A/N: First posted Harry Potter piece. Reviewers get glowing goldfish. Edited the mistake in Tonks' mother's name. My bad. My mind kind of went *kaplut* for a while there.
One week had passed since Harry Potter's life had both started and ended.
With the defeat of Lord Voldemort, many students had lingered on the Hogwarts grounds—some rejoicing in the fact that their futures seemed to be finally free of Dark Lords and Death Eaters, and some mourning the loss of so many dear friends and family in the final battle against evil in the Wizarding world.
But for the Weasley family, the wounds caused by the death of their brother and son Fred, along with the loss of Lupin and Tonks, were still too raw to stay behind with the other families long. And wherever Ron and his family (that meant Ginny, for Harry) went, Harry and Hermione went too.
Having arrived at The Burrow just the day before, most were sleeping in—except Arthur Weasley, of course, who had received a fine raise and promotion and was currently helping Kingsley straighten out the disorganized ministry.
Also excluded from the late start to the day was Harry Potter, who had tossed and turned in his bed until rising to sit outside at the edge of the Weasley family's goldfish pond. (These of course being magical goldfish that quite literally glowed, much to Harry's amusement.) The fish moved slowly and sparingly in the still night, and Harry found himself being calmed by their tranquil presence. He stared quietly at the moon, wrapping his arms around his knees, bringing them up to what now felt like a hollow, empty—aching—chest.
It was hard to believe that this was the same moon in the sky as a week ago, when everything else in the Wizarding world was so incredibly different now. Was this really the same moon that he had been born under? The same moon that had shone down on him when he fought off one hundred dementors in his third year? The same moon that Lupin had howled at every time the monster in him took over?
As he bathed in the glow from the moon and the soft, pulsing light from the fish, his thoughts took a painful turn to Lupin and Tonks. He hadn't really fully realized how close to Lupin he had been until he was gone, and he found himself swearing to God, or whatever was out there, that Teddy would not live Harry's life. He made a resolution to visit Andromeda often and be the best possible godfather he could be.
The empty cavity in Harry's chest panged when the realization that that was the first solid decision towards the future he had made since Tom Riddle was killed—other than decisions to think. And when decisions sound like, "I just need to be alone right now," and "It's alright, I'd just take up room at the dinner table anyway," people start to worry. He felt guilty for causing the Weasley family pain over his obvious detachment from the world, but he found that no matter how many hands reached out to him, he couldn't grab hold and keep up.
Life had jumped on the fast train in the past week, and Harry felt like he was desperately trying to keep pace, without success. He had quickly come to realize that his sole purpose in life had been to destroy Lord Voldemort. Before, he had a goal; he, along with, oh, the rest of the world, had expectations of him. Well, he had fulfilled those expectations.
Harry knew that he couldn't ignore Ginny's advances for long. Not that she was making advances towards any sort of relationship—but she seemed to feel like she deserved at least a long walk or two to sort out... things. But how could he sort out "things" with her if he could barely look at her without feeling like he was failing to keep his head above water?
Speak of the devil, and she shall appear.
She didn't say anything; she just came and folded her long, beautiful legs to sinuously sit on the ground next to him. Although wild and touchy and, if he were to tell the truth, pretty damn intimidating in the daylight, Ginny was a Goddess in the might. The moon worshipped her slender frame, clad in a pale blue, knee-length nightgown.
They sat for a long while like that, until Harry worked up the nerve to glance at her. He took time for every little detail, trying to memorize the way the light from the goldfish brought out honey tones in her at-other-times flaming red hair, the way the moon made her sometimes freckly-looking skin positively glow; he studied the slender arch of her neck, the delicate fall of her nearly bare shoulders, the soft outline of her breasts against the fabric of her gown.
When Harry finally reached Ginny's eyes—Ginny's bright, brown, filled-to-the-brim-with-life-and-love-and-passion-and-everything-good eyes—he found that she had been watching him drink her in the whole time. He couldn't tell what she thought; her expression seemed almost pained.
"I'm not going anywhere, Harry."
Harry's breath caught in his throat as she shot a Ginevra's Arrow straight through to the bulls-eye of his mind. He didn't let his face show it; masking his sudden vulnerability in front of this Aphrodite, and instead choosing to question her motives. "Did your mom or dad send you out here?"
Ginny snorted, rolling her eyes—how did she make that look so lady-like?—and said, "Do you really think my parents would send me—in a nightgown—to go comfort a teenage boy in the middle of the night? Even it is only Harry."
A smile ghosted over Harry's mouth for the briefest of moments, as he remembered Mrs. Weasley's comment from earlier that week, when Hermione had decided to sleep in Ron's room, and Ginny had offered her room as a refuge. 'Oh, Arthur, don't put up a fuss, it's only Harry.' Ron had huffed away, leaving Hermione to run after him, stifling giggles and shooting apologetic looks at her best friend.
Ginny continued, "Besides that, do you think Ron would let me comfort you in a nightgown in the middle of the night? Especially since you're Harry?" He almost rolled his eyes.
She seemed to appraise him for a moment. "And Dad's at work; Kingsley needs as much help straightening out the ministry as he can, now that—now that the Ministry has a chance at being run by someone other than a crazy, conniving bastard." Her voice faltered as she switched directions mid-sentence.
"I won't break, Ginny."
He expected her to weakly protest that she didn't know what he was talking about, but surprised him and impressed him and reminded him that, after all, this was Ginny, by simply saying, "All right." And then she softly nestled into Harry's side, leaning her head on his shoulder.
Harry felt his body stiffen briefly, and then liquefy as her body warmth seeped through his skin to ignite his before-sleeping blood on fire, and it began to pump through his body with vigor.
"Gin," he breathed, and then, as he felt the first passionate feeling he had felt in a long time bowl him over, he picked Ginny up like a child—a beautiful, tempting, loving child—and sat her on his lap, smoothing her hair back from her eyes and behind her ears in one wide gesture and stopped before he could let himself kiss her. Harry nuzzled his mouth against the tiny, upturned corners of her lips, and struggled to keep his breath from whooshing out of his lungs all at once.
"Ginny, how do I keep living?"
A tiny pucker appeared on Ginny's brow, and he lifted his head, smoothing it down with his lips, as she ran a hand down his neck. "You think too much, Harry; you always have. Don't over-analyze this—don't ruin this. Voldemort is dead; how can you not live now?"
"But that's just it! My whole life—or at least since I came to Hogwarts—my whole life I've had one goal: to kill Voldemort. To save the Wizarding world. And now I don't have that anymore. God, don't think I would want to live through that hell again, but—at least when we were fighting, I knew what I was doing, knew what I was working towards. Now I feel like I'm just trying to keep my head above water."
"But think, Harry! Why were you fighting Voldemort in the first place?! So you could give yourself, and every wizard, witch, and muggle out there a chance to live. These past seven years—Merlin, Harry, you haven't been living, you've been enduring! And now... Now, Tom Riddle is in the past. And you can finally find out what living is really like."
There was an abrupt silence as Ginny's words fell over Harry like a heavy blanket. There was no need for any more words—the fiery redhead had proven her point.
Like a waterfall, Harry felt the tears coursing down his face for the first time since he had uttered the spell that fell Tom Riddle. He took hold of Ginny and kissed her silly, and relished in the feel of being alive for the first time in his life.