Time Will Come
She had tripped, and landed here, in this
pile of dead leaves and broken twigs. The ground smelled pleasantly of fresh
earth, but not enough to distract her from the pain in her chest. It was like
being both suffocated and nauseous at the same time. And the more she thought
about it the worse she felt. Harry had asked Cho to the ball.
It wasn’t that she thought Harry felt the
same way she did, but Ginny had always harbored the fantasy that, when the time
came for an event like the Yule Ball, Harry would ask her to go with him. And
she’d waited, hoping, for what seemed like an eternity, until it dawned on her
that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t going to happen.
Ginny had sulked for days, until Hermione
had talked to her, and they’d come up with a plan. In her desperation to at
least be at the ball with Harry, even
if she couldn’t be at the ball with
Harry, she had arranged to go with Neville. It was a good plan. A plan soured
only by Harry asking her to the ball. Well, Ron had suggested it, and Harry
probably would have gone along with it, perhaps simply out of desperation, if
it hadn’t been for Neville. Not that she blamed Neville; it was entirely her own fault.
Ginny squeezed her eyes shut as a fresh set
of tears began. She had been crying before she’d even made it out of Gryffindor
Tower - just a couple of stray tears she’d swiped away discreetly while tucking
her hair behind her ears. And as she’d descended through the castle, her
resistance had gotten lower and lower, a new tear for every step, until she’d
reached the trick one on the second floor and stumbled, coming frighteningly
close to getting stuck in it. And the torrent had taken over. She was a sea of
tears, feeling nothing but the grief-like ache in her soul.
And so she’d run.
It was the millionth time she’d been
thankful for Fred and George’s secret short cuts, but the first time she’d ever
been really thankful for the forest. It was the only place she knew no one was
mad enough to follow her. Aside from herself, he was the only one she knew who was not afraid to go in there.
Both of them had faced far worse.
Ginny wondered how it was possible for them
to be so perfect for each other, and yet he still hadn’t noticed. Indeed, he
had noticed her in the way that people do
notice their friends little sister gazing rapturously at them, but he didn’t
really seem to see her as anything but that. It was like she wasn’t even
there half the time, so insignificant she may as well be dead. And why wasn’t
she? Because of him. Because he had saved her when no one else could. He’d
risked his own life for hers. Almost died so that she might live, and all for
Not for her.
Ginny let out a choked sob into the cool
quiet of the forest. He’d done it because that’s what Harry Potter did. He was The Hero. But he was more
than that as well. How had she even come to think that he might be interested in her? She was pathetic. A childish
little dreamer sitting in a dirty hollow on the ground; crying because she
hadn’t got her way. Why would he ever notice her? Why would anyone? Ginny took
a slow shuddering breath and embraced her sadness like an old friend, letting
the tears flow. Not caring that she was wet and dirty and cold and hungry. Not
caring how loud she was sobbing. No one would hear her anyway – she was all
alone. She always was.
“You are crying. Why?”
Ginny started and jerked up from her prone
position in the leaves, her blood suddenly pounding in her ears.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“I am Firenze. And you are Miss Weasley,
are you not?”
She considered lying. Considered running
away. But he could out-run her, and those eyes… those eyes that bore right
through her with their intensity… they would know if she lied.
“Yes… How do you know?” Her voice faltered.
He was much larger than her. If he wanted, he could easily over-power her.
“On especially dark nights, when the stars
are bright, your future is visible to those who can read them.”
“My future? Is everyone’s there?” Her
curiosity calmed her, pushing away her fear.
“Only the paths of those who bear great
responsibility are revealed. For it is they who will shape the world.”
“What do you mean? What great
responsibility? What do I have to do?”
“In time, you will know.”
“I will know what? What’s going to happen
to me? Am I in danger?”
“Those who run with The Boy Who Lived are
always in danger. Soon it will be worse.”
“Will he be okay?” she asked, without
“Harry Potter will be instrumental to the
fate of the world. He is the key.”
“And what am I?” Ginny asked softly.
Firenze looked at her for a long moment,
his were eyes cold, calculating, and Ginny considered briefly how she must
appear. A grubby, soggy child, with puffy eyes and a selfish misery. Just as
her grief began to surface again, he spoke, very quietly.
“He is not ready for you.”
Ginny’s brow furrowed in confusion for only
a second before her eyes flew wide open and her heart leapt into her throat.
She tried to speak – to ask lamely, ‘Who’s
not ready for me?’ even though she knew full well who it was, and nothing
came out of her mouth but a pitiful garbled squeak. Firenze gave her a barely
noticeable smile, and she bowed her head, hiding her blushing cheeks behind a
curtain of hair.
“Your time will come, but it is not now.”
“When will it be?” she dared to ask, “How
long will I have to wait?” She lifted her head and caught his gaze. He looked
softer somehow, sad.
“It does no good to linger. Only when you
stop waiting, will the future come. You will know when it does.”
He flicked his tail and half-turned to
leave. Ginny called out to him.
“But what should I do until then?”
“Anything you like. It will not matter in
the end.” He said to her. And then he was gone, swallowed by the shadows, his
hoof-beats fading swiftly in the distance.
Ginny sat silently, as if frozen; her
surroundings slowly creeping back into her conscious mind. It was dark, darker
than it had been before, and colder. She stood, brushing off the worst of the
forest debris. Her body ached from the impact of her fall, magnified by the
stiff cold, but the internal ache was duller than before. It would be hard not
to wait for him, now that she knew. But it was a comfort to know that no matter
what happened, no matter who Harry took to the ball, in the end, he would be
hers. She would just have to find a way to distract herself until that time
came. Lost in thought, she turned back toward the castle, stepping carefully
over the branch she had tripped on earlier, and set off through the darkness.