The Sugar Quill
Author: Talking Purple Rabbits  Story: Moonlit Night  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.

A/N: ::sighs:: I love H/G. J It’s just so wonderful. Everybody please tell Yolanda she ROX for being such an awesome BETA! ~TPR

Dedication: To Camille, who I hope will enjoy this.

Disclaimer: The characters, ideas, world…it all belongs to J. K. Rowling. But the setting and plot are mine, and I’m rather proud of them. So please ask if you wish to take.

Moonlit Night

Harry rolled over, his face illuminated by the moonlight. Yet again, sleep was lost to him. He sat up in bed and fumbled for his glasses. Finding them, Harry sighed quietly, so as not to wake her.

Harry supposed his insomnia was a blessing in disguise. After all, this way he couldn’t have any nightmares. But being awake gave him the chance to brood.

Lord Voldemort had eventually been defeated at the end of Harry’s seventh year. The wizarding world was almost used to saying his name by now. Unfortunately, the gain had not come without the loss… So many were gone, and Harry couldn’t help blaming himself for that.

If it weren’t for him, Cedric Diggory would still be alive. And Hagrid would still have a job. And Sirius would still be… Harry blinked back tears. He refused to think about that. But his parents might still be alive. Perhaps his mother, had she not offered her life in exchange for his. And maybe Ginny could have been untouched…

Harry turned to face his sleeping love. Her red hair had fallen over her cheek and she was smiling slightly. Harry wondered if she were dreaming. It had been a long time since he had been able to do so. How anyone could sleep peacefully without a potion was a mystery to him.

Harry got up and pulled the covers over her tenderly. He walked to the window and pressed his nose to the glass. Outside, the full moon glistened and glimmered in the darkness. Harry remembered Professor Lupin, trapped forever by that oval in the sky. Tonight he would not be the only one who could not sleep.

“Harry?” Ginny’s voice broke through the silence questioningly.

“Yeah?” He didn’t face her.

“D-did you have another one?”

“No, no nightmares tonight. Just insomnia.”

“Oh, Harry…” She arose, wrapping a filmy lace shawl around her shoulders. Ginny came to the window and hugged him gently. “Are you still blaming yourself?”

Harry couldn’t look her in the eye. “You know it’s my fault, Gin. If it weren’t for me…”

“If it weren’t for you, Harry, Voldemort would still be in power. People would either be dead, worse than that, or living their lives in utter terror. If it weren’t for you and Professor Dumbledore’s trainees, our whole world would be despairing.”

“But I told Cedric to take the cup with me. And I was the one that that Hagrid was defending. Tell me, Ginny, who was it that Sirius tried to save, even as the Dementors applied the Kiss?” Seeing Ginny open her mouth, Harry hurriedly rushed on. “I’m not done yet. My parents too, they could have been saved.”

Ginny wrenched her mouth open before he could stop her. “Just how does your infernal brain figure that?”

“My mother…she saved my life by taking hers. And Dad, he might be alive today if he hadn’t tried to keep me safe from him.”

“But Harry…”

He ignored her. “And then, there’s you.”

That stopped her in her tracks. “WHAT about me?”

“If you hadn’t met me… If I had kept a better hold on that diary, maybe you never would have gone down to the chamber, maybe you wouldn’t have gotten hurt.”

Ginny blew up. “How dare you? You think everything revolves around you? How can you be so bloody self-centered, you prat? It was completely my fault, that year. Dad used to spend hours instructing us what to do when that stuff happens! I was responsible for so many casualties that year, that I deserved to be expelled. When I think of all the things that could have gone wrong, had you and Ron not come down there… it’s enough to make me cry, enough to make me want to torture myself!” It seemed as if Ginny had bottled up this anger for a long time.

“You’re so wound up in self-pity-‘oh, it’s my fault the world is messed up’- that you take anything that went wrong that you had any connection to, and twist it into a reason you caused other people’s mistakes!” She stopped and took a few calming breaths, then smiled. “You know who I think is responsible for this mess?”

“Who?” Harry asked warily. Ginny had a glint in her eyes that he didn’t trust. Harry fervently hoped she wouldn’t blame herself.

“Your mother.”

“WHAT?!?” Harry cried. “What could she possibly have done to mess this all up?”

“Duh. She loved you, of course! If she hadn’t, you couldn’t have defeated Voldemort because there would be nothing holding him back. He would have killed you, so there would have been no ‘Boy Who Lived’, then you couldn’t have gone to Hogwarts, and he wouldn’t have tried to get the Philosopher’s Stone because he wouldn’t have needed it. He’d still be alive. The whole thing would be like a domino chain. The past twenty-one years would have never happened, and the Dark Lord would have wiped out the wizarding population by now. You see, this all could have been avoided if your mother just hadn’t loved you. There.” Ginny crossed her arms and looked extremely self-satisfied.

Harry glared at her. “But that’s totally ridiculous! If Mum hadn’t loved and protected me, everyone would be dead, and no one could stop Voldemort from ruling the world. Then it wouldn’t matter who had done what, because nothing could have been done. Without Mum, Diggory, Sirius, Hagrid, even you would be dead. It’s so completely stupid to say it was all Mum’s fault, because without her, we’d all be dead and therefore couldn’t argue!!” he yelled.

“I know.”

“Wh-what?” Harry’s mouth fell open.

Ginny rolled her eyes. “Come off it, Harry! Did you really think that I blame your mother for this mess?”

“I-er, well…”

“Of course it’s not her fault! But it’s not all yours either. Your parents, Hagrid, Sirius, they chose their fate. They loved you so much that they didn’t care about risking themselves so you could live and succeed in your quest. You couldn’t control that, and you shouldn’t even begin to think that their choices are your fault!”

Harry sighed. “But why… why then…. why do then, do people like the Malfoys get off so easily? I’d bet everything I own that they’ve never ever had guilt like this.”

“Of course they haven’t. Guilt doesn’t attack such callous, heartless people. I’d call them evil, but that word is a discussion all by itself. You are too sensitive, too caring to let guilt pass you by. That’s a mark of a good person, Harry, that you are able to hurt enough to blame yourself.”

Harry smiled wanly. “Thanks, Gin. That helps, a bit.” He turned to the window and stared out again. “You know what?”

“Mm?”

“I love you so much, Virginia Weasley. It’s not just the guilt that haunts me; it’s the fact that you’re here with me -that you bother with me. You deserve someone who can take care of you truly, and I don’t mean with possessions. You deserve someone who is able to give you ten times the attention I can, someone whose life isn’t always reported by the press, someone who doesn’t have all these dealings with the Dark side, someone who has no reason to feel guilt -someone the complete opposite of me. ”

Ginny sighed. “Tell me, where am I not getting through to you? Life is not about what you deserve, it’s about what you choose. Maybe I do deserve better, maybe my choice is a stupid one, but I love you, Harry James Potter, and I have from the minute I first saw you. And in some cases, it’s better to follow the heart than the head.” It was the first time Harry had truly smiled since Voldemort had been defeated.

* * * * * * * * *

They stood together for quite some time. All of a sudden, Harry pulled away. “You’ve forgotten Diggory, my darlin’. That’s my fault, there’s no denying it.”

Ginny looked rather annoyed. “Harry, love, this is only a part-time profession. I can’t solve all your problems in one night. I’ll get back to you tomorrow, all right?”

“Fine,” Harry said, his eyes twinkling.

“Then can we please go back to bed? It’s rather cold out here.”

“You go ahead. I’ve got some more thinking to do.”

Ginny looked concerned, but he quickly assured her.

“I’ll be OK. Just a bit of reflecting, that’s all.” She looked relived, and clambered into bed, draping the shawl over a nearby chair. Ginny pulled the covers up as high as she could, until at last all you could see was her flaming red hair.

Harry took one last look at the scenic view. A thick cloud was now covering the moon, but his heart was relaxed. It was as if the guilt had transferred itself to the cloud, setting him free, for now.

Maybe he’d get some sleep after all. Harry headed back to bed, where his love was waiting for him.

Fin

//
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