Chapter 2 : Christmas Eve
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Chapter 2- Christmas Eve
It was almost legendary how the temperature dropped. It went from about 37 degrees to about -3 degrees...in one day. It seemed nearly impossible, but I just couldn't get myself to believe in the word impossible with Harry right next to me.
If the insanely cold temperature wasn't enough, the snow and wind certainly was. It snowed a good two feet from the time of Harry's arrival and Christmas Eve. To make it even worse, the howling winds lashed through the air like whips, stabbing anyone who stepped outside. It was enough to keep everyone inside for Christmas Eve, which was exactly how I wanted it. The last thing I needed was Ron stealing Harry to go play stupid Quidditch outside, and he would've done exactly that, had it not been for the crazed weather.
So, I had everyone there Christmas Eve. It wasn't for my benefit, but it might as well have been. There was Bill, Percy, Fred and George, Ron and Hermione, of course, my dad, and even Charlie had come down for Christmas this year. The only down side was probably that Bill decided to bring his lovely French Toast with him. But it was remotely okay... Fleur had changed marginally from the time I'd first met her. Maybe it was because she was pregnant, but who knew. So everyone was there for Christmas, including the one I wanted the most.
Harry was probably happier than I'd ever seen him. He was almost bubbly... which is totally different for Harry, who's normally nice and quiet. But he was laughing his head off at jokes and hugging everyone excessively and spontaneously bursting into song with Ron, Fred, and George. At first, I thought he was just really happy to be home, which was quite understandable. But suddenly, I remembered. Back at the train station, Harry had had a look of nervousness in his face. Something was making Harry nervous, but I didn't have the faintest idea why.
It was probably the Death Eaters stalking him again... wanting revenge... or maybe Voldemort wasn't dead after all and he wanted Harry dead... again... or he was in some sort of danger that he didn't want me to know about. It would be just my luck for Harry to come home and carry with him some stupid, noble obligation. I'd had enough of noble obligations for one lifetime. I wanted to tell myself that I was being ridiculous... that there was no way that Harry would be in any danger... when something struck me. I almost gasped aloud at the thought.
Harry was cheating on me.
It was so obvious! Oh my God, it was so obvious! and I didn't see it! Oh, he's acting strange... giving me funny looks... funny nervous looks... pulling away from the kisses... never seeming to look me straight in the eye... oh my God... it all fit!
There were so many women in Auror training that it made me want to puke! It would be so... so easy for him to do it... ugh! UGH! He. Was. Having. An... affair! UGH! I was such an idiot for not seeing it before. What would Harry Bloody Potter want with me? I was nothing but an insignificant 18 year old. I'm sure he was going to someone more his speed. Probably 20 or 21 years old... waist-length blond hair... electric blue eyes, probably drowned her face in make-up. UGH! Oh, I couldn't believe what an idiot I was. How could I not see this one coming? I mean... he broke up with me two years ago, saying that it was for "noble" purposes. Wow, I was an idiot. He never wanted to date me after that! These last two years where syncopated with random months of Auror training... "emergency drills"... oh my God, it all fit! Harry never wanted to get back together with me, and he's too much of a coward to break up with me again... but why? Oh, of course. He doesn't want Ron to break his face. That and maybe he didn't want me to go kill myself. Maybe me being obsessed with him was a turn-off. Maybe he was annoyed at me because I loved him so much.
Right then I caught myself.
"Because I loved him so much..."
All at once I realized. I would never, in a million years, be able to not love Harry. That much was clarified. No matter how much he's going to hurt me, I simply won't be able to hate him. I've been in love with him since the moment I first really saw him... since I was eleven years old. And even when I dated other guys, mostly to make Ron mad, I never really gave up on him. I'd told him this. I'd told him this when I could bet everything I owned on the fact that he loved me, too.
I felt my heart shatter.
I sat up at eleven o'clock that night. Actually, it was around 11:14 p.m., but whatever. I didn't care. Everyone was asleep. It was an old family tradition to go to bed early and to stay hidden from Santa. Ridiculous. But I was thankful enough for it, because I had the whole fireplace all to myself. With no Fred and George stalking and teasing me when all I wanted to do was cry.
Curled up on the sofa next to the fireplace, the heat radiating through my bones, I did nothing but think. All it was was a huge internal debate between two sides of me. One side was saying "Come on, move on, girl. He's been trying to lose you for almost three years now. Let it go." The other side was saying, "Why on earth would he go on this long? He may not like me, but he's not a bad enough person to lead me down the primroses. This is Harry Potter... he's not a bad person. So why hasn't he dumped me yet, hmm?" It was almost annoying how I couldn't stop changing my mind. Should I lose Harry? Should I just get it over with now? Or was it really just something stupid and mundane and I was just blowing this way out of proportion? I couldn't tell which was more likely.
But what else could it possibly be? What could he be hiding from me that he would be giving me all those looks and acting out and procrastinate coming home to see me? What could he possibly be doing but cheating? It was clear enough that something was on his mind, whether it be dumping me or keeping and using me or something completely different. Yes, there was definitely something Harry was hiding, even being optimistic couldn't deny that. But honestly! What could it possibly be if not cheating?
I wanted so badly to believe that I was wrong. But the part of me that "didn't put up with crap" wasn't buying it. It was no secret that I didn't put up with crap. I wasn't some dainty, garden party tea. I was the kind of girl who threw punches and hexed the hell out of anyone who gave me crap. But that didn't mean I was angry all the time and I just rebelled against everything, I was just... Ginny. And I wasn't about to be used. Oh, hell no. Not I, my friend, not I. So, when presented with a situation like this, how did I... what did I... do? This was the only guy I've ever loved, we're talking! And I knew that I wouldn't be able to get over him. But the thought of anyone using me just never even registered in my brain function. It just did not happen to me. I didn't let it happen to me. But what if it was happening at this very moment? What if Harry Potter was using me? I held back tears at the thought. And I could count on one freaking hand how many times I've cried in my life.
I heard the shuffling of feet behind me. I turned to see who could possibly be up at eleven o'clock at night on Christmas Eve. Probably Fred trying to jinx the Christmas tree or something.
But it was Harry.
He was wearing a plain white tee shirt, and his hair was as messy as ever. His glasses were crooked, but I don't think he knew it, so he'd probably just shoved them on in a hurry. He was standing hesitantly in the doorway, like he was debating whether or not to proceed. He noticed that I'd looked up and looked sheepishly over at me, like he was embarrassed that I'd caught him.
"Hey," he said. His voice shook slightly. Let me repeat that: his voice was shaking! Okay, this is fantastic. His voice is shaking. Great.
"Hey," I replied back quietly. "You know, it's traditional to stay asleep on Christmas Eve. To make sure Santa doesn't catch you."
Harry grinned and looked up from the floor at me. "You're one to talk," he said, still quietly but mildly teasing.
"So what are you doing down here? It's almost Christmas, you know," I informed him.
"Well, I could ask you the same question," he muttered, still grinning.
"I asked first."
"O-kay," he said, looking down sheepishly again,"if you need to know... I, er... I was...er...looking for you." The last three words came out in a blur.
Interesting. Lots of "ers" and hesitating. Very interesting. His whole body language screamed "liar". But then I saw him staring up at me, head still down, cheeks clearly burning in the dim light, biting his lip like he just confessed a murder. And somehow, the doubt began slipping through me like liquid, and I was beginning to believe that Harry wasn't lying when he said he was looking for me.
"Oh, well, er... why?"
"I dunno, I guess I just wanted to see you." He still stared at the floor, but he grinned sheepishly again. Harry was one of those people who clearly didn't like talking about feelings. "You're turn."
"Uh, well, I can't sleep. I was sort of wanting to be alone, actually, and I guess that's why I'm awake."
Harry's eyebrows pulled together and he shifted uncomfortably.
"Oh, er, I guess I'll just get out of your way then-"
"No, don't go!" I said hastily. That was pure impulse. Harry couldn't be deceiving me right now.
"Oh, okay," he said; I could hear the relief in his voice.
It was silent for a long moment.
"Why don't you come sit?" I offered to break the silence.
Harry said nothing and walked over to sit beside me. He folded his hands in his lap and stared into the fire.
For a long time, we just sat there. There was no sound but the fire crackling peacefully and the murderous wind pounding outside. I wondered if he was planning on saying something; he was looking for me, wasn't he? Maybe he had forgotten what he was going to say. The flames in the fire danced as if synchronized with the wind outside as I watched it. It was silent for a long time. I glanced up for the first time, to find Harry staring at me. He did not look away, clearly unashamed that I'd caught him staring.
"Ginny?" He asked quietly. He turned his gaze to the floor as he spoke my name.
"Yeah?" I replied, a bit nervously. This was the first time we'd been alone in months. Many months. Who knew what he was getting at... I'm seeing someone else... I'm going active duty early... I'm being promoted... I'm moving...excuses, probably. Still, I couldn't shake the nerves.
"Can I ask you something?"
I laughed. "You just did."
He laughed too. "Yeah, I guess I did. But... if I asked you something... would you answer honestly?"
I exhaled nervously. "Probably. Depending on the question."
Harry did not laugh as I expected. He looked at the fire blazing in front of us. He was silent for a long while.
"Do you love me?" he muttered.
Well, that was unexpected.
It took me a solid two minutes to form a coherent thought. When I did, questions exploded like a freaking nuke inside my head.
Why was he asking me this? Why was he up in the middle of the night to ask me this? Why did he care? Did he really care at all? Or did he just want someone to admit that they loved him? What would he say if I said no? What would he say if I said yes? What would he say if I didn't answer at all? Did he really want to know? Why was he asking me this!? Hadn't I already told him I loved him? Why would he doubt that? Did he doubt it? Or did he just want me to say it? Was this really what he wanted to ask, or did he want to ask something else and this was what had come out instead? Was he truly concerned? Did he honestly think that I would wait for him for eight months if I didn't love him? Or was he asking this so he could base his breakup? What would he say when I answered!? Should I say yes? Or no? Yes means that he'll feel guilty for dumping me. No means that he'll break up with me faster. God, what was I going to say!? He'd just asked me if I'd answer honestly... so... after a second that felt like an eternity of deliberation, I decided.
I heard Harry sigh in obvious relief.
"Why?" I managed.
"Just because..." he paused, like he was changing what he was going to say right before he said it, "...because you seem really sad. I needed to know if that was my fault."
Huh. It was his fault. No need to mention it.
"You know I love you, Harry," I muttered, looking away.
He was silent for an eternal moment. I was too cowardly to face him. I was extremely conscious of the two inches of clearance between us, sure that he could see right through me.
Harry touched my face, and I had to look at him for that. Our faces where centimeters apart. His eyes burned with passion, and sadness, and confusion all in one.
"You know I love you, too, right?" he whispered nearly inaudibly, his eyebrows pulling together, waiting. Waiting for a reply that wouldn't come. I was speechless. I hung my mouth open in an "o", making me look like a complete idiot. I couldn't breath.
I could almost hear Harry sigh internally when I didn't answer.
He stood up, releasing his hold on my face and turning to me.
The sadness and passion burned in his eyes as he turned to walk upstairs.
Hey people! PLEASE PLEASE PLEEEASE review this chapter! I HAVE to get feedback for this chapter before I can even THINK about writing the last chapter, and we all know what's coming in chapter 3!!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE this is CRITICAL!!!! Tell me if u hated it or if u loved it or what you want in chapter 3!! PLEASE TELL ME!!!!!!!!!
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all!! :D
Okay, peeps! I FINALLY WROTE CHAPTER 3!!!! I'm so sorry I took so long, but I finally finished it!! It's currently validating right now! I plan to write an epilouge, but it may not come for a while :) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
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