Disclaimer: HP isn't mine.
Writing this fic has made me feel…fragile, somehow. Please be kind. Beta'd by DressWithoutSleeves, who said 'ow'.
The sky was a peculiar shade of grey, drab and dirty as dishwater, and a wind too sharp to be merely cool slithered its way into nearly every inch of the little house in Godric's Grove. Only the tiny kitchen held any warmth, radiating from the rather rickety-looking iron stove in the corner.
Flowery wallpaper adorned the walls, peeling in places and so faded that the pink roses were barely distinguishable from the creamy background and pale green stems and leaves. A single window overlooked an aged porcelain sink, yellowed lace curtains drawn to the sides in the vain hopes that some scarce rays of sunlight might find their way into the room. A refrigerator hummed quietly in one corner, and a small wooden table and four incongruously large chairs took up what little space remained.
Ginny Weasley sat in one of the chairs, leaning forward to rest her elbows on the table as she worked out a crossword puzzle and sipped at a cooling cup of Darjeeling. The other three chairs were empty, but that wasn't anything new.
The grey skies grew darker and Ginny eventually had to set down her crossword long enough to rummage through her apron pockets for her wand. She flicked it once, and across the room the light switch flicked itself into the on position. The kitchen was immediately bathed in a comfortable burnt-golden glow.
She glanced at the clock on the wall – her hand was pointed unwaveringly to At Home; Harry's was flickering between At Work and Mortal Danger.
Nothing new there, either.
She almost wished she could muster more than vague concern for her husband's life, but she didn't feel much of anything other than – other than grey. Tapping her pencil idly against her crossword, she tried to remember the last time she'd seen Harry.
A week, she supposed. Maybe more. Oh, he'd been home every night, and she'd felt him enter their room and slip into the bed beside her, but she'd kept her eyes shut and he hadn't ever tried to talk. He had to know she was awake, of course – it was too awkward, the silence between them, for either of them not to be fully aware of the other.
Ginny couldn't remember the last time they'd actually spoken. After – after it happened, there'd been vicious fights and tears and recriminations. And then…then it'd all gone stale and cold and hard, and conversations between lovers should never be as stilted as hers and Harry's had been the last few months.
Except they weren't really lovers anymore. Just…just husband and wife, strangers sharing a home and a life and a bed.
The worst part of it was that she just couldn't hate him. This wasn't his fault, it wasn't his fault Lestrange had hunted them down, had...
Maybe…maybe it was just too much to move on from, the deaths. Parents should never outlive their children.
Maybe neither one of them really wanted to move on. Moving on would be leaving their little boys behind, admitting to themselves that two of the empty kitchen chairs would never be filled again, admitting that their sons were lying in graves, not in their beds. Moving on would be admitting that they'd lost – that even though Harry had destroyed Voldemort, even though Bellatrix had been found afterwards…
Moving on would be admitting that they'd lost everything that mattered because they'd saved the world.
And worst of all, Ginny thought, breathing in time to the ticking of the kitchen clock, moving on would mean leaving the comfortable grey void and letting themselves feel. If there was one thing she'd learned throughout the years, one thing the empty chairs screamed into the heavy silence, one thing that being a hero's wife had carved into her heart over and over again, it was that emotion wasn't worth the feeling of it.
Ginny stared empty-eyed at her rumpled, unsolved crossword, blocking out the message on the clock, blocking out the memory of laughter, of bright days and shouting little boys running around the yard, chasing gnomes and pouncing on their father when he came home, shining-eyed, from work each evening.
Her boys were safe in their graves, and she in hers.