Disclaimer: I own nothing
Summary: Powerful but alone, Harry refuses to be convinced to return after he sets out to do what he promised with his 7th year. HBP SPOILERS
Spoilers Port and Starboard…like I know what I'm talking about
Pressing herself closely to the stone wall of the Hog's Head, Ginny had every belief she was finished there and then. She was silent. Three giants, a dozen Dementors, and seven Death Eaters had attacked Hogsmeade during an outing weekend.
All around her was panic.
Screaming, crying. A small boy next to her was desperately trying to comfort his sister as she lay in the mud next to them. A fourth was hiding with them; he seemed to be in shock.
But Ginny felt oddly in-control. Terrified, yes, but with enough of a mental state to dive into the mud when a curse shattered in her direction.
Lying in the mud, a feeling of complete hopelessness gripped her. A paralyzing pain that seemed to squeeze her heart within her. Tears slid down her cheeks faster and faster. She thought of her family, Ron, Fred and George were among the terrified somewhere… if they were still alive. She thought of the school, the past, the future she wanted. She thought of Harry.
Never had she wanted Harry more. Never had she longed like this.
A Death Eater had broken from the group and had noticed the group near the Hog's Head. He laughed at them, cowering in the mud, wandless and weak. Ginny closed her eyes.
She never expected them to open again.
But they did.
Something fell next to her.
And instead of a Death Eater standing over them chortling, Harry stood straight and impossible.
It was with a heavy heart and his body numb with anticipation and anxiety that Harry Potter left the Burrow secretly at the twilight of Bill and Fleur's wedding. Even with his mind racing during the day and every inch of him fighting any reason he possessed, he had to admit the ceremony and party had been completely enjoyable.
As Dumbledore had so graciously promised the Dursleys what seemed like decades ago, Harry returned to Privet Drive at the end of his 6th year. He had not remained though. He had not even stayed till his birthday, as planned, instead leaving as soon he was permitted to go to the Burrow, not two weeks into the summer.
He had poured over every text book he had, tried to remember every lesson he'd been taught, and had even gone out of his way to try and develop Occumency and Wordless Magic since he'd arrived at the Burrow days earlier. He flipped through some of Hermione's books, though this was completely fruitless as he could make neither hide nor hair of some of her subjects and realized after nearly 20 minutes of reading her Runes notes that he was reading them upside down.
Before the sun had risen on July 16th, the day of the wedding, Harry had stashed everything he planned to take in his bag and stowed everything he wasn't neatly- for when others found it. His wand, invisibility cloak, some quills, parchment, an overweight money bag, the guide to Defence Against the Dark Arts he'd once received from Sirius. As it turns out, shrinking a broom can wreck the broom's performance, so he settled for simply securing it diagonally across the bag, so it would sit between the bag and his back.
And, though Harry was utterly distracted all day, he had fun. Bill had healed from his near-werewolf attack and had been looking less like a badly stitched rag doll recently- though Harry privately thought there was something Monster-of-Frankenstein-ish about some of the scars, like his body wasn't a body but composed of many different parts though, his face had healed and only the scars on his neck were readily visible.
Fleur was overjoyed, as was her Veela-mixed family, who had shown up for the wedding. Apparently, they had all the beauty they'd ever need and it meant very little, the 'scars of 'is bravery' as she called them, were much more desirable. Harry swore her bridesmaids spent as much time with the groom as she did.
It was a small wedding, Bill, after all, was barely recovered and still not quite revealed his new look to many people. Harry was grateful for this. He was tired of condolences.
Ron didn't suspect Harry's leaving in the least, and the rest of the Weasleys (minus Percy) were thankfully distracted. Hermione had noticed something over the wedding dinner of incredibly rare steak. She knew he was acting quiet and strange. He also suspected she had seen him looking through her books.
When Harry slipped out just before dessert, she had followed. He went to Ron's room, put on his bag and was putting on his cloak when Hermione entered the room. Harry froze; he hadn't planned to say goodbyes.
'I know where you're going, Harry…I-,' she began.
'Don't bother trying to stop me, Hermione…I've got to.'
'Harry…' Ron's room was getting dark and he couldn't seen her face clearly, as she got closer Harry realized her eyes were lined with tears, 'please…' she pleaded, '…just stay a little longer...don't go like this…'
'Hermione, I can't…I know we all said we'd go together, but I've got to do this alone…you understand.'
'No,' Harry said a little more sharply then he'd meant to, 'I'm sorry…'
'You won't tell anyone?'
'No…of course not…'
'I love you, Hermione,' Harry said.
'I love you too, Harry…just…be careful.'
Harry hugged her; she pressed her face into his shoulder, then kissed him on the cheek.
Harry disappeared under the cloak as Hermione collapsed onto Ron's bed clutching a pillow tightly. Hermione, however, was not the last to notice Harry's departure.
He passed by the table where the Delecours and Weasleys were drinking, singing, and enjoying huge amounts of French wine and English cakes. Ginny was talking to Gabrielle with the most particular expression on her face like a smug annoyance.
It was impossible to resist. He didn't want to say goodbye to her. He didn't want to ask her to wait for him to return but the thought of her going back to Dean or another guy while he was gone was possibly more painful.
He brushed the back of his hand against her cheek, just closely enough for him to feel how warm it was. She had stopped talking and was looking at the place where he stood. She got up, ignoring Gabrielle, and blindly felt Harry's arm.
Though he hadn't meant for her to feel him, he led her away from them, into the thin forest that bordered the back of the Weasley's property. He let the invisibility cloak slide off him and was thankful it was dark, save for the light coming from the party, because he didn't really want her to see him, or to see her face in case she was angry.
'I don't want you to go; I want to be with you-'
'I have to.'
'Why now? You're not even 17 yet! Just let us be happy together for one last summer!'
'I have to go now, or I might not be able to. Ginny, I'm s-'
'Don't you dare tell me you're sorry Harry Potter, don't you dare. You-you are planning to leave me alone and-'
'I want you to be safe. It's better this way!'
'I don't want to be safe! I want to be with you!'
Harry kissed her right then, hard against a tree. She pushed him away in anger… paused, then leapt back to Harry, causing him to stumble back. They ended up in the long grass and soft leaves on the ground.
Harry left that night an hour later, when the moon was out and nearly full. Ginny had gone to sleep and would be even angrier in the morning when she realized he was gone but there was nothing and no one that could stop him.
Harry left that night and did not come back. He did not reappear on his birthday, nor when gloomily, the school year began with Minerva McGonagall as the new Headmistress, Slughorn returned as Potions teacher and yet another wizard (a cousin of McGonagall) appeared to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts.
He was sighted few times during those first two months. The first time at the Ministry only hours after he left the Burrow, to ensure he would not be searched for or assumed kidnapped. Then there was a vast expanse of time followed by when he was thought to have been seen first in Albania, then in Bhopal and London all in the space of one week.
After that, "oddities" and "co coincidence" seemed to occur and usually bad luck befell the Death Eaters. Two were found near death after a duel with an unknown opponent where there was no one to watch. Soon later four giants had taken it upon themselves to rearrange a muggle village, there was a "freak-storm" and each and everyone found itself hit by lightning, and, when they fell, their bodies all happened to land safely in a corn field, an empty football field, a private air strip and the fourth seemed to linger above a hospital for a moment before a "gust of wind" carried it safely to a large garden.
Then there were eye witnesses. A tall, pale, dark haired teenage boy was seen there.
The Daily Prophet quote marks around official Ministry explanations (we believe there was an unusually strong "updraft" repelled a horde of dementors and "snow" carried from nearby mountains seemed to look like Patroni) began to mean Harry Potter.
Of course, the act didn't last and quickly after Harry showed up and duelled five Death Eaters at once in a street full of wizards, the Ministry of Magic released a statement saying they believed it was Harry Potter. No one seemed to have any idea exactly how Harry was doing it though.
Ginny, Hermione and Ron saw every type of rumour fly about Harry, but the most absurd students (in their opinion) where the ones who needed no justification. These students were many…the ones that never knew Harry to have weaknesses and be flawed saw these events not as surprising and slightly alarming, but as comforting and expected.
And for many reasons, their 7th year did not start off like any other year and was guaranteed not to end like any year previous either.
'Ginny, you ok?' Harry asked, the words hung in the still air.
'Harry…' she breathed.
AN: R/R everyone (not that I expect many…don't think most of us are finished HBP yet). Believe it or not I actually have a plot worked out for this and a good reason for everything… feel free to add suggestions and so on. Umm…as for the shipping, I think it's HPGW but if there's mass outrage I may be persuaded to change.
REVIEW puppy eyes…I'm making puppy eyes at you right now…I swear…I really am
07/18/05- edited grammar