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A/N: Thanks to all who reviewed the last couple of chapters. The reviews are very helpful and also encourage me to keep up with the story. 
In the last chapter, Ginny was hysterical when Harry took longer than the others to return from the battle at Andromeda's. This chapter focuses on how she deals with her emotional breakdown and takes place over a 24 hour period of time.


CHAPTER FOURTEEN




I was early the next morning, when Harry began to stir. He reached over for Ginny, but all he felt were rumpled sheets. He immediately sat up, and anxiously looked around the small bedroom, with sleep-filled eyes. He found her sitting on the window seat hugging her knees to her chest. Her eyes were red and puffy as she looked out the window without really seeing what was outside.  Harry’s heart was breaking all over again. He knew this was his fault. He shouldn’t have left her to worry like that. It was obvious that Ginny’s over-reaction last night was due to what she had gone through while they had been apart this past year. I should have made her talk. I should have helped her get through this better.
                                                                                                                                               

Since his return to the Burrow, Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny would take turns talking about their ordeals over the past year. Though it was hard for them to discuss their painful pasts, it did help with the healing process. But, Ron, Hermione and Harry were a lot further along in the retelling of their stories than Ginny was in hers. She seemed to get stuck whenever she tried to talk about anything after the first 2 months back at school. No one had ever pressed the issue, thinking she just wasn’t ready to talk about that part, yet. But, looking back now, Harry realized he should have pushed her a bit more. She needed to deal with the horrors she endured so she could move past them. He knew this from personal experience. Talking helps put things in perspective and makes things a bit more manageable.

 

He knew part of the reason he hadn’t pushed her was his own selfishness. He wasn’t there to protect her when she originally suffered through those awful months, so he wanted to at least try and protect her from re-living them. It was his way of alleviating some of his guilt. But, at what cost? He now realized he should have pushed her, gently but firmly, to talk about those memories. Instead he helped her avoid them. Look at how nicely that turned out, he chided himself.

 

He slid out of bed and made his way over to the window seat, with thoughts of rectifying his mistake, starting now. He thought she could use some comforting first, but when he reached out to place his hand on her shoulder, she flinched away.

 

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean to frighten you. Are you OK?” He sat down on the bench and faced her. “I’m sorry…that was a stupid question. Of course, you’re not OK,” he mumbled.

 

Fresh tears sprang to her eyes, as she intently kept her gaze on the window and what lay beyond it.

 

“Ginny, please tell me what I can do? I want to help, but I don’t know what you need, right now.” He reached out to lay his hand on hers, but she stood up abruptly and walked over to the night stand for a tissue. It was as if she was avoiding his touch. But, why? Only last night she was clinging to me for dear life and now, she’s avoiding my touch, all together? It doesn’t make any sense.

 

“Gin, please,” he tried again. “It’s killing me to see you like this.” His voice was cracking slightly and he was sitting on his hands, to remind himself not to reach out to her again.

 

“Harry,” she finally spoke, with a quivering voice. She was looking down at the floor, avoiding Harry’s face. “I want you to listen to me. I’m not blaming you for this. This is not your fault. I’m the one whose been avoiding my fears. I’m the one whose been telling you how you can’t move on unless you deal with the past, and I wasn’t doing it myself. I am a total hypocrite.” She shook her head and sighed.

 

“No, Gin, you’re being too hard on yourself. I-I can’t even image the horrible things you had to live through, last year. It’s only natural to want to bury your memories so you don’t have to deal with them. I can totally relate. That’s why I wish you would let me help you. We can help each other. Please…let me help you.” He knew he sounded like he was begging her, but he didn’t care. He desperately wanted her to drop her defenses and let him in.

 

She finally looked up at Harry with eyes so full of sadness. “Harry, listen, please…” her voice was calmer, now; her tone even. “You are right that I still have some things to work out. But, I am going to ask you for a bit of time before you come to my rescue. I need a little time to myself, to sort things out; to think. I need time to just sit and think; alone.” She emphasized the last word but it still took Harry a while for it to register.

 

“Oh, uh, yeah, sure. I understand.” He was looking down at the floor, not wanting her to see the hurt in his eyes. “Um, how much time do you think you’ll be needing, then?” he asked, afraid of her answer. ‘Forever’ or ‘why don’t we take a break from each other for a while and we’ll see’ were two of the answers he feared hearing the most.

 

Ginny sighed softly. “I’m not sure. I’m going to send an owl to Luna and Neville. I’d like to spend some time with them. I think it will help me to be with people who went through the same things I did at school. They’re probably having the same problems I am. We could help each other get through this. Besides,” she sighed again. “I miss them. I haven’t seen them since the funerals. It will do me some good to catch up with them.”

 

This news hit Harry hard. So, she doesn’t want to be alone. She just doesn’t want to be with me. Then he got angry with himself. But, of course she doesn’t want to be with me. She needs to be with the people who were her support system when I was away. They were there for her when I wasn’t. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and think about her needs, for once. He finally looked up at her. He tried to smile, but didn’t quite succeed.

 

“All right, Gin. I understand.” He stood up and walked toward the door.  “I’ll be downstairs if you need anything.” He tried to keep the hurt out of his voice, but his face must have given him away.

 

“Harry, please. I’m not doing this to hurt you. I’m so confused about why I acted the way I did, yesterday. I’m very upset with myself. I’m not used to feeling so weak and scared and…so needy. I need to make sure I’m strong enough to figure this out on my own, before you come to my rescue. It’s sweet that you want to, but it’s not what I need right now.”

 

With his hand resting on the door knob, he turned around to look back at Ginny. “For the record, I know you’re strong enough to handle this on your own. And, I never thought of myself as ‘coming to your rescue’. I don’t look at you as some ‘damsel in distress’ that needs rescuing. I just care about you and want to help. It’s so hard for me to see someone I care about, hurting. Hermione calls it my ‘hero complex’.” He smiled shyly. “But, I promise I’ll try to learn and hopefully get better with time...” He gave her one last look before closing the door quietly behind him.

 

Ginny was left alone with her thoughts. I know he isn’t handling this well. But, I’ll try to make him understand, later, just as soon as I understand it all myself.

 

After sending owls to Luna and Neville, it was decided they would meet at Neville’s house. It was the safest option considering the attack, yesterday. She left via the floo without telling Harry goodbye; she didn’t want to deal with the hurt she was sure he was feeling. This gesture didn’t go unnoticed by Molly or Hermione, both of whom were watching Harry’s reactions closely.

 

Molly walked to the sitting room, where Harry sat watching Teddy on the floor. “Why don’t I take Teddy for a nice stroll in the garden? It will give the three of you a chance to just relax and talk.”

 

“It’s alright, Mrs. Weasley. You don’t have to do that. I’m fine,” he lied. He knew she was only doing this so Hermione and Ron could find out how he was holding up. But, he didn’t want to talk about any of it, just yet.

 

“Well, I need some fresh air anyway, and I would love the company. I promise I’ll have him back before Andromeda comes over to visit.” She scooped Teddy into her arms and was out the door before Harry could protest again.

 

He then stood up and tried to leave the room himself, but was stopped by Hermione’s. “Harry, come sit and talk with us. It’s been a while since it’s been just us three.” She patted the sofa cushion to her right. Ron was sitting on the floor with his back propped up against Hermione’s legs.

 

Not wanting to be rude, he decided to deal with the questions head on. He plopped himself on the sofa, facing his two best friends. “Alright, what do you want to know?” he sighed.

 

“Well, what exactly happened between the time we left you and Ginny last night to this morning? She seemed a bit, well, distant before she left.” She was trying to choose her words carefully.

 

“You noticed that, did you?” Harry replied sarcastically. “I’m sorry, I’m just being a git.” He rubbed his face with his fingertips then looked at his best friends. “I’ve been apologizing a lot today.” He leaned back onto the cushions of the sofa and let out a deep sigh. “OK, here goes. Everything seemed fine when we went to bed last night. Ginny was exhausted, of course, and kept apologizing for her behavior. I kept telling her none of it was her fault. She fell asleep very quickly and I followed suit, a while later. When I woke up this morning, I found her sitting on the window seat, obviously still upset. I walked over to comfort her, but she wouldn’t even let me touch her. She said she needed to be alone to think things through. She didn’t want me to help her through it, because she would feel like I was rescuing her again, or some rubbish like that. So, she made plans to go and spend the day with Luna and Neville to sort things out. I guess it’s alright for her friends to help her, but not me.” He didn’t mean to sound so bitter. That’s why he didn’t want to talk about it right now. He wanted time to cool down a bit. He really wasn’t mad at Ginny. He just wasn’t expecting her reaction this morning and he was still feeling hurt by it all.

 

“Sorry, mate. I know it’s got to be frustrating for you,” Ron offered his friend. “But, she’ll come around soon. She just needs to be with the people who went through the same stuff she did, while we were gone. Sort of like group therapy, you know? Like the three of us do all the time.”

 

Hermione stared at her boyfriend, with an impressed look, “Ron…that was very insightful.”

 

“Hermione, you don’t always have to act so surprised. A bloke can have his moments, you know.” He rolled his eyes at her.

 

Harry chuckled at the two of them. “Ron is right. I know she’ll come around and this is what she needs, right now. It just hurts that I couldn’t be the one to help her. But, I’m the one who abandoned her last year when she needed me. I have no right to expect her to come to me for comfort, now.” Harry was starting to feel very guilty again.

 

“But, Harry, you left because you had no choice. And, there was no way we were going to take her with us on our Horcrux hunt. No way…” Ron was shaking his head fervently, as if just thinking about his baby sister in that much danger was cause enough to panic.

 

“Well, I agree that it was for the best that Ginny stayed behind, but not for the same reasons as you, Ron,” stated Hermione. “I mean, Ginny had just as much right to be there as you or me. She cares about Harry as much as we do, if not more. And, she would do anything to protect him, just as we would.”

 

Ron started to protest. “Let me finish, Ronald. It would have been much harder to explain two missing Weasleys to the Hogwart’s staff and it would have put your father in a very awkward position, at the ministry, as well. And, your mum had enough worries with you gone, she would have been beside herself if Ginny vanished with us.”

 

“It doesn’t matter,” said Harry, matter of factly. There was no way I could have concentrated on what I was doing, if she was there with us. I’ve tried to explain this to her. But, it never comes out right. If she was with us, I would have tried to protect her above all else, even though I know she can take care of herself. I wouldn’t be able to help myself; it would be an automatic response for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love you guys like family, but what I feel for Ginny is different. Thoughts of her were the only things that kept me going all those months we were on the run. Knowing she was safe made all the hell we went through worth it in the end, even if she hadn’t wanted me back. If something had happened to her…” He took a deep breath. “I know I was foolish to think she would be totally safe at school. Still, I believe it would’ve been far worse for her if she was with us. At least she was able to keep herself alive, this way. If she was with us, I think the chances of that happening would have been far slimmer. And, if something had happened to her I’m sure I never would have made it to the final battle. That’s what she doesn’t fully understand. If she had died, I…I would have died with her…” His voice was barely above a whisper by the last sentence.

 

Hermione gently rested her hand on top of his. “We understand Harry. And, I think Ginny understands, as well. You just have to give her time; for all the reasons you just said. She needs to work through this with the people who were there for her the most, while she was stuck back at school; waiting and fearing the worst for us. It must have been terrible for her. But, you’ll see, once she’s had her time with them, she’ll come looking for you. She needs you, Harry; just as much as you need her.” She squeezed his hand before letting go.

 

“Thanks, Hermione. You’re a good friend to have, you know?” He smiled at her. She smiled back, blushing slightly at the compliment.

 

Then with the smoothness only Ron could pull off, he broke the silence by asking if anyone was up for some flying. He thought it would be a good way to distract Harry from thinking about Ginny.

 

Harry sighed and shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. Maybe, it would help. Hermione, would you join us?” She’d gotten a lot better at flying under his and Ron’s tutelage.

 

“Well, I guess a little bit of practice would be fun. Let’s go!” She stood up, took a hold of each boy’s hand, and escorted them to the broom shed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

By the time they came down from flying, lunch was ready. Andromeda had just arrived for her visit with Teddy, so they all went in to wash up. Harry was glad Ron had made the suggestion, earlier. Flying proved to be a good distraction for him, as it always was. He was still worried about Ginny, but his head was much clearer and he wasn’t as upset as he was earlier. When Andromeda arrived they all tucked into a hardy meal.

 

After lunch, Harry sat down with Andromeda to discuss yesterday’s events and to see if the Malfoy’s were any closer to finding a new dwelling. They talked a little about the death eaters who attacked them and who they might be working for.  Neither Kingsley nor Mr. Weasley had found out much about the prisoners, yet. Most of them still hadn’t been questioned, as the Auror department was highly understaffed, at the moment. It didn’t matter much. Harry was just glad they were in captivity. Maybe, this would send a message to any remaining death eaters not to try anything like that again. But, he would be ready, either way. He knew he would always have to be in a state of readiness for such things. There would always be wizards in this world that would want to harm him and his loved ones. He would always be a major target, just because he unseated the ‘greatest’ dark wizard that ever lived. It was a title he didn’t want, but at least it meant that Voldemort was no longer alive and torturing anyone. Just the fact that he didn’t have to deal with his painful scar or have that connection with Voldemort, anymore, made the entire journey worth it. He felt lighter, free-er and more hopeful.

 

Harry cleared his mind and returned his attention to Andromeda. It seemed the Malfoy’s had indeed found a property they liked on the outskirts of London, in a small muggle village. Narcissa wanted to stay away from any wizarding communities for the time being. She was adamant about living the rest of her life in relative peace and anonymity. Whether this was a realistic goal or not, would remain to be seen. Harry thought it was all a bit premature, considering they hadn’t gone through their trials, yet. But, as long as it got them out of Andromeda’s house, he really didn’t care. The sooner they were gone, the sooner Teddy could move back with Andromeda. Not that he didn’t love having Teddy around. He really enjoyed spending time with him and getting to know him better. It made him feeler closer to Lupin and Tonks, somehow. But, his life was in still in limbo and he needed to start thinking about his future, and that didn’t include being a full-time, just yet.

 

According to Andromeda, the next step was to talk with the muggle real estate agents. That would be handled by the Malfoy’s lawyer. All Harry could do was wait. They decided to keep the floo connection between the Burrow and Andromeda’s house open, since the attack showed the protective charms were doing their job well. This way, Andromeda could continue visiting Teddy until the Malfoys left. She was much happier knowing she could see him anytime she wamted. She had missed him so much over the past two weeks.

 

“It’s funny how attached we become to someone in such a short period of time. I’ve only had him for such a short while but already I can’t imagine my life without him,” Andromeda said to Harry as she walked over to the floo holding her grandson.

 

“Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s going to be very strange around here when her returns home to you.” Harry smiled as he took the baby from her arms.

 

“Well, you know my door is always open to you, Harry. Teddy is a very lucky boy to have you as his Godfather. Well, goodbye,” she said to everyone and disappeared into the green flames of the fireplace.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The clock’s loud chiming brought Harry’s attention back to the fact that he still hadn’t heard from Ginny. It was after dinner, now. He had tried to feel her emotions through their bond several times throughout the day, but there was nothing. It seemed she had found a way to deliberately shut him out. He didn’t even know that was possible. There were so many things he didn’t know about the link they shared. What he did know is that it left him feeling empty inside. It was like a piece of him was missing. That was what hurt the most. She totally cut herself off from him.

 

His stress over Ginny and yesterday’s events were causing Harry a headache. He was sitting at the kitchen table rubbing his temples when Mrs. Weasley came down the stairs holding Teddy.

 

“Oh, here Mrs. Weasley. Let me ease your load, there.” He stood so he could take the baby form her arms.

 

“Oh, he’s no trouble at all, dear. He’s such a good-natured baby. Besides, I think you need some time to take care of yourself today, Harry. You look exhausted. Maybe you should go take a hot bath and head to bed. Things will seem better tomorrow, I’m sure. And, don’t worry about Teddy. Mr. Weasley and I will take care of him tonight.” She smiled down at the infant rocking in her arms.

 

Harry was too tired to argue. “Thanks Mrs. Weasley.” He walked over and gave her a kiss on the check. He said his goodnights and made his way toward the stairs. At the bottom of the first step he turned back to Mrs. Weasley. “Um, if you hear anything from Ginny, would you mind letting me know? It’s late and she still hasn’t sent any word. I’m a little worried.” He was embarrassed having to admit he hadn’t heard from her all day, but he was more worried about Ginny than his pride, at the moment.

 

“Of course, dear. And, Harry, don’t worry. Remember what I said to you last night. You have to be patient. When she’s ready, she’ll come to you. I know it’s hard, but I think the hardest part is over. And, remember…she loves you and so does the rest of the family.” She smiled up at him, kindly.

 

Harry smiled back. Mrs. Weasley’s words made him feel just a tad less lonely and hurt. “Thanks,” was all he could say before he turned and resumed walking up the stairs.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

After a long, hot bath Harry tried to clear his mind so he could sleep. Ginny had sent word to Mrs. Weasley while he was in the bath. She was to spend the night at Neville’s, with Luna. He was very disappointed to hear that. But, he tried to put himself in her shoes and realize that she wasn’t doing this to hurt him.

 

None the less, this was the first night he would be sleeping alone, since he got back together with Ginny. Sleeping beside her kept his nightmares at bay and allowed him to regain at least a fraction of the sleep he had lost over the past year. Tonight, he would have to tackle things on his own. He tried several times to focus on Ginny’s feelings, but each time he felt nothing. He noticed his anger toward Ginny was growing once again. She must realize he would have difficulty sleeping tonight without her. At least their link would have given him some solace, maybe even help with the dreams. Then he realized how selfish he was being for having such thoughts. His needs were not as important as hers, right now. He would just have to deal with the dreams on his own, for one lousy night. Well, he hoped it was only for one night…

 

Harry slept well enough the first couple hours, then the nature of his dreams changed for the worse. He found himself standing in a clearing in a forest with a layer of thin grey fog surrounding him. It was very dark except for the moon and star lights. There was a deep chill in the air and Harry shivered as he listened to his surroundings intently. But, all he could hear was the silence pressing upon him. He could sense there was someone or something out there, but he couldn’t see or hear anything.

 

All of a sudden there was a blinding white light and Harry had to cover his face to protect his eyes. When the light dimmed he was able to see shapes and figures before him. And, what he saw struck terror in his heart. There before him was a stone structure about ten feet high and three feet wide. It was shaped like an obelisk and there at the front of the structure was the most horrifying image he had ever seen. His Ginny was magically stuck to the stone surface with her arms bound to her sides and her head hanging limply forward.

 

The next thing Harry heard was the sounds of terrible screams full of helplessness and anguish. It took him a few minutes to realize the screams were his own. Then he ran up to Ginny and tried desperately to remove the charms that held her in place. But, there was no use. At least she is still alive, thought Harry, over and over again. He then thought about blasting the stone at its base and levitating her away from this place. He was about to cast a spell when a voice came out of the darkness to his right. He quickly turned with his wand raised, ready to defend Ginny from further harm. Beads of sweat were rolling down his face and neck when he saw who was standing before them.

 

“Harry, Harry, Harry,” came Voldemort’s sickening voice. “There’s no need to draw wands. We are old friends, you and I.” His voice was silky smooth and it sent chills down Harry’s spine. He was only a few meters away and Harry could see the blood red eyes and slit like nostrils of his skeletal face. He looked very calm and collected, the total opposite of what Harry felt like, at the moment.

 

“What have you done to her?” he yelled. “Let her go! She has nothing to do with this. If it’s me you want, let her go and I’ll take her place!” He kept his wand pointed at Voldemort’s chest.

 

“Always trying to play the hero, Potter. Admirable, but not effective in this case. You see, you’re wrong. She has everything to do with this. She is the reason you are so strong and powerful. She is the one behind your success against me all these years. Without her, you are nothing. With her gone, you will be no threat to me, any longer.”

 

Harry felt like he was being stabbed in the heart. Voldemort was right. Ginny was where he drew his strength. Without her, he was nothing. Without her, he would die. And, Voldemort had her. Harry had failed to keep her safe. Ginny was going to die and it was all his fault.

 

In a flash of anger, Harry was running toward Voldemort screaming curses and hexes left and right. If he was going to die, he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. But, Voldemort merely deflected each one with little effort. Before he knew what was happening Harry was blasted backwards and landed at Ginny’s feet.

 

“I think I will let you have a front row seat for the show, Harry. I wouldn’t want you to miss the look on Ginevra’s beautiful face as she takes her last breath, wondering why you are just sitting there, not helping her in any way.”

 

“That won’t be happening,” Harry stated defiantly, as he tried to get up from the dirt floor. Only, he couldn’t move. He was stuck to the ground. Harry tried and tried to move, but it was no use. “Un-stick me, you bastard!”

 

“In due time…:” He moved toward Ginny and with a flick of his wand she started to stir. When she finally opened her eyes she saw Harry on the ground and Voldemort standing only a few feet away from them. She started to register what was happening and her eyes reflected the fear she was feeling. She tried to talk but no words came out. Voldemort must have placed a silencing charm on her.

 

Her eyes were darting between the two wizards as Voldemort glided closer to her. She tried to pull out of the charm, but couldn’t move anything but her head. When he was only inches away, he whispered in her ear. “Now, Ginevra, you will see what a coward your hero really is.” She sqeezed her eyes shut, willing him to go away.

 

The next second Ginny’s eyes flew open wide as she felt the cruciatus curse placed upon her. She was in shear and total agony. And Harry could do nothing but watch. It was torture for him to watch her as her body convulsed and muffled screams escaped from her throat. Harry was crying as he desperately tried to get up and help her. He reached for his wand only to find it now in Voldemort’s bony, white hand. Blood hell…when did he get my wand?

 

Suddenly, the curse was lifted and Harry could see Ginny’s eyes start going out of focus. “Ginny, Gin…stay with me, OK? You’re strong, you can do this!” he pleaded. He willed her not to faint.

 

“Awww, how touching. Now, enough of this drivel,” he sneered. “It is time for this to come to an end. You will no longer be able to touch me, Harry Potter. And, without you in the way, there will be nothing to stop me form ruling the world.”

 

He drew his wand out, pointing it straight at Ginny’s chest. The next thing that was heard was the sound of Voldemort casting the killing curse mingled with the sound of Harry screaming ‘nooooo!’. Ginny opened her eyes and looked at Harry one last time before all life was extinguished from them.

 

This was around the time Harry woke up from his nightmare. He was laying in a tangle of sweaty sheets, heart pounding and head aching. Every muscle in his body was taught as he lay terror-stricken, in the dark. He reached for his glass of water on the nightstand and after a few sips, tried to compose himself. It was only a dream. It’s not real. Voldemort is dead. Ginny is alive and well. He kept telling himself this until he was finally calm enough to lie back down.

 

This pattern repeated itself for the next couple of hours, until Harry opened his eyes for the 3rd time that night and found Mrs. Weasley standing next to his bed trying to shake him awake.

 

“Harry! Harry, dear. It’s only a dream. Wake up, now. It’s alright.” She had a cold compress pressed to Harry’s forehead while she tried to get him to wake up.

 

Once Harry was able to rouse himself from his dreams, he began to focus on her face. He realized he must have been screaming in his sleep. He squinted at her as he tried to talk. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Weasley. Did I wake you?” he asked. His voice was just a whisper as his throat was very dry.

 

“Well, I think you even woke Ron up, but that’s not important. What’s important is that we get you to relax and go to sleep without having those awful nightmares. Now, can you stay awake long enough for me to brew you up a dreamless sleep potion? It will only take about a half hour.”

 

“Mmmm, I’ll try my best,” He said, drowsily.

 

Mrs. Weasley was unconvinced, but had no choice but to leave him while she worked on the potion.

 

She was busily working in the kitchen when the fireplace crackled and turned green and a very tired looking Ginny tumbled out. “Mum?” she asked, while she dusted herself off. “What are you doing up so late…or early; whatever it is…” she mumbled.

 

“Well, it seems that Harry’s nightmares have returned with a vengeance tonight. It would appear there really is something to the two of you sleeping together. It actually helps keep his nightmares away. And, with you gone…well, let’s just say no one has had much rest tonight.”

 

“Is he alright?” she asked anxiously, suddenly feeling wide awake.

 

“Well, he’s not physically hurt, if that’s what you mean. But, he’s hoarse from screaming on and off for the past few hours. I found him lying in a bed soaked with sweat, shivering from head to toe, in a basic stupor. I would hardly call that fine.” Her mother’s tone was not harsh, but Ginny could sense the underlying accusatory tone.

 

“I was so absorbed in my own troubles, I totally forgot about the nightmares when I decided to spend the night at Neville’s. The reason I’m home now is because I was having some, myself. Then I realized Harry might be having them, too. And, well, here I am.” She paused and waited for her mother to say something. She was feeling pretty bad about the whole situation.

 

Mrs. Weasley turned to face her daughter. “I don’t know whether you are expecting me to scold you or forgive you. But, I will be doing neither, tonight. Ginevra, it is not my place to tell you how to deal with Harry. I love you and I know you are having a difficult time right now. Just, try to think of Harry and what you’re putting him through while you sort things out for yourself. You know how he loves to blame himself for everything and this is no exception. Now, do you really think shutting him out while you work through your problems, is really what’s best for either of you?”

 

Ginny was silent for a moment. Her mum was right; about all of it. She had been a selfish prat all day, keeping Harry at arms length; not even letting him know she wasn’t coming home that night. “You’re right, Mum…do you think he’ll forgive me? I’ve been so awful to him today. All he wanted was to be there for me and I shut him out; completely. I’ve been so adamant about fixing this on my own, to prove how strong I am. What a bunch of rubbish. I don’t need to prove anything to anybody. I need Harry, plain and simple.” Realization was dawning on her suddenly.

 

She stepped forward and gave her mother a warm embrace. “Thanks, Mum. You always know just what to say.” She stepped back and saw the potion her mum was brewing. “And, I don’t think he’ll be needing that, anymore. I’m here, now,” she kissed Molly on the cheek then ascended the steps to return where she belonged; by Harry’s side.

 

Only, she wasn’t quite prepared for what she saw when she got up to her room. Her mum wasn’t exaggerating. Harry was literally entangled in the sheets. His hair was matted with sweat as he lay curled up in a ball, shivering violently. He was whimpering in his sleep, but Ginny could make out what he was saying, very clearly. ‘No! Not Ginny…nooooo!”

 

“Oh, Harry, I’m so sorry.” She felt terrible as she ran over to him to try to calm him down. What have I done? All those weeks of helping him heal…all undone in one night

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