Chapter 1 : Food for thought
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Food for Thought
Mum and I sat silently at a table in the Great Hall. We’re looking at what she lost; what we both lost. Tears streamed down her cheeks as I stared blankly across the Great Hall.
Suddenly there was a crash from the Entrance Hall that made everyone jump and look to the doors. Mr. Filch does it again, it being his old, senile, crotchety self, muttering and swearing under his breath. Why would he think trying to sweep all the rubble out of the Entrance Hall would work? If his job is to make noise, distract and annoy people, he’s doing his job well. Maybe that’s his REAL purpose being here. Unexpectedly, I’ve discovered one of the many mysteries of Hogwarts.
Too bad I’m too raw and shocked, and whatever else, to care at the moment.
My eyes start wandering. I can’t seem to focus on one thing for too long, but maybe that’s because I’ve been doing just that for months on end. My gaze found Neville and Luna who look grateful each other is ok. They’re probably talking about what they did to fight for their lives just moments ago. Like how Neville managed to outrun the bridge exploding behind him. I tried to gather the strength to kick up the side of my mouth for a smile, but it didn’t work.
Tears found their way to my cheeks. Not even one smile. If Fred wasn’t… He’d be able to cheer us all up… The taste of salt made me jump, and realize I’ve been crying far longer than I thought.
I’m stronger than this, I need to dry my eyes and be there for my mum… I just want my big brother to make me laugh like he has my whole life…
I couldn’t help but let myself cry for just a little while longer. This wasn’t supposed to happen this way! I don’t know how it was supposed to go, but it certainly didn’t involve losing my brother!
My shoulders shook as sobs took over. They seemed to come from the bottom of my heart. I’ve never felt so broken. After finding out Fred was… Then there was Tonks, and Remus, and Colin. Then, to top it all off, Harry had to pull his ‘I’m dead, but not really’ stunt and rip out the rest of my heart.
I have very conflicted feelings about Harry. Part of me is relieved he’s alright and wants to take care of him. The other part wants to yell, and throw things, and make him realize what he did to me.
This time tears of anger and relief took its turn and ran down my face.
I shook myself, and tried to snap out of it. I really AM stronger than this. I’ve gone through hell and back this past year, and Fred, or anyone else for that matter, wasn’t exactly available to make me laugh then either…
No, wait… when exactly was the last time he made me laugh?
I HAVE to remember that much.
I closed my eyes tight and tried to clear my head… my heart beat in my ears, but I didn’t hear, let alone remember, the last time he made me laugh.
I opened my eyes, but my vision was blurry. More damn tears. I wiped them away impatiently, and tried focusing on the room again. Anything to get past the crushing disappointment of trying to remember the last time my brother made me laugh and failing miserably.
Next to Neville and Luna seemed to be a group of girls glaring at the latter. It almost looked like they think Luna was hogging him. Unexpectedly, Neville and Luna got up with a sense of purpose, went over to them, and asked if they wanted to help gather a group of people to fix the castle. Though it was pretty clear all they want to do was fawn over Neville, they had little choice but to get up and go anyway.
It’s so strange he’s gone from nearly invisible to Mr. Popular, and he probably doesn’t even know it. Those girls might even just be trying to focus on something else other than what’s just happened, but they’re just doing it in a much more annoying way than I am.
I was tired of trying to focus on other things, so I put my head back on mum's shoulder, again with tears in my eyes, thinking. I might not be worried about the same things as those girls are, but some emotion seems to be shifting. Although there's still grief, greater than I've ever known, somehow, I know these aren't the feelings the ones we lost wanted me to have all the time. They’d want me, everyone, to live life to the fullest. It’ll take a while to sink in, but, a tiny bit at a time, it will. Maybe I can be there for other people this way, and not exhaust myself at the same time. I’ll get to me later. Being me is more painful at the moment.
I was starting to feel how Neville and Luna must have earlier. I have to do something. I can’t always sit with my head on my mom’s shoulder. I haven't fought all year just to be upset at how it’s ended. There is greatness out of this, we got what we all want, Voldemort gone. Others are too but, we all knew what was at stake.
Blimey, it's still hard though.
I tried to hide how hurt I was as I wiped the tears from my eyes and said, “Mum, I’m gonna go find Harry, Ron, and Hermione,” might as well start there.
She lifted her head from mine and straightened up a little, “Ok Ginny dear, I’ll see you later” said mum in a tired kind of way.
I got up, and kissed her head, “I love you mum.”
As I walked out of the Great Hall I realized I had never seen my mum like this, ever. Or George or anybody come to think of it. Usually mum has boundless energy, and would make sure everyone in ten meters is fed within a centimeter of their lives. George would be cracking jokes with Fred... I stopped in the middle of the corridor and bent in double as a fresh wave of grief swept over me. I breathed deeply and wiped my eyes. This had to stop. Things will get better soon. They have to.
But nothing will be back the way it was, and the thought was both fantastic and terribly depressing.
I looked up and realized I was in the corridor where Dumbledore’s office was and heard voices. I quickly hid around the corner since my eyes were still blotchy. I felt like a big goopy mess, and no one needs to see that.
“I’m going to get a sandwich from Kreacher, get clean, and go to sleep for Merlin knows how long.”
Harry. His voice is horse and more tired than I’ve ever heard before. I wanted to be in his arms, and at the same time, I wanted to hex his hair off.
“We’ll be up in a bit Harry we’re going to go see how Mrs. Weasley and everybody are” I peeked around the corner and saw Hermione give Harry a big hug.
“Yeah mate, and listen, you did brilliant back there. You know no one blames you for anything by now right?”
Harry sounded depressed but said, “Yeah, sure. Well, talking to Dumbledore's Portrait helped a bit.”
I knew Harry enough to know he might understand a bit of what Ron said, but he’s still feeling the guilt. My heart ached for him. He’s always been like that; it’s the whole bloody reason he broke up with me.
I saw Harry slap Ron on the back and then yawned for about 30 seconds straight. He looked like he hasn’t slept in years.
Ron and Hermione waived at Harry, turned and walked down the corridor. My eyes felt like popping out as Ron put his arm around Hermione’s shoulders. I hid again, and couldn’t help but do a little dance of joy. Ron loves Hermione, Ron loves Hermione, boy, wait ‘til Fred and George see them, they’re gonna… I stopped mid dance.
That heavy feeling came back and I sank to the floor and pulled my knees up to my chin.
I tried to gather myself together, so I concentrated on what I just heard. I don't want that weight of grief on me. I’ve felt it all year, and more than anything, I want to feel something new.
I focused on the new information, and I furrowed my eyebrows. Something Harry said didn’t make sense. Why does Harry want Kreacher to make his sandwich? Why doesn't Harry get Dobby? Either way, I can at least do that much for him even if he is a world saving prat.
I thought I’d try calling someone I liked more first, “Dobby?”
I waited for a minute before I gave up. It never takes him this long to answer, maybe he was busy with something else.
“Kreacher?” I whispered. He does work at Hogwarts I’ve seen him work while I was sneaking to the kitchens for food before I left. If we were “bad” the Carrows would sometimes punish us by not giving us much food. So sometimes I saw Kreacher. I pushed those memories aside, I have something else to do right now. I wondered where Dobby was; usually he's only too willing to help. Oh well, I'll work with what I have.
There was a Pop and the old elf appeared, “Yes, miss?”
I winced, that elf really was ugly, but I tried to smile. I took a deep breath and prepared for objections. Though usually he wasn’t so polite, so it might go a little better than usual.
“Um, listen, Harry’s very tired and needs to rest, run you up to the boys’ dormitory and get some sandwiches in there and set things up for his shower before he gets there, please?” I added the ‘please’ as an afterthought, thinking of Hermione.
“Right away Miss, anything for Master Harry who has finished Master Regulus’s work Miss” another pop and he vanished from their hiding place. I blinked in surprise. I am more confused now than ever.
I took short cuts through the castle and got me to Gryffindor tower earlier than Harry. Now I'll be able to surprise him. I guess the part of me that wants to protect and take care of him was kicking in, plus I’m not thinking about things I don’t want to. He probably needs this after what he’s been through this year. There's a lot I need to talk to him about, but I'll have to wait for a few days. He needs rest now. I know I do too, but as much as I’ve been through, he's done much more in other ways.
When in the tower, I realized that none of us had extra clothes, so I called back Kreacher to get some for Harry and me first, and then for the rest of us who were still at the castle. He really wasn’t such a bad elf... He’s just a really ugly one. I wonder what he's going on about with all the Master Regulus stuff. Oh well, at least he’s being really helpful now when we need it most. Kreacher cames back with my clothes; I thanked him, and took a shower.
Expecting instant relief, I stepped under the shower; “Ouch!”
I tried to turn my head but the burning pain from the back of my neck didn’t allow me to. I hissed through my teeth at the pain that was like a red hot poker from the fire. I reached for my wand on the sink, and gathered my hair on my head so nothing could touch it. “Owowowow.” I nearly lost the wand as I tried to grab it with wet hands, but it worked. When I touched the burn gingerly it hurt like bloody hell, but I needed to know the damage to fix it. I waived my wand in large to small circles just like mum would do, and chanted the incantation in my head. As I hoped, the blister went down, but the burn was still tender. I guess I just wasn’t thinking about it before. I’m sure the rest of my injuries will catch up with me tomorrow. That’ll be fun. I turned around so the water doesn’t hit my burn and the rest of the shower went a lot more cautiously. I slowly tested areas before trying to clean them just in case.
After a lot longer of a shower than intended I went up to the boys’ dorms to see if Harry was there yet. I knew he was dragging his feet, but after my shower healing session he should be up there.
I knocked first and peeked in. Nope. No one was there but the sandwiches. I frowned and I hurried back downstairs. The common room was empty too so I nearly ran out of the portrait hole and almost tripped. Harry was sitting at the bottom of the last stair case to the tower. My heart rate returned to normal. Well, at least he was almost there.
He looked up at me when he heard my footsteps coming out of the tower. “Hey Ginny” he said, as he gave me a VERY tired, but adorable, smile. He’s a git, but gits can still be cute.
In spite of myself, I returned it, “Come on, you’re almost there.”
“I’m too tired, maybe I’ll just stay here until I’m rested” he said, and he lay back on the steps.
“Oh no, you don’t. I’m going to make sure you get comfortable. Wingardium Leviosa,” I smirked, he might have defeated Voldemort, but now he's floating up to the boys’ dormitory where I can keep my eye on him.
“Ginny, why, you don’t have to do this” he stuttered.
“Well, I can put you back down on the hard staircase where there’s no food waiting for you already,” my smirk spread across my face in spite of myself.
“Wait, food? How did it get in the dorm already?”
I snorted. Somehow ... I didn't think it'd be possible for at least a month. If I can’t remember the last time I laughed, I’m sure going to remember the first.
My brain started to relax a little. Oh Merlin, it's so good to be with him again. I'm still upset and confused that he had to pretend to be dead in front of everyone, but I guess it can’t have been a fly in a field for him either. It’s only natural to feel more upset than you ever have when you think the love of your life has been killed.
Belatedly, I remembered his question after floating him through the portrait hole and towards the boys’ dorm. “I heard you talking to Ron and Hermione in the corridor near Dumbledore’s office. Kreacher's helping me out surprisingly." The stairs were tricky, I accidentally bumped him into walls, caused him to swear a bit, and I tried my hardest to bite back laughter. I managed to navigate the turns and I lifted the spell so he plopped down on his bed. I started to move back towards the door, "Now, I’ll come back in a little while to see how…”
“No, don’t go” said Harry. Blimey, he looked almost panicked so I sat down next to him, and had a sudden need to stroke his messy black head of hair.
It feels so good to be able to do that now. I can understand that he’s really alright now. I gave him a soft smile instead of my smirk. “I only meant so you could freshen up if you want, but if it makes you feel any better, I’ll wait here while you go do that.”
I felt rather foolish now, sitting here. It feels as though my limbs are made of lead I’m so tired. All I could really concentrate on is her hand running through my hair, and the smell of flowers Ginny had and the fresh sandwiches. All it did was make me want to fall asleep. “Ginny, I really don’t have the energy to do that” I said, feeling sillier by the minute.
It must have shown on my face ‘cause Ginny shook her head at me, “Why do you look so embarrassed? You have every right in the world to feel so tired. Maybe if you had a sandwich you’ll feel a lot better.”
The words were barely out of her mouth when I reached enthusiastically for a sandwich and took a huge bite. “Mmmm” food made everything seem a lot better. Wait, when exactly was the last time I ate a real sandwich? It had to be sometime last year before we left. She snorted in laughter at me again, a sound I missed more than I originally thought.
“You have the silliest look on your face eating that sandwich.” She looked down, and her smile disappeared and asked, “Is it right that I can’t remember the last time Fred made me laugh, but I’ve already laughed twice being with you?”
She tried to hide it, but I could tell she had tears in her eyes. My heart dropped as I realized it’s partially my fault he’s gone. This was about her though, her hurt, not mine. I lifted her chin to look into her eyes, “He’ll remind you someday, but for now, he’d want to see you smile.” I tried to wipe the tears from her face, but she turned away and did it herself. No, she’s not a weepy girl, she’s hurting, but she’s not ready to let others see it. I knew the feeling. She should know how he died though, and although it tears me apart talking about it, I told her. “He, um, died with a smile on his face… Percy made a joke, and he couldn’t believe it. If he can die happy, I guess we can be happy now.”
She cleared her throat, and tried a smile that didn’t really work, “I can't believe it either. Percy never tells jokes.” She fell silent, so I took another huge bite of sandwich.
“Thank you for telling me Harry.” She finally looked straight at me, even with the tears clear in her eyes, “It's hard to talk about, but I think it confirms what I thought about down in the Great Hall sitting with Mum.”
I gave her a questioning look since my mouth was full of sandwich again.
Her real laugh rang through the dormitory. It seemed like an eternity since I heard it last.
“You look ridiculous with your mouth so full” she smiled. I never saw anything so beautiful. I’m just happy she's ok, that killing curse nearly hit her. I shudder, but refocused to what we're talking about.
She continued and said, “but I was right, none of them wouldn’t want us so sad all the time especially not when they died to make us happier.”
“Ginny, I’m sorry all this happened, I’ve never felt so terrible before, and I've felt pretty horrible." I cleared my throat, uncomfortable I was never great at telling anyone how I felt unless I had to. "But, um, I’m glad you told me that. It’ll be hard, but I guess we’ll get through this together.” For a few minutes we just ate together, silent. Not awkward. It felt like things could be as they should. I’ve never felt that way before that’s for sure.
I could tell she wanted to change the subject, but she took a bite of a sandwich herself. Finally she said, “Mmmm, this is really good. I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Kreacher, but he seemed glad to do it strangely enough” Ginny said with her mouth full, but covered it with a napkin. “Hey, I’ve been wondering,” she swallows, “Where is Dobby? I tried summoning him but he didn’t come.”
I looked down, no, I couldn't talk about that yet, “Yeah, um, I'll tell you about that later...”
She gave me a look, but instead of pushing the subject like I half expected, she shrugged, stretched and yawned...
My feelings must’ve been going mad because my mouth dried out. She looked like she's just washed up and despite everything, she's glowing. Save for a few scratches and burns that looked painful, but for once I could look at her as much as I wanted. I don’t have to imagine her while looking at the Marauders Map. She’s here. And she doesn't seem to hate me either. I half expected her to hate me for leaving her behind, Fred dying, and probably numerous other things. I could hardly focus on that though, she looks so beautiful and I've missed her so much.
“Sorry, um, yeah. I had to stop and look at you for a minute.”
“Or five,” she said smirking.
“Well, all I had was the Map for all these months. I've really missed you.”
The silence echoed in the room.
“Wait, you were able to see me on the map all that time?”
“Well just your dot. It gave me strength to keep going knowing you were ok.”
“Ooomph” Next thing I knew a pillow hit me in the face.
“I wish I knew the same about you!" I ducked again as more pillows were thrown my way.
It hit me anyway. No wonder why I picked her as chaser that year.
Even with my vision obscured by pillows I could still imagine her face as she yelled, "can you even imagine what it was like not knowing even that much?! You could have been dead, hurt, lost!” I moved the pillows out of the way and got them far from Ginny. Not discouraged in the least, she grabbed a sandwich and threw it hard. Lettuce and tomato hit my face, her voice cracked, and all I can really saw was that angry Weasley look on her face...
Desperate, I launched out of the bed and held her before she grabbed the next sandwich. Surprised, she stilled in my arms.
“Ginny, if there was any other way to have gone about it I would have.” I took a deep breath. I’ve wanted to tell her this for so long, but now that I could, was nervous. “I love you, I love your family, and that's why I couldn't tell anyone. Anyone knowing where I was would put them in danger.” I held my breath and waited to see if I got hexed.
She looked up at me from under my chin, and whispered “You really love me?”
I let go of my breath. Thank Merlin she doesn’t seem to mind.
“If I didn't still love you would I do this?” and I kissed the wonderfully shocked look off her face. I felt like if I didn't kiss her and make her understand that now, then I'd explode. This was more passionate then we ever managed last year. She put her arms around my neck and ran her hands through my hair only this time held me closer, and kissed me harder. It felt unbelievable. My glasses were getting crooked and started to fall off. Impatiently, I took them off and heard a small shatter. I didn't care, her hair was so soft, and was much more interesting. I kissed her chin and down her neck and just held her. We both sighed softly. The flowery scent got stronger the closer to her hair I got, and I returned to her lips and kissed her harder. My legs failed a bit and we fell into the bed, and knocked over the nearly empty plate of sandwiches. The crash of the plate, regrettably snapped me out of it and we pulled away slightly.
“I love you too Harry” she said breathlessly. I grinned at her, and couldn’t help but kiss her again, and just look into her lovely brown eyes nose to nose. It was miraculous to think that with just five words she made all this past year worthwhile. She loves me. I gazed into her eyes, and stroked her hair. I held her close, and savored the moment. At the same time, seeing her all disheveled like that made me want to kiss her like mad again, but I think I should probably get cleaner first. For her sake, she's kissing a guy who must stink riper than those swamps Fred and George made in 5th year.
He pulled away a little and said, “Well, you were right about eating and then having more energy. I’m going to take a shower quick. Don’t go anywhere though” I gave her a kiss on the head, and she blushed which made me smile. I grabbed the clothes Kreacher set out, and went to the shower.
I couldn’t get over how sweet she was being, besides throwing some pillows and a sandwich at me, I didn’t expect anything more than that. I thought, worst case scenario that she wouldn’t want to speak to me again. Not to kiss me so hard I fall over.
Most of the tense feelings from fighting left as I stepped under the shower spray. Any other tense feelings left after that kiss. For the first time in months I actually felt clean. The spells we’ve used all this time just don’t do it. Feeling more relaxed than I have in ages I yawned, and turn off the shower.
I walked back into the room saw that Ginny had made herself comfortable in my bed and fell asleep. Well I can't very well let her have all the fun. I quietly got in next to her. She shifted and blearily looked up at me, smiled, then laid her head on my chest.
"We never told each other I love you before. I was worried you broke up with me last year not just because you wanted to protect me, but because maybe you didn't like me anymore. I'll go to sleep a little better now that I know for sure." She holds my face and gives me a soft and sweet kiss.
I blushed, still not used to saying stuff like this, but I told her, "I really do love you Ginny. I was scared I wouldn’t get to tell you."
"I was too. I wanted to tell you more than anything,” she kisses me again. “I still think you’re a prat, but I love you anyway.” She settled down on my chest again, calmer, but I can still see how sad she is no matter how hard she tried to hide it.
Despite everything, I'm more content than I’ve ever been in my whole life. There will always be memories of Voldemort and grief floating around my head. Even with the thoughts and memories, I felt very peaceful as I stroked her hair, and hug her close. Before I could think another thought, I fell sound asleep to the sound of her soft snores.
A/N: Hello again, thank you for reading, I'd really appreciate to hear what you thought, but if not, thank you for reading. I've just finished College and took a writing course so this should be better than it had been, but everyone makes mistakes. Anyway, thanks for reading, see you all soon.
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