A/N: One line ("Something to remember me by") is taken from Deathly Hallows, page 116 (US paperback). The song used here is Vienna Teng's "Harbor" - it is just unearthly beautiful, give it a listen!
We're here where the daylight begins
The fog on the streetlight slowly thins
Water on water's the way
The safety of shoreline fading away
Ginny Weasley lay stretched out on her bed, staring at the ceiling. She'd been there all day and seemed to have no intention of moving in the near future.
Her mother, Molly Weasley, knocked on her door and then came right in without waiting for an answer. “You're in a brown study,” she said, sitting down on the edge of the bed.
Ginny made a non-committal noise, not wanting to start a conversation about subjects she didn't want to talk about to anyone, much less her mother, who now studied her face more closely.
“What's bothering you, Ginny dear? You've been very quiet since school ended.” Molly didn't have to add that being quiet was not normal behaviour for her daughter, as they were both well aware of it.
She should have known there was no avoiding this. It would have come out sooner or later anyway, when he inevitably came to their house that summer. Oh well. May as well have out with it. “Harry chucked me. At Dumbledore's funeral.”
“He did what?
” Molly stared at her daughter agape.
Ginny rolled her eyes.
“Well.” Molly seemed to be at a loss for words. “That wasn't very kind timing,” she finally said lamely.
“He said they would target me if they knew we were together,” Ginny went on in a low voice. “He said it was dangerous for me.”
She expected her mother to frown, to react poorly to the idea of her daughter in danger, but instead Molly smiled. “He loves you, dear.”
She didn't particularly want to hear that. It should have been comforting, but it wasn't. Ginny sat up suddenly. “He's got something planned, I know it. I can see it on Ron's face, and now Hermione's here, well...”
“Yes, I rather thought the two of them were plotting,” Molly agreed suspiciously.
“He said he can't be with me, that it's too dangerous,” Ginny went on, ignoring her mother's aside. “But he knows I can fight. Why couldn't I go along with them, whatever they're up to?”
“You're not of age, dear,” Molly pointed out. “The Trace would give you away if you did any magic outside school.”
Ginny frowned at this bit of logic. The last thing she wanted to hear was that she would not be her brother's equal in helping Harry Potter merely because of her age. Besides, she could already think of a few arguments against that particular tack. She was fairly certain if she put it to them, Fred and George would know a way around the Trace. They had done rather a lot of magic outside school before they were of age and had never been caught.
Her mother seemed to see this in her expression, and went on, “Men like to protect. It seems to be in Harry's nature more than most. Ginny, I know you want to help, but you can't be a part of this. You're so young.” Molly reached out to stroke her hair. “Can't you sit this one out?”
Frustrated, Ginny brushed her mother's hand aside. No one understood. It wasn't a childish desire to be part of their little trio, to not be left behind. He had saved her and her family so many times. She wanted to be his equal, the way he saw Ron and Hermione, to be the one who saved him for once. She wanted to show him she was worthy of him – not that she thought he believed she was unworthy, but... She tried to explain it to her mother. “He's... he's willing to risk his life to save everyone, and it's... It's more than... He's a hero, Mum, like Achilles or Odysseus, and I can't just play Penelope, waiting patiently for his return. I don't see how anyone who knew me could expect I would,” she added, feeling rather disgruntled by this.
“You want to be heroic too. Of course you do,” Molly added softly, almost to herself. “Gryffindors, all of you. My dear girl,” she went on in a louder voice, “Harry knows very well you're no shrinking violet to sit at home while he gallivants off. Of course, if you're together, he knows you'd be by his side. Why do you think he broke up with you?”
Ginny was rather taken aback. “But-”
“You went with him to the Ministry to find Sirius. He knows your heroic qualities very well. Severing his connection with you gives him distance, gives you a reason to keep your
distance. If you were with him, he'd be too distracted worrying about you.”
“But he'd be worrying about Ron and Hermione too-”
“Not in the same way. Can you honestly say you could fight to the best of your abilities, against You-Know-Who, if you saw Harry in danger?”
Ginny had never thought of it in those terms. “I don't know,” she admitted.
“I couldn't,” Molly said bluntly. “If your father were – well, I know I wouldn't be at my best. And Harry wouldn't be at his best if you were there. I think you'll agree that he needs to be at his best.”
Ginny digested this silently. Her mother watched her with a tender expression, and reached out to stroke her hair.
“Maybe Harry needs something more from you than another companion to fight with,” Molly said lightly, a few minutes later.
Molly touched her daughter's cheek. “Even heroes need shelter from the storm, Ginny.”
Fear is the brightest of signs
The shape of the boundary you leave behind
So sing all your questions to sleep
The answers are out there in the drowning deep
Harry arrived a few days later, and the commotion involved with bringing him to the Burrow dispelled the uncomfortable feelings Ginny had been anticipating. Her brother was injured, Mad-Eye was dead – what did it matter what had happened at Dumbledore's funeral? It hardly seemed important now, and all she could think about was what her mother had said. He won't be at his best if I'm with him. He has to be at his best, he just has to. If he needs Ron and Hermione for that, but not me, so be it.
But she watched him, and saw in his eyes that he didn't really think he was coming back from all this. There was a fatalism to him now that he hadn't had before. He was ready to do whatever was necessary, she could see that. He'd resigned himself to this course, and nothing she could say would dissuade him. So she didn't bother with words.
When he'd needed comfort as he waited for Mad-Eye, he'd held her hand. She could feel his eyes on her when he thought she wasn't paying attention. He tried not to be alone with her, but when they were, she could feel it from him. He still wanted her, still needed her.
It all made her feel both better and worse: better to know he still loved her, though he'd never said it, and worse to know that he thought he was giving her up for good. Sometimes she could see a haunted look cross his eyes, and wished she could hold him. It was a bittersweet pain to have him around all the time and not be with him.
And still she knew the three of them were plotting. From what she'd overheard, they were not going back to Hogwarts. Harry had let slip that he planned to go after Voldemort himself, during one of their rare moments alone, but she hadn't said a word of that to anyone. If she told her parents, they'd try to stop him. And she knew how he would hate that. It was futile, anyway: they would go no matter what her mother said, and trying to hold the three of them back from their quest only made it harder on them. She didn't bother sharing that observation with her mother, who wouldn't have listened anyway.
Hermione must know Ginny suspected what they were up to, but she hadn't said a word to her, so Ginny didn't push. Hermione seemed to feel better when she could pretend nothing was out of the ordinary, at least for a little longer.
“What are you giving Harry for his birthday?” Hermione asked one evening as they settled down to bed in Ginny's room. It was late, and Ginny could only just see Hermione's outline in the faint starlight.
“I don't know. I haven't thought of anything brilliant,” Ginny admitted. “It's hard to shop these days, what with... well, you know.”
“You've still a few days left. I've got him a new Sneakoscope.”
It was some time before Ginny fell asleep that night. She stretched out on her bed, staring at the cracks in the ceiling and listening to Hermione's even breathing, and thought about birthdays and heroes.
Something he really needed.
What he really needed, she thought, her mother's words on her mind again, was something to come home to. A reason to hope. A future.
And suddenly Ginny knew exactly what to do.
You've got a journey to make
There's your horizon to chase
So go far beyond where we stand
No matter the distance
I'm holding your hand
She cornered him after breakfast the morning of his birthday. Hermione, bless her, took Ron's hand and led him away. Harry looked terribly nervous, gazing around the room awkwardly. She barely heard what he said, barely heard her own response. The entire world had narrowed down to his face, his green eyes flashing at her with worry and longing.
Something to remember me by...
And she reached up and kissed him.
There was no hesitation in his response. His arms wrapped her close, his fingers threading through her hair, as if he'd been waiting to touch her, to hold her. She tried to put everything she felt for him into the kiss, tried to make him see there was more to his future than Voldemort, that she'd be waiting for him, too.
Ron burst in, and she jumped away from Harry automatically. Harry's face was angry for a moment, glaring at Ron for interrupting them, and then his face closed off. She turned away; she didn't want to see him shut her out again, though she understood why he did it.
He left with Ron and Hermione, and she stood at her window and watched them cross the lawn. They were arguing, Ron and him, and Hermione looked anxious. Ginny knew exactly what her dear but deluded older brother would say to his best friend. He didn't understand.
Don't take it away from him, Ron
, she thought, and then glanced over her shoulder as her mother bustled in with a basket of clean clothing.
“I didn't see you at breakfast, dear,” she said, waving her wand so the clothes leaped out of the basket and flew to the dresser, folding themselves neatly into the drawers. “Did you wish Harry a happy birthday? What did you give him?”
Ginny tuned away from the window. “Shelter.”
Her mother gave her a look that she couldn't decipher, but then Molly kissed her temple and left without a word.
Ginny's gaze returned to the window. The sun was bright and cheerful in the sky, but it felt as though a storm were approaching. She could feel it coming, and she wanted to be at his side when he met it, but she understood now that this was something he had to do without her.
Sail your sea, meet your storm
All I want is to be your harbor
The light in me will guide you home
All I want is to be your harbor
A/N: Short and dirty? A bit. I glossed over quite a lot of the DH plot surrounding Harry's arrival, in favor of focusing on their relationship. And brevity. I don't normally write songfics – this is only the second I've attempted – but once again, a song just lodged in my head for a 'ship and would not go away. Had to write it. Not sure it's my best work, but I kind of like it.
Is that banner not the most gorgeous thing you ever saw? I can't stop raving about it. Thanks Preeah!