Chapter 1 : Food for thought
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Food for Thought
Mum and I sit silently at a table in the great hall. We we're looking at what she lost what we both lost. Tears stream down her cheeks. I stare blankly across the Great Hall.
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. 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 finds Neville and Luna. They’re looking glad that the other is fine, and maybe talking about what they did to fight for their lives. Like how Neville managed to outrun the bridge exploding behind him. I can’t even gather the strength to kick up the side of my mouth for a smile.
Tears find 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 makes 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 can’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 shake as I’m taken over by the sobs that 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 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 take its turn down my face.
Again, I shake myself, trying to snap out of it. I really AM stronger than this. I’ve gone through hell and back this past year, 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 close my eyes and try to clear my head… I hear my heart beating in my ears, but I’m not hearing, let alone remembering, the last time he made me laugh.
More damn tears. I wipe them away impatiently, and try focusing on the room again.
Next to Neville and Luna seems to be a group of girls glaring at the latter. It almost looks like they think she’s hogging him. Unexpectedly, Neville and Luna get up with a sense of purpose, go over to them, and ask if they want to help gather a group to fix the castle. It’s pretty clear all they want to do was fawn over Neville, but since they were pretty much just caught looking at him they 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 just be trying to focus on something else other than what’s just happened, but they could at least try to act like something horrible/wonderful happened.
Tired of trying to focus on other things 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 want me, everyone, to live life to the fullest. It’ll take a while to sink in, but a tiny bit at a time will take my mind off the grief for now. Maybe I can be there for other people this way, and not exhaust myself at the same time. I’ll get to me later. Me is more painful at the moment.
I sort of feel how Neville and Luna looked to me. 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.
Trying to hide how hurt I am, I wipe the tears from my eyes; “Mum, I’m gonna go find Harry, Ron, and Hermione,” might as well start there.
“Ok Ginny dear, I’ll see you later” says mum in a tired kind of way.
I get up, and kiss her head, “I love you mum.”
As I walk out of the Great Hall I realize I never see my mum like this, ever. Or George or anybody come to think of it. Usually mum has boundless energy, and makes sure everyone in ten meters is fed within a centimeter of their lives. George would be cracking jokes with Fred... I stop in the middle of the corridor as a fresh wave of grief sweeps over me.
I sigh heavily, and wipe my eyes. This has to stop. Things will get better soon. They have to.
Nothing will be back the way it was, and that's both fantastic and terribly depressing.
I look up and realize I’m in the corridor where Dumbledore’s office was and hear voices. I quickly hide around a corner since my eyes are still blotchy. I feel 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 want to be in his arms, and I want 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 peek around the corner and see 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?”
“Yeah, sure. Well, talking to Dumbledore's Portrait helped a bit” Harry says with a shrug. I know Harry enough to know he might understand a bit of what Ron said, but he’s still feeling the guilt. My heart tugs for him. He’s always been like that it’s the whole bloody reason he broke up with me.
I see Harry slap Ron on the back and then yawn for about 30 seconds straight. He looks like he hasn’t slept in years.
Ron and Hermione waive at Harry and walk down the corridor. My eyes feel like they’re popping out as Ron puts his arm around Hermione. I hide again, and can’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 stop mid dance.
That heavy feeling comes back and I sink to the floor and pull my knees up to my chin.
I have to gather myself together, so I'll concentrate on what I just heard. I don't want that weight of grief on me. I’ve felt all year, I want to feel something new.
I focus on the new information, and I furrow 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 git.
“Kreacher?” I whisper. 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 see Kreacher. I push those memories aside, I have something else to do right now. I wonder where Dobby is; 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 wince, that elf really is ugly, but try and smile. I take a deep breath preparing for objections.
“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 add 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 vanishes from their hiding place. Well, I’m more confused than ever.
I take short cuts through the castle to get 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 start up. He probably needs it after 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 realize that none of us has extra clothes, so I call 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 isn’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 comes back with my clothes; I thank him, and go to take a shower.
Expecting instant relief, I step under the shower; “Ouch!”
I try and turn my head to the burning pain from the back of my neck. I hiss through my teeth at the pain like a hot poker from the fire. I reach for my wand on the sink, and gather my hair on my head so nothing touches it. Owowowow. I nearly lose the wand trying to grab it with wet hands, but it works. Touching the burn gingerly hurts like bloody hell, but I need to know the damage to fix it. I waive my wand in large to small circles just like mum would do, and chant the incantation in my head. As I hope, the blister goes down, but the burn 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. Fun. The rest of the shower goes a lot slower, testing areas before trying to clean them.
After a lot longer of a shower than intended I head up to the boys’ dorms to see if Harry's up there yet. I know he was dragging his feet, but after my shower/healing session he should be up there.
I knock first and peek in. Nope. No one there, but the sandwiches. Slightly worried, I hurry back downstairs. With the common room empty I nearly run out of the portrait hole and see him sitting at the bottom of the last stair case to the tower. My heart rate returns to normal. Well, at least he's almost there.
He looks up at me when he hears my footsteps coming out of the tower. “Hey Ginny” he says, giving me a VERY tired, but adorable, smile. He’s a git, but gits can still be cute.
In spite of myself, I return it, “Come on, you’re almost there.”
“I’m too tired, maybe I’ll just stay here until I’m rested” he says, lying back on the steps.
“Oh no, you don’t. I’m going to make sure you get comfortable. Wingardium Leviosa,” I smirk, 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 stutters.
“Are you complaining? I can put you down on the hard staircase where there’s no food waiting for you already,” my smirk gets bigger.
“Wait, food? How did it get in the dorm already?”
I snort. 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 relaxes 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.
I remember his question after a minute of floating 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 bump him into walls, causing him to swear a bit, and me to bite back laughing. We manage it and I lift the spell so he plops down on his bed "Now, I’ll come back in a little while to see how…”
“No, don’t go” said Harry. Blimey, he looks almost panicked so I sit down next to him, and have 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 give 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 feel rather foolish now, sitting here. It feels as though my limbs are made of lead I’m so tired. All I can really concentrate on is her hand running through my hair, and the smell flowers Ginny has and the fresh sandwiches. “Ginny, I don’t have the energy to do that” I feel sillier by the minute.
“Why are you 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 are barely out of her mouth when I reach enthusiastically for a sandwich and take a huge bite. “Mmmm” that feels a lot better. Wait, when exactly was the last time I ate a real sandwich? It has to be sometime last year before we left. She snorts 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 looks down, and her smile disappears. “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 tries to hide it, but I can tell she has tears in her eyes. My heart drops as I realize it’s partially my fault he’s gone. This is about her though, her hurt, not mine.
I lift her chin up to look into her eyes, “He’ll remind you someday, but for now, he’d want to see you smile.” I try to wipe the tears from her face, but she turns away and does it herself. No, she’s not a weepy girl, she’s hurting, but she’s not ready to let others see it. I know the feeling. She should know how he died though, and although it tears me apart talking about it, I tell 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 clears her throat, and tries to smile, “I can't believe it either. Percy never tells jokes.” She falls silent, so I take another huge bite of sandwich.
“Thank you for telling me Harry.” She finally looks straight at me with 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 give her a questioning look since my mouth is full of sandwich again.
Her real laugh comes out this time. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard it.
“You look ridiculous with your mouth so full” she smiles. I never saw anything so beautiful. I'm just happy she's ok, that killing curse nearly hit her. I shudder and refocus to what we're talking about.
“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 clear my throat, uncomfortable. "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 eat together, silent. Not awkward. It feels like things could be as they should. I’ve never felt that way before that’s for sure.
I can tell she’s just trying to change the subject, but she takes a bite of a sandwich herself, “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 says with her mouth full, but covered with a napkin. “Hey, I’ve been wondering,” she swallows, “Where is Dobby?”
I look down, no, I can't talk about that yet, “Yeah, um, I'll tell you about that later...”
She gives me a look, but instead of pushing the subject like I half expect, she shrugs stretches and yawns...
My feelings must be going mad because mouth dries out, she looks like she's just washed up and despite everything, she's glowing. Save for a few scratches and burns that look painful, but for once I can look at her as much as I want. I'm not trying 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 can 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 smirks.
“Well, all I had was the Map for all these months. I've really missed you.”
“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” A pillow hits me in the face.
“I wish I knew the same about you!" I duck again as more pillows are thrown my way.
It hits me anyway. No wonder why I picked her as chaser that year.
"Can you even imagine what it was like not knowing even that much?!” a sandwich was thrown in my direction. Lettuce and tomato hit my face, her voice cracks, and all I can really see is that angry Weasley look on her face...
Desperate, I grab her and hold her before this gets too out of hand. Surprised, she stills.
“Ginny, if there was any other way to have gone about it I would have.” I take a deep breath. I’ve wanted to tell her this for so long, but I’m 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 hold my breath and wait to see if I get hexed.
She looks up at me from under my chin, and whispers “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 kiss that wonderfully shocked look off her face. I feel like if I didn't kiss her and make her understand that now, then I'd explode. This is more passionate then we've ever managed last year. She put her arms around my neck and run her hands through my hair only this time to hold me closer, and kiss me a bit harder. It feels unbelievable. My glasses are getting crooked and start to fall off. Impatiently, I take them off and hear a small shatter. I don't care, her hair is so soft, and much more interesting right now. I kiss down her neck. We both sigh softly. The flowery scent gets stronger, and I kiss her harder. My legs fail a bit and we fall into the bed, and knocks over the plate of sandwiches. The crash of the plate snaps me out of it.
“I love you too Harry” she says breathlessly. I beam at her, kiss her again, and just look into her lovely brown eyes nose to nose. She's just made all this past year worthwhile, knowing that she still loves me. I gaze into her eyes, and stroke her hair. Hold her close, and savor the moment. At the same time, seeing her all disheveled like that makes 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.
“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 give her a kiss on the head, and she blushes which makes me smile. I grab the clothes Kreacher set out, and go to the shower.
I can’t get over how sweet she's being, besides throwing some pillows and a sandwich at me, I didn’t expect any of it at all. I thought, worst case scenario that she’d not want to speak to me again. Not kiss me so hard I fall over.
Most of the tense feelings are leave as I step under the shower spray. The other tense feelings left after that kiss. Wow, I actually feel clean for the first time in who knows how long. I yawn, I don’t want Ginny to worry more, so I get out.
When I get back in the room I see that Ginny is as unworried as ever. She's gone and made herself comfortable in my bed and fell asleep. Well I can't very well let her have all the fun. I quietly get in next to her. She shifts and blearily looks up at me, smiles, then lays her head on my chest.
"We never told each other I love you before. I was worried you broke up with me last year just because you wanted to protect me, but because maybe you just didn't like me anymore. I'll go to sleep a little better now that I know." She holds my face and gives me a soft and sweet kiss.
I blush, still not used to saying stuff like this, but I tell 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. She settles down on my chest calmer, but I can still see how sad she is no matter how hard she tries 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 there's grief floating around my head. Even with the thoughts and memories, there’s still a very peaceful feeling stroking her hair, and hugging her to me. Before I can think another thought, I fall sound asleep to the sound of her soft snores.
A/N: Thank you for reading! I'd love to hear what you thought, and I'll never know unless you take a sec to write in that little box to review. They really make my day, and I love responding to them :) Thanks!