A/N: Okay, this is the sequel to Separate Worlds, and this is the part where I go on my knees and beg for forgiveness. I had this completely written in my notebook a coupla days after Separate Worlds was posted and the sequel seemed popular, but I just...never...got round to typing it up. Sorry!
Separate Worlds is not required reading before this - in fact, this stands on its own pretty well. It's basically just the scene where Harry's 'dead' from Ginny's point of view, then what happened afterwards. I did actually go through this to edit out any specific references to what happens in SW so that this both makes sense on its own and without SW.
Disclaimer: Not mine, JKR's, and I stole lotsa dialogue from DH chapter thingy-doo-dah, 36, The Flaw in the Plan as well.
"Harry Potter is dead."
Ginny was vaguely aware of falling to her knees…her ears were full of buzzing, and she couldn't hear the rest of Voldemort's broadcast. Her eyesight was spinning, and, blinking, she looked up to see Ron completely white, while both of Hermione's hands clutched at her face. The whole Hall was silent in shock.
"No…" she was aware of whispering, as though hearing it from a thousand miles away. "He can't…"
Time stood still, and only one thought was echoing through her mind.Harry's dead… Harry's dead…
Just then, an awful scream broke through the silence that had fallen. "NO!"
As though it was the trigger, everyone leapt to their feet and rushed out of the Great Hall, out to the front doors, where Ginny saw McGonagall standing, horrified, and a huge crowd of Death eaters crowding around in a wide jeering row.
Her eyes were drawn to a large, familiar figure at the front… The sobbing Hagrid was holding something in his arms, draped over like a broken marionette doll, his head dangling off his neck, useless, his arms and legs flopping with no control…
"Harry! HARRY!" she cried, feeling her throat go raw as she nearly fell to her knees again, instead tumbling into Hermione. The older girl clutched at her as though she was a lifeline, and they clung together, trying to deny the scene before them, trying to deny that Harry was dead—he couldn't be dead, he couldn't die, it was impossible…
She jerked upwards at Voldemort's shout, seeing the wizard—themonster—who had spread all the fear and lies among the country for so long, who was behind all the lives lost and ruined, who had shrouded himself so completely that people still feared to speak his name…
"It is over! Set him down at my feet, Hagrid, where he belongs!"
A boiling, red-hot hate erupted in Ginny's chest, while she stared at Voldemort, showing himself in public, standing so tall and victorious.
She didn't look at where Harry was being laid down on the grass by Hagrid. She couldn't.
"You see? Harry Potter is dead! Do you understand now, deluded ones?" He was pacing, back and forth, like some arrogant strutting model, Ginny thought venomously. "He was nothing, ever, but a boy who relied on others to sacrifice themselves for him!" Back and forth…his robes were billowing out behind him, giving him a lingering, dark wake…
"He beat you!" shouted Ron's voice from beside her. She felt a sudden affection for her loutish brother, who was already fighting back even while she was stuck in the first stages of processing the news.
She still couldn't look at Harry, lying on the grass. She couldn't' bear to look at his hair, rumpled as it always was, which she so loved running her hands through…and his eyes…were they open, or closed?
She wanted to look at him so much, but couldn't stand seeing him, crumpled, helpless, so unlike the reckless, energetic Gryffindor she knew he was…
"You LIE!" she instead screamed at Voldemort. "You filthy, cowardly LIAR!" It felt good, she thought, to scream at the top of her voice. It eased up some of the pressure in her chest; the red-hot hate and the disbelief that was already slowly turning to despair… Even though her voice couldn't be heard over the multitude of shouting, it still felt good.
Another loud bang shook through the ground, and Ginny, along with everyone else lined up at the front of the caste, fell silent.
"He was killed while trying to sneak out of the castle grounds, killed while trying to save himself—"
She wanted to scream more at him, wrap her hands around his thin, skeleton-like neck and squeeze—throttle the most powerful Dark Lord in history until he moved no more…
"You BASTARD!" She heard a muffled shout in a voice she just recognised, before Hermione toppled into her and she nearly fell over herself, like a human domino effect. Ginny was pushed into a bright ray of light coming from the castle's many windows, and her eyes were temporarily blinded. She blinked back the patch of light burned into her retina to see that it had been Neville who'd charged past them—Neville who was now facing down Voldemort, alone and Disarmed.
"And who is this? Who has volunteered to demonstrate what happens to those who continue to fight back when the battle is lost?"
Ginny stared hollowly at Neville. She should feel more afraid, she thought, hearing Bellatrix Lestrange's laughing reply. She should feel cold, afraid for her friend's life…but she couldn't. Not any more. The bright and boiling hate had been hot, but now that was dousing out…the cold was counteracting the heat, and both the hate and fear drained away, leaving her with the last emotion she was feeling.
Harry was dead.
She barely registered Neville and Voldemort's interaction, instead finally letting her eyes slide down to Harry. His eyes were closed, she saw now, and his glasses on lopsided. It look as though they had been put on carelessly…which they probably had been, pushed on his face, after—
A loud cheer from around her broke through her musings. She was aware of a burning sensation in the back of her throat, but Harry had never seen her cry, not in times when she should be doing something else…
She blinked, many times, and raised her head in time to see a large, floppy object flying towards them and land in Voldemort's outstretched hand.
"There will be no more Sorting at Hogwarts School," Voldemort said after shaking the ball of fabric out to reveal the Sorting Hat. "There will be no more Houses. The emblem, shield and colours of my noble ancestor, Salazar Slytherin, will suffice for everyone, won't they, Neville Longbottom?"
Ginny could see Neville's glare, watched as he opened his mouth to say something but was instead hexed by Voldemort, saw everything only feet away from her with detachment, as though she wasn't really there anymore.
Harry wasn't there anymore…
"Neville here is now going to demonstrate what happens to anyone foolish enough to continue to oppose me," Voldemort's silky voice proclaimed, and he set the Hat on fire.
Before Ginny could even begin to register the horror of what was happening to one of her best friends, her attention was diverted—
—people running up from Hogsmeade—
—arrows flying from the Forest—
—people shouting and jostling—
—Neville, with a sword—
—a bloodstained sword—
Then there were people, crowding around, and the Death Eaters were coming—
Ginny pushed aside her hopelessness and reached for her wand, feeling the bright red-hot hate return to fuel her magic and adrenaline. She thought she heard Hagrid shouting something but she already wasn't listening. Her whole world consisted of shouting this spell, dodging that one, throwing up a block for another one coming her way…
She had something to do, and was doing it. Her mind was focussed, not letting anything get between her and her wand, and in a haze she made her way through the Entrance Hall, fighting and picking off Death Eaters.
She didn't know how much time passed. It could have been an hour between entering the Hall and finding herself duelling with Bellatrix Lestrange, and then a year before she was pushed aside by her mother. Maybe it was for a century or two that she now stood, wand held loose in her hand, once again looking around at all the fighting with detachment. Perhaps it was for several millennia that she watched Voldemort blast aside his attackers—and then Harry appeared.
He came out of nowhere, with no warning whatsoever.
Harry was back.
Harry had beaten death.
Harry was alive.
Harry was about to kick Voldemort to hell.
Harry was hers.
Ginny was drained, and she knew it. The battle was over and won—but so much had been lost as well. Fred, Colin, Remus, Tonks…and the lives that remained had lost so much too. Lavender Brown would never regain her looks after the attack from Greyback, and all the students who had stayed to fight had lost their innocence.
Nobody deserved to see such horrors any time in their life, and definitely not in their teen years. And yet, the last night had seen blood and gore and death… It seemed wrong, so wrong, that one, misguided man could cause so much hell on earth.
She closed her eyes and leant against her mum, not needing to say anything, knowing that she would be understood. Sure enough, strong, warm arms wrapped around her, giving her the familiar, but never worn feeling that she was protected, that her mum would fight whatever hell was thrown her way.
She stayed in the embrace, acknowledging and accepting the messages she was being given. Her mother was there. Her mother would always be there.
She was safe, right here, right now…but what would happen in the future? What would happen to her family, to Fred… George had refused to leave his side, and even now was kneeling, unmoving, at his twin's head. A large white cloth covered Fred, but it was folded back neatly at the shoulders, making it look as though he was only sleeping.
Her Dad, Bill and Percy were sitting opposite her, huddled together, pale and quiet, past the stage of screaming and shouting and crying, but existing on pure numbness. It was a feeling she could well associate to.
Ron had been sitting near them with Hermione, but they had left a while ago. Vaguely, she was sure that they were with Harry, him probably explaining everything to them. Any curiosity Ginny was feeling was immediately replaced by a clam confidence that he would tell her, in time. She was not going to invade upon his time with Ron and Hermione.
His friendship with them was special—more than special. That would never change But the two of them would have weeks together, months, years…
She opened her eyes and saw Ron's tired face in front of her. He smiled—weakly, but a real smile.
"He's waiting for you."
She didn't need to ask; it was too obvious who. Her mother released her without comment, and when she turned around she easily interpreted the message in her acceptant eyes and small smile. Go to him.
She glanced around the rest of her family, seeing variations of the same expression, and nodded. She slipped off the bench, and made her way out of the Great Hall. Instead of going up the marble staircase, though, she turned towards the ruin of the oak front doors, not quite understanding how she knew but completely certain she was going the right way. Stepping out into the morning, she automatically looked towards the lake.
He was there—a small, black figure walking along the lake edge, his movements slow and tired. She made her way towards him, feeling each step take her closer, and closer, to him.
It was as if they had been living in different universes, she thought. Two, different universes. They had collided, last year for a few months, but then they were wrenched apart and separated again. All the way through any encounter they'd had since then…she might not have noticed it at the time, but there had always been an invisible barrier between their two worlds.
Not now, though. She could feel the barrier breaking, crumbling, each step she took physically towards him. She knew, instinctively, that it wouldn't go completely when she stood right in front of him…but neither of them would stay barricaded emotionally for long. Not if she had anything to do with it.
She reached him, just as he reached the big beech tree that was a favourite of his.
He must have heard or sensed her coming, for he made no sign of surprise. He turned around and looked at her, his green eyes currently dark and dull, but she could see the bright green fire burning behind them.
"Ginny." He leant back against the trunk of the tree.
"You left me last night," she said flatly, referring to when he walked past her into the forest, too tired to mince words.
"I did," he agreed quietly, without ever taking his eyes away from hers.
"Because I needed to go into that forest, right then, and I wouldn't have been able to stay with you and still go."
"Why did you need to go in the Forest?" she asked, moving closer.
"Voldemort had to kill me."
"So you died?" She was even closer than before.
"And you came back to life?"
"Not long after he cast the curse."
"So all that time he was parading you around…you were pretending?"
His eyes were still facing her squarely. "Yes."
She stared at him for a few more moments, barely a foot away from him. Then she raised her right hand and slapped him, hard, across the face.
His glasses flew off and landed in the grass, a few metres away.
Her hand should be hurting her, she knew. But it was back at her side, and she was back to just looking at him. His head had spun from the force of her slap, and his left cheek, quickly turning bright red, was facing her. Slowly, he turned back to look at her, and she had to stop herself from gasping—it was as though, with his glasses gone, the dull mask in front of his eyes had gone with them. The green in his eyes was burning; his soul was being poured into the haunting, blazing look he was giving her…
She didn't know who made the first move. Her arms were around his neck, and his around her waist, their heads barely centimetres apart…
"Never do that to me again," she whispered.
"I promise." It was all he had time to say.
In the second their lips met, Ginny felt the last of the world-dividing barriers disappear into nothing. Their two universes collided again with a crash. They were never to be broken apart again.
A/N: Yes, I'm a sucker for a happy (or cheesy. Your pick) ending. :-P And as this was typed up from a notebook while I wasn't looking at the screen much, tell me if there're any major oopsies and I'll fix, 'kay?
But don't just review to nitpick, review for...review purposes as well:-D