Usual disclaimer: This wonderful
world, and all the characters that inhabit it, are J.K. Rowling’s. I just
like to play.
Author’s Note: This is what happens
with I listen to Copland’s Appalachian Spring too many times at
work. Many thanks to Arabella, who beta-read even though she was really
busy, and to CrimsonHippogriff, who alpha-read. Oh, and this has nothing
to do with Just Plain Harry or Ginny Weasley, In Her Own Words
- different Harry, different Ginny.
“’Tis a gift to be simple, ‘tis
a gift to be free, ‘tis a gift to come down - argh!” Ginny Weasley threw
down her pencil in disgust. “Why can’t I get this song out of my head?”
“Well, it’s a haunting tune, isn’t
it?” a voice said behind her, causing her to give an undignified shriek.
She looked around the tree she was leaning against, to see Harry Potter
sitting up and rubbing his eyes.
“Harry! How long have you been there?”
He put his glasses back on and grinned
at her sheepishly. “I don’t know. Ron and Hermione went for a walk, and
I came here. I suppose I fell asleep, and when I woke up, you were singing.”
“Oh,” Ginny said, turning back around and staring at her sketch without
really seeing it. I should really stop trying, she thought. Even
when I try desperately not to, I embarrass myself in front of Harry. It
never fails. She blinked away the tears that sprang to her eyes, since
she heard Harry moving behind her. He came around and sat with his back
against the tree, forcing her to control her breathing as his shoulder
“I think your singing got into my
dream,” Harry said. She could see out of the corner of her eye that he
wasn’t looking at her; he was staring off into space. “I was in a world
where there was no war, and no Voldemort...everything was simple and...right.”
He still didn’t look at her. “Could you sing it again?”
“Um...but, Harry, I don’t sing very
well,” Ginny managed to get out. Is he mad? she thought. Sing
for him? All right, he heard me before, but not very well if he was asleep.
I couldn’t, I just couldn’t. “Anyway, Hermione sings it much better
than I do - she’s the one who taught it to me.”
“I doubt that.”
Ginny gave a nervous giggle. “But
of course she did. How else would I know a Muggle religious song?”
“It’s religious?” Harry asked. He
did finally turn and look at her. “It doesn’t sound religious.”
“I know. Hermione said that there was an obscure sect called the Shakers,
who advocated communal living, and back to the earth philosophy, and I
don’t know what else. They had highly ritualized dances, and I suppose
this was one of them.”
“That’s interesting,” Harry said.
He looked off into the distance again. “But I doubt that Hermione sings
it better than you do; she has a much lower voice, and the way yours floats
over the music...I can’t explain it.”
She couldn’t think of anything to
say to that. Now I know I can’t sing, Ginny thought. He’ll expect
me to float.
Suddenly, Harry turned and looked
her straight in the eyes, and Ginny knew she was lost. She could never
refuse him anything when he looked at her like that. Not that he ever
had before, but she knew it anyway.
She still didn’t say anything, just
nodded, and waited for him to turn away again. Then, she sang.
‘Tis a gift to be simple,
‘Tis a gift to be free,
‘Tis a gift to come down where
you want to be.
And when you find yourself in
a place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be
To turn, turn will be our delight,
When in turning, turning we come
When she finished, Ginny was completely
shocked to see tears in Harry’s eyes. She was shocked that he was crying,
first of all, but even more, she was shocked that he would let her see.
“Why can’t it be that simple? Can life ever really be like that?”
“Oh, Harry, of course it can,” Ginny
said. She reached her hand towards him, hesitated a moment, and then put
it on his arm. “We’re living in a horrible time right now, and it’s worse
for you, of course, but we’ll get through this. We have to.”
“What if we don’t? What if someone...”
he trailed off, then suddenly stood up and took a few strides away.
Ginny wasn’t sure if she should
follow him, but she knew that she needed to. When she was standing beside
him, she waved her hand at their view. They were standing on a hill overlooking
the Burrow, and she could see her mother weeding in the garden, smoke
pouring out of Fred and George’s window, and, if she looked hard, Ron
and Hermione standing very close to each other beneath Ron’s favorite
“That’s simplicity,” she said. “That’s
freedom. We were in the middle of another war when Mum and Dad had most
of us. They chose to try to find their place, and not be ashamed of living
the life they wanted to live, even though there was a war on. Fred and
George are certainly coming down where they want to be, and aren’t ashamed
of it. Look at Ron and Hermione...they’re making each other happy. Even
if someone...dies, we’ll all still have this to look back on, and to know
- we did our thing, we lived our lives, and we...” She trailed off, because
Harry had turned to stare at her.
“But what if I don’t know what I
want?” he asked - seriously, as though he really expected her to be able
“Don’t you, Harry? Or are you just
not admitting it to yourself?” Ginny couldn’t believe she was saying these
things, but Harry needed to hear them, and maybe the song had strengthened
her resolve, too.
He turned away from her at that,
to look back over the Burrow. His eyes were bright, and he seemed to be
drinking in every tree, every blade of grass. “I do want that, I do,”
he said, so softly that Ginny had to strain to hear him.
“Want what, Harry?” she asked, equally
“Life,” he replied.