Chapter Eight - Windows & Doors
"When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window."
- Extract from 'The Sound of Music'
“Ginny, settle down!”
“No, I refuse to just sit here and do nothing!” Ginny shouted back as she shrugged off her mother’s commanding tone. “His friends – best friends
– are in hospital
, fighting to stay alive and he’s not here!
“Maybe the War…”
“No! I refuse to believe he has any good excuse. He’s a man, now, not some seventeen year old boy who had to face the Darkest Wizard of all time. And if he could do that, he can most definitely give his friends the support they need to get through this!”
Ginny pinched her eyes closed, pressing against them with her forefinger and thumb. “I’m going to his apartment to see where he is… How’s Teddy?”
Mrs Weasley looked up from her knitting needles to look at her youngest child. She knew that the fierce, redheaded, crisply eighteen-year-old had inherited her own maternal instincts, and she was proud of it. She couldn’t have asked for a better daughter than Ginny… but then again, that applied to every single one of her children.
“He’s doing great. Not even three and he’s already started to whizz around on that toy broomstick you got him… Not much unlike Harry, really. And he knows how to hold a conversation.”
Ginny smiled. She’d wanted to take in Teddy as soon as she was out of Hogwarts, but her mother insisted on her getting a degree and starting her career before settling down. It didn’t keep her from the little boy, though. She visited every weekend or so whenever she had time in between her studies and her internship at the Prophet.
“I think I’m going to take Teddy to Harry’s. It’s been a while since he’s seen Harry’s face and I think he misses it. He’s always been fond of Harry.”
“I think that’s a great idea. Your father’s looking after him at the moment… probably showing him how a… a… whatever that new muggle equipment’s called! He’s been obsessing over it since the day it came out…”
“Yes! That’s the name. I don’t see what all the fuss is about…”
“Mum, I’ve seen you ogling it every time you walk past it. If you really want to take a go, ask Dad to tell you what you have to do. I think you’ll find it very… entertaining.”
“Oh, hush.” Mrs Weasley dismissed the comment, but Ginny could see the blush forming at her cheeks and knew at once that the thought still lingered in her head.
As soon as she saw her mother going back to knitting another sweater as a Christmas gift to one of her sons, she focused back onto her train of thought.
It was hot and sultry, the sun beating down on Ginny as she made her way across the street. She brushed away the few stray hairs that stuck to her clammy forehead before focusing her attention on the large bundle she held delicately against her chest with both arms.
He was heavier than when she last held him in her arms when he was only a little baby and the weight was starting to cramp her arms, but she enjoyed carrying him nonetheless. In any case, although Teddy could walk already, she couldn’t bring herself up to shake him awake.
She let out a sigh of relief as she saw the red façade of the apartment building loom into sight. She couldn’t wait to get out of the heat; it was killing her. In fact, she couldn’t remember when last she’d experienced such a heat wave. She was normally either stuffed into her office cubicle at the Prophet, at St. Mungo’s with Hermione or Ron or alone in her apartment. It had been so long since she’d actually been outdoors.
She gave a little sigh as she reached the double doors and pulled out her wand, waving it in a complex, routine pattern. Suddenly, the big, brass knocker that had been placed in the middle of one of the double doors transformed itself into a face.
“Name and purpose?” It asked in a monotonic voice.
“Ginny Weasley, wishing to see Harry Potter, Room 225, for personal reasons… family matters.”
The knocker, slash face, nodded before changing into something immensely similar to a mirror, only there was no glass inside the dark, brass frame, nor a reflection. Only a sheet of metal. Ginny stared into it as Harry’s face appeared. He looked nervous, as though he was about to say a prepared speech in front of the entire Wizengamot. “What was the first thing you said to me the day I came back from the dead?”
Ginny snorted. “I didn’t say anything. I slapped you hard in the face before shutting you up with a kiss.”
She slipped in through the open double doors and onto the marbled foyer. After a two-second ride up the elevator to the tenth flour, she stumbled out onto the carpeted hallway, before shaking herself and making her way to Room 225.
She’d always had an extra key. Harry had given it to her the minute he’d gotten the place, in case there’d ever be an emergency, or she needed a place to bunk for the night. But not once during the two whole years that she’d had the key, had she ever used it. She’d never known what the inside of his home had looked like and up until then, she’d never found that fact bothersome or strange.
She took out the golden key from her coat pocket and placed it inside the lock. It was a perfect fit. Twisting the handle, she opened it, curious as to what she’d find behind it.
“Hey, Ginny!” Harry’s voice rang through the apartment, making Ginny jump slightly and let out a stifled scream.
“Bleeding – … Merlin’s beard… What the…?”
She stared at the pristine living room, not a single soul in sight. After making sure her jump hadn’t disturbed Teddy, she set the sleeping toddler on the couch and decided to pry around the area she stood. After a few sweeping glances, she finally found the source of the voice – to her dismay, it was not Harry.
It was a bullfrog that sat on a side table close by. She’d seen it in one of the shops in Diagon Alley. It was a greeter. You recorded your voice, made sure the little frog saw something that resembled the people who visited you, and it was the frog’s voice that greeted the person if they’d ever come through the door. Quite useful when your hands, mind or mouth were full.
She suddenly looked away from the bullfrog as she heard the rushing, shuffling sound of feet against the carpeted floor. She quickly set her hair right, dusted her clothes and looked into a nearby mirror to see if anything had caught to her face. Great appearances were advantageous, especially when you were set on sorting out someone.
“Ginny, is that you?” She heard Harry’s voice as she turned away from the mirror. She hardly recognised him – his eyes were tired, weighed down from plaguing troubles unbeknownst to her, his shoulders were slouched, almost as if in surrender, and his hair… well, that was just about the only attribute that stayed the same. Even his voice seemed different – broken, somehow.
She passed off his question as a rhetorical one and gave him a little smile instead. “Just thought I’d drop by. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you around.”
She saw him tense up, his eyes flicking about uncomfortably. She pretended not to notice and moved past him to observe the place. “Yeah,” Harry said, “work’s been a pain… Have a lot to catch up on, you know? Paperwork…”
She turned around suddenly to face him, eyes glazed over in fury. “Paperwork?
” She could see Harry flinching back as the word, so conveniently glossed over in contempt and anger, lashed at him. “Paperwork???
” She said again, allowing the emphasis to drip from the word. “I’ve been going through Hell, trying to convince myself that you’ve got a good excuse for not being there for your friends when they need it the most
, and you’re here doing paperwork?
Harry recoiled. He turned his eyes away from her, unable to look at the disappointment and anger and pain that filled those beautiful, green eyes. He felt cowardly, dastardly incompetent, shameful and rather lacking for not being able to look into those fiery orbs and face his consequences… And then his eyes caught on something – a little, pink hand that emerged from a bundle on his sofa.
He hadn’t even noticed it. He had been so filled with surprise, so shocked at seeing her, that he didn’t even realise there was a third person in the room.
He gasped, looking back into her eyes, all his shame dissipating at once. He saw her nod, the anger in her eyes notching down as she saw the wonder and love in his eyes. She smiled, pulling back the shroud that had covered Teddy up. It wasn’t such a surprise that Harry had not noticed the little boy. The shroud was just about the same colour as his dull furniture.
“Mum says he’s learned to ride a broomstick, and he’s not even three. Remind you of somebody?” Ginny said gently, pulling the little boy up to cradle him. “Oh! His hair and eye colour keeps changing too… Red, then purple, then blue, then black… And he’s clever too! Probably the cleverest kid I’ve ever seen, excluding Hermione… He’s growing more and more like Remus and Tonks every day, Harry, and even a lot like you.”
She put Teddy in Harry’s open arms and sighed as she saw the delight ripple through Harry’s face. It must have been months since he’d seen Teddy; since Draco had… Harry dismissed the thought.
“He’s grown so much…”
“It’s surprising, you know, how much you can miss out on, how many things can just zoom right past you.”
Harry looked up at her and, though the wonder did not leave his eyes, the realisation hit home. He knew what she meant.
“Don’t let it be too late, Harry. Don’t realise what you’re missing out when it’s too late.” Ginny said softly, gently touching his forearm. She saw him nod just slightly, but it was enough. She could see the determination burning in his eyes, mingling with the blazing love for Teddy. He took one last glimpse at Teddy’s sleeping face before looking back into Ginny’s.
“Will you take Teddy now, Ginny?” He asked her, the courage building up in his voice. She looked at him confusedly, but took him nonetheless. “I’m going to grab my coat. I think it’s time I face my troubles head-on. It’s time I visit my friends.”
Ginny had never felt prouder in her life. Not a single second’s hesitation crept into Harry’s heart as he burst through the white double doors of the hospital, flashed the nearest nurse a big smile, before moving to Room 4536, Ron’s room. He strolled into the room, giving Mrs Weasley a hearty hug and Mr Weasley a mighty handshake before settling down onto a wooden chair nearby, holding onto his unconscious best friend’s hand.
They sat like that, all four of them, with the occasional nurse popping in to check up on her patient, Harry sometimes telling Ron a funny story or jokes he’d heard on the train riding home. She could see that not only had he given himself hope, but he’d filled her own mum and her dad with hope they had battled to muster up on their own, and she’d be forever grateful for that.
After a few hours, it was time to visit Hermione. He was a little reluctant, but his hope was still intact and in good condition as he entered the room. He sat next to the sleeping figure, not cracking jokes like he’d done with Ron, but just talking softly to her, as though she was a stray cat that needed to be honeyed up before it could realise that he wasn’t trying to hurt it. He carefully stroked her hand, laughing a little, smiling a little, talking to her in a careful, delicate manner…
Ginny smiled as she watched Harry. She could see something she hadn’t seen in him since Draco had died – she could see the man she’d fallen in love with.
Edited: November 2012