Title: Visitor in the Night
Summary: Harry has left on his epic quest to finish off Voldemort and no one's seen him for months. Ginny dreams of him coming back every night, but is she really dreaming? PreDH.
No one heard the faint 'pop' as a dark-haired man suddenly appeared in the softly creaking house. He stumbled a moment, weary and bedraggled, trying to focus on the walls around him. He ran a hand over his untidy hair then under his specs to rub his eyes. Scratching absently at the days old scruff on his chin, he walked soundlessly down the familiar hall. The door to his right opened with a flick of his wand, and he squeezed inside.
Slowly he walked further into the room, eyes gazing intently on the figure sleeping fitfully in the small bed. The faint moonlight filtering through the threadbare curtains illuminated her pale skin and reflected off her flaming hair. Her small fists were clutched in the sheets, her forehead wrinkled in worry and dotted with perspiration. As he watched, she tossed and turned, muttering unintelligibly.
He stood by her bed, torn between elation at finally seeing her again and worry over her restless state. He knelt by the side of the bed, to better see her face, beautiful despite being twisted in agony. He could hear her mutterings more clearly now, and his breath hitched when he caught a few phrases.
"No… Don't… Harry," she murmured, her breathing harsh. She gripped the sheets tighter. "Won't let you… Tom…" He shivered when she mentioned the name. To Harry, Voldemort was most frightening as the apparition that almost took her away from him. "Don't hurt Harry."
He couldn't stand to see her worrying over him, even in sleep. He gently placed his hand over her knitted brow and muttered soft, soothing things. Slowly, she relaxed, her fists loosening, her breath becoming deeper, the wrinkles on her forehead smoothing. He stayed with her, tenderly caressing her face and hair and making sure she had no more nightmares.
After an inscrutable amount of time passed, he began to speak to her as if she were awake. "Gin," he whispered reverently. "I want you to know that I… I." The words lodged in this throat. "I mean. I've never said this to anyone, though you aren't the only I… I mean there's Hermione, though that's different… And Ron… and really all of the Weasleys. Except maybe the git Percy." He laughed feebly at his own poor joke. "And there's Hagrid… and Dumbledore… and Sirius… and my Mum and Dad…" He swallowed past the lump in his throat. "But none of them as much as you…" He let go of a shaky breath, and her hair ruffled slightly in the disturbed air. "What I'm trying to say is that…I…" He swallowed past the lump in his throat. "I love you Ginevra Molly Weasley," he whispered in a rush. The confession hung between them in the still air. She continued to sleep peacefully, a small smile turning her lips.
After another moment in the relative silence, he rose to leave, but her brows knit together once more and she whimpered at the loss of his touch. He reached out and tried to smooth away the wrinkles with his thumb. He bent over and pressed his lips to her cheek. "I love you," he repeated against her skin.
When he moved away this time, the small smile softening her face didn't twist into worry. With hardly a 'pop' at all, he was gone again.
Hermione walked downstairs for breakfast feeling slightly embarrassed that she had fallen asleep -yet again- in the comforting circle of Ron's arms, even though it had been completely innocent. She didn't know if she could handle another one of Ginny's knowing smirks that she hadn't returned to the room they shared last night. But Hermione needn't have worried. Instead of the usual smirk and cheeky comment ready to be fired the moment Hermione came downstairs, she found Ginny was lost in her own little world, absently stirring her tea. She looked out at nothing, a mysterious smile lifting the corners of her lips.
Hermione sat down at the kitchen table across from Ginny, who only just noticed her presence. Hermione eyed Ginny warily as she bounced out of her chair. "Morning, Hermione," the red-head said brightly. She poured her a cup of tea and set a plate of scones down in front of the other girl and resumed her seat. "What?" she asked, seeing the look on Hermione's face.
"Morning, Hermione?" the girl asked incredulously. "That's all you have to say?"
Ginny frowned, not understanding. "Of course. What else would I say?"
"Oh, I don't know," Hermione said, rolling her eyes. "Something scathing about my whereabouts last night, perhaps?" she intoned. At Ginny's continued blank look, she continued. "You always know when I don't come back to the room, Ginny. And you always say something about it."
Ginny looked surprised. "Oh, well. I guess I forgot."
"Forgot?" Hermione looked shrewdly at her friend. "What could possibly make you forget to tease me mercilessly?" Ginny avoided her gaze and sipped at her tea.
Unable to stand Hermione's intense stare anymore, Ginny set down her half-empty cup more roughly than necessary. "I had a dream about Harry, alright?" she spat, her ears pinking. Hermione smiled smugly.
"I take it, it was a good dream?" she inquired, raising one eyebrow suggestively. Ginny sighed and couldn't help but smile. Deciding to play along, she leaned in to whisper conspiratorially.
"Yes it was. And I'm sure you'd love to hear all the juicy details," Ginny suggested wickedly.
Ginny laughed as Hermione blanched and sputtered, "No! Definitely No details!" She poked Ginny's arm. "We agreed before. No details about either of them."
"Alright," Ginny said after calming down a bit. "There weren't any really juicy bits anyways," she declared with a sigh and resumed the posture Hermione had found her in.
"Are you going to tell me about it?" she asked gently. The red-head shrugged.
"Not much to tell. I mean it started off normal enough." Ginny forced her voice to be casual. "You know. Harry's captured by the Death Eaters and Vol…Voldemort tortures him," she added flippantly, but Hermione knew better. The older girl covered Ginny's shaking hand with her own and squeezed it gently. "But then it changed, rather abruptly actually," Ginny continued, after a moment.
"It was so different… So real… Out of no where, Harry and I were curled up together somewhere warm. He was caressing my face and hair and muttering little things in my ear."
Hermione fought back the urge to comfort Ginny. The proud redhead would not appreciate it. No one had seen or heard from Harry in months. His absence and the lack of any news were hard on them all, but this was the first time Hermione saw how much it tore at Ginny.
"He started babbling on and on as if he were nervous about saying something. And then… then he told me he loved me." Hermione bit her lip. "He kissed my cheek, told me he loved me again, and left."
Ginny cupped her tea in both hands as if she were Divining the future from her tea leaves. Hermione wondered if she was imagining the redness on the cheek Ginny had indicated Harry had kissed. As Hermione pondered and Ginny stared at her cup, Ron bumbled sleepily into the kitchen. He yawned widely and picked up a plate of cold pancakes, plopping down next to Hermione. Without thinking, Hermione flicked her wand at his food, warming it, and he muttered his thanks. The two girls let him eat in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.
When Ron was fed and awake enough to notice the girls' lack of conversation, he looked up at Ginny, intent on asking about their silence. He stopped himself short and frowned a moment when he saw her. "Why do you have a stubble burn on your cheek Ginny?" he asked abruptly.
"What?" she asked, startled.
"Your cheek," he pointed. "It's all red like some bloke who hadn't shaved kissed you." He frowned again. "You haven't…" Ginny cut him off with a blazing glare.
Hermione looked startled and stared at Ron.
"What?" he asked. "Don't you think it looks like stubble burn?"
Suddenly Hermione's whole face lit up like it did when she had successfully mastered a difficult Arithmancy problem. "Ginny, your dream," she whirled on the girl across from her. "What if it was real?" Ginny frowned.
"What're you on about Hermione?" Ron asked.
Ginny gasped in understanding and locked gazes with Hermione, her eyes wide. "You mean…"
Hermione nodded and gripped Ron's arm excitedly. "He was here!" she exclaimed.
"He came here," Ginny repeated. She wasn't paying attention as Hermione turned to tell Ron about her dream and touched her red cheek. "And he loves me," she whispered to herself.