To Give Tears a Voice
A Harry Potter Fanfic by Mrs. Hobbes
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe is owned entirely by J.K. Rowling.
Author's Note: My thanks to my beta-reader, Arabella. I'm happy my Ginny meets your approval.:)
Different. That described the unfamiliar tang in Ginny Weasley's mouth, the restlessness in her heart, the uneasiness of her stomach. It was the end of another Hogwarts year, and students were filing into the Hogwarts Express to make the return journey back to platform nine and three-quarters. But instead of a welcome anticipation of the summer holidays, the air stank of fear. Students were quiet; they glanced surreptitiously at each other and shuffled quickly into their compartments, eager to shut their doors and confer with friends once more on the events that had happened that year.
And of course, to talk about Harry Potter.
Ginny glanced ahead, focusing on a messy, dark mass of hair a little further up the line of students. Though her brother Ron and their friend Hermione were bickering, Harry seemed oblivious. Instead, he shifted the cage wedged against his side, checking to see if Hedwig, his snowy owl, was all right despite the busy crowd. Ginny noted how his unruly hair highlighted the paleness of his skin. He absentmindedly pushed his glasses up his nose, and again, she felt the subtle thrill at witnessing the habit. But then, when would anything Harry Potter did not give her a thrill?
She glanced away, and concentrated on the cracked leather of her shoe against the pale gray of the gravel at her feet. When people talked about Harry Potter, it was usually about how famous he'd become before he even realized he was a wizard. How he'd survived a killing curse given by You-Know-Who, the Dark Lord. And this was the first thing that was different.
Now, she was sure people would talk about his involvement in Cedric Diggory's death, after the Triwizard Tournament. They would, as they had many times this year, wonder if what Rita Skeeter had written about him was true—his instability, his...being unusual. They would whisper on whether what Professor Dumbledore said about You-Know-Who were true—that he'd really been reborn, as Harry had claimed he had.
She shuddered inwardly. First it had been the discovery that Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum had been attacked from within the maze. When news of both Harry and Cedric disappearing had reached her ears, she'd panicked, as had everyone around her. According to some of the seventh years, nobody could figure out where they'd gone. The noise of talk though, was nothing compared to the terrible foreboding she felt...that something was wrong, something evil was about to happen. She'd felt it, even then. And nobody would tell them anything for sure, because no one knew anything for sure. The confusion and dread was mirrored on everyone's faces.
And then, an eternity later, more people had screamed that Cedric was dead, and that Harry was severely injured...dying. Her heart had seemed to stop, her mouth went dry. One thought rang in her ears. It can't be... She'd felt herself gripping her brother's arm tightly, feeling faint. Ron himself had gone so pale his freckles had stood starkly on his skin. Somehow, he'd shaken off her grip, and he and Hermione had taken off for the end of the maze, joining many others, students and professors alike.
Ginny had wanted so badly to follow, and, despite an odd numbness in her limbs, even managed to make herself go down the bleachers. Just when she had spotted Ron and Hermione's robes disappearing into the darkness near the giant maze, she heard Minerva McGonagall's authoritative voice slice through the air. “Do not panic! Prefects, escort the students back to their houses and wait for instructions there!”
Then Ginny felt her arm seized by a rough hand. “C'mon, Gin,” George hissed He led her, unwilling, through the throng that fled back to the castle. She found herself pressed between her twin brothers as they followed the prefects back to their respective common rooms.
“But,” she protested weakly, wanting to say that Ron and Hermione had entered the maze. Even as her mouth formed those words, her mind screamed at her, Harry...is he dead?
And she suddenly stopped, frightened beyond belief at the thought. Her brothers turned back to stare at her; she was jostled from both sides. “Ginny, c'mon! We have to get back! What's wrong?"
She stared back at them, brown eyes dry yet wide with fright. She turned back towards the maze, even tried to push her way through the students, but Fred had grabbed her hand. “No! Wait—”
Another hand gripped her shoulder and spun her around, and she recoiled at the anger she saw in George's eyes. "We have to go now, Gin! Back to the castle!"
Despite her struggles, her brothers had managed to drag her in with the rest. Ginny couldn't remember how she'd made her way back to their common room. Once there, she had made a beeline for the corner stuffed chair by the fire, curling into a ball. Everyone else had started talking in fierce whispers, wondering what was going on.
Ginny had stared into the fire, her breath coming in strange hitches, yet her eyes were still dry. The conversation around her had made the urge to scream unbearable, yet she'd tried to think that any moment now, someone would come in and tell them what had happened.
“Oy! Careful, Gin!”
She snapped out of her thoughts, only to realize that she'd almost pitched headfirst into the train, having just reached the entrance. Fred was in front of her, and she'd bumped the small of his back as he climbed aboard. She felt her face flush slightly. “Sorry.”
But what embarrassed her further, was that Ron, Hermione and Harry, who were walking down the narrow corridor in the train, glanced back at Fred's outburst. Harry's eyes were slightly puzzled, and Ginny cursed herself when she felt that gaze on her. She'd always felt branded whenever his eyes rested on her like that. Hurriedly she climbed aboard. As she walked down the corridor, she chanced a look up, and saw that he'd turned back and that the three of them had found a compartment near the middle of the train. She walked past, catching a glance of Harry's dark hair in the small glass pane of the compartment door. Ginny finally took a compartment with Emily, Colin and other Gryffindors of her year, but took a seat at the back, isolating herself. While some of the others immediately started a game of Exploding Snap, and some of the girls began chattering about where they'd be spending their holidays, Ginny leaned her hot forehead against the cool glass of the window. The t!
rain started moving, and soon the countryside became a blur of greens, yellows and browns.
She sighed and glanced at her companions. She knew that they only refrained from talking about Harry and Cedric because of her. After all, she thought self-mockingly, you've never made it a secret that you're quite taken with him.
A slight noise that might've been a snort of disbelief escaped her lips. It was probably better that people thought that. After what had happened in the Chamber of Secrets, and how her brothers always teased her, it was safer to assume that it was just a schoolgirl crush, a case of hero worship, that Ginny Weasley had for Harry Potter.
Ginny was the only one who knew better. Painfully better.
She looked out the window again, at the huge, puffy clouds that rolled by, forming strange patterns as the Express zipped past. She concentrated on those patterns, and thought she saw the same ones that had flickered and danced in the flames as she had sat on the stuffed chair in the Gryffindor common room, waiting for news after the Triwizard Tournament.
An hour, another, and several more passed before everyone had heard a knock on the portrait door. Everyone had started then one of the prefects, Katie Bell, had opened it and conferred with whoever was on the other side. After several tense minutes, the portrait had shut. As if responding to a hidden signal, everyone had seemed to lean forward. Ginny only huddled tighter against the chair, feeling as if she should have braced herself for something inevitable.
Katie was pale when she faced them. “Cedric Diggory is dead.”
Around the room gasps had been heard, and one first year student had started crying softly. Ginny had shut her eyes tightly, lips soundlessly mouthing, No...Harry...
“Professor Dumbledore wants everyone to stay in their houses for now, until they sort this out,” she had continued. “Professor McGonagall has sent word that the password's to be changed, and that no one is to leave until the morning.” A chorus of questions had punctuated the last word, but Lee Jordan's had rung the loudest, at least in Ginny's ears. “What happened to Harry?”
Everyone stopped talking, and Ginny had opened her eyes to see everyone holding their breath for the answer. She had stared at Katie, waiting.
“He's okay,” Katie had said, a note of relief in her voice. “Madam Pomfrey has him in the infirmary, he'll stay there for now. And the Headmaster wants to announce something tomorrow morning at the Great Hall.” All other questions had been stayed when she had lifted her hand, palm up, and said sternly, “Now, everybody go to their rooms. There's no use waiting for anything now, since that's all I was told.”
“Oh, Fred, George,” she had called to the twins, as they had started up the stairs, “A word, please?”
The three of them had huddled by the foot of the stairs as everyone else had trooped back to their dormitories. Ginny herself had remained by the fire, too stunned with relief to even stand up. She had scrunched up her eyes tight again and bit her lip to swallow back a scream of happiness. Harry was okay. If he was with Madam Pomfrey, then he was okay. He wasn't dead. He wasn't dead.
And in that one moment, Ginny Weasley realized something with shocking finality.
“Oy, Ginny,” George said, clapping her on the shoulder. She jumped, then glared at him as he grinned. How could he smile at a time like this? But then, she remedied, she suddenly felt like laughing herself. In relief.
“Ron and Hermione are with Harry now,” Fred said, coming up on the other side of the chair. “Dumbledore let them stay the night with him, I reckon. And Mum and Bill are with him too.”
“Okay.” Involuntarily, she had sagged with relief, and this hadn't gone unnoticed by the twins. George opened his mouth, but Ginny cut short whatever he was going to say with a glare. “I'm tired,” she announced suddenly, getting off the chair and moving towards her dorm. Her thoughts were whirling, screaming to be sorted out.
Just as she reached the head of the stairs, she felt an overwhelming urge to turn back and sprint for the portrait door. Run out and head for the medical wing. See how Harry was with her own eyes.
But Ginny squelched that impulse. She walked for her room, wanting to get into bed and draw the curtains around it, curl up and bury herself in the covers.
Ginny pressed herself deeper into the seat cushions, letting out one long, almost silent sigh. She took a quick glance at her companions, who didn't seem to notice her. That night following the death of Cedric Diggory had been the longest of her life. And the next morning, when the Headmaster had announced—
A flash of dark hair caught her eye on the glass pane as someone passed by the compartment. She blinked, pausing in her thoughts. It could've been anyone, really, but given the direction of her musings she found herself getting out of her seat and muttering to Emily and Colin about looking for the witch who sold sweets.
The moment she shut the door to the compartment however, she had another fleeting thought about where the conversation of her classmates, as well as most of the people on the train, was going. Glancing ahead, she saw Harry. Or rather his back. He was making his way to the back of the train. There were several students walking up and down the main aisle, and he bumped into a few of them, apologizing when he did.
Ginny felt her feet moving in the same direction. As she walked past people, she noticed that whomever Harry passed seemed to look at him with a kind of fear. There was even a pair of Slytherin third years who glared at him openly before scurrying away. Either he didn't notice their expressions or he was resigned to their reactions; he didn't pause in heading for the back of the train, where the compartments for teachers' supplies were stored.
Ginny took another step before she hesitated, flattening herself to one side as students walked past her. Why was she following him? Obviously, the absence of Ron or Hermione meant he'd purposely set out to be alone, wherever he was going. Yet a persistent, burning wish to know kept her riveted. She saw him reach the second to the last compartment, open the door and slip inside. Pursing her lips, she followed him.
“Where are you going?”
She froze, then glanced back to see Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil staring knowingly at her. Scrambling to gather her scattered thoughts, she replied, “Looking for something to snack on.”
“If you're searching for the cart, the witch went that way,” Lavender's thumb pointed the opposite direction, behind them. She had a small smirk on her face, as if she could guess what—or where—Ginny was thinking of going.
Parvati planted herself directly in front of Ginny. “Or are you thinking of nibbling on something else?” she giggled, making Ginny go scarlet. “I think I saw Harry just walking this way. Were you following him?”
“None of your business,” Ginny retorted, stepping away from her. Cursing herself for being too transparent, she glanced ahead again at the door of the compartment Harry was in.
“I can' believe you still like him, Ginny,” Lavender chided. “I mean, first he gets into the Triwizard Tournament, then now he's saying You-Know-Who's back.”
“You don't believe him?” Ginny asked. “Despite what Dumbledore said?”
“Based on what Harry said,” Lavender corrected. “I think it's a little...amazing that Harry managed to escape him again, right? Maybe he ran into Death Eaters, fine, but meeting up with You-Know-Who?”
“So you think he's lying?” Ginny asked frostily. The older girls glanced at each other, seemingly amused at Ginny's ferocity. “How do you explain how Cedric Diggory died? I guess Harry imagined up the Avada Kedavra curse too.”
Their smiles vanished, and Ginny felt a spurt of satisfaction. “The next time you start thinking the Headmaster's wrong, keep your thoughts to yourself.” She turned to go.
“What about what Rita Skeeter said about Harry being...unbalanced?” Parvati shot back, and Ginny paused, not turning. “It's a dangerous thing to jump to conclusions, you know. I mean, even the Ministry of Magic hasn't said anything about You-Know-Who. There's nothing in The Daily Prophet.”
“You heard what Dumbledore said,” Ginny replied. “It's likely they'd want to squelch any rumors about him. And anyway,” she added, turning back to look at them, “I'd think you would believe Harry, since he was the one who won the Triwizard Cup for Hogwarts.”
“So devoted,” Parvati whispered loudly to Lavender. She giggled again. “But really, I don't know what you see in him. He was hardly a perfect date at the Yule Ball.”
Ginny felt her face burn again, and resisted the urge to throw a hex at Parvati. Before she turned back however, she fired, “Maybe he didn't like the company.”
Ginny glimpsed Parvati's shocked expression and Lavender's amazed one before she walked away, not bothering to hide anymore where she meant to go. She didn't look back.
She reached the compartment door, paused, then peeked in through the small glass pane. Among the trunks and carrying cases she saw Harry pressed against the window, looking at the passing scenery. He sat with his profile turned towards her, and she saw the downward slash of his scar on his forehead. He pushed his glasses up his nose, then closed his eyes and drew himself up on the trunk he was sitting on. Ginny saw, even through the tiny glass circle, the deep sadness in his green eyes before they shut. She drew in a sharp breath when she saw his shoulders shake slightly, then Harry opened his eyes and blinked rapidly, looking up at the ceiling.
She tore her eyes from the glass and pressed herself against the wall beside the compartment door. Ginny squeezed her own eyes shut and drew in a painful breath, hearing it hitch. Inside the compartment, barely five meters away from her, Harry Potter was crying.
She looked towards the glass, but did not peer in. How must it feel, she wondered, to hate yourself forever for who you were, to loathe the destiny Fate seemed determined to shove at you? She thought about how Harry must have tried to save Cedric, how it must have hurt to fail; the fear he must have felt of meeting the Dark Lord again; the guilt of being alive when it meant that someone else had to die.
She clenched her fists and felt a tear course down her cheek. She pressed her back tighter against the wall, not heeding the pain of the action. Another tear escaped, and she hugged herself, feeling again that irrational urge to run to Harry and comfort him and tell him—
I'm so happy you're alive. That thought leapt up from the deepest, most vulnerable part of herself. Ginny sucked in her breath, holding back a sob. For a long moment she continued to stand there, fighting with herself to open the compartment door. With another deep breath she pushed herself from the wall and straightened her shoulders. She swiped at the remaining tears dancing on her eyelashes, a slight smile twisting her mouth.
Why would Harry let her comfort him, when he'd obviously escaped even the sympathetic eyes of his friends? Parvati was right; even after three years, Harry still hadn't seen her—really seen her. Maybe I'm the one who needs comforting, Ginny thought derisively. From the fear of almost losing him, from the almost painful longing that gripped her heart.
She lifted a hand and ran it across the door's surface, as another thought burst like lightning in her brain. Maybe nothing she could say would help at the moment, but there was something she could do for him. She glanced back at the few students that walked along the corridor. Taking out her wand, she muttered a Fogging Charm on the glass pane. Whoever chanced to peek inside wouldn't be able to see anything but a frosty shadow. She glanced back at the few students that walked along the corridor. Without looking into the glass, she walked away, joining other students as she made her way back to her compartment. She thought about the uncertainty of the future. She wondered if Harry would spend the last few weeks of his vacation at the Burrow, like he and Ron had planned before. She wondered wistfully if Harry would look at her as he always did, with a friendly but distant light in his eyes.
But all that wasn't important now. For now, Harry would give his tears voice alone, as he'd intended to do. And Ginny would give that to him. It was the least she could do when she couldn't share her own tears with him, and perhaps relieve the ache she felt inside.
I wanted to hold you,
I wanted to make it go away
I wanted to know you
I wanted to make your everything all right...
--"Cry," Mandy Moore
- fin -