Ginny was tired of crying. She was tired of being looked at with pity. She was tired of staring at the pale beige walls of her bedroom. She was just plain tired. But she was also tired of being tired.
She turned on her side, trying to get in a more comfortable position and ended up staring at the walls of her bedroom. They were beige. Smoky beige to be more specific. Ginny had liked the color when she first picked it out and remembered her insistence on painting the walls the muggle until she’d actually attempted it. With one small section of a wall done she’d been completely covered in paint and the paint was clumpy.
The memory brought a smile to Ginny’s lips, which immediately fell away. She couldn’t be smiling when her daughter was- no. She couldn’t think it.
But Ginny was sick of looking at the wall. Even with fond memories of choosing the color she couldn’t stand to look at it any longer. It was making her feel nauseated.
Almost unbidden, Ginny found herself getting out of bed. She paused at the threshold of her room and then continued on down the stairs. It was the first time she’d been downstairs in days and she was surprised at how nothing seemed different, yet everything was.
She entered the kitchen and Hermione stared at her in surprise. “Is something wrong?” She asked hurriedly. Ginny shook her head. Suddenly coming down seemed like a very bad idea. She hadn’t wanted to interrupt Hermione or have long conversations about- “Would you like something to eat?” She asked.
That was when Ginny noticed Hermione was cooking Shepherd’s Pie in a large casserole dish. “Your mum is teaching me how to cook,” she said with a slight blush when she noticed Ginny staring. “You know I always was horrid at it.”
“That’s Ron’s favorite,” Ginny remarked. It helped her to keep her mind focused on trivial facts rather than the big picture.
“Yes, I wanted to make it for out twentieth anniversary.” Hermione looked a bit awkward and it took Ginny a moment to realize it was because of her presence. When had everything become so screwed up that her best friend couldn’t look her in the eye? “Would you like some? I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure it’s quite edible. It smells good, at least.”
Ginny wasn’t normally in the habit of accepting food described as ‘edible’, but she was still a bit dazed. She took the plate Hermione offered her and stared at it for a moment, as though wondering what it was doing in her hands. “Do you need a fork?” Hermione asked, and she nodded once again.
Even though everything was moving painfully slow, Ginny felt as though her senses had been overloaded. Just coming out of her room had been difficult enough, now she was having conversations with Hermione, however one-sided they might have been.
She took a small bite of the dish while Hermione looked on nervously. Had she been in her right frame of mind Ginny may have wondered if she was going to get food poisoning from the Shepherd’s Pie. As it was she could barely taste the food. It was flavorless in her mouth.
“Is it alright?” Hermione asked, leaning in a bit too close for comfort.
“Fine,” Ginny said with a nod. She felt as though she was getting a slight headache from being downstairs in the bright light. The drapes were open to let in the sunlight and after being in her dark room for days her eyes weren’t used to it.
But Hermione had looked so eager to see her that Ginny didn’t want to go back upstairs so soon. She could handle just a few more minutes.
“Gin? Are you okay?” Ginny realized then that she had been staring off into space for several minutes and her fork had fallen from her fingers and was lying haphazard on her plate. “Oh no, did you see that?” Hermione asked as she grabbed the Daily Prophet away from the table. “I told Ron to put that away this morning.”
Ginny, who hadn’t even noticed the Prophet laying on the table, shook her head, confused. “I’m sorry, I wouldn’t have left it lying around if- I shouldn’t have left it out.”
She shrugged. She read the Prophet occasionally, but Harry knew things before the Prophet did, generally, so he was a better, more reliable news source. It was only when he was busy with work that she read the papers. Ginny didn’t care what about any news that was going on in the wizarding world, but she guessed there was an article about Lily which was why Hermione reacted so badly.
As she thought of her daughter, Ginny’s headache worsened. “I think I’m going to go to bed,” she said, leaving the Shepherd’s pie mostly uneaten on her plate. Hermione jumped up from her chair when Ginny stood.
“Are you sure? You’ve only been up for a minute! Don’t let anything that disgusting Prophet reporter has to say bother you. He’s a real piece of work.” Ginny shook her head. She hadn’t even seen the Prophet and had no desire to ever read what they had to say about Lily.
She was just tired.
She slowly climbed the steps with Hermione trailing behind her nervously. When she reached her bedroom door, Ginny turned. “I think I’m just going to sleep for a bit,” she said, the longest sentence since she’d been up that day. Her headache was growing steadily worse and she yearned for the cool darkness of her own quiet room.
She closed the door tightly behind her, shutting Hermione out. Ginny moved towards her bed and caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror on the front dresser.
She realized with a shock that her appearance was probably why Hermione had reacted as she did. Her skin was pale and sallow, almost a yellowish sickly tint. Her eyes were bloodshot and, despite the amounts of sleep she’d been getting recently, were lined with dark circles. Her hair hung mussed and limp around her shoulders.
She looked like a horror, but she didn’t care. After the initial surprise, Ginny noted her reflection with little more than mild disregard. She wasn’t trying to impress anyone and she just didn’t have the energy to care about her appearance, let alone do something about it.
Simply walking downstairs had been too much for her to handle and she couldn’t stop thinking about Lily.
Ginny crawled into her bed and pulled the covers taught over her head. She didn’t want to be awake to think anymore. She wanted to disappear into dreamland where Lily was still home and everything was fine, not that her dreams were always so happy.
She settled down against her pillow, the sheets blocking out any rays of light, and closed her eyes, hoping that by the time she woke up everything would be fine again.
A/N: As promised here's chapter eleven! Thanks to those of you who keep reviewing, I love hearing feedback and/or suggestions! It really means a lot. :)