Title: Complex Touch
Summary: For the sake of the Order, Ginny Weasley takes a mission to go back in time to find a Horcrux for Harry. She just never expected to fall in love with a familiar future convicted escaped murderer. And that's just the beginning of the difficult times ahead for her.
Disclaimer: I only own the plot.
It's All Over
It wasn't an option for Ginny to say yes to Sirius. But, despite the fact that she knew she wasn't able to, despite the fact that she had never even considered marrying a person who was not Harry, Ginny wanted to say yes. The word was on the tip of the tongue, ready to be spoken, but she couldn't say it. She had promised him she would but she had been ignorant then, unsure of what the drunken Sirius had been talking about. And Ginny knew she could not change the course of time.
Ginny continued holding onto Sirius. He was hopeful that she was going to say yes, that she'd actually consider it. Sirius knew they were young, she wasn't even seventeen, but it was obvious that it didn't matter to him. All Sirius wanted was for Ginny to stay.
"Sirius," she whispered and her heart broke.
How could she not say yes to being with Sirius?
Sirius didn't seem to hear her, his eyes still burning into hers. So she repeated it.
"I can't marry you."
Blinking, Sirius pulled his face away from hers.
"I know that your aunt wants you to go home, I know we have our issues," he began, desperately trying to get her to understand. "But we can work it out."
"Sirius, I wish I could but I can't," Ginny continued, trying her best not to listen to him. "I can't because we'd never work out, not now. Why don't you see that?"
Sirius shook his head.
"Stop it," he snapped. "You're not speaking what you feel right now, you're speaking what you think you need to say."
"Sirius, we're a lost cause."
"Stop!" he cried, stepping away from her. "Don't do this to me, Ginny."
Ginny felt her eyes watering, felt her face flushing, as she tried to think of what to say. She didn't want to hurt him anymore.
"You wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't leaving."
"I know. I know because it's crazy and it's stupid but I still want it. I still want you. Don't you feel it? Don't you just feel the need to have this, me, us, in your life?"
Feeling rather miserable, Ginny looked at the boy in front of her. If only he knew what she was going to do to make him safe, to make it so he could live with her and Harry and everyone else who loved him. She would hurt him now, yes, but she was going to risk everything for him later. How could she explain that to him?
"Yeah, I do," she muttered, rubbing at her face tiredly.
"I need you to stay here. What am I going to do if you leave?" Sirius asked, his voice low, stepping close to her and taking her hand.
"Be happy!" Ginny cried out, frustrated, throwing her arms into the air. "I've only ever brought you down. And you're the only person who hasn't noticed that."
"That is a lie," he told her sharply.
"And, what, you're just going to let me get away with Severus kissing me?"
"Don't call him that! Don't call him by his first name like you know him."
Sirius and Ginny stood a couple feet away from each other, yelling. She needed him to see that this couldn't work, not now, so that it would hurt less when she left. And, when she rescued him, they would be able to work it out.
"You can't just let me get away with that, Sirius."
"Fine. I'm still bloody pissed about you and Snape kissing but that is not the main issue right now. The issue is that you're leaving-"
"And I am leaving. I'm leaving. I can't stay here."
I wish I could marry you, Ginny dully thought as she watched his eyes darken. I wish I could stay.
"Is this your way of trying to keep me under wraps?" Ginny snapped, trying to clear her head. She couldn't let him win this battle, not this one.
"Yes!" Sirius shouted. "Bloody hell, yes. But I don't think there is a man alive who can keep you under wraps, Ginny. You're the most stubborn person I have ever met."
A breeze caused Ginny's dress to flutter and Sirius' shirt to loosen. It was heartbreaking to watch this boy fight for a lost cause. When Ginny didn't respond, Sirius mimicked her earlier movement and threw his hands into the air.
"So you're just going to leave? You're going to leave and not fight for us?" Sirius snorted. "Not that I'm surprised by that. All you've ever done is run away."
The simple word got a rise out of Ginny, though she didn't want to get angry with him. Narrowing her eyes, Ginny watched as Sirius began walking away from her. She ran up to him, pushing him from behind.
"What did you call me? What did you say?" she screeched, pushing him again.
Sirius turned around, his eyes burning. She didn't back down when he stormed up to her, his cheeks becoming pink from yelling.
"You're afraid, Ginny! Merlin, it's so obvious now. You've been afraid since I first met you. A bloody coward."
Ginny's jaw dropped.
"You've been afraid of getting too close to me, to admitting that you love me, to talking to me about anything that had to deal with you directly. You're right. This isn't going to work. Because you don't want it to work."
They stood opposite each other, as if ready to duel. Ginny was shaking in anger, unable to believe that Sirius was saying this to her.
"You bastard," Ginny muttered, her ears ringing.
She turned around then, ready to leave him behind. Everything he was saying was making her unable to think straight.
"Oh, now this is an exchange of name calling?" Sirius asked from behind her. "Don't walk away from me, Ginny."
Ginny rolled her eyes when Sirius ran up to her.
"Don't, Ginny!" he yelled, yanking her towards him. "Fight. Fight! Fight with me!"
"No!" she screamed. "No! I don't want to!"
"Why not?" Sirius shouted back.
"Because," Ginny shouted, grabbing onto Sirius and pulling his face close to hers. "Because I'm leaving and I can't- I can't do this. I can't leave when I know you want me to stay. I can't leave if you're asking me to marry you. I can't leave if you keep saying you love me!"
"But I do, Ginny," he softly told her. "I do love you."
Shaking her head, Ginny leaned up and kissed him.
"Well stop loving me," she told him. "For now. Till I come back."
"Stop saying that. Stop pushing this off."
"I'm not doing this now," Ginny said. "I'm sorry."
Ginny kissed him again, lingering so she could remember it. Remember the smell of him as she was this close to him, and the light scatter of freckles across his nose, and the feeling of his soft skin in her hands. Stepping away, she looked towards the looming castle. She had no idea what time it was. And she had to get back to the dormitory to collect her things before she was sent home.
"At least say it," Sirius angrily said.
Along with the anger, though, Sirius sounded tired.
"That you love me. At least tell me that."
His voice was getting sadder every time that he spoke. It was as though he was just realizing that she wasn't going to marry him, that she wasn't going to change her mind.
"Ginny, tell me the truth. If you love me, say it."
He was beautiful, really. But it was hard, hard for her to say words she had never spoken to anyone romantically. The whole time she was with the Marauders, with Sirius, she had been battling what was right and what was wrong. It was wrong for her to like Sirius, to spend time with him because she liked the way he looked at her and spoke to her and treated her, when she knew Harry was at home.
She had pushed Sirius away, had trampled on his heart, and he still stood in front of her, fighting for her. If she was the most stubborn person in the world, Sirius had to be a close second. But that was the only reason anything had developed between them. While Sirius had been looking for anything but a serious relationship, he stumbled upon Ginny, who wanted nothing from him at all. And he liked the lack of responsibility that came with being around Ginny. So even though she made him hate her sometimes, he still loved her. Because she never expected anything from him and she was one of the few.
And while Ginny battled out of her feelings of being lost in a time that was not her own, Sirius had stepped up to protect her. There was Remus and James in her life also, along with Severus, but Sirius was the only one who marked her as his own. He made it a habit of stumbling upon her when she didn't want to be found, of pushing her buttons at the wrong moment just because it was the wrong moment and nobody else would do it. He pushed her because he knew she was so much more than she showed him.
Even though she had thought to herself that she loved Sirius only days ago, that there was something there that she hadn't felt before, she hadn't realized the depth of it until she watched him stand across from her now. When Ginny had decided she would go to the Veil and rescue Sirius, it wasn't something she thought twice on. She knew that he had to be in her life, that he couldn't not be in her life when he brought so many things to her attention that she had never seen before.
Maybe it was when he had first drunkenly told her that he loved her when it happened. When it clicked that there was so much more to their untitled relationship. Or, perhaps, it was when Ginny had returned to Hogwarts after Christmas break, beaten and tired. All she had wanted was to see Sirius, it was the only thing that needed to happen in order for everything to be okay. She could still remember when she first saw him, the way her heart felt ready to explode and she had wanted to cry yet laugh because there he was. The one person she needed.
Time was running out and she needed to leave but not before he knew what she felt. Because it was right now that she realized it. Yet, somehow, Sirius had known it all along.
"I love you," Ginny whispered slowly, savoring the way the words tasted.
And the words sounded so natural, so honest, coming from her mouth and being directed to him. Sirius gave her a half smile.
"I've been waiting a while for that."
Her heart clenched and Ginny bent down to pick up her broom, which she hadn't realized she had thrown when she first saw him. Sirius watched her with heavy eyes and Ginny didn't know what to do. She had to leave.
"There is an option, though," Sirius spoke up to have his voice heard over the breeze.
Ginny watched him, her heart aching.
"What option?" her voice hitched.
"You always have a choice, love. You always get to choose. You have the choice of leaving, of doing the easy thing and not knowing what could come between us. You would do what is expected of you… Or you have the choice of staying, not listening to your aunt and everyone else and staying with me. And staying with Remus and James and Lily and Peter. We're your family. And to hell with everything else. We will take care of you. You can stay and deal with the issues later. But you have the choice. Don't make it seem like you have no options."
And he was right, of course. She could stay and just travel back later. Ginny could stay with Sirius and have a life with him and travel back to her time whenever she wanted to. It was a nice thought. But that wasn't what needed to be done. She needed to get home because she wouldn't be able to live with Sirius, to be herself around him, until she was back home.
"I can't, Sirius," she whispered, holding her broom to her chest. "I just can't. I'm so sorry."
The confidence that was so Sirius, that made Sirius so gorgeous and brilliant, seemed to falter before her very eyes. It was a confidence that Ginny would rarely see back in her time, after he escaped from Azkaban and was stuck in Grimmauld Place. She hated that she was making it disappear now.
"Just so you know," Sirius said, after a long moment, his usual smooth talking voice coming back. He walked up to her and took her lightly by the waist, tugging her body close to his. "I'm still pissed about you kissing that slime ball. You know better than that. And I hate the way you ignore me and that you're going with your aunt when I can see that you want to stay with me. But I know… I know you'll find your way back to me."
And he kissed her again.
It was hard to leave Sirius, to turn her back to him and run back to the castle. Despite their deep talk, he didn't seem to realize that she was leaving now, that the last thing he saw of her would be her running away from him. She stopped before she entered the castle and turned to look back at him. He was still in the same spot, hands in his pockets, watching her.
Even though there was a distance between them, she knew he was still watching her.
She entered the castle and bolted towards the Great Hall. Students were beginning to enter it, meaning that lunch would begin soon. It was time to leave. Ginny ran a hand through her hair, collecting her thoughts. Months ago all she had wanted to do was go home but now, now that the time had come, she found it was hard to move.
Ginny had to move though. She had to keep going. Dumbledore warned her that she could not be weak right now, that she could not leave this time emotionally and physically weak. So she had to prep herself. After saying goodbye to Sirius, there was a burning in her stomach, but she had a feeling that wouldn't go away till she saw him again. At least Remus and her had ended well and she knew he would be the first person she saw when she got home.
James, however, she had not been able to mend things with. Even Lily had not received a proper goodbye, and the thought caused her to frown. She looked at the giant clock in the hall. There were minutes to spare before she was expected in Dumbledore's office. Ginny didn't need her things from her dormitory, Dumbledore could figure out how to dispose of those properly.
She needed to find James and Lily and say her last goodbye.
Ginny darted up the stairs. They had to be in the Gryffindor common room, or on their way to lunch. The route from the Gryffindor tower to the Great Hall was very familiar to Ginny and she knew it was likely that she could find them if she followed it. And she was right. After making a sharp turn, running like there was a Deatheater behind her, she saw them walking down the corridor towards her.
James had his arm wrapped lazily around Lily's shoulder, hugging her body to his, as he told some story to her loudly. She was watching him with a small smirk on her face, looking like she wanted to roll her eyes at his exaggerations. Neither of them noticed her right away, even as she ran up to them. It was actually the boy behind them, with his light blonde hair and squinty eyes, that noticed her.
"Hey Ginny!" Peter called, waving to her.
James and Lily looked at her, surprised. Face flushing, James let go of Lily and stepped up to Ginny.
"Ginny, I am so-"
Ginny waved a hand at him impatiently, cutting him off.
"Don't apologize to me, not about that," she told him, out of breath. "I can't be mad at you for doing what was right."
Lily sent Ginny a smile at her words.
"Oh," James slowly responded, his eyebrows furrowing. "Well that's very mature of you."
Unable to help it, Ginny grinned at James' astonishment.
"Don't act so surprised," Ginny told him.
Peter stepped up to Ginny, nervously clasping a hand on her shoulder. She had never realized before that they were the same height and that Peter's eyes were so clear, so light. He was still so young.
"I heard you're leaving," Peter began, somewhat nervously. "Sorry 'bout that. It's not going to be the same without you."
Ginny looked at Peter, who would one day ruin the lives of everyone she cared for, and hugged him. Whatever happened to him between now and two years from now would be life changing and she had a feeling that if he had known love was stronger than the desire for power, that the protection from his friends should mean more than the protection of Voldemort, he would never do what was to come.
"Thank you, Peter," Ginny whispered in his ear.
"Oh, Scabbers," James cooed. "Have a soft side, do you?"
Lily smacked James' arm.
"I have to go, I just wanted to say… I just wanted to make sure everything was okay," Ginny explained.
"Everything is fine," Lily reassured her, pushing a piece of hair behind her ear.
"Ginny, my dear." James walked up to Ginny and hugged her tightly.
She leaned her head against his chest, absorbing the warmth that came from James, and closed her eyes tightly so that she didn't cry.
"You look beautiful today," he whispered into her hair. "Thank you for everything."
Ginny nodded against his chest.
"And for still being my friend despite me being a complete git."
Laughing, Ginny stepped away from James. Staring down at her, James didn't think twice before pressing a kiss to forehead. It was such a brotherly act, filled with love, that Ginny couldn't speak for a second. He had kissed her forehead many times before but it had never meant as much as it did now.
"We'll have breakfast soon," James promised, taking Lily's hand. "And we'll talk about you leaving and how to fix it. I told Sirius about this law-"
"He told me about it," Ginny said, cutting him off.
"Oh! So you saw him today? And since you don't look murderous or extremely upset, I'll assume the talk went… well?"
Ginny grinned slightly.
"As good as it could have gone."
James nodded, sending her a small smile.
"Meet us outside later, we're going to be playing chess," James told her.
Peter had already made his way down the corridor, mumbling about being hungry. Lily gave a small tug to James' hand and he nodded to Ginny.
"Okay? You'll meet us later?"
Unable to say anything, Ginny just smiled at him.
As they walked away, Ginny remained where she was. This would be the last time she saw Lily or James. And it left a good feeling in her heart as she watched Lily kiss James, laughing when he said something a second after. The trio had almost made it down the corridor, about to turn the corner, when James suddenly stopped.
Ginny watched, surprised, as James ran back to her. He hugged her again and, leaning his lips close to her ear, whispered to her.
"By the way… I think you and Sirius are perfect for each other. Don't forget it, no matter what other people say. Because people have a habit of being gits like me when they see two people they care about in love and ignorant of it."
Ginny arrived at Dumbledore's office and was motioned in. Taking the familiar seat across from his desk, Ginny patiently waited as Dumbledore paced in front of his fireplace. Then, after excusing himself, Dumbledore went into a back room. Left alone in the huge office, Ginny stood from her seat and went to the window. It was surreal, what was going on.
Taking a deep breath, Ginny leaned against the large window. The weather was still perfect outside and it seemed like the majority of the students were enjoying their free time. Pressing her fingertips against the window panel, Ginny wondered if her Hufflepuff friends and the Marauders were outside together.
Those two groups of friends were so important to her, and in completely different ways, yet they knew hardly anything about each other. One day soon, though, they would be fighting on the same team for their lives. Ginny's eyes flickered away from the window. She was leaving her friends to defend for themselves in a world that most wouldn't survive. But everything that was going to happen needed to happen because, if it didn't, most of the people she loved in her time probably wouldn't be alive.
It was a thought Ginny kept repeating in her head as she waited for Dumbledore.
Finally, after she had lulled by the window long enough, Dumbledore came back into the office. In his hands the Time Turner was held. His long fingers delicately held the long chain and he automatically went to give it to Ginny. She took it gingerly, surprised by the heaviness of it. This Time Turner was quite the burden in her life.
"You're probably the bravest girl I have come across, Miss Stiles, in my time here at Hogwarts," Dumbledore admitted as he stood beside her.
Ginny looked up at her Headmaster with watery eyes, unable to give him the shaky smile he deserved. The worst part about going home, other than the loss of James and Lily and her other friends, was that Dumbledore wouldn't be there. He was the symbol of freedom and strength in her time. And yet he was dead.
"You have a lot of people to meet still," Ginny responded lightly.
Dumbledore smiled down at her, his glasses slipping down his crooked nose.
"I do wish there was more I could say to you, that there was some true comfort behind my words… but even I don't know what you're about to go face. I just hope that you manage to find your way through it… that you don't lose the light the burns so brightly in your eyes."
There was a pause and Ginny swallowed hard.
"You love your friends here, that much is obvious," Dumbledore continued. "And I will do my best to help ease their pain once you leave."
Without a second thought, Ginny threw her arms around Dumbledore. The old man accepted her hug gratefully, covering the majority of her body with his long cloak.
Stepping away from each other, Dumbledore handed Ginny her broom. He gave her a small smile when he saw her bottom lip tremble.
"This is hard," she admitted, her voice tight.
"I know," he responded. Then, "Do you have a date picked to go back?"
Ginny took a deep breath, her body feeling light, before she nodded.
"The larger hand will direct you to how many years you would like to travel. If it is into the past, you will push it backwards… if it into the future, then it is clockwise. Each click of the large hand is a year. The smaller hand is months. We are currently in the first month of the year, which is why the smaller hand is at the top of the Time Turner. Each time you click, it is a month. Then last is the specific day. That is required by this, here," Dumbledore pointed to a dial on the Time Turner that Ginny had never noticed before. "Put the number of the day you want to return in the dial."
Ginny had never stared at the Time Turner so intently before. McGonagall had previously been the one who had picked the date for the Time Turner, who had dealt with all this knowledge. As if hearing the question in her head, Dumbledore bowed his head slightly.
"It will do you no good if I see the date you are to return to… for if someone were to get the information from me it would put you at risk. Do you understand?"
"I do have one request," Ginny told him. "When you said I must arrive somewhere safe…"
Dumbledore waited for her to continue.
"I would like to go to the Defense Against the Dark Arts room."
His eyebrows perked in slight interest and he stared at her for a long moment before seeing that she was serious.
"It will be safe for you to arrive there versus the Headmaster's office?"
"Yes. Much safer."
Dumbledore didn't question that. He took a hold of Ginny's broom so that she had the complete duty of holding the Time Turner. Then he led her through the halls of Hogwarts. Somehow Dumbledore had taken the route with the least students, though Ginny didn't know whether this was because of the nice weather and everyone being outside or if Dumbledore had some secret knowledge of the school because he was Headmaster.
He led her into the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, closing the door quietly behind them. The professor wasn't in the classroom and Ginny glanced around. In just a few minutes, this whole room would be decorated completely different.
"Can we go in the office?"
Once again, Dumbledore didn't question her. He led her up into the professor's office and, with shaking hands, Ginny took her broom back. Then Dumbledore reached into his cloak and pulled out the heavy book that caused this all. She took it slowly, as if afraid to touch it, and she felt a spark of electricity go through her fingers at the contact. Her mouth went dry and her heart began to race.
"This is really it, isn't it?" Ginny asked Dumbledore.
He didn't respond, instead just watched her with his sad eyes. She had never thought this day would come. After spending months in this time, in 1978, Ginny had never thought the day would come when she would finally return home. Instead of pleasure, though, she felt nauseous. She didn't know what she was going to find when she finally arrived home, she didn't know what battles had occurred and who might have died.
Worst of all, she didn't know if she would definitely get Sirius back.
"Take care of them," Ginny said when she gathered her strength, thinking of her friends.
She nervously bit the bottom of her lip as she wrapped the chain of the Time Turner around her neck. Dumbledore nodded.
She moved the large hand on the clock. Then she moved the small hand. Finally, she pressed the numbers in the dial. Looking up at Dumbledore, Ginny gave him one last, grand smile.
The last thing she saw was him offering her a smile of comfort before her vision began to twist and turn. Clutching onto her broomstick and the book, Ginny closed her eyes tightly but it did not help with the sudden shift. Her body seemed to be flying through the air, her hair whipping rapidly at her face, and she thought to herself This isn't much worse than the first time right before a sudden pressure squeezed her body.
She gasped, her eyes popping open, as the pressure intensified. A feeling of nausea washed over her and she was screaming from the pain but her screams were silent, as if time stole them from her. Ginny's body was rocked once, then twice, by pure magic. Her skin felt like it was being ripped off her body, that her bones were popping out of place.
Nothing had ever felt this painful before and nothing would surely feel this painful again.
Ginny began gasping for air, as her sight clouded. But she couldn't breathe and she felt something dripping out of her nose, blood?, and the panic was beginning to set in as she realized she could die if this didn't end soon. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head just as her body slammed onto the ground, her legs crumbling from underneath her.
Her head hit the stone floor hard and her body sagged.
Her body pulsed, as if another wave of magic hit it, and Ginny opened her eyes slowly. Everything hurt and there was a pool of blood forming at her head. Ginny tried to lift her head up, to get herself out of the mess, but found she could hardly move her body even if she wanted to. A wave of nausea hit her and she didn't have the strength to not throw up.
Twitching, Ginny felt a cold sweat break out across her body. Her broom lay feet away from her but that was the only thing she could see. Was she even holding the book still? Where was Remus? Why wouldn't he be in his office?
All Ginny could hear was the beating of her own heart. And it was slowing. The thought was terrifying but, at the same time, she couldn't do much about it.
"Give me a moment," A voice called.
Ginny couldn't see where the voice came from but it sounded like it wasn't in the same room as her. The room swayed before her very eyes.
There was the sound of a door opening, cautiously, and then a startled gasp.
It was horrible the way her name sounded coming from the person. It was tortured and sickened and worried. Then she felt hands on her face and she wanted to frown, because she didn't remember closing her eyes to begin with.
"Ginny! Ginny, wake up!"
A scattering of feet was heard then suddenly the tone of the person's voice changed.
"Get the Headmistress! Now! Get the nurse! And get out of here!"
Ginny opened her eyes and felt like it cost her all of her energy.
"Ginny, oh god, Ginny."
It was Remus. He had found her. Cradling her body like she was a child, Ginny could see the hysteria on his face. She could see that her blood was staining his light clothing and, despite her pain, she felt bad. After all, Remus didn't have a lot of money.
"Just hang on, just hang on, they'll be here soon."
He looked so old, so different, from what she remembered. Her body twitched in her arms and Remus tensed.
"You'll be okay," he told her, his voice laced with worry.
Ginny decided it didn't matter. It hurt too much and… Her eyes suddenly felt too heavy to keep open. A small smile came to her lips and Remus' frown deepened.
"Remus," she whispered before her eyes rolled into the back of her head.
Everything hurt. Ginny's eyes snapped open as a wave of pain crashed over her and she gasped. The sound echoed in the room and she squinted as her eyes adjusted to the bright lights. She was tucked into a bed and she squirmed, curling into a ball as another wave of pain hit her.
She could barely hear Remus despite the high volume of his voice. Ginny could feel his presence, though, and gladly accepted the drink he gave her.
"It will help relieve the pain," he promised.
The effect was almost immediate. Ginny's muscles relaxed and she felt less dizzy. She remained in a ball until she could control her breathing, though. Finally, she lifted her head to look Remus in the eye.
He was staring at her with large eyes. And she was crying before she could help herself, though she wasn't sure if it was from the medicine or the pain or leaving her friends or the fact that she was definitely home. Because Remus now looked old, with wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. His hair was graying and that wasn't right because his hair use to be a light brown, highlighted by some blonde strands.
There were new scars on his face that weren't there before and this wasn't right because he just looked so tired and so old from when Ginny had left him. She was hysterical, unable to breathe, as Remus reached out for her.
"It's okay, it's okay."
He climbed onto the bed with her and she pushed him away. But he wasn't having it.
Her eyes darted around the Hospital Wing, her breathing quickening, her face blotchy from crying. She looked up at Remus desperately, praying that his appearance would change in front of her.
Because if it didn't change, if he still looked old and worn and just so much less alive than when she left him, it meant she did leave all of her friends. It meant that James and Lily were dead, that Peter was a traitor, that Marlene and Amelia had been killed years ago. It meant that Severus had killed Dumbledore and that Sirius was stuck behind the Veil.
She screamed as Remus wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close to his body, as if protecting her from herself.
How could she have left? How could she have just left and let it be that simple? She had to go back, she had to see Sirius one last time, she had to tell James and Lily that she loved them, that Peter was going to trick them all, that Voldemort was going to come looking for them one Halloween night.
Twisting in Remus' arms, she tried to escape the embrace. Because if she could escape she could go back and change everything. She didn't need to be here in her time if she could go back.
"I'm still Remus," Remus whispered to her as she sobbed uncontrollably. "I'm still your Remus."
His words broke through her screaming, somehow, and she stopped struggling. The fighting had worn her out and her body sagged against his. He didn't release her, though, and eventually she fell asleep without another word.
The next time Ginny woke up, and she didn't know if it was hours later or days later or even seconds later, Remus was sitting in a chair next to her bed. He was sipping a cup of tea, reading a book. She shifted in her bed and his eyes flickered to her right away.
"Hey," he mumbled, his eyes not leaving hers.
She found it hard to look at Remus when she felt he looked so wrong. He should not look so defeated, so old.
"Hi," she whispered back.
Remus marked his book and put it on the table next to her bed. She watched the actions warily, so exhausted.
"Do you feel better?"
He waited patiently for her answer as she struggled to find the right words.
Remus didn't react to her harsh voice. Instead he sighed and put the cup of tea next to the book.
"Your family will be arriving in the next couple of weeks," he told her. "I'm sure you'll be excited to see them. Harry, Hermione and Ron will probably be here within the next month."
She didn't respond to his words. With another soft sigh, Remus stood from his seat. He went to walk around her bed and her eyes widened when she saw he was heading to the Hospital Wing door.
"Wait! Remus!" Her voice cracked and he turned around sharply, his eyes wide. "Where are you going?"
"I have to let someone know you're awake, that you're coherent-"
"Don't leave me! Remus, don't leave me, you can't leave me right now!"
Her voice broke and she felt her breathing quicken again. Ginny didn't realize that Remus had rushed back to her, climbing into the bed once again, holding her body to his.
"It's all right, Ginny. It's all over. You're home."
Ginny shivered against his body, trying to calm her breathing.
"It's not over, Remus," she finally responded.
Remus didn't ask what she meant and Ginny didn't bother to answer his silent question. She held a hand to her chest, trying to slow her racing heart, and had the other clutched in Remus' shirt.
An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness washed over Ginny and she closed her eyes. There was no Sirius here to comfort her, to tell her he loved her. All she had was Remus, who brushed some of the hair from her forehead and pressed a kiss to her temple.
"Just rest," Remus told her. "You'll feel better and be thinking more clearly in the morning…"
His voice hitched.
"It's so good to see you again."
Author's Note: So… I sort of lied to you guys. I have to, have to¸ write a sequel to this story. There is no way I can finish something as important as Ginny's journey to rescue Sirius in one chapter. No worries, the first chapter will be up very shortly and will be followed quickly by the rest of the chapters. Thank you so much for following this story with me as long as you have, especially since it took me years to get to this point.
Look for the next installment, Look After You, in my profile.