THIS AND FOLLOWING CHAPTERS ARE FROM THE OLD VERSION OF 'DID I TELL YOU' – THEY ARE BACK HERE BY REQUEST AS I HAVE NOT FINISHED THE EDITING OF THIS STORY AND I DO NOT KNOW HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE ME TO FINISH IT.
Disclaimer: J K Rowling owns all of Harry Potter characters.
A/N: This story comes from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows book. It is about what I would have liked to of read if there had been a chapter thirty seven and subsequent chapters before the story leapt into the future nineteen years later.
Please note, it is purely a 'fill in the blanks' kind of short story of how Harry and his friends coped after the battle with Voldemort and what happened in his relationship with Ginny. I do apologize to those readers who have thought this was anything more. I have since changed the summary to reflect what this story is about more clearly.
Did I Tell You is story with a lot of emotion in it compared to JK Rowling's Potter books. But I hope you will still find this to be an enjoyable read.
Did I Tell You
Professor McGonagall's Headmasters Office seemed strangely empty to me. I had spent a lot of time in here in the past but it had been with a different head of Hogwarts School back then, though it was he who had requested me to be here now. Earlier today I had been in this same office with my friends and spoken with Professor Dumbledore. It surprised me that he had called me back here so soon.
As the day progressed after we had left the Professor earlier, a weight began to overwhelm me. I felt a distance forming between myself and anyone I was near, including Ron. It was like an unspoken request for space; I understood that and gave him what he needed. Ginny was not around either, eventually I came to the conclusion she didn't want to see me.
I had retreated into my own thoughts when I found a room alone in the upper floors of Hogwarts. There I played out everything that had happened over the past few days in my mind. The exhaustion I felt should have claimed me long ago and given me sleep, but it had only served to fuel the realisation of what I had done.
It was Kreacher that found me and told me of the Professor wishing to see me again. At first I didn't want to come preferring my own company than feel the distance grow of the people I cared about. But I owe the Professor for so much and to have refused his request would have been rude.
When I arrived Hermione and Ron were sitting in front of his picture. I was a little surprised to see them here as well. I sat next to them without speaking. Hermione looked up and weakly smiled but Ron kept his head down. There was that distance again. I didn't know what to say or do to make it things right between us.
Professor Dumbledore's portrait hung on the wall closest to the Headmasters desk. He was dressed in his formal grey wizard attire that shimmered as he moved while he spoke with us. This was the place he could exist now and even then it was in a limited fashion. It was very strange to be able to communicate with him still even though he died sometime ago. I had no idea how this worked and a subconscious thought wondered if Hermione did.
The three of us have been sitting around his portrait for some time now, we all had listened quietly to his words and effort to offer us comfort now the battle was won against Voldemort. But it didn't feel like it was a victory, not to me. How can the professor look at it that way when so many have died because of me?
An inner voice in me screamed out to argue with him on this but I couldn't. My voice refused to speak, my body felt depleted of strength to put up any resistance.
Ron had buried his face into Hermione's shoulder when she wrapped her arms around him in support. Her cheeks stained with silent tears, her eyes closed as she pulled him in closer to her. He never spoke, all I heard were the quiet sobs of his grief.
Seeing him, seeing them both like this filled me with a new burden that outweighed the war I just fought with Voldemort. The force I was hit with consumed me as I realised of what I had just said in my mind. I was to blame for all the deaths and suffering, if it wasn't for me, all those people would be alive now. No longer did I wonder on why I felt a distance between Ron and me and why Ginny was nowhere to be seen.
I couldn't cry, I felt detached, alone.
How could I fail the one family that showed me love? The Weasley family had taken me in and treated me as one of their own and look how I have repaid their kindness. Through my lack of ability they had lost a cherished son, a brother. Fred was gone. I may not have been his real brother but to me he was and I felt the loss as if he was but with the added guilt of failing him and his family. I could hardly comprehend that he was really gone; I didn't want to accept it being real. I wanted this to be a dream, a nightmare that I could wake up from.
The numb feeling intensified from grief as I thought of all the others who cared for me over the last seven years who were also gone forever because of me. Sirius Black, my godfather and best friend of my parents. Remus Lupin another good friend of my parents, his wife Tonks, Mad-Eye Moody, Professor Snape and Professor Dumbledore. Each one I would have died for and yet I am the one that lives.
It's not right, none of this is right. Where is the justice for those who are left behind to grieve because of me?
"Harry, I see your torment. Remember you have saved the entire wizard world with the great sacrifices you have made." I looked up and saw his sad eyes gaze upon me. There was more in his words than he said pity and affection, but I could not respond, I did not deserve his kindness.
"You all need rest. Hermione, could you help Ron to the Gryffindor dormitories?" He said quietly.
Hermione nodded her head at the Professor in acknowledgement of his request. She encouraged Ron to stand and looked at me with caring eyes.
"Come on Harry" she said gently. I felt her hand grab mine as she guided Ron to the doorway with me in tow.
"We will talk again tomorrow Harry" the Professor said when I reached the door.
A cold gust of air entered the room when Hermione opened the door. There was an impression of death to it as well as anger, and a good measure of sorrow. From all those who perished in the battle, I thought to myself.
Parchments on the desk ruffled being whipped up from the gusts in the room as it searched for a place to find rest. The books and jars shook on their shelves in turn lifted by the unrest of the tormented air thrashing around now with vigour. I did not know what it was that caused this but felt responsible for its obvious despair.
There was nothing more I could do for anyone or anything, there was nothing more left in me to make this right. I felt striped of life.
The Professor seemed to have picked up on my inner turmoil. "No more tonight Harry, you need to rest."
"Tomorrow" I said confirming the arrangement from earlier. My voice thick and broken conveyed my emotions; I knew I couldn't do more, not tonight.
My head felt heavy and hung low as I turned and followed my friends down the stairs. My hand instinctively reached to the centre of the stairwell, as we made our way down the steps. The Gargoyle was cold and smooth like marble but there was a life in it, an animation that was not visible to the eye but certainly felt.
The stone staircase echoed as we took each step, it sounded like a heartbeat out of rhythm. Did Hogwarts have an existence, a life to it that I was not aware of before? Did this castle and home to students and staff alike, suffer physically from the battle?
I must be losing my mind. I thought to myself. But I couldn't shake this feeling there was an element of truth to my theory.
We walked through the corridors filled with portraits, most of the people sung out congratulations to me with praise of defeating Voldemort. Some were offering their condolences to us which I felt more at ease with. I was waiting for the deserved abuse for being the failure that I am. It never came...
Their senseless words made me feel worse. I wished for my legs to move faster, to run from the insanity of this. But my feet could barely take a step from the weight of my own despair. It took all of my inner strength to put one foot in front of the other to get me to the Gryffindor Common room.
We reached the moving staircase. A groaned guttural sound emanated from the base of it as it moved us swinging us to the landing we needed to reach the corridor to the common room.
Again I wondered if Hogwarts was suffering from the battle. There was an impulse in me to speak out how sorry I was for everything and maybe I would have, except we just reached The Fat Lady portrait.
"Password" she asked. There was nervous tone in her question that had never been there before.
I did not know the password and was too numb to try and think of possible answers of what it might be.
Neither Hermione nor Ron spoke, they had not said anything the entire time we had made our way here. What could they say? Why would Ron want to speak with me? Did he hate me? I wouldn't blame him if he did.
But it was Ron who spoke first.
"I don't know it" He said not really speaking to anyone in particular, he just stared aimlessly at the painting.
"You know who we are; can you not let us through?" Hermione pleaded with The Fat Lady.
"There are rules for a reason. You could be He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named followers in disguise." She said sympathetically but not enough to open the doorway.
Not one of us had enough strength in us to argue with her.
"That's it then" Ron said sounding defeated. "We have no place to go" his voice hitched from the finality of our situation. Hermione wrapped her arms around him again. He sunk into her embrace.
I stood there watching them holding each other. For so long they had denied their feelings for each other, it had been almost comical to watch the games in the past of how they avoided the attraction they felt for each other. But this was not attraction that brought them in each other's arms now, it was grief.
I felt some relief to know Ron had Hermione to help him through his pain from the loss of his brother. It was right after all we had been through that he should not go through this alone. As much as I wanted it to be otherwise, I couldn't help him through this when I was the reason for Fred's death.
How could Ron ever forgive me for what I have done to him and his family? But did I want forgiveness, did I deserve forgiveness? I was torn on what I wanted in answer to these questions. I did not believe I deserved forgiveness but there was one member of his family that I knew I would give anything to have it, but knew I could never hope to receive, let alone hope to be close to again. Ginny.
It seemed just in a way as punishment that I shall never again hold her in my arms, to never be able to tell her that I love her.
The numb feeling surrendered to the ache in my heart as my mind brought up images of Ginny – her sweet smile that melted my heart, her eyes that blazed with passion and her fiery red hair that sculptured her beautiful face. Everything about Ginny I loved. Once she loved me but not now, never again could she feel anything remotely close to love for me. If she loathed me, hate even, I wouldn't blame her.
My life was filled with me being alone from the moment Voldemort killed my parents and I was placed in the care of my Aunt and Uncle who despised my existence. They had gone to extremes in making it clear how much they didn't want me; it was like sport to them in how they could make my life a misery. My only sanctuary in life had been when I turned eleven and came here to Hogwarts.
But at this moment all the pain I had been through was nothing compared to how I felt now, I had never hurt so much. I had truly lost everyone that I loved but losing Ginny brought on a new pain. I gave her my heart long ago and knew the moment I had that she was the one for me. She was the girl who I wanted to marry and spend the rest of my life with.
I closed my eyes remembering every detail about her, torturing myself I know but I couldn't let her go. She meant everything to me.
The Fat Lady spoke again. "Password" I was close to being sarcastic with the portrait for asking us when she knew we didn't know.
I heard the voice of an angel behind me.
My eyes flew open but I dared not turn. I couldn't breathe. Was this really Ginny? Had I lost my mind so far that I was hearing voices now, her voice?
I almost jumped as the portrait moved out of the way revealing the entrance to the common room.
A warm hand took hold of mine, it was her hand. I fought the tears threatening to unhinge me completely as they whelmed up in my eyes, my heart was thundering in my chest. None of this made sense, she should not want to be near me, I was no better than Voldemort – death and suffering to so many. How could bear to be near me, did she not hate me?
Turning my head to look at her I immediately felt the shatter of my heart breaking to see her red tear-filled eyes as she fought to hold back her emotions.
My hand cupped her face, she pressed into it closing her eyes as her tears streamed down her flushed cheeks. Instinctively I pulled her into me. I wanted desperately to protect her, to free her from this pain.
"Ginny" I cried with her holding her close to me.