Ginevra, Called Ginny
Ginevra, Called Ginny
Author's notes 1: The title of this one wouldn't leave me until I'd concocted a story to fit around it, so here's the explanation. Simon, Called Peter is a novel by Robert Keale, written in the early 1920s, about a priest who becomes disillusioned about what his life really is. Basically he has premarital sex and doesn't feel guilty (this probably doesn't fit into the cultural context of Harry Potter). I've been unable to get a copy, or rather afford a copy since the only ones I've ever seen are of the original 1920s printing, so I haven't got a clue what goes on or how this is resolved. To be frank, I've heard it's dreadful and really I just like the name.
Summary: It is late 1998, sometime after the end of the war, but Harry himself hasn't been seen since the final battle several months previously. At least, he hasn't been seen, as such, with someone's actual eyes. Ginevra Weasley has always thought the proper device for seeing clearly was located somewhere else, anyway.
Note on interpretation (suggested by Zsenya so that I didn't get a bunch of confused questions): The boy Ginny thinks she is talking to does not exist. He is dead, and she is too addled to realize that she is in a bed in St. Mungo's. The note is just another sad facet of the story Ginny has concocted, though I like to think Hedwig did visit her before flying away.
Special thanks go to Zsenya for wading through this thing.
There were nine of them at the beginning, and she was relieved and grateful that there were nine at the end, no mistake- but somewhere between her six brothers and her parents there was something noticeably missing, an absence…. The war had been a strain on them, and there were none that were unchanged. She knew that her family would never again be the way it had been before the fighting started. Still….
There were Molly and Arthur, and as far as parents went there were none better; Mum could be a bit of a mother hen but after all there were seven children to worry about, and that would get to anyone. Dad was older and more tired and walked with a limp, but he was still Dad. Even when he sat and stared out the window and was gone from his mind for hours on end, he was still Dad.
There was Bill, who'd always been ready with some off-colour joke- who'd been at the front the whole time without telling anyone, and he'd barely even gotten a scratch; his luck was the stuff of legends. She didn't hear him tell many jokes anymore; she thought he was saving them all for Fleur, whose sister had been killed.
Then Charlie, who had sustained a few more burns but no more than he'd expected, working with dragons, who was finally home where he was needed for awhile; and Percival (alright, she conceded, Percy), who hadn't fought mostly because of wounded pride, and whose pride had got even more wounded before he'd been welcomed back to the family.
Fred and George were ever the businessmen, probably some of the few who had, perversely, profited from the war, though they too had lost countless friends. She supposed they weren't quite the carefree boys they had been just months ago, either.
There was Ron, probably the most changed, seeing his best friend display obscene amounts of power and fighting off an army of demons at his side. Ron had seen more death than the rest- enough to cool seventeen years of Weasley temper.
She was the last- Ginevra, called Ginny if you didn't want to spout bats out your nose for an hour. She was battered and bruised and hovering on the edge of a very unhappy place, but she was still Ginny, still three, five, eleven, fourteen years old, still being scolded for her participation in the war, still struggling to get past the nightmares. She had done her part despite her family's best efforts to prevent it, had grown up and made choices like she had been taught since she was small, and now they admonished her for it because she was a girl.
She had been there at the end, when Harry had called down the fury of heaven and earth around the Inner Circle. She had seen an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, had seen Judgment Day and had lived thereafter. She had watched so many sins come back to torment their perpetrators that she had been physically ill, and even that had just served to weaken Tom, not kill him, and he waited for Harry still.
He hadn't noticed her lying there. Months had passed and no one had seen neither hide nor hair of him, but what she remembered, what hurt her most, was that he hadn't noticed her. The fact that she could be so petty stung her pride, but it was nonetheless true, and for that she hated herself a bit. Harry had moved towards Voldemort and they had dueled and Harry must have won, but Ginny had been too weak to see, bleeding from several Cutting Curses and fading quickly out of consciousness. She knew there had been a flash of light and a crack like thunder and the earth had shaken, because it had woken her as if from a dream, and for a moment she thought that just maybe Harry's face came into focus, and then her vision had darkened. But she knew, when she felt someone lift her, that Harry was carrying her, Harry was cleaning up her mess, Harry always cleaned up her stupid mess. Then, nothing.
When she'd come to she was in her bedroom at the Burrow, surrounded by stuffed animals and helium balloons and wearing pajamas that had been too small for years. Bill was dozing in the chair by the window; perched like a white sentinel on the sill above his head was a snowy owl that could only be Hedwig. When Ginny moved to sit up, she glided over on silent wings and deposited a piece of parchment on the comforter, then took off out the window. Ginny's eyes told her that nothing was out there to see, but her heart felt differently and she had squinted and tried her best nonetheless.
Of course it had been from Harry. She hadn't been certain that she could forgive him for- for not noticing- but when the words came into focus, she found herself helpless to prevent it.
I'm sorry. I'll come back for you, one day. If you want me to. H.P.
It had not been the most romantic letter she had ever received, but then, she and Harry had never been romantic, per se. They'd had an Understanding: love was dangerous; Harry had other obligations, and she could respect that because the fact that he put everyone else before himself was one of the things that she loved about him. Unfortunately, their understanding meant that she was sometimes treated almost as an extension of him: in this particular case, it meant that Harry put everyone else before her, too.
The final battle had been in May. It was now November, and Ginny, sitting up in her cold, lonely Head Girl dormitory, was beginning to wonder at things. Parts of her wondered at the note. What did 'one day' mean? And if she wanted? That was nonsense. She missed Harry terribly, missed sitting up by the fire with him and playing chess with him and laughing at Ron and Hermione with him. She hoped that Harry knew that, although this was generally the sort of thing that Harry didn't know about.
Other parts of her wondered… well, they just wondered, really. She'd done some research, looking for answers as to why she sometimes woke for no reason, in the cold, in the dark, alone.
She would wait for him to come to her- and she knew he would come, eventually. When the pain became too much to bear. She knew he would come like she knew the sun would rise in the morning, like the moon would set in the west, he would come to her. And this time, she would be ready.
The room was as cold as ever and the moon, just over half full, peeked distantly through her window, throwing the room into shadow but not entire darkness. She looked around, knowing from experience that she wouldn't see anything, and then closed her eyes and snuggled back down into the bed. She listened to her heart beating for a moment, felt her fingers begin to tremble, and finally, for the first time, spoke into the darkness. She knew that he would come if she called him. "Hello, Harry."
Nothing, not a sound, not a whisper, she shifted under the blankets-
And then, a rustle of fabric and when she opened her eyes she could see him sitting on the chair at the foot of her bed. His face was in shadow, his shoulders hunched, and one of the lenses of his glasses was cracked. He was silent.
She waited for another minute before speaking again. "Oh, that's the way it is, is it? That's fine, then, I can have a conversation by myself. I know what you'd say. You'd just say hullo, in your sullen little mumble and look at your feet. You're embarrassed, or something. What's wrong with you? That's not what you ought to say. I thought you cared about me, Harry. You should be over here by the bed, touching my face and calling my name softly into the darkness like a line out of some cheesy wireless drama, not muttering hellos like we've never met."
She lapsed into silence again, hoping that Harry would break it, but he didn't. Finally she leaned up on one elbow to speak to him. "Have you forgotten? Don’t you remember the way you used to look at me, Harry? You used to look at me like I was the answer to the question you didn't know how to ask. You used to treat me like I meant something to you. Do you know how much it hurt when you didn't see me, Harry? You never noticed! Never noticed me lying face down in the mud, having the life drained out of me. You left me- did you forget that, too?" Ginny closed her eyes and was surprised when she felt moisture splash onto her face. She shook off the tears. "No, you didn't forget," she murmured. "You didn't forget, although maybe you would like to. That's what you'd say- I haven't forgotten. I wish I could. Make me forget, Ginny."
Sighing, Ginny let herself flop back onto her pillows. "You know something? If you had said you needed time to yourself I would have understood. In fact I might have been grateful, I would have been happy for you- finally getting the peace you deserved! You left us with no word- you could have been dead- we found so many bodies, Harry, and they could have been you. They could still be you, Harry," she finished in a whisper. "I'm terrified that I will wake up one morning and one of them will have been you. I don't know what I can do to make you come back. I feel like I've forgotten who you were."
The man in the shadows didn’t move, and Ginny began to suspect. "You'd say maybe that's for the best- or at least that's what you'd think. Oh, Harry, you idiot. That's what you wanted, isn't it."
She pushed herself up again and watched him. "You wanted to come back to a world that had forgotten about you, that didn't care, that didn't need you, a world where you weren't a hero. A world where your friends didn't die and your hands didn't have to be so dirty with the blood of so many. You wanted to start again."
Ginny let this sink in for the both of them. Her heart was heavy with the realization that maybe, in spite of everything, she would never have what she wanted, either. "Well, I won't forget you, Harry. I have too much invested in you to just let you go like that. Don’t you know that by now? And don't tell me it's not worth it, don't you dare tell me to cut my losses."
She waited in the darkness again, feeling a chill in her blood. "But I can pretend you're someone else, Harry. I can pretend you're someone I have never met before. You can be my knight in shining armor." A little laugh escaped her, or maybe it was a strangled sob. Sometimes there was precious little difference. She stuck her right arm out from under the covers and waved it at him. "Ginevera Weasley, called Ginny. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
A boy stepped out of the shadows, very different from the one she had known, right down to the blank stare held by his emerald green eyes. His hand was cold and when he touched her, so was she. "The pleasure is mine."