The cold air swirled around the Burrow, the ever present fog hovering above the snow blanketed ground. The trees were white and heavy with snow and the chickens were locked in their warm sheds. Soft, warm light emitted from the windows, and even outside the faint, warbling vocals of Celestina Warbeck’s jazzy single ‘A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love’ could be heard.
Inside the Burrow, Mrs Weasley was humming along merrily, her greying red hair held up in a bun. She carried the fruit cake she had just perfected over to the table centred in the living room. Her bagged, tired eyes, sparkling bittersweetly in the glow of the fairy lights, took in the Christmas time scene.
Fred and George where sitting, cross legged, on the careworn rug in front of the blazing fire, flimsy, fluorescent crowns perched lopsided on their longing red hair as they played an intense game of Exploding Snap. Bill and Fleur were sitting on the soft sofa behind them, Bill’s hand lying delicately on Fleur’s ever-growing stomach, their wedding rings sparkling in the firelight. Fleur’s delicate head was resting on Bill’s scarred shoulder, her silvery hair tied up with a festive strand of gold tinsel, whispering to him quietly. Bill’s scars seemed more prominent than ever in the warm light. Mr Weasley was knelt down in front of the fire, his rough and worn features bathed in the golden glow as he talked to Charlie. Charlie was stuck in Romania, unable to make it over to the Burrow because of the Ministry’s new restrictions on travelling abroad. He had to explain himself and wait, crouched uncomfortably on the stone hearth in his cabin that he shared with his long time girlfriend, Kiera – though she had given him a pillow to put under his knees – for about three hours just to wish his expanding family a ‘Merry Christmas’.
Ginny was sitting in the far corner, curled up with her legs underneath her, a mug of hot chocolate in her hands. Her eyes were dull, gazing unseeingly at her elder brothers head in the fire.
Sighing, Mrs Weasley cut a slice of fruit cake. She picked up the plate and headed over to her only daughter.
“Fruit cake Ginny? One of your favourites,” she said softly, offering Ginny the plate.
“I’m not hungry,” Ginny muttered, ignoring the cake. She shifted slightly and turned her gaze away to look out the snow freckled window.
“It’s Christmas Ginny!” Mrs Weasley exclaimed sadly, placing the cake beside Ginny, “A time for joy, for happiness!”
Ginny had forgotten those feelings a long time ago.
She didn’t reply to her mother; instead she took a small sip of her hot chocolate. Mrs Weasley sighed softly, crouching down and placing her hand on Ginny’s knee.
“Ginny dear… we’re all worried about them… but Harry - ”
“I’m going outside,” Ginny said abruptly, standing up and brushing her mothers hand away. Before anyone could say anything or prevent anything, she had put the hot chocolate on the table, shrugged on a thick cloak and was shutting the door.
Her trainers and socks were soon soaked through with snow as she trudged across the garden, her hands buried in her pockets and head bowed.
She pulled her hands out of her pockets only to tug the thick cloak tighter around her shoulders. The cloak wasn’t hers; it was too big to be.
Ginny wasn’t watching where she was going: her feet just led her. Complete silence was now around her: Celestina could no longer be heard. The misty fog still lingered above the snow and a cold, brittle breeze swirled around her.
She stopped suddenly and leant against a rough tree trunk. Thoughts were spinning wildly, painfully, in her head…
With half a groan, half a sigh, she slid to the wet ground, hugging her knees, her head buried into them.
She lifted her head slowly, and stared out at the pinky orange sun setting over the foggy Ottery St. Catchpole.
A single tear slid bitterly down her pale cheek.
Need you there when I cry
She brushed the tear away angrily, swearing quietly to herself.
He - they - hadn’t shown up. He - they - never said they would, but it was Christmas. How could they not? They had been away since mid August, for almost five months. He had only sent her three owls with three short letters; though, admittedly, the first was the longest (fifteen inches of parchment) with a birthday present attached – a beautiful silver Golden Snitch necklace.
The last owl had tapped on her window on December the second. It was a quick letter, explaining that they were fine, but gave little information.
They were too busy doing Merlin knows, travelling all around the country, saving the world…
Still. They could’ve at least popped in for five minutes to bid her – and the rest of the Weasley’s – a quick ‘Merry Christmas’.
Ginny bit her lip harshly as more tears threatened to fall. At least on her birthday they had sent her a bloody owl.
She would never admit it, she would never say it out loud, she would never let anyone know, but inside her… she was terrified.
Ginny was the strong, determined and fearless Weasley, the one that knew what she wanted and never let her emotions get entangled into things.
If that was so, then who was this stranger in Ginny’s body? Who was this person who was terrified, who was nervous, who was desperate? Who was this soul that was so dangerously in love with this boy, that her love had destroyed everything else, that her love was the only thing she cared about, the only thing she thought about, the only thing she breathed about, she loved and hated, she lived for?
Tears were now streaming painfully down her face; there were so many it was pointless to try and stop them.
She hated him. Why was he doing this to her? Why was he turning her into this stranger? Why did he go into stupid, selfless, bloody noble git mode and leave her? Why - how - could he make her hate him desperately and love him dangerously at the same time?
Ginny jumped, her hands flying to her face to wipe away her tears.
Remus was standing in front of her, torn, thick robes pulled tightly around him, worn gloves on his hands and a Weasley-knitted scarf around his neck.
“Re-Remus!” Ginny sniffed, pushing herself upright. She wiped snow off of the cloak as Remus looked at her, a sheen of sadness in his eyes, “Er…”
“I was on my way to the Burrow,” Remus said, swiping some snow off of Ginny’s shoulder, “Molly invited me around from Christmas. Tonks is coming in about an hour: she’s been a bit stressed lately, all of the Auror cases piled on her, and the Order…”
Ginny nodded, furious at herself being caught in such a vulnerable position as another tear slipped out.
“It’s awfully cold… come, I’ve brought some fresh Butterbeer,” he smiled softly, the smile not exactly reaching his eyes as he gestured to his worn bag.
Ginny gave a forced smile rather like his own and walked with her former professor back to the Burrow.
“Have you heard from… H-Harry, at all?” Ginny muttered casually, looking ahead of her. She felt Remus glance at her; she cursed herself for stumbling over his name.
“No…” he answered slowly, picking as his frayed sleeve. Ginny got the instant impression he was lying, “But I’m sure he, Ron and Hermione are all fine…”
Ginny didn’t answer, blinking back another stupid tear.
They walked in silence back to the Burrow, the snow crunching under their shoes,
“Remus! Ginny! Out of the cold!” Molly shrieked, whipping open the door and pulling them both into the warm, festive house.
Ginny ducked away from her mothers grasp as Remus greeted everyone.
“You okay, Ginny?”
She turned around to see George standing behind her, an uncharacteristically troubled look upon his face.
“Fine – just… tired,” she said, pushing a hand through her hair, “I think I’m going to bed.”
“It’s only seven!” Fred exclaimed, stepping forwards, “Exploding Snap, Ginny, c’mon!”
“I’m serious guys,” she insisted, yawning to prove her point, “Night…”
“Night,” they chorused as she lumbered up the stairs, the thick cloak still around her shoulders.
Ginny pulled herself upstairs with one bony hand on the rails, her eyes passing over the pictures and drawings hung on the wall.
Her eyes paused for a fraction on one of Ron and Harry playing Quidditch on the hill; but she dragged her watery eyes away only to be confronted by Fred and George’s old bedroom door – leading to the bedroom that was now, practically, Harry’s.
Hesitating, Ginny glanced around the deserted stairs. Slowly, she raised a hand and pushed open the door.
Fred and George’s cardboard boxes were piled high in the far corner in a vain attempt to clear some floor space. Harry’s trunk was open at the end of the made up bed and the wardrobes were shut, the curtains drawn.
Is made up on your side
Ginny hauled the cloak off of her and, crossing over to Harry’s wardrobe, hung it up in its rightful place.
She paused as she went to shut the door. There were only four pairs of robes hanging in the wardrobe: two pairs of school robes, Quidditch robes and Harry’s bottle-green dress robes.
Ginny fingered the sleeves of the red and gold Quidditch robes – that were, for once, clean – reminiscing on that fateful day when they won the Quidditch Cup…
I count the steps that you take
She dropped the robe and slammed the wardrobe shut, furiously wiping her eyes.
The floor was still littered with some of his clothes; she picked her was around them as she knelt beside his open trunk.
Her fingers absently traced the faded gold lettering spelling ‘Harry James Potter’ on the side of the trunk as she peered inside.
Old socks, broken inkpots, feathers and snapped quills littered the bottom; some schoolbooks and pieces of parchment were there, too. One of the books caught Ginny’s eye: it was a simple, leather bound book with no title. Tentatively, she picked it up.
Sitting on her knees, she opened the book carefully. It was no book; it was a photo album.
Tears pricked Ginny’s eyes uncomfortably as she gazed sadly at the picture of Lily and James Potter on their wedding day, both looking incredibly beautiful and handsome. Sirius was brandishing a bottle of Firewhiskey, his eyes alight and face handsomely delighted.
Blinking feverously, she quickly flipped the page, only to be confronted with more Potter pictures.
There were pictures of them at Hogwarts: laughing; dancing; one of James throwing Lily into the Lake… there were pictures of them at Hogsmeade… finally, Ginny came to the last one and she found her tears couldn’t be suppressed.
It was a picture of Harry, Lily and James… all together, all alive, all smiling…
When you’re gone
Ginny slammed the album shut and placed it carefully back into the trunk with a soft, choked sob, her hands curling around her mouth.
She stumbled upright, falling onto the bed.
Ginny sniffed, lying down on the bed, digging her head into the pillow. She could smell Harry faintly; a distant mix of treacle tart and the earthy smell of Quidditch.
The tears stung her flushed, hollow cheeks and eyes, but she couldn’t stop them.
Ginny couldn’t believe how selfish she was being, but she couldn’t stop. She knew they were in the middle of a War, and that Harry was practically destined to fight, but she was just so damn… afraid…
Afraid of Harry getting hurt, getting attacked, getting killed…
She… she just wanted to see him for five minutes… to hear him for a moment… to feel him for a second… to know he was fine, to know Ron was fine, to know Hermione was fine…
To always get me through the day
She turned slowly around, a soft cry escaping her cracked lips.
Why Harry? Why… Harry?
What has he ever done to deserve this fate?
Why did she have to fall for the one person, the one… wonderful, perfectly tainted person, that she couldn’t be with?
For ‘her own safety’?
‘…he’ll try and get me through you’
She didn’t care if Voldemort kidnapped her, or whatever, she didn’t care if he tortured her personally… but, if it hurt Harry, she cared a whole damn more.
The simple fact that Harry cared for her, that Harry was sacrificing his own happiness for everything… for her…
Thank made Ginny care.
‘…I care… how do you think I’d feel if this was your funeral… and it was my fault…’
Ginny swallowed, suppressing a soft hiccup as Harry’s voice swam through her head…
The sheer emotion in his voice: the sheer sadness; the sheer self hate; the sheer pain; the sheer compassion… it made Ginny want to scream, want to break everything in reach, want to jinx Harry senseless for even saying those words…
Sitting upright, she squeezed her eyes shut as two brittle tears slid down her cheeks…
She wondered what he was doing right now, if he was thinking of her…
“He can’t think about me…” Ginny whispered hoarsely, her voice coarse and wet, “He shouldn’t… it would make him… get him…”
Make him what?
Get him what?
Reminds me of you
Wiping away her tears with her hand, Ginny started cleaning the room. She didn’t know why she was doing it: she just automatically started, without thinking about what she was doing.
She opened all the drawers on the wardrobe and started folding away clothes: old socks, old underwear, shirts, trousers, jumpers, robes, cloaks…
Ginny bit her tongue as she picked up one of the knitted sweaters; it looked too small to fit on Harry now, but there was a large, Weasley knitted dragon on it.
Ginny faintly remember the fear and apprehension she had felt in the stands on the day of the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament before she slid down the wall, sitting at the bottom, hugging the sweater close to her.
I love the things that you do
She felt drained and empty; she had gone past the stage of crying now: tears were too petty… she took deep breaths, breathing in the comforting smell of him that was embedded in his sweater that she was clutching with white fingers.
His smell calmed her ever so slightly as she sat, the room in complete, heavy, still silence, curled up in the corner, gripping onto his sweater as though it held all the answers, as if it was the key to everything…
I count the steps that you take
Do you see how much I need you?
A weary sigh escaped her lips as her shoulders dropped: her whole body sagged as she buried her head into the sweater.
When you’re gone
The pieces of my heart are missing you
Her mind went strangely blank: her sigh seemed to have pulled everything out of her – her thoughts, her wishes, her pleads, her tears…
The face I came to know is missing too
Then, suddenly, one thought swirled sluggishly in her mind…
What was he doing?
No. What is he doing?
Harry hadn’t told her, or anyone but Ron and Hermione, where he was going, what he had planned, what he was doing…
All the words I need to hear
To always get me through the day
Training, and getting ready to fight – they were the main answers that sprung to mind, but not necessary the correct ones. If he was just training, why couldn’t he do it here, at the Burrow?
I miss you
Ginny pulled herself drunkenly to her feet, feeling oddly soulless and… empty.
She dropped the jumped into the drawer and stumbled blindingly over to the window, tripping slightly. She collapsed on the windowsill and leant her head lightly on the frosty glass.
Her head spun again, but not with thoughts. Swallowing, her sparkling brown eyes looked down unseeingly at the Burrow’s path, which was covered in a foot of still falling snow and had a misty fog hovering above it.
I know we were
The voices and noise in the kitchen and living room was growing louder and louder, causing Ginny to feel sicker and sicker.
She shut her eyes tightly, struggling to block out the noise that was making her head throb even more…
Everything I do I give my heart and soul
I can hardly breathe
I need to feel you here with me
A door shut down the stairs. The noise echoed around the house, thumping painfully in Ginny’s head.
She didn’t want to think anymore. She didn’t want to think, want to breathe, want to speak… she just wanted to feel nothing, to know nothing, to be nothing…
The pieces of my heart are missing you
Footsteps coming up the stairs made themselves, almost purposely, louder than the noise from the kitchen. Ginny held her breath as they went past the room.
The face I came to know is missing too
Ginny’s eyes darted to the door as the footsteps stopped. She heard the unique creak only her bedroom door made. Her heart stopped in her throat and ears strained.
A voice said something – something so quietly that Ginny couldn’t hear it.
She heard her door shut and the footsteps retreat, quite frantically.
They were fast paced and irregular: the person was limping. It couldn’t be Fred or George, it wasn’t Bill, or Fleur, or Mum, or Dad, or Remus…
They suddenly stopped outside the door. Ginny blinked, holding her breath.
The door opened slowly.
Will always make it through the day
And make it okay
Only one person called her by that name.
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