A/N I'm back with my new story, as promised! I do have a couple of warnings for you before you get started reading... First, this is a Harry/Ginny story, but if you don't have patience you might not enjoy it. Second, this story does not take place in a happy world for our favorite characters. Third, I had to kill off a lot of people to make this work, and I'm not going to come right out and tell you who for awhile. Fourth, this story has nothing to do with my previous two stories. And finally, fifith, if original characters really annoy you, this may not be the story for you. A lot of this story revolves around a Quidditch team, and all of the team is new. These characters are important to Harry and Ginny's story, but they're not the focus.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the Harry Potter Universe, I'm just playing with it for awhile.
Day After Voldemort's Fall
Ron's voice went from being loud and full of hurt to quiet and cold. "You've ruined my life. I hate you. If you ever come near me or my family again, I'll kill you with my bare hands."
One Year Later
I was so happy to receive your letter. I miss talking to you every day, but I guess that is just as much my fault as it is yours. Work has been keeping me busy, but I love my job. I've been attending as many games as possible, strictly on work related business of course. (Although between you and me, I was cheering my arse off when the Cannons beat the Wasps.)
In regards to your letter, I don't think poorly of you for not wanting to live at the Burrow after graduation. Merlin knows I'm not really enjoying it, but I can't seem to bring myself to leave just yet. I'm thinking about getting a flat with one of the beaters from the Cannons, Jeffrey Collins, before next season. He's a good bloke and we've gotten to be good friends this year. He's one of the beaters still in the running for the national team. I'm telling you, they're going all out this year for the World Cup. I think they want to prove that things will be better than they were before the war. They've had all of the people in the running at an extensive training camp for the last two weeks. The final announcement will be made at a big banquet right after your graduation, and then they're moving all of the team members into a big manor with its own Quidditch pitch so they can practice all of the time and bond as a team. If I were a betting man I'd put money on Jeff making the team. It's too bad that with my inside connections I can't bet on Quidditch anymore.
Sorry, I was rambling, but this is where my good news comes in. You're incredibly lucky to have me in the department. My boss, Mr. Perry, came storming into my office the other day, complaining about the terrible work ethic of the Manager Overseeing Team members (or Mom as the guys affectionately call her). The next day she got into a fight with Coach Mason and quit. Needless to say, Mr. Perry was completely stressed out. That is, until I told him I had a sister who was looking for a job. He was concerned about your age, but I assured him you never had any problem keeping your older brothers in line. That, coupled with the fact that you were made Head Girl, was enough for him. I'm not going to lie, this isn't a glamorous job; it's a lot of work and very little glory. You'd be in charge of making sure the team was at the right place, at the right time, saying the right things. You'd also be in charge of settling any team disputes, and making sure the team always has everything they need. Despite all that, it pays well and it'd get you away from the house.
There's one other thing I'm not sure you'd like about the job. He's in the running to make the team. Personally, I think the Pride's seeker is better, but Jeff tells me it looks like He's going to make it. I bet it's just a publicity stunt. Imagine, putting an under qualified player on the national team because he's a 'hero.' It's enough to make me cheer for Ireland or Scotland instead. Don't tell Mr. Perry I said that though; he seems to think He's the best thing to happen to Quidditch in a long time. Sorry, I'm rambling again. The point is, the job is yours if you want it.
I hope your N.E.W.T.s are going well. I'm sure you'll do better than I did; I was a little distracted around this time last year. Speaking of which, I guess I'll be seeing you at the memorial. Don't waste your time trying to get out of it, I already did. Dad said he didn't care how much I didn't want to see Them, I owed it to everyone to be there. It really doesn't feel like it's been a year already. It feels like yesterday.
Love from your favorite brother,
PS If you do accept the job, you'll have to start working right after graduation. You'll have to attend the banquet where they're announcing the team. Jeff says he'd love to take you as his date.
Ginny set down the letter from her brother and sighed. If you had asked her a year ago, spending time with Harry would have been a job perk instead of a reason not to take a job. But so much had changed. She would always remember what was left of her family gathered in an empty classroom after Voldemort had been defeated, her father urging Ron to make things right with Harry. Ron had reluctantly agreed, only to return a while later furious. His tone had scared Ginny, and his words were etched in her mind forever. "Harry Potter is not welcome in my presence, EVER." The rest of her family wasn't exactly sure what had happened, but they could tell that Ron was serious. And just like that, Harry wasn't a part of their family anymore.
Since then, Ron had made a lifestyle of avoiding Harry. Instead of going into Auror training like everyone had expected Ron and Harry to do together, Ron took a job in the Department of Magical Games and Sports. He loved the job, until he found out that Harry had also forgone Auror training to play Quidditch. Ginny had long ago lost track of the number of work functions Ron had skipped out on avoid being in the same room as Harry. Ron never offered an explanation of his actions to his family, but Ginny knew enough. She didn't know what the final words were spoken between Ron and Harry, but she knew what had started the fight. When the press reported that Harry and Hermione had moved in together, the rest of the family caught on to what had happened.
But this wasn't about Ron, Harry, and Hermione. It was about a job; a great job she'd love to take. Sure Harry Potter had broken her heart, but she had been foolish to believe he had ever been interested in her. The question was: could she face him after all this time? Could she work with him? Could she pass up the job? It wasn't even a guarantee he'd make the national team. Ginny made up her mind right then and there; she wasn't going to let him dictate what she did and did not do, like Ron. In fact, she liked the thought of spending enough time with him to give him a piece of her mind. She'd love to tell him off for what he did to Ron. Hell, she'd love to tell him off for what he was doing to Hermione. Ginny pulled out a clean sheet of parchment, her favorite quill, and a bottle of violet ink.
Thank you so much! You've saved me, at least until after the World Cup. I graciously accept the job offer. As for your concerns; to hell with Harry Potter! I will not pass up this opportunity because he's a git. I can handle him, don't you worry.
As for the memorial, I'm ashamed of you! How could you be so selfish as to not want to go, solely because you're too chicken to face Them. You need to pay your respects, Ron. You don't have to stay long, but come by and let your presence be known. You should stop letting Them dictate how you live your life. Move on, They obviously have. I love you and I'll see you soon.
PS Tell Jeffrey I'd love to be his date.
A week later, Ron slowly walked through the town of Hogsmeade remembering the attack that started the end of the war, and the end of his relationship with Hermione. He felt his heart break all over again every time he thought about it. He had been too busy planning a romantic date for their one year anniversary to notice the love of his life slipping through his fingers and into the arms of his best mate. Make that former best mate. When he was honest with himself he could see how it happened; he didn't know why they had bothered to deny it. Their denial only infuriated him more, although not as much as the many articles in Witch Weekly highlighting their romance. He couldn't seem to stop reading the articles though; he knew all about the flat they shared, their romantic dinners for two, their appearances at Ministry functions, Harry's nights out with other women... It all made him physically sick.
Ron knew he had said some things to Harry he didn't mean in the heat of the moment; he was hurt, he didn't know what he was saying. It was too late to take it back though; too much had happened now. Their relationship was beyond repair, especially with how Harry was treating Hermione.
Ron had reacted the only way he knew how; he made space. He cut himself off from his two best friends, and unintentionally, his family. He found himself starting over at the ministry on his own, with people who knew nothing about his family and his past friendship with Harry Potter. He was polite and people liked him, but he was scared to let them get too close; he was scared of getting hurt again.
Ron shook his head as if he were trying to shake out all of the bad memories. He looked up and realized he was at the gates of Hogwarts. Gathering all of his strength, he strode onto the grounds where so many had lost their lives.
"Ron!" a familiar voice cried. Ron turned around just in time to catch his sister who had flung herself into his arms, sobbing.
"Shh," Ron said soothingly. "It will be okay."
"I just miss them so much," Ginny said through her sobs. She pulled back and wiped her eyes. "With everyone inside, it was getting to be too much. I had to come outside to be alone."
"Has it started? Am I late?" Ron asked, panicked.
"No. The family's inside, but they're not even sitting together. Dad was so sad; I think everyone was avoiding him. How did we end up like this? I want to be strong for everyone, but I don't think I can be."
"You don't have to be strong anymore; let me be strong for you." Ron slid his arm over her shoulders and led her back to the castle. They walked together into the Great Hall where the memorial service was to be held.
"Ron," Mr. Weasley said, his voice shaking. "I'm glad you're here."
"As if I had much choice," Ron thought bitterly. He simply nodded his head and gave his father a hug. He took the seat in between his father and Ginny, keeping a tight grip on Ginny's hand for support. He kept his focus towards the empty stage at the front of the room, not wanting to be drawn into conversation with anyone.
A hush fell over the whispering crowd and Ron noticed everyone turning their attention towards the back of the room. Fighting his better instincts, he turned around to see what everyone was looking at. Immediately, he regretted the decision. Headmistress McGonagall walked into the room followed by Harry, whose hand was clasped tightly with Hermione's. Ron had to use every muscle in his body to resist his urges to go wipe the tears from her face. "That's not my job anymore. The slimy git doesn't even know what he has," Ron thought sourly. He could tell that Harry was using the same 'keep your focus in front of you' tactic he had been using earlier. Ron watched as Harry gave Hermione a tight hug before leaving her to go onto the stage with McGonagall.
"Welcome, students, alumni, guests," McGonagall began somberly. "Today marks the one year anniversary of the day Voldemort was destroyed. At this time, please join me in welcoming Harry Potter to the stage." A polite applause echoed through the room.
Harry walked uncomfortably to the front to the stage. "Um, hello," he began awkwardly. "It's been so long since I've seen so many of you, but it feels like we were all here fighting together yesterday. The ministry wanted to throw a big party to celebrate the fall of Voldemort, but I refused to take any part in it. Those of you who were there with me during that final battle know it was nothing to be celebrated. So much was lost; so many people gave their lives for our cause. That's why we're here today: to remember and honor those who gave everything they had to help defeat Voldemort, in both wars. Without them I could have never succeeded. If I could have traded my own life for any of theirs, I would have gladly, but that was not what fate intended. So please, on this day, remember those who were lost, and live your lives in honor of their memories."
Ron watched as Harry walked off of the stage, gathered a sobbing Hermione, and exited the Great Hall. Several more people spoke, but it was all a blur to Ron. His body was in the room, but his mind was back at the battle. He vaguely remembered comforting Ginny as she lost control. Despite all of his pain, he couldn't bring himself to cry; he couldn't bring himself to release all of the emotions he had been holding in for so long.
When the ceremony was over, Ron said his goodbyes to his family and fled the premises. He hurried to the Three Broomsticks so he could floo back to the ministry and get back to work. He had worked too hard to create a new life, separate from all of the old memories, to let himself fall back into his old life.
A/N As always, please let me know what you think. It really is the reviews that keep me writing when I hit dry spells. I'm going to try and update once or twice a week. I could update faster, but I'm trying to make sure I take things nice and slow this time around so I don't get overwhelmed or make silly mistakes. I hope you enjoyed!