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Summary: Suicide brings grief and despair... It tosses up memories... It hurts all who cross its path. Ginny stared at him, then opened her mouth and tried to laugh. It came out hollow and distorted.

“That’s not very funny,” she said in the jovial voice that was not her own.

Ron shook his head. “It’s true Ginny. It’s all true.” Hermione let out a sob and Ron enclosed her in his arms.

Ginny shook her head. “No, it’s not,” she whispered. She turned and ran up to the boys dormitory, heart beating fast.

“Neville!” she called desperately. “Neville, where are you?” The curtains on his bed were closed, and she breathed a sigh of relief. He was in there, asleep. It was all a sick joke. She drew back the curtains and stared at the empty bed.

Not quite empty though. On the pillowcase was pinned a note. Ginny pulled it off with shaking hands. It was written in Neville’s unmistakable untidy handwriting. It was simple, brief and to the point. It hurt Ginny’s heart.

I’m sorry. But I miss my mum.

Ginny’s heart hammered against her rib cage, and holding it in her hand, she walked very slowly downstairs. Harry looked up at her.

“Harry,” she said in a distant voice. “Where’s the entrance to the Slytherin Common Room. You’ve been there, with Ron in second year.”

Harry managed to choke out words around his tears. He didn’t have the strength to protest. “It’s at the end of the corridor off from the potions room. A bare, damp stretch of wall.”

Ginny nodded slightly, and then in her pajamas, bare feet and still clutching tight on the note ran from the room.

She seemed to fly along the hallways, though the journey took forever. Tears poured down her face as she ran and all she could remember was Neville.

In her second, third and fourth years Neville had been her best friend. He had been the only one who hadn’t avoided her after finding out about her being taken by the ‘heir of Slytherin’. Others were sorry for her for weeks on end, until rumors began spreading and there were dark mutters of the truth. How people had found out she hadn’t known, but as it had just been a rumor she had neither confirmed nor denied it.

Neville hadn’t cared. He had sought her out and offered her his friendship, and she had gratefully accepted. In Herbology (which she was lousy at) he had patiently tutored her for weeks on end. Even in her fifth year, when Tara had arrived he had maintained a relationship with her, warm and caring. Of course, they had never dated. She had gone with him to the Yule Ball, and both had been extremely uncomfortable the whole time. They had agreed to just be friends.

Now, she realised she had been so caught up with Draco that she hadn’t noticed Neville. She cursed herself and hated herself bitterly. How could she have let this happen to him? She was meant to be his friend! And he had died.

Abruptly she found herself standing in front of the wall that Harry had described, and she realised that she didn’t know the password. She had no way of getting in. In her desperation however, she found the courage to pound at the wall with her bare hands and scream ‘let me in, let me in’ over and over.

The wall suddenly smoothly swung open on its hinges and Pansy Parkinson stood staring at her in disgust.

“What are you doing here?” she asked in disgust.

Ginny had already pushed past her and scanned the common room- it was empty and very green.

“Look, you’re not allowed in here-” Pansy began but Ginny brushed her comments aside.

“Where’s Draco’s dorm?” she asked, her tears now gone leaving only a pale, frightened face.

Pansy for the first time in her life showed a tiny bit of compassion. “Up there.” She pointed to a door set off from the usual staircase, and in her sorrow Ginny did not notice, nor care, that it was not part of the usual Boy’s Dormitory.

She ran up to it, and grabbed the handle, getting a scalded palm in return. The handle was white hot. She yelled aloud in surprise.

“Just ask to come in, Parkinson,” the amused voice drawled through the door. She heard an incantation being muttered and then the door burst open. Draco lay in his bed reading a book. It was a chamber with just one room.

“Ginny?” he asked with a slight frown on his face. Wordlessly, Ginny ran across the room and slipped under the cover, cuddling into his side. He flicked his wand and the door slammed shut, leaving a very confused Pansy Parkinson on the other side.

He looked down at her despairing face and immediately knew that this was no pleasure visit. Drawing her into his arms, he settled her comfortably and handed her the glass of water by his bedside. She drank from it gratefully.

“Now what’s wrong?” he murmured, stroking her hair.

She looked up at him and handed Draco the note, unable to speak. Draco read it and frowned confusedly down at her. “I don’t get it.”

She managed to choke out a few words. “Neville… he committed…. Oh God, Draco, he killed himself.”

Draco hissed as the enormity of the deed hit him in the chest. “Longbottom?” he whispered. Ginny nodded, and the dam finally broke. She wept and wept and wept into his chest, and Draco shook as he rocked her back and forth.

Eventually, Draco realised there were words among her sobs. “He was my friend,” she repeated over and over. “And I let him… die!”

He shook his head. “No Ginny,” he whispered. “It’s not your fault… It’s never one persons fault alone.” Ginny cried harder, and she clung to him.

His eyes stared blank and bewildered over her head. “I mocked him,” he whispered, half to himself. “It should have been me…”

Ginny did not stop crying until well after four in the morning. Then, she had nothing left to cry, so she stared up at Draco, only able to gulp, heaving in huge breaths. Finally, she murmured “Can I stay here?”

He pulled her close to him again and they lay side by side, rug pulled over for warmth. She fell asleep almost immediately and he followed close after her.

***

She woke feeling surprisingly peaceful; although this might have been had something to do with the fact that it seemed someone had spiked the punch, and over the events of last night lay a hazy cloud of alcohol. She groaned slightly and rubbed her forehead, recognizing the signs of a very bad hangover coming on. Her head began to pound- so much for a peaceful wakening.

She lay in the darkness and relief washed over her. It had all been a dream- an awful, terrible dream. And now she was in her very own bed in her own room and Neville was next door snoring (she could hear snoring) and it was all going to be okay.

However, this body lying next to hers was definitely not her dress, left on the bed last night. Daring to open her eyes and frowning a little at the light seeping in she was met with the wonderful, yet terrible, sight of Draco.

Then it was true. Everything, every moment of last night had really happened. She sat up slightly, the blankets falling off and exposing her bare shoulders to cold air. She didn’t shiver though- she stared off into space unable to come to terms with what had happened.

Last night she had cried, but she couldn’t cry now, much as she wanted to. Her mind seemed to be numb. She held up an unsteady hand and absentmindedly tried to smooth her hair into place. Bringing it away from her head she noticed that it was shaking.

She heard a slight mumble as the boy beside her stirred. Her eyes flickered to his slowly opening ones, then back to the wall. As he sat up, rubbing his head for a moment she stared past him and he too suddenly recalled the nights of before.

“Oh,” he said. The snoring from somewhere came loudly again.

“Please,” she whispered. “Please tell me that you- you came for a sleepover to the Gryffindor Girls Dormitory for some strange reason and that last night was just a bad dream. Please tell me that the snoring next door is Neville.”

He didn’t know what to say, so finally he just shook his head.

“Why’d he do that?” she asked faintly. “How can you hate life so much that you end it? I hated myself after the chamber, but I’m still here, aren’t I?”

Draco again shook his head. “But you had your friends, your family,” he finally managed to say. “Maybe he didn’t have anyone.”

“He had me. I’m angry at him- how could he be so selfish?”

“It’s not about selfishness,” he replied in a low voice. “It’s about a terrible weariness and sadness. I’ve seen it in his eyes this year… I should have known, should have guessed. I know the feeling.”

“I’ve seen it in your eyes,” Ginny said softly. She stared at him, bewildered. “You said something about it when we got back together. Please tell me you didn’t mean it. Tell me, Draco!”

He met her eyes, holding them with his. “I meant it,” he said quietly.

She shook her head. “No. No. I can’t lose two people.”

He watched her warily, and then finished his sentence. “I don’t mean it anymore.”

“Oh. But- but Neville’s really gone, isn’t he?”

Draco nodded slowly. “Yes.”

“Forever?” her eyes were blank.

“Depends what you believe in.”

Ginny suddenly remembered something. Her mind floated back to two years ago.

*Flashback*

She was running. Her feet were hitting the ground and then back into the air so quickly she imagined she was flying. Her heart hammered against her chest and she drew deep, rasping breaths. She heard the yells of the Death Eater behind her as he skidded around the corners. She went round them cutting close to the wall and he did not have her logical sense of running to help him so she was keeping ahead- just.

Her chest rose and fell quickly and she was slowing when she heard a louder yell than usual. She spun around and saw her pursuer on the ground, groaning and clutching his ankle. Not knowing that the same injury would follow her soon, Ginny grinned triumphantly, realizing he had broken his ankle.

Coming to her senses she sped around the corner, knowing she had to somehow get back to the school and warn the teachers. It had been complete foolishness to come without help. Maybe she could go to the Headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix? Just as long as she brought back Dumbledore.

Rounding into a new room, Ginny realized she was standing near the archway that had so captivated Harry. Curiousness overcame her and promising herself that one quick look beyond couldn’t hurt, she walked up to the thin veil that fluttered in the eerie light.

Then she heard them. The whispered voices calling to her. They sounded sacred, almost holy though Ginny didn’t have a religious bone in her body. She was entranced and stepping closer she felt an overwhelming urge to step through the veil and join them. A voice broke her out of her trance.

“Well, Ginny Weasley, isn’t it?”

She turned around slowly. Standing with his mask pulled off and long platinum hair windswept was Lucius Malfoy.

Her mind was screaming at her to cast a curse or retort something rude or whatever- this is the man who put you in the hands of Tom, it reminded her. But the voices beyond the veil were so pretty- she couldn’t be rude to anyone.

“Hello,” she said dreamily.

“You can hear them, can’t you? You shouldn’t be able to, not having seen anyone die but I suppose a near death experience in the chamber would have been enough- not to mention being possessed by the Dark Lord.”

She smiled mistily at him.

“God, you’re far gone aren’t you? Ah well, makes my job easier I suppose. Ginevra, why don’t you just step past the veil? Join the pretty voices. It’ll be nice.” He sniggered a little. “You have the word of a Malfoy on that.”

She nodded slowly. He was right, this Lucius Malfoy. She didn’t know why Harry didn’t like him actually- he was so polite. So kind. And so clever, to think of such a good idea. She turned around.

“Ginny!” yelled a boy’s voice. She cocked her head to one side, but did not move. The voice was familiar. “Ginny, come down!”

“Get away, boy,” snarled the voice of Lucius, no longer smooth and polished.

“No! Ginny, come back! You’re not meant to go there!” she recognized him now. That boy, Neville. He was her friend. But so was Lucius, wasn’t he? She was confused.

“Why?” she managed to say in the same dreamy voice. “It’s nice there. I like it.” She bent her knees, preparing to leap.

“Ginny!” the voice was desperate now. “Ginny, it is made for the Dead. The Dead made it, and the Dead keep it.”

Somewhere in her mind, the words resounded in her ears. She turned around slowly, and something of the real Ginny flickered in her eyes.

“Tolkien,” she whispered.

Neville nodded, eyes shining. “Yes Gin. Tolkien. No Tolkien down there. Only fear and sadness and lost dreams. Don’t leave us here, Ginny. Not yet.”

Her eyes flickered once more and then thrust off the strange, dreamy Ginny that Lucius Malfoy had placed there. “Yes,” she said, her voice growing stronger. “Yes. I’m coming, Neville!”

Neville laughed aloud, but Lucius Malfoy was furious. “Stupid boy!” he yelled. “Ready to die, child?” He brought up his wand but suddenly found another wand pointing at his neck.

“Not yet,” Ginny hissed, teeth clenched.

“You don’t know what you’re dealing with girl,” Lucius spat.

“Oh, I think I do,” she replied sweetly. “A stupid, old man.” And with as much charm and politeness as she could muster, she petrified him.

*End Flashback*

Her eyes filled with shining tears. Draco saw them and drew her close. “What did you remember?” he asked gently. “I saw you go off into space.”

“Twice I’ve defied your father,” she whispered. “Twice. But never alone. He’s always stronger than me, Draco. Always. The first time Harry helped me and the second, Neville. When am I going to be able to fight for myself? When am I going to stop getting people in trouble?”

He shook his head, confused. “I don’t understand.”

“He must have heard the voices,” she whispered. “When I was at the veil and he saved me. He’d heard them before, he knew of them, but he must have heard the souls of his parents. Their souls died, when Bellatrix tortured them. It’s just their bodies left.” A single tear made it’s path down her cheek. “Nothing there but fear and sadness and lost dreams, Neville. No Tolkien.”

***

For the second time that week, Ginny heard ‘Walk On’ by U2 played. It was a very different occasion though and this time Ginny grieved rather than danced. The day of Neville’s funeral it had snowed and Ginny had woken with the heavy burden of grief and despair that seemed to rest constantly on her shoulders these days. She had woken with a sudden idea and running through the empty corridors (most students had gone home for the holidays, though many were returning today for the funeral) she made her way to Dumbledore’s office.

She had entered in bare feet with only her robes slung over her pajamas. Dumbledore had listened to her patiently.

“So tell me again why you think ah, Walk On was it? Yes, why should that be played as Neville’s coffin is carried to the graveyard?” He blinked hard as if trying to keep back tears.

Ginny hesitated. “It was the last time I saw him smile,” she murmured. “At that song during the ball.”

Dumbledore had nodded gravely and so it was that she was now standing in the second pew of a church in Hogsmeade. Draco had offered to stand with her, but she had gently declined. “It’s a Gryffindor’s funeral Draco,” she had whispered. “And I need to mourn him as a Gryffindor.” He had understood.

See all these people, Neville? She found herself thinking desperately, looking over the full chapel. They’re all here for you, Neville. Your grandmother’s here, your friends, your teachers. Even Snape looks morose. You could have talked to any of us, Neville! God, half of us are crying. I’m not though. I’m a cold hearted bitch, maybe, at any rate that’s what the people here are saying. But I can’t cry. I can’t believe you’re gone. I’ve brought you a lily, Neville. Of all the incredible plants you nurtured, they were always your favorites, weren’t they? God Neville, so many people! I can’t get over it. All for you. The only people who aren’t here are your parents. They weren’t allowed to come. I guess that’s it, isn’t it? I miss you, Neville. I’ll…

I’ll see you soon.


She watched the pall-bearers bring the coffin down the aisle and reaching over she placed a single, long stemmed white lily.

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