A/N: As much as we would like to, we own neither
Harry Potter nor Les Misérables. Merci
beaucoup to our wonderful beta-reader, Lallybroch. :o)
Ginny looked up from the corner
table in the Gryffindor common room where Hermione was helping her with her
Charms paper. Harry had just come down the
stairs from the boys’ dormitories, cloak in hand, without his schoolbag or any
books or parchment. She surreptitiously
watched him as he crossed the common room to the portrait hole. He paused before climbing through; she saw
him sneak a glance in the direction of her table, noting Hermione’s fixation
with the fourth year Charms text, then toward the fireplace, where Ron was
playing chess with Seamus. Seeming
satisfied that his friends were preoccupied, Harry continued on his way out of
the common room.
Ginny stood and began stacking
her books neatly in one corner of the table.
She was confident that no one else would join Hermione at the table in
her absence; this was the table Hermione, Ron, and Harry always used. It had saddened her to see that many students
were avoiding Harry since the start of classes.
The year before, most of them had loved being able to say they knew
Harry Potter, that they had classes or ate meals with him, but since the
Triwizard tournament, there had been a noticeable decline in the number of
people who acknowledged Harry and, in turn, Ron and Hermione in the halls of
the castle. No one mentioned it,
especially not to Harry, but Ginny noticed the furtive glances and the hushed
whispers that followed the three of them out of the Great Hall to class. She glanced out the window and saw Harry
appear on the path that circled the lake.
She sighed and began to put on her cloak as she walked away.
Hermione looked up, confused at
Ginny’s sudden departure. “Ginny, didn’t you want to finish this Charms essay?
I’ve found the page you needed about everyday uses of Cushioning Charms,” she
called out as Ginny walked off.
“Later,” Ginny yelled back over
her shoulder as she made her way through the common room.
On my own, pretending
he’s beside me
All alone, I walk with
him till morning
Without him, I feel
his arms around me
And when I lose my way
I close my eyes
And he has found me
The setting sun sank below the
clouds, setting Ginny’s red hair ablaze, and a crisp fall breeze made her pull
her cloak a bit tighter around her shoulders.
She looked out over the lake, and on the far shore, she could just make
out a boy with messy dark hair sitting on one of the benches. She had noticed that Harry had been spending
more and more time alone since their arrival at Hogwarts, and it worried
that he ever spent time with me, she mused. Everyone at the Burrow had heard Harry’s screams break the
stillness of the August night air, but Ginny had never found the nerve to
follow Hermione up to Ron’s room to comfort Harry after one of his nightmares.
As she started off along the
path, if she closed her eyes and thought about it hard enough, she could almost
believe that Harry joined her on these walks around Hogwarts’ Lake. This was a daydream that Ginny had enjoyed
since her first year. She had become
more and more confident around Harry as the years had passed, but their
conversations were generally limited to their lessons and the weather, with the
occasional venture into when Ron would finally admit that he fancied
Hermione. She was never so outspoken or
quick-witted in person as she was in these imaginary conversations with the boy
she’d loved since before she came to Hogwarts.
In her mind, she and Harry could talk about everything, from schoolwork
and the latest gossip to those horrible Dursleys and the nightmares that she
knew plagued them both. Sometimes he
held her hand, sometime he put his arm around her shoulder and sometimes—Ginny
could barely dare to imagine it—sometimes he would take her face in his hands
and place a kiss gently on her lips.
In the rain, the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is him and me
Forever and forever
The conversations that Ginny
created could last for hours. Tonight,
she made Harry comment that her hair was the color of the sunset, which led
into a very funny story about the time when she was six and Fred had colored her
hair a lovely shade of lavender. She had
begged her mother to leave it, but Molly Weasley wouldn’t dream of letting her
daughter run around with purple hair.
This, of course, would prompt Harry to tell her a story of something he
had done before he knew that he was magical, and so the conversation went until
she came to the opposite side of the lake.
She watched wistfully as the sun
set and the stars came out in patches, peeking out from behind the clouds here
and there. It had rained that afternoon,
and the path was still damp. The light
posts around the lake made the pavement glow, and a half moon hid in the wispy
clouds, emerging occasionally to cast its reflection in the lake. As she passed under a particularly large
tree, she stopped and gazed up in awe at the band of fairies that had taken up
residence in the tree’s limbs. In the
darkness, they glowed in every shade of the rainbow, lighting up the tree like
tiny stars caught in its branches. She pointed them out to Harry, who
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
It was Harry’s voice, his actual,
real voice that issued from the shadows.
Ginny spun around and for a moment, could do nothing but stare. He was still seated on the bench under the
tree, looking much older than his fifteen years. His dark hair was even more
untidy than usual, as if he had been running his fingers through it again and
again. The circles under his eyes stood
out in stark contrast to his fair skin.
She thought back to the peaceful summer nights and Harry’s screams in
the darkness and guessed that he still wasn’t getting much sleep. Shadowed as
they were, his eyes were still that sparkling, brilliant green that had
captured her attention that first day at King’s Cross and had held it for the
past four years. She suddenly realized
she was gaping and shook herself.
“Harry! You—you startled me,” Ginny stammered,
mentally cursing herself for being so lost in her daydream that she forgot
Harry was on the far shore of the lake.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.” He stood and came very near to her. Ginny suddenly found it very difficult to
breathe properly. If Harry noticed, he
didn’t let on. “It’s not safe for you to
be walking around by yourself at night, you know,” he said in a low, strange
“I—I know that,” she
replied. “But it wasn’t dark when I
started out, and there are usually other people around. I guess it’s too cold for most people now,
though.” She chanced a glance up at his
face and was surprised to discover that he was gazing intently into her
eyes. Ginny’s heart skipped a beat and
she returned the gaze, searching his eyes keenly until he sighed and looked
away. Mind racing, Ginny opened her
mouth to say something, anything—
“You should go inside.” He turned his back to her and stared out over
the dark water.
And I know it’s only in my mind
That I’m talking to myself and not to him
And although I know that he is blind
Still I say
There’s a way for us
The moment was broken; she had no
choice but to go back to the castle. As she
walked away, it took all her willpower not to go back to him, standing alone at
the edge of the lake, and tell him everything:
about the nightmares she’d been having since the tournament that had
been growing increasingly worse; how Hermione really did fancy Ron, too; how
worried she was about Hagrid, off gathering support from the giants; how George
had written that awful Valentine in her first year. Before reaching the castle, she had
formulated a thousand different things she could have said, should have said,
would have said, if only he hadn’t spoken first.
Once inside the castle, she ran
into Colin Creevey, who was on his way from the library back to the Gryffindor
“Ginny, have you heard?
McGonagall caught Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson in a broom closet and took
fifty points from Slytherin! That puts
us in the lead for House points!” Ginny
was certain that Colin gossiped more than any girl she’d ever met. He certainly talked faster than anyone she
knew, including Hermione. “Have you
finished your Charms essay?” Ginny shook
her head, knowing it was useless to try to get a word in edgewise. “Which charm
did you pick? There are so many charms
with everyday uses that I just don’t know where to begin. I suppose I could do Wingardium Leviosa, because that’s the first charm they taught
us. I remember Dennis just had the worst
time learning that one…” Ginny tuned Colin out as they made their way through
the castle. She was too busy thinking
about that low, strange voice Harry had used and the way he’d looked at her
that had made her heart stop in her chest.
It had been such a strange encounter that Ginny replayed it in her mind
all the way back up to Gryffindor Tower.
I love him, but when the night is over
He is gone; the river’s just a river
Without him, the world around me changes
The trees are bare and everywhere
The streets are full of strangers
I love him, but every day I’m learning
All my life, I’ve only been pretending
Without me, his world will go on turning
The world is full of happiness
That I have never known
Later that evening, back in Gryffindor
Tower, Ginny perched in a window
seat overlooking the lake. The moon had
disappeared behind the clouds, leaving the lake a black, empty void. The lampposts had gone out, and even the
fairies in their tree had all settled down and gone to sleep. The grounds were completely dark. She turned and surveyed the common room with
a sigh. The room was full of people, but
there was no one she could really talk to.
Hermione was at the corner table with Ron and Harry, watching the twins
feed poor Neville a Canary Cream.
Hermione was trying to look disapproving but failing miserably, Ron was
snickering uncontrollably, and even Harry had the ghost of a smile on his
usually tense and solemn face. Suddenly
Ginny realized that this was how it had always been and how it always would
be: the three of them, sometimes joined
by Fred and George and perhaps even Neville, but she would always be alone, on
the outside looking in, never more than Ron’s little sister or Hermione’s
friend; never Ginny. She would never be
a part of his world.
I love him, I love him, I love him,
But only on my own.