Author's Note: At this time I'm almost through with the first draft. This has been the hardest chapter I've ever written. It's chock full of desperate, raw emotion - which is a complete doozy to write. It'll never sound realistic enough. As I once read (paraphrased) :
"To someone who has never felt love the most simple scene will seem overdone. To someone who has, the most well written one will never come close"
Even though the scene I struggled with wasn't a love scene (in the romantic definition), it's still one that dealt with that power. In my opinion, it's one of those things you have to feel to understand. So I had to try to be as expressive as possible to convey some of that emotion.
I also had to remember that some of my reader's may have experienced this very situation. If so, I give my sincerest, most heartfelt sympathy, and I hope that I haven't brought up painful memories, and nightmares.
Also, I did not include the lyrics to the song that inspired this chapter. If you want them, just type in the title at google or something.
Okay, you probably want to know what the scene is, so enough author's note.
A few day's after Hermione's visit, Harry decided that the girls would be safer away from home, at least for a little while. So the twins dutifully packed their bags and waited on the porch to be picked up by their aunt and uncle.
Harry and Ginny walked out the door.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked, squatting so he was eye to eye with his daughters. They looked at him incredulously.
"What's wrong?" Hope replied. "Dad, we're being sent away for our own safety! We're not safe with our own parents!"
Harry exchanged an uncomfortable look with Ginny.
"What gave you that idea?" She asked.
"Don't do that Mum!" Dawn exclaimed.
"Do what?" Ginny wondered.
"Act like we're little kids!" the twins cried.
"Last time I checked, you are little kids." Harry muttered.
"Are not." Hope insisted.
"Not after everything we've seen" said Dawn.
"Enough" said Ginny, "you're starting to sound like your uncles. We're treating you the way we - as your parents - think you should be treated."
The girls glared. "Still doesn't mean you have to send us away." Dawn muttered.
Ginny looked at Harry. Harry shrugged, then looked back at the twins.
"Look," he consoled, "this isn't forever. It's only until we can get our bearings again." The girls didn't look convinced.
Ginny knelt next to her husband. "If Tom doesn't come back for a month, we'll bring you back."
"After all," Harry said, looking at his wife, "he's been gone for over a year before."
Ginny grasped her daughter's hands. "So we'll bring you home soon."
"We promise." Harry confirmed.
A sound from inside the house interrupted the conversation as a tall red head stepped out the front door, grinning ear to ear.
"And where are my two gorgeous nieces?"
The Auror was then knocked to the ground by two black haired whirlwinds. Harry stood up laughing as he brushed gravel off his jeans.
"You sure you can handle them mate?" he asked, helping his best friend up. Ron straightened his robes, then turned to survey the girls.
" Hmmm....." he pondered, stroking his stubbly chin, "it'll be a challenge.... but I reckon 'Mione and I can handle it." He laughed, slapping Harry on the shoulder before hugging his sister. He then turned to the girls. "Right you lot," he ordered, "you know where the fire place is. We're having dinner at the Burrow first, so head there."
Ginny and Harry scooped up the girls for hugs and kisses.
"You be good now, okay?" Ginny begged, swinging Hope to the ground and reaching for Dawn.
"We'll bring you home soon," Harry whispered to them, "I promise."
The girls nodded dutifully, then grabbed their bags and went through the fireplace.
Ron looked at them one last time.
"You sure you're all right?"
"We're fine Ron," Ginny insisted. "It's nothing we haven't handled before." Harry put an arm around her. Ron shrugged, and stepped into the fire.
The month passed quietly.
Ginny decided it was high time they painted the house, and many an evening was spent discovering exactly how far paint could be thrown, and how many colors they could be covered in. Harry had decided to compile a book, and spent the mornings looking up various spells they had used in battles with the dark side. Afternoons were spent cooking and cleaning, and getting the general chores of the house done.
Three times they were invited to the Burrow for supper, and twice to the Haven (Ron and Hermione's house). These evenings were lively and fun, spent with familiar friends and family. Harry never did get over his legal relation to his best friends, and heartily enjoyed asking his "sister" for help with the book, or getting into strategy arguments with his "brother". He would wrestle on the floor with his four nieces and nephews , chase his daughters around the yard, and gently explain the finer points of batteries to his father-in-law.
James came home for a grand total of three day's before setting off again. It would be his second year of Hogwarts, and he was itching to continue his pranks. When she received her first owl from the Head Girl after he'd only been on the train for an hour, she regretted all those time's she had let the twins mind him.
Tom never showed his face, and true to their words, at the end of the month Harry and Ginny collected the girls from Ron and Hermione. They were quickly reincorporated into the pattern of life at Potter Manor. One of the twins would stay on hand in the library, practicing the three "R's", and occasionally fetching a book for their father. The other could usually be found gardening with their mother, or the two would play in their room together. Dawn was discovered to have a knack for sponging (a type of painting technique Ginny was especially fond of) while Hope had a brilliant eye for color. And so the twins entered the nightly paint duels.
On the surface, Ginny wrote one night in her journal, this is probably the happiest time of my life. But it only serves to bring more pain, taunting me with the life I could have had. I see the girls with Harry, and am swiftly reminded of the children I will never see, never touch. The afternoons of chores seem to speak to me of a life of monotony, of never having to look over my shoulder, of never having to fear my husband.
Autumn came and went, followed closely by winter. Peace descended on Potter Manor. An uneasy peace, yes, but peace. James came home for Christmas, bringing with him a mountain of homework, and tidings of mistreatment by Snape. Harry finished the book, and sent it off to the publisher's. Ginny rounded them all up and headed to the Burrow for Christmas Eve, and spent the night keeping the children sober (with no help from Fred and George of course).
Christmas morning was spent with just the family, so that the children could run about in naught but their pajamas and be unashamed. Christmas afternoon was spent with "The Gang" - Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Susan, Blaise, and their respective families.
Neville and Luna had never married, much to everyone's suppress. Luna had gone on to take over the Quibbler, and spent most of her time traveling around, looking for the various creatures she wrote about. Neville had gone on to become a world famous Auror, head of the department, in fact.
It was good to spend time with them. Ginny loved her family dearly, but they could never understand. They hadn't been scared, torn, desperate, victorious, tortured by Lord Voldemort. Oh, they had gone through hard times - everyone had, especially those in the Order - but they hadn't fought, one on one with the Dark Lord like every one of the Gang had.
So they knew each other, they understood each other. They spent the evening chasing children around, cooking, cleaning, opening presents, and, above all, laughing. After all, that's what the war was for, right? So that we don't have to be afraid. So that we can enjoy ourselves. So we can laugh.
Before she knew it, Ginny was preparing for the annual Independence Day feast. The actual name of the holiday was "Harry Potter Day" (something McGonagall seemed to find immensely amusing), but Harry refused to call it that. In fact, he wouldn't even celebrate it until James came home from a trip to the cousins asking why they didn't have bonfires on May 23. So he grudgingly allowed it.
She was just making the "anciently traditional Potter pie" when Hope bounded down the stairs.
"Hey Mum! Can I go to the parade?" Ginny shot her daughter and appraising eye.
"No, Karl'll be there."
"Is Dawn going?" she asked, turning back to the pie.
"Uh uh, she's drawing pictures for tonight." Ginny distractedly nodded, pinching the edges of the crust.
"Stay within shouting distance." She called to the closing door.
Harry trundled down the stairs.
"Hope gone?" he asked blearily, blinking sleep from his eyes.
"Yep" she answered, carefully levitating the pie into the oven. "She left not ten minutes ago."
Harry nodded, and sat down at the kitchen table, stretching as hard as he could.
"Big parade I guess."
She turned to him smiling.
"There always is. You're a big-shot hero."
"Don't deserve it." He grumbled.
"Of course not," she said soothingly, reaching over to brush his hair. "You only defeated the Darkest Wizard of all time."
He looked up at her, eyes glistening. "If I had defeated him, we would have had seven children." He placed a hand on her abdomen, then leaned against her sobbing. She placed her arms around him, comforting him.
Don't think about it. Harry needs you now. Don't think about it. You can't help him if you break down. Don't think about it. Don't think about it....
Upstairs she could hear Dawn singing to herself. She could hear the sounds of the parade. She listened to the steady dripping of Harry's tears on the floor.
Don't think about it, don't think about it, don't think about it....
Harry's arms tightened around her.
Don't think about it
Poison green eyes looked up at her.
"Good morning Genevra."
She tore away from him with a gasp.
"Pleasant to see you again, my dear."
Ginny ran upstairs, heading for her bedroom. He followed her into the hallway, brandishing the wand that had destroyed him. All at once she heard Dawn singing again.
I have to distract him! she thought desperately.
Tom grabbed her shoulder and yanked her away from the door way, sending her sprawling on the floor. He stood above, leering at her pain.
"Hurts, doesn't it?" he said, "To have your own husband attack you?"
"Like you would know" she replied, " you'd have to imperio someone to marry you."
"I can assure you that before my various transformations I was quite desirable."
She laughed as she stood up. "So that's why Violet Hannings turned you down, right?"
He looked at her condescendingly. "As if that matters. As if I ever cared about such things. I can assure you Genevra, that your pathetic attempts to infuriate me are utterly pointless." He said, advancing towards her. She took a step back.
"You've got a thing for redheads don't you?" she went on, ignoring him. "First with miss Violet, then there was that wench on your block," she scanned the hall, looking for a way out, "of course we can't forget that american woman you met at the market in your fifth year," there didn't seem to be anything; if she opened the doors or windows he could get out, and they were steadily making their way to the Dawn's room. "Of course there's me;" she babbled as her back hit the door of the girls' bedroom, "and I always thought there may have been something between you and Lily Potter."
He froze, hand reaching around her back.
"What?" he hissed, narrowing his poison green eyes.
"You can't deny it," she whispered breathlessly, every cell in her body aware of the little girl playing just behind her, "Lord Voldemort doesn't show mercy."
"Of course not," he growled, hand tightening dangerously on the door handle. His vehemence suppressed her - she had only been babbling; it had never occurred to her she was right.
"So it seems rather strange that he would tell a 'silly girl' to get out of his way, rather than just kill her." If he gets mad enough, maybe I can lead him back down stairs "Everyone's been speculating for years. Perhaps you had a soft spot for her." His eyes were narrowed dangerously. He pressed up against her, growling softly in her ear.
"You know nothing!" he spat, throwing the door open.
Ginny tumbled to the ground, immediately reaching for her daughter. Tom grabbed her around the waist and tossed her on the bed like she was no more than a rag doll.
"I grow tired of playing with you," he wheezed, pulling a whimpering Dawn to him, "I've threatened you, beaten you, raped you, caused you to miscarry...." he pulled his wand out, keeping an arm around the frozen girl, "but nothing gets through your thick head. Maybe it's time for some more.....drastic measures." He threw Dawn to the ground in front of him.
A blinding green light filled the room, accompanying distant screaming. Tom stood laughing uproariously as the light faded. With a jolt, Ginny realized she was the one screaming, and stopped, starring instead at the terrifying figure before her. Tom stood, spine straight and head thrown back in mirth above the prone figure of a black-haired little girl. He looked towards her, daring her to make a move. His cocky grin snapped her out of her stupor.
"Acio!" she summoned, wandless magic heeding her call as the wand flew to her shaking hand. Tom's eyes grew wide for a moment, before her voice rang through the room.
She felt, more than heard the thump of his body hitting the floor. She knelt there for a moment, chest heaving. Then slowly, cautiously, she crept towards the fallen child.
There was a chasm in her chest, sucking everything out more effectively than a dementor could ever hope to do. Though she sat in broad daylight, she felt the deep blackness swirling around her, icy tendrils of it's smoke wrapping themselves around her very soul. And Dawn, sweet Dawn, just lay there, eyes wide open in frozen horror.
Green eyes, like her father's. Like her grandmonther's. Her soft mouth was open in a silent scream. It looked unnatural. Those lips should be smiling, laughing, teasing her brother. It should be puckered, kissing her mother, her father, her sister. It should be singing, talking, eating, reciting. Anything but screaming. Her skin shouldn't be this pale - it should be cherry blossoms, not snow. Her black hair should bring the night sky to mind - not the dark depths of a tomb.
This wasn't her child. It couldn't be. It couldn't. She was numb - to numb to cry. To numb to scream, to rage. She could do nothing but sit there, starring at her daughter.
The shadows on the floor lengthened, and still she stayed. The sun sank below the trees, and still she stayed. The grandfather clock chimed midnight, and still she stayed. The lark began to sing, and still she stayed. The light of the dawn - oh, the dawn, the dawn! The perfectly named Dawn, named for her child, sent it's perfect light upon her face. She could almost feel the eight year old's finger tips, hear her whisper.
It's okay Mum, don't cry.
A door slammed downstairs jolting Ginny out of her reverie.
"Mum? Mum, I'm home! Dad? Dawn?"
Hope. Oh my God, what am I going to tell Hope?!
She heard the sounds of the downstairs being searched.
Nothing a distant part of her mind whispered.
Her face set. She would tell her nothing. It was over. She couldn't handle it anymore. She crawled to her husband.
"You will never know what you've done," she whispered, tenderly stroking his face. "You will never know that you killed her. That's all I can do for you. Keep you from knowing." She kissed him softly, and stood up.
Hope thundered up the stairs.
"Mum? Dawn? Where are you guys?"
Ginny quickly opened the door and stepped into the hallway.
"There you are! I was getting worried!" Hope cried, running towards her. "Where is everyone else?" she asked, throwing her arms around her mother. Ginny simply stood there starring. "Mum?" she stepped back, looking into her face. "What happened?"
Oh baby, baby girl I'm sorry!
Authors Note: Well, there it is. The hardest chapter I've written in my life. It was near impossible to write Ginny after Dawn dies. Time didn't seem to pass to her, yet she felt every moment. It was incredibly difficult to harness the complete despair you feel when you lose a child and put it on (theoretical) paper.
I'm sorry to anyone out there who has lost a child, if I brought things back. Of course I did, but I'm still sorry.
Well Mom, she got to "the point"