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Red Ribbon by SilentConfession
Chapter 1 : Red Ribbon
 
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 They never talk about what happens after the war is over. They talk about winning, about victory, but they never say all that has been lost.

Innocence.

Love.

Humanity.

Everyone loses something. They don’t talk about that, though. They try to focus on all that has been gained, as if that is the salve needed to fix the scars. So they pretend like Colin died for a greater cause, or that Lavender is a hero, and yet they ignore that she rarely comes out in public anymore, scared of her own reflection.  

What is more, they forget that he is only human. They put him on this pedestal and nearly worship his every move because he saved them, not once, but twice. He is the boy that survived. The boy who not only lived, but destroyed the most evil wizard of all. They come up with all these dumb but catchy slogans that make him hide in the darkness more, because he knows he doesn’t live up to the person they imagine him to be.

So he falls further and further away, secluding himself in his little cubicle at the Ministry, and comes home late. He’ll slip into bed, his back facing her, and she is left to stare at his messy black hair, his broad shoulders, and she cries herself to sleep. There are no words that she can say anymore.

She is losing him. As the days pass, she sees the hollowness etch itself across his face, and how he is so damn morose, and there are times she cannot stand it. She cannot stand his quipping remarks about her profession and how shallow it is. He doesn’t realize that she’s still coping as well. She lost her goddamned brother – the one who made her feel like she could actually be something – and throwing herself into training was the only thing that let her forget for a moment how much she missed her older brother.

It kills her, though, because she loves him. She loves him with every fibre in her being, and she cannot reach him, even if he’s merely feet away. She hates that only Hermione can break though his locked up heart, and sometimes she finds that she even hates Hermione, because it’s her shoulder he cries on and not hers.

As if Hermione understands the war more than she – she, the one who led the resistance at Hogwarts, who suffered under the Carrows with numerous Cruciatus Curses. As if she didn’t understand. She knew war: She had looked it full in the face, and saw that it had the face of hell.

She hates this, but yet she loves it, because she knows she cannot live without him, even with his dead green eyes, or how he rarely ever talks to her anymore. She could not wake up without knowing that he was once beside her. In the end, she knows he doesn’t mean what he says to her; he just doesn’t know who to be if he’s not the saviour of the world. Truth be told, she doesn’t know who to be, either, if not the girl who waited.

Hermione tells her to have patience, that he needs time. But she’s been waiting for eight years, and she was always the one left out of their impenetrable trio. She thought it may change, thought maybe their similar stories of being possessed may make him take her seriously. But it hasn’t.  She sometimes doubts it ever will, so she tries to adapt, to make it work, because she knows it has to.

She leans against her locker and waves half-heartedly to her teammates. She can see the pity written in their eyes as they file out to celebrate their win. She doesn’t go, because maybe tonight will be the night she can mend the shredded pieces of their life together. She doesn’t want to risk it, even though she doubts he’ll even be home.

He’s too focussed on trying to hunt the rest of them down, to prove his name isn’t just a giant fluke. He doesn’t believe that it has already been proven. She hates them for that, the masses who tug at him from all directions. It is slowly killing him.

She grabs her rucksack and hangs it over her shoulder before she, too, leaves the deserted stadium and Apparates back home. Her muscles are tired and strained, and as she walks through the front door, she is massaging her neck, trying to release the tension that has been slowly building like the swell of a wave.

The flat is empty and dark. It is not surprising, but she had hoped... hoped for something different than this. Her steps break a stifling silence that has been hanging in all the empty spaces there, and she drops her bag on the ground with a resounding clunk. She walks in the darkness to the kitchen, where she lights the torches. Her heart is heavy as she grabs desperately onto the countertop.

She shakes her head and makes herself a cuppa, hating them even more. Hating how his face is plastered on the Daily Prophet all the time, and how she gets followed, and is pushed for interviews and snippets into their lives. They take her walking away as if there is trouble in their paradise; if she speaks they think it’s all a lie.

There is no winning, and so she just carries on, knowing in her heart that this has to work, and that she will do anything for it. She knows it has to, because she sees in his eyes what he needs and what he needs is her. She doesn’t know how to give that to him, though. She thinks she already has; but then, she never speaks of that year within the Hogwarts walls. That prison.

Sipping on her scalding tea, she sits at the table idly and follows the grain of the wood with her free hand. It is strange for her, to understand what he is trying to do, but hating that he feels the need to shine for them. Like they matter. As if they care about him as a person at all.  

They don’t. They only want a story, a glimpse into the life of the boy, who she knows as a man, who saved them all. They won’t like it if they knew the truth, knew how he was unravelling at the seams, and no matter how hard she tries, it doesn’t seem like she can put it back together again.

She gazes into the empty flat, and she wonders how it’s come to this – how they’ve been driven to live like two people who hardly know each other, how they are not willing to step on the seashells around them for fear it may actually break something.

They are already broken.

Oh, so broken; so broken and alone. Her hand stops midway through her tracing of the grain, and she stares at the shaking of her fingers. Can she really blame them? Them, who pretended like they knew him, claiming that they were a source close to Potter, when really they were just an old schoolmate who used to think he was a deluded, attention-seeking weirdo.

Was it really their grasping fingers and demanding voices that led to this?

She closes her eyes and she puts down her tea, and stands up from the table in a swift movement. She walks to their room, her eyes glazing past the photos they’ve posted all over the walls to remind them of happier times, and grabs onto a box that is wrapped with a red ribbon. She has hidden it in the back of her dresser, underneath her Muggle clothes.

Slowly, she unties the ribbon, her hands trembling and sweaty as the silky fabric falls off, and she lifts up the little brown lid. She first pulls out a photo of the Black lake on the calmest day in early spring. It is one Colin had given her after an especially rough week with the Carrows. He said it was to remind them of what they were all fighting for. It was a strange picture to use, but she had loved it because it was so normal.

She lays the photo next to her and reaches in again, bringing out a necklace that Lavender said was a dream catcher, and would make all the dreams beautiful again. She holds onto the warm metal for a moment before putting it around her neck. Finally, she pulls out some joke items and a cap made of dragon’s hide, and holds them close to her heart.

She takes a deep breath in, letting herself feel the things that these gifts, and all the others, reminded her off. She is still grasping the cap Fred gave her. Such a hideous thing, really, but it was the thing that reminds her the most of him.

It is a strange position to be in, to see the things she boxes away so plainly in front of her and how each thing brings back memories. But for the first time, she doesn’t feel like it’s going to consume her with bitterness and hate. She doesn’t know yet why there is this change. But she knows she can’t blame them, because they didn’t do this. Not really. She is the one who ran.

The only thing she can do now is to reach past those greedy arms that demand things of the two of them that they won’t ever give, and to dig into their souls and share what they are both too scared to do. She will stop simply adapting, trying to dance around as if afraid she may set off a time bomb.

She will not lose him.

She knows in her heart that this will work, because she loves him. It is the only thing she has ever known for sure. Even in those dark days at Hogwarts, where she was never sure if leading a revolution was right, because so many students got hurt in the process. But this – them – that is one thing she always knew to be true. She quietly leaves the flat without picking up the things from her box. She is sick of hiding them and pretending like it’s all okay.

She Apparates away, and she feels anticipation fill up inside her.  She is done waiting, done blaming everyone else, because she’s been pushing him away just as much as he has been pushing her. Maybe they both reminded each other of the pain they went through, but the pain is what brought them together in the first place.

She knows she will always miss Fred, and that he’d always share her dreams. She’ll miss Colin for his quirky obsessions, and even Lavender’s shallowness, because at least that is better than what she has now. But she will not succumb to this misery herself. That is not who Ginny Weasley is.

She walks into the Ministry, her red hair swinging out behind her as she hurries into a lift that is already filled with zooming memos and a goblin who is scowling at her intrusion.

Level Two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She walks off and scans the open floor before her. It’s mostly deserted for the evening, though a few obsessed wizards still hunch over in their cubicles, while others are running through the maze of them with paperwork held out in front of them as if it is a prize. She walks to the south end, where she knows he’ll be, his desk pushed against a wall.

Pictures of Dark wizards and witches hang on every space of wall, and a string is tying certain stories and narratives together. She sees him holding a picture in his hand, but she can’t make it out. He doesn’t hear her yet, and she dithers a second at the entrance of his cubicle, taking in his hunched shoulders and jittery leg ­– a leg that has barely stopped tapping since the end of the war.

“Harry,” she says softly, and crosses the threshold. He swivels around, and his hand immediately snakes through his black hair, messing it up even more. He pats it down a little as they stand staring at each other. A hundred silent nights and a million unsaid words stretch out between them. “Harry,” she says again, and she crumbles into his arms. She is sick of the bitterness and anger that has been eating away at her slowly; she realizes only now what it is that she’s feeling.

He doesn’t say anything, but just pulls the hair out of her face softly and lets his fingers trail the outline of her shaking jaw.

“I’m so sorry,” she says, her words muffled by the thick black robes he wears for work.

“For what?” He genuinely sounds confused. He pulls away to look at her, but she doesn’t meet his eyes.

“I promise I’ll be better,” she whispers, finally meeting his eyes. She cannot stand the hate that has grown inside her, and how she began blaming everyone else. She cannot stand how her jealous heart made walls grow up inside her without her even realizing that it was happening.

He looks ready to say something, but she holds her hand up to his lips, stopping whatever he has to say, because she knows that it isn’t true. He is the boy who saved the world, and she thought he could save hers as well. But who was there to save his?

She raises her lips and kisses him, letting her salty lips meet his for a moment before looking him straight in the eyes.

“I won’t let you do this alone,” she says, and holds onto his hand tightly. He has buried his face into her shoulder, and they remain, knowing that somehow this will work out, and somehow they will light the way for each other, to bring each other back home again, and out of the darkness.



Note: Gosh! I hope you guys liked this and where able to connect to it. I've always imagined that life post war would have been tough for everyone and it wouldn't have been fairies and daisies for everyone. "The girl who waited" is a reference to Dr Who. Strangely enough I hadn't even realized I'd written it in until I reread the peice. However it fitted so I kept that line in, I do not claim ownership of that or any other of JKR's work. 

This was beta'd by TenthWeasley :P  




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