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CHAPTER THREE

 

Ginny just stood there staring at the spot from which Harry just apparated.  She had to do something.  She saw the hysterical look on Harry’s face when he apologized to her for being at the funeral.  She had placed that fear and sadness in his heart.  She could see it in his eyes.  He was not the Harry she knew…and loved. How could she have done this to him?  She grabbed Harry’s invisibility cloak off of the ground.  Then she went into the house to find Ron and Hermione.  She had a plan and needed them to help her pull it off. Ginny found both of them sitting together in the kitchen drinking tea and talking in low voices to one another. Ginny urgently gestured to them to follow her up to her room.  They obeyed her request, curious to know what was so important. Once inside the privacy of Ginny’s bedroom, Ron and Hermione didn’t wait for Ginny to start explaining.

 

“Ginny, is everything alright?  Well…as all right as they can be, anyway?” Hermione asked.

 

“Well, no, they’re not. I just saw Harry by Fred’s coffin.”

 

“Harry’s here?  At the Burrow?  Why didn’t you say so, we need to go talk to him before he runs off ag----“  Ron started to say, but was cut off by Ginny.

 

“Too late for that Ron. He took one look at me, started profusely apologizing, then ran away as fast as he could to apparate to wherever it is he is hiding. I was hoping you two knew where that is.  I need to get to him as soon as possible.”

 

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea, Ginny” stated Hermione, hesitantly. “I’m pretty sure Harry needs his space right, now. He needs time to heal and…”

 

Ginny cut her off sharply, “Hermione, Harry is in trouble!  You should have seen him just now. He was sobbing hysterically and begging over and over again to be able to switch places with Fred. I’ve never seen him so upset.”  She was now pacing in front of them, wringing her hands. “I’ve been so self-absorbed with my feelings of grief and anger, I didn’t think about what he’s been going through these past five days. In fact, I only made things worse by telling him I couldn’t forgive him for leaving me last year and that I couldn’t be with him, anymore. It’s my fault he’s so bad off, right now.  He needed me to be there for him after the battle was over and I wasn’t able to. Now I know the mistake I made and I need to fix it.” Ginny stopped and turned to face her brother and friend so they could see how desperate she was.  He needs me…NOW! And, you need to tell me where he is. Please!”  

 

Ginny knew she sounded hysterical by now, but she didn’t care.  She needed Ron and Hermione to understand how urgent things were. She needed them to understand that this was more than just a phase Harry was going through and that he needed her; not tomorrow; not later today; but right now.

 

Oh, why didn’t I see this before?  Instead of shutting him out, I should have been there for him. Not only would it have helped him, but it would have helped me, as well. We need one another right now.  Ginny couldn’t believe how simple it all seemed, now that she was thinking clearly. It didn’t seem that way at all after the battle that awful morning.

 

Hermione got up from the bed and walked over to Ginny. She put her arm around her friend and said in a soothing voice, “OK, Ginny.  We’ll take you to him. It’s OK. We’ll help you.  Just calm down and we’ll get you there as soon as possible.”

 

Ginny smiled up at her, “Thank you, Hermione! I knew you would understand.”

 

“Well, someone better let Mum in on our little plan.  She’ll go ballistic if we up and leave in the middle of Fred’s funeral.” Ron’s expression was filled with more than a bit of worry.

 

“Don’t worry.  I’ll go talk to Mum.  She’ll understand once I explain everything to her.  She was the one trying to get me to think twice about abandoning Harry, in the first place.  She thought we needed each other to get through all this pain and she was right. I didn’t want to hear it then, but I understand what she means, now. And, I know its bad timing with the funeral, but I believe Fred understands my leaving his funeral for this.” She paused for a minute thinking of what Fred would be telling her to do if he was with them right now. “So, I’ll go let Mum know that I need you two to take me to where Harry is, but that you will be coming right back after you drop me off.”

 

“You don’t want us to stay, then?” asked Hermione.

 

“Harry and I need to be alone for a bit.  I know he needs you guys, too.  But, I need to fix things between us, first. If everything works the way I’ve planned, Harry and I will be back here before Tonk’s and Remus’ funerals tomorrow and you can see him then. Will that be alright with you two?”

 

“Yes, I think that’s fine.” said Hermione.

 

“Yeah, I’m OK with that, too” agreed Ron.

 

“But, first we need to send an owl to Kreacher to let him know we are coming and to wait for us at the front door.  Am I right in guessing Harry is staying at Grammauld?” asked Ginny.

 

“Yes, you’re right” replied Hermione, “And, he has closed off the house from the floo network. Since we can’t apparate inside the house with the protective charms in place, we’ll have to rely on Kreacher to let us in, like you said.  I hope it works.”

 

Ron went to fetch Pigwigeon while Hermione quickly scrawled out a note for Kreacher, making sure to ask him politely, instead of ordering him to help them out. 

 

After their task was complete, the three of them quickly went downstairs to find Mrs. Weasley.  Ginny sat down next to her on the sofa and talked to her discretely about what she had to do.  To Ron’s surprise, their mother nodded her head, gave Ginny a kiss on her forehead and Ginny was back and ready to go in no time.

 

“Blimey, how did you manage that so quickly?” he asked, still surprised by how easily their mother agreed to let them leave the Burrow at a time like this.

 

“I told you.  She really understands how I’m feeling right now.  She knows how I felt about you three going off and leaving me behind.  She knows how I feel about Harry.  She’s really helped me keep my sanity over this past year. You know, she really understands a lot more than we give her credit for, Ron. Anyway, now’s not the time to discuss the way Mum’s mind works. We have to go!”

 

“OK, OK!” said Ron, holding his arm out for her to hold on to. “Let’s go.”

 

Within minutes they were standing near the entrance to number 12, Grammauld Place. Ginny went to knock on the door, when suddenly it flew open. Kreacher had been waiting anxiously for the cracking noises of their apparition, so he could get them in the house as soon as possible. 

 

“Hello there, Kreacher. I’m so glad you received our owl. Where is Harry?” Ginny asked in one rushed breath. Now that she was this close to seeing Harry, her desperation to be near him and to make things right was overwhelming.

 

“Oh, Miss Weasley, Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger! Kreacher is so happy to see the friends of Harry Potter! I will show you where he is. He is really needing your help,” stated Kreacher. “Yes, poor Master Harry.  He has not been well, no he hasn’t…”

 

“Kreacher, please tell me where is,” interrupted Ginny, trying to focus the elf back on task.

 

“Oh, yes! Harry Potter is upstairs in Master Sirius’ old room.”   

 

Ginny turned to Ron and Hermione, “I’m going up, now. I don’t think I’ll be home for a while. I’ll owl or floo you when things settle down. But, don’t expect anything from me for a while, OK?” With that she turned and ran up the stairs, not waiting for Kreacher to show her the way.

 

She didn’t know what she was going to do or how she was going to handle things, but she knew she wasn’t going to run away from him, this time. It was time for them to start their healing process. They needed each other to do that. Ginny needed to convince Harry to come back to the Burrow. Harry needed to be with his family, again.   

 

  ————

Once inside the familiar walls of Grammauld Place, Harry went upstairs and started pacing back and forth, in front of the bed, tears stinging his eyes, as he tried to calm himself down.  He was still hysterical from the grief of being with George and from seeing Ginny. He couldn’t believe he had been so stupid. He thought he could have slipped in and out of the Burrow without being noticed.  But, not only had he been noticed, it was by Ginny, herself; the one person he was trying to avoid. It seemed he couldn’t do anything right.

 

“What an idiot you are Potter!” he shouted to himself.

 

Finally, he calmed down enough to go sit in the window seat he had used so much over the past week. With his knees drawn up to his chin and his arms wrapped around his legs, Harry rested his chin on his knees and cried as he stared out the window. He had never felt so alone in his life.   Even, the times he spent in the cupboard under the stairs didn’t compare to the loneliness he felt, now.  He guessed it was because he hadn’t known what real friends and family were, back then.  Now that he was fortunate enough to have experienced the love of friends, family…and Ginny, well, he felt so much more alone without it.

 

He didn’t know how long he sat there thinking and crying. He wanted to stop feeling all this pain, but didn’t know how. He was unable to comfort himself.  He desperately needed to come to terms with everything, but he couldn’t. He thought about getting himself a drink to help with the pain, when he heard the door slowly creaking open.

 

At first he thought it was Kreacher coming to check up on him. But, then he heard her voice…

 

    ————

“Harry?” came a soft voice from the doorway. “Are you in here?”  

 

It was so dark it was hard for Ginny to see. She lit her wand and continued to walk into the enormous bedroom.  She looked over at the bed, but didn’t see anyone in there. She saw the desk but the chair in front of it was empty.  Then her eyes scanned the wall with the window and she gasped. There he was, staring at her from the window seat as if he thought she was a ghost.

 

“Harry!” she ran over to him and knelt by his side. Tears started to fall down her face as she spoke.  “Oh, Harry. I’m so glad I found you. I was so worried when you ran away from me at the Burrow. I know you were only trying to respect my wishes by staying away from me, but I wish you had stayed. I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for everything I said to the other morning. I am sorry with all my heart at how I hurt you with my words and with my actions these past five days. I can only imagine how horrible it’s been for you.”

 

“You’re apologizing to me? I’m the one who has hurt you this entire year, but you’re the one apologizing to me?! I’m the one who left you behind, remember? And, it turns out my actions didn’t even help protect you like I thought they would. The entire reason I left you was to keep you safe and it didn’t even work! You still almost died.!” Harry said angrily, turning to stare out the window again. 

 

“But, Harry don’t you see? I understand why you left me. I always understood. You couldn’t have done it any differently. And, you may not have kept me from all harm, but Harry, I am still alive! And, so are you!  We’ve both been given a wonderful gift -- a second chance.” She took a deep breath and proceeded, “And the reason I am apologizing to you is for turning my back on you when you needed me the most. Since you left me, all I’ve been waiting for is for the war to be over so you could come back home to me.  And, what do I do when you come back?  I desert you! I get scared and I run away. And what good has that done us?  We’ve both been miserable on our own. It would have saved both of us a lot of time and grief, if I had just stayed with you since the final battle ended.” Harry looked up at her. Was he hearing her correctly? Was she saying she wanted to get back together? A second chance…

 

Ginny paused another minute, to collect her thoughts. She also wanted to give Harry time to let her words sink in. “I’ve been thinking a lot while I shut myself up in my room, this past week. I’ve been trying to figure out why I reacted the way I did when I saw you in front of Dumbeldore’s office, that morning. And well, here it is. I think my mind went into a state of shock after everything was over. So many terrible events took place in such a short period of time. I couldn’t cope with it all. Add to that the awful year we just lived through, and well, I think my brain just had a melt down.”

 

“I know now that I shouldn’t have run away from you. If I had listened to my heart instead of my head, none of this would have happened. It was telling me I needed you, all along. But, my brain wasn’t ready to hear that. I needed time to process everything. I needed to time to understand that you really hadn’t died. I needed time to deal with the awful fact that Fred did. I needed time to decompress. Does that make any sense to you?” Ginny was really hoping Harry understood.

 

“But, Gin, you were right to have said and done all those things that day. Leaving you behind was an awful thing for me to do. And you were right about being in just as much danger at Hogwarts as you would have been if you had come with us. If I had known what they were going to do to you, to all the other students, I never would have left you like that. And, you also had to deal with the hurt of knowing I took Ron and Hermione with me, instead of you. You must have thought I didn’t trust you. I don’t blame you at all for hating me so much.” Harry had to look away from Ginny again. He was so ashamed for hurting her the way he had. And on top of that, her brother was dead and he was the one resposible for that.

 

“Harry, listen to me, please!” she begged. “I need you to really understand what I am trying to tell you. I am not mad at you, anymore. I’m not sure I ever really was. I was just in a state of shock.  Oh, I just wish I could take it all back!  I never meant to hurt you so much. It was when I saw you talking to Fred today, that I finally realized I had to put an end to it all. Not just for your sake, but for mine, too.”

 

“Harry, look at me, please.” Harry looked over to see Ginny’s eyes pleading with him. “I’ve been so miserable since I last saw you. Since we returned to the Burrow, I haven’t been able to sleep or eat. All I keep thinking about is Fred and Tonks and Lupin and all the other friends we lost. But, most of all I keep thinking about you. And, no matter what I try, I can’t get you out of my mind. There’s a part of me missing and nothing I do makes me feel any better. Nothing eases my pain. For five days now, I’ve been drowning myself in my miseries. Today, I finally realized what's missing; what I need to help myself feel at peace again. I need you, Harry. And, you need me. It’s as simple as that.” Ginny got up and sat next to Harry on the cushion facing him, tentatively placing her hands in his, while he sat there staring at her, dumbstuck. 

 

“Even now just being near you for this short period of time, talking to you about my feelings, I feel more at peace than I have all year. Don’t you feel that, too? I know things will never be the same for either of us; we’ve lived through too many horrible events. But as long as we are together I think we can handle what lies ahead. We are meant to help each other get through this. Will you please let me help you…us?  I want us to start the healing process, together.”

 

“I hear what you’re saying, Gin. And I want so badly to believe you. But, I feel like maybe I’ve done too much damage to everyone, to ask them to forgive me.  Maybe I’m not meant to go back. Maybe I need to leave everyone alone so they can move on with their lives and not be reminded of all the bad things I brought about, even if they did eventually bring an end to Vodlemort.”  He was barely speaking above a whisper, now and his tears were starting to fall again. He just couldn't help feeling resposible for all the death and destruction that occurred as a result of his prophecy.

 

“So, you’re just willing to walk away from everyone who loves you? You’re willing to leave me behind, again?” Ginny couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She thought by apologizing to him and explaining what she was feeling he would understand. She came here to get them back together and he was talking about running away. Well, she'd had enough.  

 

 Ginny stood up next to Harry, her eyes blazing with anger, her hands balled up into fists by her sides. “You listen to me Harry James Potter!” She said as she pointed a finger at his face. “You cannot run away from all this; from me!  It will not work. All you will be doing is postponing having to deal with your feelings and with those you love, until a later time. Eventually, you will have to face it all.  So, why waist precious years bottling everything up, when you can deal with it now and start living your life again? Besides, don’t you remember how awful it was being apart this past year? You need me just as much as I need you. So, get over feeling sorry for yourself! You did not do anything bad to anyone. Voldemort did.  You tried everything you could to stop him, but along the way people died and got hurt. There was no way around that. No one blames you.  And, if anyone does, they will have to answer to me! Or did you forget about me? I’m the one you hurt when you broke up with me and then left me, last year. And, now you’re so willing to leave me again? You are pathetic, if that’s what you end up doing!” After Ginny finished she took a deep breath and turned around to leave the bedroom. She wasn’t sure how Harry was going to react to her little tirade, but she wanted a little time to cool down before she said anything else to him.

 

She didn’t get very far before she was grabbed by the shoulders and spun around.  The next thing she knew she was caught up in Harry’s arms and being kissed fiercely. Oh, how she missed those lips...When they came up for air, they both stood looking at each other, not sure what to say next.

 

Finally Harry spoke in a soft voice, still holding her by the waist, “You’re right Gin. I do need you. I always have and I always will. And, being with you is all I want. I’m still not sure I deserve you, but if you’re willing to be with me after everything I put you through, I will take you up on your offer of a second chance.  I know it won’t be easy, and I’m sure there will be many more times you will need to yell some sense back into me, but I’m ready to start, if you are.”

 

That was everything Ginny needed to hear, as she embraced him even harder buried her head into is chest and cried tears of relief.

 

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