The Sugar Quill
Author: Wahlee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Too Young to Fall Asleep Forever  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Too Young to Fall Asleep Forever

by Wahlee

Disclaimer: JKR is the creator of this world. I'm just playing in it, and I'm getting nothing from it but my own pleasure.

A/N: Sorry, this isn't a new chapter of I Found Love. It could be a part of the universe, though, although it isn't specifically written for that. It's just a bit of H/G fluff. And there's nothing wrong with that. :D

~*~


“That one looks like a puffskein.”

“Harry, it’s a cloud. It’s big and round and puffy. They all look like puffskeins.”

Ginny, her back reclining against a large oak tree, ruffled the already-untidy hair that lay in her lap. “Do try to use a bit more imagination.”

“Okay. It looks like a Quaffle.”

Ginny tried to look reproving but failed miserably. Harry looked up at her and grinned mischievously. She giggled.

“Look at that one! It looks just like a hippogriff.”

“I’d much rather look at you.” He turned his head to get a better view of her reddening face.

She snorted. “What, up my nose? I’m sure that’s attractive.”

“I can’t see up your nose, silly. And even if I could I wouldn’t mind. It’s such a nice nose.”

Harry had obviously had one too many Butterbeer Extras. She probably should have gone for the regular kind for their picnic. Not that Ginny minded much. He was just drunk enough to be expansive and complimentary—a rare enough occurrence. She filed away the knowledge in her memory under “How to get Harry Potter to talk to you.”

“What’s nice about it, then?”

“It’s small and cute. It turns up just a little at the end. And it has exactly 13 freckles on it.”

Don’t I know it, thought Ginny. And Gilderoy Lockhart’s Fabulous Freckle Fader doesn’t work at all. Shouldn’t be a surprise, I suppose. Although if Harry likes them . . . Maybe I won’t bother looking for a substitute.

“And your hair is so pretty,” Harry went on matter-of-factly. He grasped a lock and brought the end of it to his lips. “And your eyes. You have this trick of smiling with them, even when your mouth isn’t. But then you do smile and your whole face lights up.” He took the lock of hair and tucked it behind Ginny’s ear. Then he grinned. “And the way your ears turn red when you’re embarrassed. It’s so cute.”

Ginny, in spite of her red ears, couldn’t let this chance pass. “Am I only a face to you?”

His eyes grew suddenly serious. “No. Never, ever think that, Ginny. I’ve tried falling in love with a face—it doesn’t work. I fell in love with your sense of humor. Your courage. The way you always seem to know what I’m thinking. Are you sure you’re not a legilimens?”

She shook her head. “Even if I were, Dumbledore trained you too well. I could never break through.”

Harry nodded. “Makes it even more uncanny. Ginny, you’re amazing. How’d I get so lucky?”

Ginny just smiled. They’d had this conversation before.

Harry shifted so that his head lay in the crook of Ginny’s arm. She wrapped the other arm around him and just held him.

“So. . .uh. . .what do you like about me?”

Ah, she thought. My favorite subject. She leaned her head back against the tree trunk and gazed at the leaves, trying to decide where to begin.

“Your eyes,” she finally said. “The way your hair never lies flat. The way you look in a Quidditch uniform. The way you stick your tongue out when you concentrate. Your complete inability to let anyone you care about get hurt if you can do anything to prevent it. Your bravery. Your dry sense of humor. Your modesty. The way it continues to surprise you when people love you and want to do things for you. Your loyalty to the people you do let into your heart.”

She looked down to see how he was taking all of this. She smiled. “The way you fall asleep whenever I have something important to tell you.”

Ginny’s arm rose and fell with Harry’s regular breathing as she continued to hold him. He looked even younger than his twenty-one years, with the muscles in his face relaxed. Almost like he did when she first got to really know him—when she had first fallen in love with him. He had lived through a lot since then—more than any man his age should have. His loveless childhood had left scars, just as the curse that had robbed him of his parents had left an outward scar upon his forehead. Ginny traced it lightly with her finger now. It was barely noticeable now that the connection with Voldemort had ceased, and it was no longer irritated on a regular basis. But it was still there.

The inner scars, too, had never completely healed. And his time at Hogwarts had not really helped much—friends and love only gave him more to worry about when his destiny became clear. Especially as his worst fears came true, and he began to lose them.

Ginny gazed at Harry’s face, still winter-pale on this day in late spring, and a sudden rushing sound filled her ears. A voice sounded in her head, shrill and panicky.

“Harry! HARRY! Where are you? Ron, can you see him?”

“Hold on, Hermione. We’ll find him.”

Ginny ran across the Hogwarts grounds, toward the lake, her eyes searching the ground as she ran. There were too many bodies. Too many of her classmates now littered the once beautiful field of grass. How were they ever going to find the one that mattered most to her?

“Ginny, we’re going to look over by the Forest. Send up red sparks if you find him, okay?”

Ginny nodded to her brother as he and Hermione ran off, hand in hand. Where could he be?

Another few minutes of fruitless searching made Ginny desperate. What if he was hurt? If they didn’t find him soon. . .

And then suddenly she saw him, near the shore of the lake. He was laying on his side, his legs sprawled out on the wet grass. Ginny rushed over to him and flung herself down at his side.

“Don’t be dead, Harry. Please, please, don’t be dead.”

She pulled him by the shoulder and he turned over, his arm falling limply at his side, his head rolling into her lap. His face was as pale as milk. She didn’t think he was breathing.

“Harry! Harry, wake up. Please wake up. You have to wake up. It’s over now, you can’t leave. He’s gone, you can’t die—” Cradling his head in the crook of her arm, she placed her other arm across his chest and lowered her head near his nose, listening. Relief flooded through her as she realized that her arm was rising and falling ever so slightly. He was alive.

But only just. Even as she watched, his breathing grew more shallow. Ginny grabbed her wand and sent red sparks in to the air. While she waited for Hermione and Ron to come and help her, she held Harry close.

“Harry, you must stay. Harry, don’t go. Harry. . .Harry. . .Harry. . .”


“Ginny?”

Ginny blinked, the spring sunlight blinding her eyes.

“Ginny, are you all right?” Harry was sitting up, watching Ginny with concern. “You were saying my name over and over, but you didn’t answer me. What’s the matter?”

“Oh, Harry—” She shuddered, and tears started running down her cheeks. “I don’t know what happened—I was watching you sleep, and suddenly—I was there again, the day you defeated Voldemort. I was holding you, and you were so pale, and limp, and—” she threw her arms around his neck and dissolved into noisy, heaving sobs against his chest.

“You must have had a flashback.” He held her tightly, rubbing her back. “It’s okay, Ginny. It’s okay. I was just sleeping. I’m here, I’m not going anywhere—”

They sat like that for a long time—Ginny sobbing, Harry murmuring soft, comforting words into her hair. When her breathing finally grew calm and her tears ceased to flow, Harry took her face in his hands and kissed away her tears.

And they held each other until the sun went down.

~*~

Thanks to Susan, Rachel, Jen, and Kate for beta comments, and to Susan for the title. My idea for this fic came from several sources. First of all, I've been listening to "Into the West" from the RotK soundtrack almost incessantly, and the "here in my arms, just sleeping" line struck me. Second, as I was falling asleep a couple of nights ago-- with "Into the West" in my head-- I remembered a poem called "The Dugout" by Siegfried Sassoon which contains these two lines:

You are too young to fall asleep forever
And when you sleep, you remind me of the dead.

That gave me the idea for the flashback. Then there was the boat scene from Dorothy L. Sayers's
Gaudy Night. And the bridge scene in Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold.

There are also a few allusions. Butterbeer Extra is the brainchild of Vapid. The Gilderoy Lockhart product line was stolen from Katinka. And the "So. . . uh. . . what do you like about me?" is an inside joke that only those people who know Brother Grossen, my high school seminary teacher, will get. But it tickles me to death.

Stay tuned-- my next project is going to be a big one.
:)
//
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