PATH OF DARKNESS
AU: I'm BACK!
Hopefully all of you reading this now have read chapter 5 of my last story. It would explain things a bit better. If you haven't read Death Comes Unto All, all whopping 4 chapters of it, PLEASE DON'T! It will only corrupt your thoughts of this one.
The first section of this is an excerpt from the final pages of Half Blood Prince. I take no credit for Miss Rowling's work, nor do I consider her amazingly created characters to be mine.
Here we go again.
Commence insanity in:
CHAPTER I: Final Departure
"I can't bear the idea that we might never come back," Hermione said softly. "How can Hogwarts close?"
"Maybe it won't," said Ron. "We're not in anymore danger here than we are at home, are we? Everywhere's the same now. I'd even say Hogwart's is safer, there are more wizards inside to defend the place. What d'you reckon, Harry?"
"I'm not coming back even if it does reopen," said Harry.
Ron gaped at him, but Hermione said sadly, "I knew you were going to say that. But then what will you do?"
"I'm going back to the Dursleys' once more, because Dumbledore wanted me to," said Harry. "But it'll be for a short visit, and then I'll be gone for good."
"But where will you go if you don't come back to school?"
" I thought I might go back to Godric's Hollow," Harry muttered. He had had the idea in his head ever since the night of Dumbledore's death. "For me, it started there, all of it. I've just got a feeling I need to go there. And I can visit my parents' graves, I'd like that."
"And then what?" said Ron.
"Then I've got to track down the rest of the Horcruxes, haven't I?" said Harry, his eyes upon Dumbledore's white tomb, reflected in the water on the other side of the lake. "That's what he wanted me to do, that's why he told me about them. If Dumbledore was right–and I'm sure he was–there are still four of them out there. I've got to find them and destroy them, and then I've got to go after the seventh bit of Voldemort's soul, the bit that's still in him. And if I meet Severus Snape along the way," he added, "so much the better for me, so much the worse for him."
There was a long silence. The crowd had almost dispersed now, the stragglers giving the monumental figure of Grawp a wide berth as he cuddled Hagrid, whose howls of grief were still echoing across the water.
"We'll be there, Harry." said Ron.
"At your aunt and uncle's house," said Ron. "And then we'll go with you wherever you're going."
"No--" said Harry quickly; he had not counted on this, he had meant them to understand that he was undertaking this most dangerous journey alone.
"You said to us once before," said Hermione quietly, "that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We've had time, haven't we?"
"We're with you whatever happens," said Ron. "But mate, you're going to have to come round my mum and dad's house before we do anything else, even Godric's Hollow."
"Bill and Fleur's wedding, remember?"
Harry looked at him, startled; the idea that anything as normal as a wedding could even exist seemed incredible and yet wonderful.
"Yeah, we shouldn't miss that," he said finally.
His hand closed automatically around the fake Horcrux, but in spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.
The Hogwarts Express pulled into a frantically bustling Platform 9 3/4. Parents desperately searched for their child's face amongst the many quickly filing off the train. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, however, had not yet left their compartment. They knew that on the platform they wouldn't get a decent chance to talk and say goodbyes. Ron, of course, was going with Harry back to the Dursley's (who did not quite know this yet) and Hermione would be joining them after a week with her parents. But Ginny would not be coming with them, and it was she that held them back in the compartment.
"Ginny. Its only for a month..." Ron condoling said. "We'll be back for the wedding..."
"I'm not worried about that Ron." Ginny sounded exasperated. They had already discussed this on the ride here, and yet he still wouldn't listen to her. "I'm...I'm worried about Harry."
"Ginny, you know I'm fine at my Aunt and Uncle's. Voldemort can't touch me while I'm there." He repeated to her yet again, continuing the hour-long debate.
"I know that--but still--Harry, I can't help thinking about something happening. Things have changed, and if Voldemort discovers that it was you who stole his Horcrux then he's going to want to kill you even more. He's getting stronger...what if Dumbledore was wrong and you aren't safe in Privet Drive?"
"Dumbledore has never been wrong. As far as I know."
"Except about Snape..." She just had to remind him about that. Just hearing that name made Harry so overwhelmingly furious that he had to compose himself for a few seconds before speaking again.
"That...that's different. Snape was a traitorous, lying bas..."
"And Voldemort's not? Harry just consider the fact that you may not be safe. We all thought Hogwarts was utterly impenetrable, but apparently its not."
"Ginny, please. I'll be fine. Ron and Hermione will be with me, and I think Lupin as well. I've always been ok there by myself, well, excluding Dudley's torments, of course. But I won't have to worry about him this year. He wouldn't dare do anything to provoke a full-grown wizard."
"Which you're not!"
"But Lupin is! And so are Ron and Hermione, and they're going to be there with me."
"Well, that's all fine, but I'm not worried about your cousin." She snapped. "You're not completely safe there. What about the Dementor attack before 5th year?"
"Well I think I handled that, didn't I? And that wasn't in my house, that was a couple streets away. If it makes you feel better, we'll stay boarded in my bedroom for a month." He retorted, himself now starting to get annoyed.
"That's not what I want, and you know it. All I'm saying is you aren't truly as safe as you think you are." She seemed to be trying to pass some unknown information through her eyes. They were fearful and imploring, and reminded him of Dobby. Apparently Hermione got the hint, as well, and spoke up before Harry could say anything in response.
"Ginny? Why are you bringing this up now? What's made you think like this?"
"Well...er," She averted her eyes and stared out the window at the milling crowds below. "I had a...a dream..."
"Ginny! You're worrying over a ruddy nightmare?" Ron sounded highly irritated. But Harry was instantly alert.
"What kind of dream, Ginny?" The urgency in his voice scared even himself, and Ginny turned back to face him, looking slightly pale.
"What?" She was startled by the urgency, and drew her words out slowly and carefully. "Um...I dunno...It was about you...And you were...well, you..."
"Dying?" Harry finished for her, praying that wasn't what she was going to say.
"Well...er..yes..." She looked fearful. "How did you...?"
"Because I had the same dream." They stared at each other in stunned silence for a moment, Ron and Hermione exchanging furtive glances.
"But that doesn't...doesn't necessarily mean that it was the same dream, does it? Or that its...its true?"
"No...No, of course not. It couldn't." But Harry had had his fair share of prophetic dreams, and this one had seemed eerily like the others. And then to hear Ginny had had the same one? It was enough to make him a little more than anxious, especially since it concerned himself in tormenting pain.But he could not allow her to worry about it. Perhaps it was just a coincidence. A dream built on nerves?
"Ginny. I promise that even if it was true, I wouldn't let it happen. And neither would Ron or Hermione, both of whom will be with me for the next month. I'll be fine."
"He's right, Ginny.Nothing is going to happen to him." Hermione stepped in, although now she, herself, did not sound too convinced.
"But Harry...if we both had the same dream...that has to mean something..."
"No. It doesn't. All it means is that we're both worried about the same thing. Ginny, just forget it. I'm going to be alright. Now, come on. We better get going; the train's empty now, spare us." Harry finished shoving his things inside his bag, and everyone else followed suit in silence. Everyone was still feeling slightly uneasy about the entire situation, but no one dared bring it up again. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but they all doubted it. One thing was for sure: one way or another, Ron was going to find out what this was all about tonight.
As they threw their stuff together, Ginny was looking out the window yet again. "Oh, hell! Its Mum! She's looking frantic, and dad right behind her! We have to go!" Ron was half way out the door, not wanting his mum to make a scene, Hermione not far behind, just making a last check for any forgotten books or quills. Ginny stood up, hastily grabbing her bag. As soon as she lifted it, it split down the seam. Her things spilled out on the floor, an ink well smashing on top of it all.
"Damn! You guys go ahead and tell mum I'll be right there after I get this mess cleaned up. Let her worry too long and she'd probably explode..."
"Here, Gin. Let me help with that." Harry bent down to assist. "You go ahead, Hermione; this'll only take a minute."
"Alright..." She shrugged, and went to follow Ron. "But don't take too long, I don't know how long this train stays here."
As soon as she was out of sight, Ginny turned to Harry.
"What did you do that for?"
"What?" Harry smiled smugly.
"You know perfectly well what, you prat! My bag, why did you do that?"
"I don't know what you're talking about." He said, casually sliding his wand into his back pocket. He suddenly remembered what Mad-Eye had said about such a thing, and couldn't help but smile, a rare thing in these dark times. Ginny rolled her eyes and groaned, and took out her own wand and began cleaning the ink with a simple spell, while shoving everything else into her magically repaired pack. She slammed her things around, but Harry didn't think she seemed to be angry with him.
"I just wanted some time to talk." Harry reasoned.
"I know that." She had stopped picking up her things now, and just sat in the middle of the floor. She sniffed quietly, then slammed down the book she had in her hand, and turned to face him. "How can you just ignore how much danger you could truly be in?"
"What...?" He began, taken aback.
"No, Harry. Don't try and shift this aside again. I know my dream wasn't normal, and I don't think yours was either. You know its just like the others you've had. Why didn't you tell someone?"
"Because I wasn't sure...and I didn't want everyone else to worry..."
"That's not the reason and you damn well know it!" She accurately accused, voice growing louder. "You didn't want to admit that this time it was you that was in danger! You didn't want to accept that it could really be your future that you saw." Her voice wavered, and she shut her eyes and turned away, jamming the last of her belongings inside her bag.
"If anything ever happened to you Harry..." She whispered, not seeming to be in the least bit enraged.
Harry sighed audibly. "I told you, Ginny: We can't do this. I can't be with you, and this is why. You're worrying over something that hasn't even happened yet, and might not even be true."
"I know what you said...and, yes. I am worried about you. But I'm also worried about everyone else as well. Mum, Dad, Ron, Hermione; everyone. It doesn't matter if I'm with you or not, I'm still going to be worried. You're not saving me by doing this, you're just making it worse." She turned back to face him, and Harry saw a single tear on her cheek. "I want to be with you. I can't lose you."
She couldn't continue, and Harry didn't know what to say. Instead, he knelt beside her and put his arms around her, hugging her comfortingly and regretfully. One part of his heart was so overwhelmingly joyful that she thought like this, that she wanted to be with him, and that she would put herself in such a precarious position to do so. But another part, a more larger, fiercer part, was screaming at him that it couldn't be, that it shouldn't be. They could never be together because one of them would get hurt. Voldemort would see to that, and Harry knew it...
Ginny had her arms around his neck, quietly sobbing. He spoke into her ear.
"Its gonna be alright, Gin. Nothing is going to happen to me. I can't lose you either...And that's why..." He told himself it had to be done. "That's why I can't be with you. Look what's already happening! Things can't be like this."
She pulled back from him. "Harry!...I told you I don't care! I'd rather worry about you then know I could never be with you when you are ok. I can't live without you, Harry. I...I love you..." For the first time her hazel eyes fully met his own green ones, and this time it was he that had to turn away.
"Ginny...I...I can't." Harry stammered, fighting the lump rising in his throat. "I just can't put you into this position. Voldemort uses people's loved ones against them. I won't let him use you. He already has once before, and that was when you were only my best mate's sister. He'll do it again; especially if he knows how much you mean to me now. I can't give him that advantage. Not again. If anything ever happened to you it would be my fault. I could never live with that."
"Harry! Please! I told you! I told you, I don't care about that! Wh..."
"But I do!" He shouted, getting annoyed by the persistent-ness she was so known for. Ginny drew back, eyes wide, her sentence cut short. Harry tried to calm down before he spoke again. "I don't want to have to live worrying that you could be being used as my bait. Because if something ever did happen, you know I would have to try and save you. And that's what Voldemort knows, as well. He did it with Sirius, too, and look how that turned out. I will not let him do it again!"
Ginny did not speak, did not even look at him, and Harry knew that she had realized he would not give in. The fact that he was forcing away the only person in the world that he truly loved, and that loved him back, was destroying him inside, decimating his dreams of this girl that sat before him, crying. Ginny knew that, he knew. She knew he did not want to do this, but that he had to. But she would never truly understand just how much it was hurting him. She was the first person that he had ever deeply cared about like this, and just like everything else in his life, Voldemort was taking that away from him too.
Harry lingered on this thought to long. About how Voldemort had taken away everything from him. His parents, a happy childhood, true family, a chance at a normal life. Without Voldemort, he would have been just Harry. Just Harry; a normal boy who could live and love and be happy without the weight of the world on his shoulders. No prophecies or scars or dreams, no forcing away the people he loved. That would have been life without him being 'the Chosen One', or 'The-Boy-Who-Lived,'. Without being famous Harry Potter, but just being Harry. He could never have these things, and it was at the fault of the Dark Lord. So much had been taken. Sirius and Dumbledore, now even Hogwarts itself, as he has to hunt down the Horcruxes. And now Ginny as well. One day, Voldemort would pay. These are the things that Harry would remember when it finally came time to kill him.
He looked back at Ginny, who had her head down, but her face looked free of tears.
"Ginny...I'm sorry..." He began.
"No...Harry. You're right...its too dangerous. For both of us." She looked back up at him. "I can't let Voldemort take you because of me. You're the only one who can stop him.--I can't compromise that." A tear slid down her cheek. "But...Harry. After this is over. After we win...?"
After we win. Was it truly possibly for him, a teenage boy, the only hope for the Order of the Phoenix...Was it possibly for him to defeat the greatest and most powerful wizard of all time? And even if by some chance this miracle did occur and Voldemort was vanquished, the Death Eaters destroyed, would Harry be there? Would he survive it, or would the struggle of the battle kill him? Would he live to love Ginny? And what would happen if she died?...Could they really both make it to the end?
"Of course, Gin. Once its all over. After Voldemort's gone." He whispered to a spot on the floor, adding this as well to his list of execration.
It was an awkward moment. Neither said anything; both stared at the floor, kneeling before each other. Both were being tormented unbearably inside. And yet both knew it was what had to be.
Finally, Ginny spoke, her voice barely over a strained whisper. "Harry. I can't let that dream come true. No matter what."
"I won't let it happen, Gin." Harry said solemnly.
"Promise me, Harry. I won't lose you. I can't. Promise: you'll be alright?"
Harry turned back to her and lifted her chin in his hand, so he could stare in her eyes. "I swear to you: I am not going to die."
Unaware of what was happening, within the next moment their lips were entwined. Maybe Ginny had kissed him, but maybe he had kissed her: Harry had no idea. All that mattered was that, for that one moment, everything in the world seemed to be right. Right there between him and this girl that he loved, their was no war, no death or suffering, no prophetic dreams to worry about. There was only them in the world...
Them...and Remus Lupin who was standing in the doorway.
"Hmm-hmm." He cleared his throat to alert them to his presence. He watched with a bemused smile as they both frantically broke apart and staggering to their feet. Both were highly embarrassed and averted their eyes from each other and the chuckling Lupin, their faces the color of the Gryffindor scarf that poked out of the bag on the floor.
"Erm, Lupin...We were just...er, getting ready to, uh, go, and um..." Harry stammered, and he felt his face grow hotter.
"Oh, Harry, relax. I shared a dorm with your father and Sirius for 7 years. I've walked in on my fair share of events."
"Yes, well, er...what are you doing here?" Harry asked, changing the subject.
"Well Molly was starting to get a bit frantic..."
"Mum!" Ginny exclaimed in sudden recollection and went to look out the window.
"Its alright, she was just getting a little worried. She sent me to see what was keeping you two. They've already gone through the barrier. I think they're going to arrange things with your Aunt and Uncle, Harry."
"Smart of them to take a head start." Harry said, starting to regain his composure.
"That could right well take a while."
"Yes, that's what they figured."
Ginny turned around and grabbed her pack. "We should get going then."
"After you..." Lupin said, mock-bowing them from the compartment.
Harry and Ginny shared half an embarrassed smile, laughing softly to themselves as they walked out the compartment door. Harry turned to Lupin, who was at his side as they stepped off the train for one last, final time.
"Er, Lupin. Could you, uh, not mention this to Ron?"
Remus smiled. "Wouldn't dream of it."
Finally, after 2 long years, an update in the continuation of the story. Ok, sorry, not much new information to go on, and I know the entire thing was overly boring, but stay with it. I promise it picks up in later chapters. The rest won't be this corny either, I promise. I just needed to get that out of the way. But if you want to find out what happens later, you HAVE to review. Flames are just as acceptable, I know I deserve them. Chapter 2 will not be posted until I have at least 5 reviews/flames that are more than 10 words each. And don't think I'm kidding. I really want to know what you all honestly think. (Ellen, if you're reading this, you don't count. I already know what you think. sticks out tongue)
I really want to get chapter 2 up soon, so the faster you review, the faster it will be up. And that means the closer you will be to finding out what has happened to Harry after waiting in suspense for so long with that last cliff-hanger. Got you all back to read this one though, didn't it? Anyway, hoped you somehow managed to make it to the end of this without being bored out of your mind. I promise I'm never writing another romance scene again. EVER. I just can't do it. So, review and the next chapter will be up shortly.
May the force be with you. Disapparates