeps beating just the same." She knew that to be true now, for he had broken her heart when he left, but life went on regardless.
His smile faded as what he had done to her sunk in at long last, "I know Ginny, and I'm so sorry. Hurting you was the last thing I ever wanted to do. I guess I thought by shoving you away I was doing you a favour, but I see now that I was wrong." So very wrong indeed. She could have taken the danger, but losing him was too much. Every day she did not know where he was, what he was doing, when the next time she would see him was. She did not even know if she would see him again, or even if he was okay.
"Yes, Harry. You were wrong."
"Please don't make the same mistake. If you love me, that is," she could see from his expression this was hurting him as much as it was her.
A hand ruffled its way through his hair, his own hand, and it was almost like she could feel it herself for a second. She wanted to feel his hair, to feel his touch, his caress. Was this it? Was all of that hurt she had experienced for nothing now? A gnawing feeling hit her gut, churning her insides cruelly. A scraping deep within the pit of her stomach told her nothing. Was she doing the wrong thing? Was it right for her to be here, or should she run? Either way, she reminded herself, he too was human and she'd ought to make her decision quickly. "I guess I forgive you but it's going to take time." It was as if a weight had been lifted from her heavy shoulders. The aching was almost over now; the years of waiting for him were through.
His own features softened considerably and the colour returned to his face. "Oh, Ginny!" He flung himself across the table and pressed his hot, red lips upon her own, parting them lightly with the prodding of his tongue. It was just like how she remembered. No, it was better than she remembered and she wasn't willing to let him go this time.
She kicked the chair aside with her foot, her lips never leaving his as they explored each other's caves once more. It's going to take time. She pulled off his tie and began to tear his shirt open. Buttons popped off left and right as her hands roamed his chest. It's going to take time. She shivered lightly as his fingers ran up her back, leaving a trail of tingles behind them. He planted soft kisses down her neck and across her shoulder. She pulled him needily towards her. "Are you sure this is what you want?" She moaned in response. It's going to take time.