I have another version of this scene which I actually like better, under the title Endings and Beginnings. Also, I would read this story from last chapter to first, as I've been writing it for a while, and my style has certainly changed. I'm planning on going back and editing through these first couple of chapters. Emily
The morning dawned quietly in England for the first time in a year. The hero remained asleep in a friend's old bed, with a pretty redhead resting silently in a small burgundy chair off to one side. Her eyes remained open, and she watched in silence as he slept. Occasionally he would turn his head to one side, or lift an arm and resettle it. Each time he moved she became more alert and worriedly watched his face. And each time he became motionless once again.
Suddenly, he sat up halfway and groped for a wand.
"Relax, Harry, it's just me," she comforted. She rose from the chair and leaned over him, taking his hands and softly settling them back down by his side.
"Ginny?" he queried, as he slowly opened his eyes to look at her. "What's going on?"
"The war's over. You're at the burrow, in Bill's old room. You've been out for a couple of days."
Harry's perplexed expression changed into one of utter disbelief.
Harry turned to look at her and asked, "Are you okay?", glancing at her as if to make sure.
"I'm fine, Harry."
"And everyone else?" he asked. Then he remembered. Ginny had lost her brother, Fred. Her whole family probably hated him. His face softened. "Ginny, I'm so sorry about Fred."
"Thank you," she replied absent-mindedly. She turned her head away slightly and seemed lost in her own thoughts, then turned back to him. "Ron and Hermione are fine, they're just in the next room. I think Hermione helped Ron get through it alright. The rest of my family is…well, we're doing okay. George just locks himself in his room. Hermione convinced Ron to try and get him to go somewhere today. And Mum's upset. She didn't say one word to anyone the first day, and she hasn't eaten much. But she's getting better. "
Harry reached for her hand to squeeze it tenderly. "I really am sorry. I should not have let him fight. I never meant for anyone else to get hurt."
"Harry, you can't blame yourself," she said fiercely. "He wouldn't want you to. We all knew what we were getting into. I'm sure he was proud to die for you, for the cause."
He smiled weakly at her, then frowned again. "I don't deserve that kind of loyalty." He grunted
as he tried to sit up more, and coughed into his hand.
"Here" Ginny said as she leaned forward to help him. Once he was sitting, with his back still resting on the pillows, she grabbed a glass of water from the bedside table and helped him take a small sip.
"Thanks." Harry took a few sips, and then passed the clear, half-empty glass back to her and settled back down into the pillows. She took the glass and placed it carefully on the worn table, and continued the conversation.
"You deserve that loyalty, Harry, you must understand that. You saved millions." Harry shook his head, and she decided to move on for a moment, noting the many black-and-blue marks and cuts that had not been there when she had last seen him.
"How are you feeling?" Ginny asked, gently tracing the scars and bruises on his face. He winced when she touched the large cut underneath his right eye, and she quickly removed her hand.
"OK, I guess. Still sore." Moving on to another, more inconsequential thought, it occurred to Ginny that Harry had not eaten in days.
"Would you like something to eat?" she asked. At least, she thought, he could be more comfortable before their conversation continued. And she would be more comfortable when she was sure he was alright, at least physically.
"Sure," he answered, nodding slightly.
"Alright, I'm sure Mum would be glad to make you something. Or several somethings. I'll be right back." She turned to the door, took one look back at him, and added, "Why don't you step into the bathroom and shower while I'm gone? I put a set of Ron's clothes and a towel at the foot of the bed." She continued down the stairs and into the kitchen to find her mother staring out a window, a cup of untouched tea resting in her hands.
"Are you alright, Mum?"
"Hmmm, oh, yes, dear," she took a moment to respond and turned distractedly toward her daughter.
"He woke up."
"That's wonderful, dear," she replied, standing to hug her daughter tightly, and smiling broadly for the first time since Ginny had come downstairs. "He should eat something."
Ginny grinned at her mother's one-track mind. "Yes, mum, that's why I came downstairs."
"Alright, let's get him something." Mrs. Weasley proceeded to pull eggs, bread, bacon, tomatoes, cheeses, and countless other items out of the refrigerator and began to cook. While Ginny was glad that her mother was talking now, she frowned slightly at the idea that cooking was a distraction, a way to escape those contemplative moments her mother had when no one else was in the room. Pushing these thoughts away, Ginny reached into a cupboard to get a large plate and a tray, and set them on the counter. As dishes were completed, Mrs. Weasley added them to the plate. Ginny found a napkin and silverware, and set them on the tray, also adding a fresh glass of water.
Armed with more food than she thought anyone could eat in one sitting, Ginny climbed carefully up the stairs and knocked on the door of Bill's old room.
"Come in," Harry called. She walked towards him and settled the tray on his lap.
"Thanks," he said, smiling at her briefly. His hair was wet and wild as ever, and he had clean clothes on. He was sitting up on the edge of the bed, and his injuries looked less grim than they had. "Took less time than I thought, to get clean. The cuts on my face and arms are already clean and healing."
She smiled in return, and replied "Yes, Mum and I cleaned those and put salve on them when you got here," and then continued to watch as he pondered the menagerie of dishes and selected a simple piece of bread.
"So, Ron and Hermione," Harry began, "how are they? I mean, have they woken up and everything?"
"Well, Hermione woke up yesterday at noon, and Ron a few hours after that." She grinned. "You know him, never could resist sleeping in."
"No, I guess not," Harry agreed, smiling at her. Until he realized that he was staring, and swiftly looked away. Ginny looked down.
"You know, they finally got over it and decided to date, thank God."
Harry nodded vaguely and added, "About time." He took his tray, with food still on the plate, as Ginny had predicted, and set it down on the bedside table.
Ginny nodded back, and then settled into her chair, having run out of things to say. Harry sat silently for a moment, inspecting the room, and then searched her face. Neither moved, until Ginny realized that she was staring and looked at her lap.
Harry looked confused. What had changed? Had she finally remembered that she should hate him? That he had left her alone? Then he would bring up that topic which they had been so carefully stepping around until this point.
"Ginny, I want to apologize for hurting you."
Ginny's head snapped up at his words. "I only wanted to keep you safe."
She stared quietly for a moment. "I know that," she said. Then tears began to run from her eyes. "It still hurt."
Thanks for reading! I hope you have enjoyed the first chapter. All feedback is welcome, and all of my reviewers have been helpful. Thanks again, Emily.