Title: Dancing on Goodbye

Author: Aelan Greenleaf

Category: Romance, Angst

Rating: K

Summary: They danced for the moment, and they danced for the moments that would never come, when he would be gone to war, and she would be left behind. They stepped slowly for the time that would pass, for the things that would change them and age them, well before their time. And he held her close to him, for when he wouldn't be able to hold her, both now and at the end. H/G, post HBP


Dancing on Goodbye


He'd left, and she hadn't even noticed.

Somehow, while she was laughing with Bill, or talking with Lupin, or dancing with her dad, he'd vanished, away from the reception and the celebration. Looking to the table, he wasn't there anymore; gone, into the fading afternoon, past the dying rays of the sun.

"Excuse me." she said quietly to the elderly wizard next to her, and, graciously, he let her go, turning to yet another conversant, eager to share his story once more.

She walked out of the courtyard, past the bride and groom, waltzing together, part of each other. She went past her parents, and her brothers, and her best friend. She knew, somehow, that this would be when he would leave. It was a feeling, intuition, as the Muggles knew it. It was love, tugging at the corners of her mind and her heart, directing her to him. Superstitious, she knew, but it was true all the same.

Past the trees she had played in as a child, walking by the fence she had climbed over so many times, she made her way to her home, tall and ugly in the light, but warm and beautiful inside. He'd be packing, thinking, waiting within, getting ready.

Ready to leave.

The words didn't really seem true. She knew, though, that they were, as she had known from the beginning of the end, at the lake, not so long ago. He'd told her that he had to go, and she knew it was right, that he had to save the world, but how come he couldn't save himself? Both of them, in their hearts, held the unspoken suspicion that he would not return.

Day by day, it tore her apart, just a little more.

"Harry?" She opened the front door, and looked inside. There was no laughter, no voices, no flurry of motion so commonplace in the Burrow. Tonight was a celebration, and as such, they had all gone. The mirth, it seemed, that always rang true within these rooms and halls, had gone with them.

He was in the kitchen, though he didn't answer her call. Standing by the window, she knew he was looking outside, watching everyone he knew and loved as they danced, laughed, smiled and lived. She knew that it was, most likely, hurting him more than he would ever admit to.

"Harry." she said again, but it had a finality, a certainty to it that she couldn't deny. She wouldn't deny, for his sake. Because he had to leave.

"Ginny, do you think they'll dance like this when Voldemort's gone?"

She didn't flinch at the name; names were not to feared, and she knew that now, more than others that should. "They'll dance, Harry, because he'll be gone. They'll dance in the streets of London, of Paris, of Cairo, of New York. They'll dance because of you."

He smiled wryly then, and moved away from the window. "Ginny, how do you always know what to say?"

Ginny smiled then too, but it didn't go all the way down, not completely. Part of her, the older, mature part, was so wrought with worry and love that it threatened to overwhelm her. And yet, strangely, she smiled anyways.

Harry crossed the kitchen and grabbed her hand. "Will you dance with me, Ginevra Weasley?"

She made a face at him, pretending to be offended. "I have, Harry James Potter, seen your dancing talents as one Triwizard Champion, and, suffice to say, was deeply unimpressed."

A look of mock hurt came across his face, but his emerald eyes were laughing, and for that moment, Ginny and Harry were together. A normal, quintessential, teenage couple, joking and laughing and enjoying what they were together. This was a moment that neither wanted to break.

But time cannot stand still, not even with the prayers and the hopes and the fervent wishes of those who want it. The laughter passed, and the mirth disappeared from her lover's eyes.

"Let's dance." whispered Ginny, and he took her other hand, and they began to move around the kitchen, mimicking in a way those who twirled in jubilation and celebration outside.

They danced for the moment, and they danced for the moments that would never come, when he would be gone to war, and she would be left behind. They stepped slowly for the time that would pass, for the things that would change them and age them, well before their time. And he held her close to him, for when he wouldn't be able to hold her, both now and at the end.

At the end, when it came to just the two, the Parselmouths, the orphans, the two true great wizards of their age. Harry knew the prophecy, and Ginny did as well, but somehow, in her heart, a part of her believed that they would both die. And it was a part of her that couldn't be convinced otherwise.

The dance ended, hours or minutes later, and she noticed that the sun had gone down. An omen? Maybe. She preferred to ignore such things.

"I have to go."

"I know." She wasn't crying. Why would she?

"Ginny, I don't expect you to wait for me, but I want you to know that we have..."

An open silence followed, but it said everything that he couldn't. "I know, Harry. Promises aren't eternal, but I will wait for you."

And he smiled, as he grabbed his bag, heading for the door. "That's all that I can ask." He kissed her, and breathed in a last scent of her, the fading perfume from the wedding before. "We sound so old," he remarked, and she grinned.

"Maybe we've always been old, Harry. Elderly among the young."

"With a name like Ginevra, who could argue?" He grinned, and she chuckled despite herself. "You'll tell them where I've gone?" he asked, sobering his expression and becoming the hero, the man, once more.

"I will."

The door was open, and the dark had already crept in. The time had come.

"I... I love you, Ginny."

"I love you too, Harry."

He took one more look, final unto itself, and the unsettling truth of an uncertain future rose up inside of him. He tried to push it away, deep within himself. "Goodbye." he whispered, as the words of finality hung in the air.

The door closed behind him, and in its' wake, Ginny could hear the music of the reception playing on, dancing away.