Title: Look After You
Summary: When Ginny time traveled back to her original time, leaving behind the Marauders and Lilly, she knew life wasn't going to get any easier. Torn between her desire for Sirius and love for Harry, Ginny fights to survive in a world she forgot about. Sequel.
Disclaimer: I only own the plot.
Author's Note: Please take note that from here on out, this story is AU. Though it may follow along the lines of J.K.'s brilliant seventh book, the plot has been altered. I started writing Complex Touch four years ago, before the seventh book was released. Look After You may have some similarities to the seventh book but, in the end, is not canon to it.
The wizarding world was not the same as Ginny had left it months ago. Darkened by the power of Lord Voldemort, and the disregard his followers had for anyone that was not pureblood and a loyal supporter of their Lord, the world began to collapse all around Hogwarts. And, despite Hogwarts' known characteristic for being safe, many of the students were pulled from classes.
Lord Voldemort, apparently, had taken reign of the Ministry of Magic. His control stretched from the lowest employee to the Minister himself. Muggles and Muggle-borns were branded and hunted, as though their blood line made them eligible for some sort of game. Hogwarts had become a safe haven for anyone loyal to the Order of the Phoenix, though the road to get to Hogwarts contained many obstacles and often ended horribly.
It was a feeling unlike no other, the disbelief that the world had become this horrible while she was gone. But Remus had assured her that it was all true. He had taken her by the hand, sitting on the edge of her bed, and tried to explain everything to her slowly so she didn't have a panic attack.
And, along with the world outside of Ginny collapsing, Ginny felt everything she had learned to trust dissolve. Remus had tried to explain this to her also.
"You're going to have a major culture shock, Ginny," he had told her sharply. "And you mustn't let it get the best of you. Everything you know, everything you thought you knew, is gone. Remember when you first arrived at Hogwarts? How lost you felt then? You're going to go through that again, Ginny."
He was right, of course. She felt as if she were going through withdraw. Not only was her body still recovering from the actual act of time travel, she also had begun to have panic attacks. Random words or thoughts would trigger the attacks, leaving Ginny gasping for air and desperate and only Remus could calm her down. Her parents had yet to arrive and Ginny was not allowed to see any students until McGonagall felt appropriate. It was as if she was caught in a limbo, where Remus was aged and telling her stupid stories and Sirius and James were hiding behind a curtain, watching as their prank on Ginny unfolded.
She often woke up at night and thought that she heard Sirius' deep voice somewhere in the Hospital Wing. He would be calling out of her, asking her to come to him, and she would exhaust herself searching the Hospital Wing by wand light.
It made Ginny feel as if she were mad. Remus, though, refused to leave her side. He was worried about her and, if Ginny were in a right state of mind, she would understand why. McGonagall had attempted to talk to Ginny, to try to sort out her student's thoughts, but hadn't been able to get through to her.
Whenever Ginny looked at McGonagall, so aged, she thought of the professor who snapped at her for missing class over nineteen years ago. But, really, it wasn't nineteen years ago. It had only been a few days ago. And whenever Ginny looked at Remus the right way, with the light hitting his face at a certain angle, she didn't see the wrinkles. Sometimes, when she felt him touching her face right before she fell asleep, she could believe it wasn't Remus touching her face but Sirius.
So maybe she was going a bit mad. But Ginny couldn't stop thinking of Sirius, of him proposing to her. She couldn't shake the guilt that she had just left him, without really saying goodbye. He had thought he'd see her sometime that afternoon, that he'd have another attempt at getting her to stay with him.
What if she was able to go back in time and explain that she'd be back again? What if she was able to go back in time and hang out with Sirius for just a few more hours, just the two of them? What if she went back in time, right before James and Lily were killed, and tried to prepare Sirius for the life he was going to have?
Because she hadn't tried to prepare him at all and she felt horrible about it. The guilt was eating away at her stomach and sometimes she felt so ill from it that she would get sick everywhere. And she would be on a rollercoaster of emotions, unable to help the way she was crying one minute and the next laughing.
Because what if she could go back in time and fix everything? What did it matter if everything changed because of her? She'd be the only one to know, after all.
The thought of what if, what if had become so obsessive that Ginny got to the point where she was whispering plans to herself. She was often left alone in the Hospital Wing, though Madam Pomfrey kept a wary eye on her from a distance, and began to think maybe she hadn't really traveled forward in time. Maybe what had happened was Dumbledore set out to confuse her, throw her off balance, and pretend that she traveled in time when really he had just poisoned her.
She didn't know why he'd do that but Ginny knew Dumbledore was a wacky man.
So when Remus unexpectedly woke Ginny up with the Time Turner in his hands, she felt her whole body lift. Her face brightened and she stared at the Time Turner with wide eyes, her hands reaching out to grab it from him. Remus always knew how to comfort Ginny, how to fix her. And here he was, once again proving his worth. He had read her mind and decided to get the Time Turner for her.
Ginny would be able to go back in time again.
"Remus," she whispered, in awe.
He watched her with a blank face, leaning away from her. Ginny sprung up in the bed, still reaching out to the Time Turner. She hardly realized something was wrong with Remus.
If he let her hold it, she could go back. She could go back. Nobody she loved would be dead and she could come back here or she could just fix everything-
"McGonagall took it off your neck after I carried you to the Hospital Wing," Remus explained, as if Ginny had asked. "I had thought you were going to die, you know. I had thought that you weren't going to make it and I felt like every hope I had, that everything I had hoped for as I waited for you to return from 1978, was going to be crushed."
He glanced at the Time Turner, shining gold from all the bright light in the hospital wing.
"She handed it to me and told me to take care of it, that I would know what to do with it. Of course, I hadn't understood what she meant. Why would I be able to take care of a Time Turner? It didn't make sense. I had more important things to worry about… mainly, you."
Ginny nodded, reaching out again. Remus pulled the Time Turner closer to him.
"But then I watched as you became weaker, not stronger."
His voice was strained as he tried to capture her eyes.
"And I remember you, Ginny. I remember you back when I went to Hogwarts, you were so strong and nothing brought you down and if it did I was there to help you. And I knew this was going to be hard for you because… you're having nineteen years hit you in the face and you only have a few days to deal with it."
Distracted by what he was saying, Ginny's eyes left the Time Turner and looked at her friend. Remus sounded desperate to have her pay attention to him, to have some of her attention.
"And I could hardly handle the past nineteen years and I had the whole time to take in the events. But you, Ginny, you must deal with it all right now, all at once. And I'm sorry for that."
Ginny's mouth parted and her eyebrows furrowed. She didn't like hearing about the fact that she had really traveled through time, that outside these hospital walls it was a different year than what she hoped.
"So I have to do this for you… and for me. Because you're never going to get better if I don't."
So he stood up and motioned for Ginny to get out of the bed. Scurrying from under the covers, Ginny ran to stand next to him. Her hair was uncontrollable, flying in all directions, and her night gown was wrinkled.
"Do you want to go back to see them? Do you want to go back to see Sirius?"
Ginny almost sighed in relief. He was knew, he knew what she was thinking.
"Yes, Remus, yes! Thank you, thank you-"
She couldn't finish what she was saying for she started screaming, watching as Remus threw the Time Turner to the ground. It shattered, glass flying in all directions, sand thrown against her bare feet. Ginny fell to her knees, grabbing the broken glass in her hands.
Gasping, she couldn't look up at Remus. He broke the Time Turner.
"You cannot go back," he said from above her.
Stilling, Ginny's body tensed. She slowly raised her head to look at Remus. He was staring at her, his face showing how broken he felt, but his voice remained harsh.
"You cannot go back to save them, Ginny. You are not meant to go back. And until you realize that-"
Remus fell backwards when Ginny threw herself at him, hitting him as hard as she could with her fists. He cried out when she hit upside the head but he threw her off. Ginny landed on her back, sliding across the floor. Sitting up, Remus hardly had time to breathe before Ginny had grabbed the broken pieces of the Time Turner and begun to throw them at him.
Shouting a curse, Remus dodged the pieces of glass. Ginny screamed, adrenaline coursing through her, as she got to her feet. Clutching one of the pieces of glass in her hand, feeling the burn as it broke her skin, Ginny pointed the sharp end at Remus.
He wore a mask of shock as he stared at her.
"Why would you do that? You bloody wanker, why would you do that?" she shouted.
When he didn't answer quick enough, Ginny threw the piece of glass at him. Easily, Remus dodged it. As Ginny was about to take another breath, whether to shout or cry, Remus ran towards her. He knocked into her, causing her to lose balance and fall to the floor once again.
He collapsed on top of her but grabbed her wrists at lightening speed, pinning them by her head. Ginny couldn't move when he stopped her from kicking her legs with his own legs. Out of breath, his cheeks flushed red, Remus stared down at her.
"Done yet?" he asked, his warm breath hitting her face.
Ginny couldn't move and was just staring up at him. It was the closest she had been to Remus since she had returned to her time and she took the opportunity to relearn the face of her friend. He had aged, yes, but it did not make him any less handsome than before. And while gray streaked his hair, she could still see the traces of golden brown that she recognized from when he was younger.
"Remus," and the way she said his name sounded broken, even to her own ears.
Remus didn't loosen his grip on her wrists, despite her call to him.
"They're dead, Ginny," he said sharply. "James, Lily, Sirius… They're all dead."
Ginny shook her head, turning away from him.
"And you can't change that. Merlin knows I wish you could but you can't. And you need to realize that. Because your parents are coming here soon, and so are your brothers. You can't be acting as crazy as you have been… because right now their attention can't be on you."
His eyes were rimmed red, Ginny realized, and he looked apologetic as he spoke the harsh words.
"This has to be the least selfish thing ever asked of you," Remus said. "But I have to ask you to realize that all your dreams can't come true, not right now. They're all dead and I need you to realize that."
It was as if something shattered inside Ginny. Remus let go of her wrists and pushed himself off of her. They both remained on the floor of the hospital wing, Ginny staring up at the ceiling as she tried to collect herself. They were dead. And she had just thrown pieces of glass at Remus, one of her best friends, because he was trying to help her.
Breathing out, Ginny turned to face Remus. He was staring at her intently but didn't react when she looked at him.
"Okay," she finally said. "You're right."
Because Lily and James were dead. And it was time she realized that.
The cup of tea was warm in Ginny's hand and helped soothe her sore throat. It hurt from all the screaming she had done the day before, directed at Remus. Remus, her dear friend, who sat in the chair beside her hospital bed and graded his students' papers. Taking a sip of the tea, Ginny waited a beat before speaking.
"So what have you been doing since I've been gone?"
Surprised, Remus slowly looked up from the papers. It was the first time Ginny had directed a reasonable question to him since she returned.
"What do you mean?" he responded, setting the papers in his lap.
Ginny smiled grimly.
"I mean, after I left, what happened in your life? And what about Lily and James? And Sirius? I mean, I know what happened to them, but what really happened? All the insignificant things that don't seem to matter at the time but mean everything later on… I want to hear about those things."
Remus looked even more surprised at her explanation. Clearing his throat, Remus shifted in his seat.
"Oh, well," he paused, seeming to think carefully about what he said. "You left and we were torn up about it. No one had expected you to leave that quickly and Sirius… well, it took him a while to realize you weren't going to owl him back, that you weren't going to respond to his letters. Everyone, even me, had a hope that we'd see you at the graduation ceremony, that you'd eventually join us again…" he trailed off, lost in thought.
"But we graduated," Remus continued, a small smile curling on his lips. "It was great, really. James and Lily moved in together and by that fall got married. Sirius, Peter and I rented out a flat in London, so that we'd always be close to Diagon Alley."
"And how was that?" Ginny asked, feeling her stomach drop despite her eagerness to hear Remus' stories.
"It was the best time of my life," Remus admitted. "It was just like Hogwarts, except James was not staying there with us. But him and Lily were there just as much as we wished. We continued living together for the rest of the year but then opted to split up. Voldemort had been getting stronger and was causing a ripple throughout the wizarding world. I couldn't find work and, despite Sirius offering to loan me the money, I found somewhere cheaper to live. Sirius moved closer to Lily and James. Peter claimed to go back to his mother's."
Remus cleared his throat, looking more uncomfortable as he recounted the events. Ginny took the chance to ask the question that had been on her mind for the past few hours, ever since Remus had snapped sense into her. He had been spending all his time with her, leaving only briefly the past few days to visit his students and instruct them with reading material. Other than that, though, he had been at her bedside.
"Did you ever meet anyone?"
A dry chuckle was Remus' response as he shook his head.
"There hadn't been time-"
"And what about you and Tonks?" Remus' eyes widened, his mouth parting. "You were dating Tonks when I left, right? I forgot about it until last night."
Something passed across his face before he nodded.
"Yes, we're still together."
Leaning towards Remus, Ginny curled her legs under her.
"Then why have you been spending so much time here with me? Where is Tonks?"
Looking away from her, Remus took a deep breath. Then he was composed again, looking at Ginny with soft eyes.
"She understands how important you are to me. I told her everything."
"But there have been a few changes in our relationship," Remus admitted, his eyes locked on Ginny.
She tilted her head at his strained voice. What could have possibly happened to them?
"Ginny," and here he reached for her, as if to prepare her. "I've asked for her hand in marriage. And Tonks agreed."
Ginny reeled back as if Remus had slapped her. She was left gasping, staring at him, horrified. He was engaged? They were going to get married? Worried, Remus stood from his seat, ready to embrace her.
"Don't! Remus, you're engaged to Tonks?"
So selfish, Ginny realized, I'm so selfish. How much time did Remus miss with Tonks because he was here with her? And she hadn't thought about Remus' life outside of the Hospital Wing once.
"Yes," he answered, withdrawing his hand, looking hurt. "It happened while you were gone."
She tried to steady her breathing, feeling the tightening of her chest even as she closed her eyes. Taking deep breaths, and releasing them slowly, helped the panic attack subside.
"Remus, where is she?"
The sound of Remus sitting back in his seat caused Ginny to open her eyes.
"In Hogwarts." Once again, he was speaking cautiously. "Ginny, a lot of the Order is here right now."
"I haven't seen anybody-"
"You haven't been fit to see anybody," Remus reminded her. "But they are here. This is the Order's safe haven. You must remember we are essentially preparing for battle against Voldemort."
A chill ran up Ginny's spine and she shook her head.
He was engaged. Ginny stared at her friend, her best friend, and wondered what else was going on in Remus' life that he was too afraid to tell her. There were probably many things that would slowly be told to her as he believed she healed.
When the first beam of morning light hit Ginny's bed, it was surprising to note that the bed was empty and made. A note was laid on top of the pillow but no girl was anywhere in sight. The patron of the hospital wing was sleeping in her room, never hearing the soft footsteps of her only resident leaving the infirmary unsupervised and without permission.
Ginny darted down the corridors of Hogwarts carrying her broom, anxiously listening for any wandering students or ghosts. Or, even worse, professors or Order members. The last thing she needed was to be caught during her escape.
It was the day that Remus and Severus' envelopes would finally open. Ginny had so carefully planned out her return home, how much time she would give herself before it was time to make her way to the Department of Mysteries, that it was as if fate was making a fool of her by how much she messed things up. She spent too much time in her hypnotic state, caught in between years as she tried to sort out her thoughts. Instead of researching the Veil, or the location of Severus, she had been fighting with Remus and plotting ways to travel back in time.
If Remus hadn't snapped her out of her thoughts only two days ago, she probably would have missed her opportunity to save Sirius. Remus, who was engaged.
The thought made Ginny nauseous. It wasn't the fact that Remus was engaged to Tonks, who was one of the few bright faces among the Order. It was more of the fact that Remus was engaged to someone, that there was someone who he loved enough to tie himself to, that bothered Ginny. She had been taking his time, his precious time, away from Tonks so he could care for her and he did not bat an eyelash.
And to think that she hadn't even bothered to think about whether Remus would be with someone when she was in 1978, writing instructions on her letter to him. Ginny had basically asked Remus to risk his life, sneaking into the Department of Mysteries to be there for when she and Sirius returned. She had never thought that he would have a family at home, or that the Ministry would be so unsafe that it would be risking your neck to just attempt to get into it.
Squashing down the feeling of guilt she felt, Ginny snuck out of Hogwarts. She was partially surprised that no alarms went off; nothing alerting anybody that someone had just left the castle. But, she reminded herself, Hogwarts was safe at the moment. Once she left the grounds it would be a different story.
She hadn't told Remus she was leaving. If she did, he would probably tie her down with ropes to keep her in the hospital wing. All Ginny could hope was that he forgot about her unopened letter to him, that he didn't go looking for it once she left. The chances were slim but, nonetheless, she had to pray.
Allowing her hair to shield her face, Ginny ran across the yards. The gates that surrounded Hogwarts loomed in front of her and she faltered. Pressing her hand against the cold metal, Ginny closed her eyes.
"Please let me pass," she muttered.
Then she straddled her broom and kicked off. The winter air bit her neck, face, legs, arms… anything that was bare. Stupidly enough, the only outfit Ginny had was the yellow dress Marlene had given her. It was hardly enough clothing for the winter weather but, with a few magical mends, Ginny had managed to make the cloth heavier and a bit more modest. Still, it did not give her the full protection she needed in the February weather.
Taking a deep breath, allowing the frigid air to burn her lungs, Ginny flew towards the gates. She didn't know if there was a protection spell on the gates, keeping anyone unwanted out and everybody else in. So when Ginny flew towards the gates she hesitated for a split second then- with a shout of triumph- flew over them.
Her hair whipped her face and she impatiently brushed her curls to the side, narrowing her eyes as she spotted the dimly lit Hogsmeade below her. There wasn't much activity there and she wondered if the city was protected, along with Hogwarts. For some reason, Ginny doubted it. Still, she needed to use to the Floo system in order to get closer to the Ministry of Magic. There was no way she would be able to fly there and still have time left in her day.
She landed in the shadows, in between two buildings in Hogsmeade that she couldn't recognize because of the darkness. Stumbling a bit, her legs weaker than she thought, Ginny leaned against one of the brick walls. Sneaking a peek down the main street of Hogsmeade, Ginny saw nothing.
What was she suppose to do now? Break into one of the buildings and use their Floo system? And what if it didn't work? It was no lie that Ginny hadn't planned her escape from Hogwarts well. She had just felt, quite suddenly, that it was the right time to leave. It was her only chance.
But now, as she stood in the dark and cold streets of Hogsmeade, she realized she didn't have much to help her get to the Ministry of Magic. How was she even suppose to get into the Ministry when Voldemort had such a grip on it? Ginny shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. She would take it one step at a time. It had to work, it just had to. So Ginny darted onto the main street, keeping herself hidden in the darkness.
It took her only a second to realize that someone was standing in the middle of the street, lit by the moonlight, staring at her. Ginny stopped, as if frozen in place, before everything suddenly went black.
Ginny woke up cramped and sore, laying on the floor of an unfamiliar room. She bit her lip to keep from groaning out loud as she shifted into a sitting position. Everything felt sore; a reminder that she was still healing from her time travel. Brushing her hair from her face, she looked around the room.
It was dark but there was a fire lit on the far side of the room. The walls were lined with bookshelves, all of them filled with dusty books that looked as though they were never touched. Ginny stilled when she saw someone was sitting in one of the chairs, their face blackened by the shadows. Quickly, Ginny's hands searched for her wand but, unsurprisingly, found nothing.
The fear that took a hold of her was suffocating and she couldn't speak, despite her desire. She stared at the person, wondering who it was, when suddenly they leaned forward. Firelight hit their face, highlighting the wrinkles and large nose. Ginny couldn't stop staring.
His face remained emotionless but one of his eyebrows twitched slightly, as if surprised that Ginny would call him that. Severus was older than Ginny remembered. He looked as though he had been through hell and back but there was a certain elegance to him, something that Ginny had never seen before.
It frightened her.
"Look who has finally woken up." His words were laced with malice. "Our very own Sleeping Beauty."
The hairs on Ginny's arm rose and goose bumps spread across her body. This was not who she remembered at all; he was not the teenage boy who she had left nineteen years in the past. She tried to calm her heavy breathing.
"You were in Hogsmeade?" Ginny asked after a long moment, unable to drag her eyes away from him.
Severus stood up from his chair, causing Ginny to shrink back a bit. The firelight was the only way Ginny was able to see him, for despite his pale skin he was dressed completely in black. She watched as he poured himself a drink, took a sip of it, then nodded.
"How did you know I was there?"
Turning to look at her, his eyes showed nothing but disgust.
"Weasley," he said, then stopped. "Stiles."
She flinched. The way her name curled from his mouth made her feel revolting.
"Our Dark Lord felt the magic ripple when you appeared only days ago. He knew that, once again, there was powerful time travel at play and sent me to Hogsmeade. Whoever it was that time traveled had gone to Hogwarts both times, nineteen years ago and just a few days ago. I'm to bring you to him."
Her arms, which had been holding her up, suddenly felt weak. Acting on instinct, Ginny pushed herself away from Severus and further into the shadows of the room. Her back hit a bookshelf behind her and she closed her eyes.
"Are you really stupid enough, Weasley, to leave Hogwarts?"
Ginny just shook her head, opening her eyes. She couldn't believe this, she couldn't believe that Severus- Snape- would do this to her. But he was Severus Snape. He was the man who killed Dumbledore in the name of Voldemort. He was the man who tortured Harry for years and who had barely treated Ginny like a human for her first five years at Hogwarts.
And now he was criticizing her. Rightfully so, Ginny had to admit, but the anger still pooled in her stomach.
"Why would you leave your safe haven?"
"You know why," Ginny spat, her eyes filling with angry tears.
She saw Severus glance at her. If only she had her wand on her.
"To save Sirius Black. But why, Miss Weasley? He deserves nothing more than death."
Ginny couldn't stop herself. She flung herself out of the shadows, wanting to hurt Severus badly. Barely a foot away from him, she was thrown to the side. Hitting a bookshelf hard, Ginny slid to the ground. Books tumbled from their spot, bruising her as they hit her body. Gasping for breath, Ginny wiped a trickle of blood from her mouth.
Severus approached her, his wand held in front of him. Suddenly her hands were bound by rope, tight enough to cause her to cry out in shock. She looked up at him, her eyes wide. This was not the boy she had known at Hogwarts. He stared down at her, a small smirk playing across his lips.
"Time to leave now, Miss Weasley."
She tried to kick out at him when he took a step closer to her. But then he waved his wand and she blacked out again.
Ginny woke up gagging, spitting up something that had been pooling in her mouth. Blood splashed onto the ground and she wiped her mouth with her hands. She stopped when she saw that her hands were still bound and now bloody. Quickly she looked around.
She was sitting in an office now, the window showing a beautiful day outside. Ginny felt her heart jump as she sat up in the chair she had been placed in. Where was she? Where was Severus? Looking around, she noted that she was alone in the office. Despite the protest of her screaming muscles, Ginny stood up from the chair. If she had thought she was sore before it was nothing compared to now.
Severus must have cursed her while she was black out, for her skin showed signs of bruises and cuts all over it. Keeping an eye on the door to the office, which was shut, Ginny walked towards the desk. It had piles of papers on it and several different books. On the walls hung maps, each with different notes hung by different areas. It reminded Ginny briefly of when Harry had come to the Ministry in his fifth year and there had been a fake search for Sirius.
At the thought of both Harry and Sirius, Ginny felt dizzy. Severus was going to take her to Voldemort, he was going to turn her over. And she had all but handed herself to him. What had she been expecting when she went to Hogsmeade? That she could just break into any building she pleased without a Deatheater noticing? And she had been picked by the worst Deatheater of them all- one who knew her from 1978. Her stomach churned and Ginny fought the urge to get sick everywhere.
Her nausea disappeared, though, when she noticed with surprise that a wand lay on the desk. More importantly, though, it was Ginny's wand. She grabbed it before she could help it, both her hands wrapping around it gratefully. Warmth spread though Ginny and she whispered a cutting spell, which caused the ropes to fall from her wrists. Her wrists were red from the rope rubbing against them.
But now a new determination filled her. Stupid Severus, he had left her wand where she could find it while he wandered away. Probably to get more Deatheaters to help him escort her to see their master. Ginny shook her head, trying to ignore the feeling that the Severus she knew, the one who was still a youthful boy, was still in the Severus she just saw.
Now is not the time, she thought, walking away from the desk and towards the door. She stopped, though, when she saw a cloak on the chair she had woken up in. Her hand reached out for the cloak, grabbing it, and her eyebrows furrowed.
Where was Severus exactly? Why had he just left her in this office? Ginny looked around the office once again before putting the cloak on. It was long, going down to her ankles, and had a hood on it. Putting the hood up to cover her face and hair, Ginny reached for the door. It was probably locked but she didn't want to blow it apart when she had no idea what was on the other side.
Ginny grabbed the doorknob and yanked, her palms sweaty as she waited to be shocked or for an alarm to go off. But nothing happened. Her heartbeat quickened and Ginny opened the door, her wand at ready.
The last thing Ginny expected to see when she opened the door was people hurrying by her, not caring to give her a second glance. Her mouth dropped open in surprise as she looked up and down the hallway. She recognized the place right away from her many trips with her dad and felt light headed.
Severus had brought her into the Ministry of Magic.
She stopped walking, her hand tightening around her wand. Was this a trick? Was this some trap Severus set up for her, to embarrass her when she thought she'd be rescuing Sirius but wasn't able to? Ginny's breathing hitched as she looked up and down the hallway. People continued running by her, their faces drawn with stress and worry.
But, if this was a trick, why would he leave her with her wand? And if this were a trick why would he leave a cloak for her, to cover her obnoxious red hair? Ginny's breathing slowed but her heart race quickened.
She began walking down the hallway, hiding her wand in the folds of her cloak. Even as she passed other offices, bumped into several people, swatted away some flying notes, Ginny was not taken notice of. When she reached the elevator, the doors opening in front of her, Ginny could have started crying. If this was a trick, it was the cruelest thing that Severus could have done to her.
For her hope was climbing.
"Did you hear about Snape on Level Two?" a stranger whispered to his coworker as they passed Ginny.
Her head snapped towards the pair and she struggled to remember what was on Level Two. Was it the Department of Magical Law Enforcement or the Minister of Magic's office? Ginny couldn't remember and she almost didn't board the elevator so she could instead follow the pair, to find out what had happened.
But, without a second thought, Ginny stepped into the elevator. No one else was in there and Ginny briefly wondered on how easy it was for this be happening when she pressed the button to Level Nine, Department of Mysteries.
There was no breeze in the room yet the Veil moved as if there were. Ginny could hardly recall how she made it into the Department of Mysteries, how she made it to the room with the Veil in it. It was as though the Veil was pulling her to it, as though the very magic of the Veil was calling out to her. Her palms were sweaty and her breathing shallow as she stared at it.
Who would have thought that she would have actually made it to the Veil? Ginny had hoped she would but after meeting Severus in Hogsmeade she had been sure that was the end of it. Then he had brought her to the Ministry of Magic, whether on purpose or not Ginny didn't know. And now here she was.
But she had trouble moving her feet from her spot in front of the Veil. She just couldn't do it because what if she went into the Veil and was never able to get out again? Shaking her head at her thoughts, Ginny attempted to take a step towards the Veil but faltered. What if she wasn't able to get Sirius out? What if this was all a big mistake? Why did she think she could do this?
Ginny glanced behind her, as if expecting to see someone there. But the room was empty.
"It's okay," she whispered to herself, pushing the hood of the cloak down. "I can do this."
The first step towards the Veil was the hardest but, once she took it, she couldn't stop. Almost running towards the Veil, Ginny took a deep breath and crossed the barrier- through the tattered, black curtain.
Warmth hit her face and Ginny screamed when she realized she was no longer running, that there was nothing underneath her feet. Her body dropped like a rock through empty space and Ginny looked for something to grab onto. But there was nothing. She closed her eyes for a second, fighting the overwhelming need to continue screaming.
She was falling but she had to land at some point. Ginny opened her eyes at the thought and gasped. No longer was she falling. Without realizing it, between the short time of closing her eyes and opening them again, she had landed on a grass hill. The grass felt smooth underneath her hands, too smooth, and Ginny played with the blades, distracted.
But she had something to do.
Shaking her head, Ginny stood up from her spot. There was nothing except hills as far as she could see. Gripping her wand, Ginny spun in a circle before looking up. The Veil must be a long distance away because she could not see it anywhere in the sky. She sighed.
Where was she suppose to go? What was she suppose to do now? A breeze blew and Ginny turned, wondering where the wind was coming from.
Ginny turned sharply to her right. The breeze had carried her name, whispered and surprised. And the voice sounded so familiar that she swore her heart stopped. But no one was there.
"Sirius?" Ginny called, squinting her eyes to try to see further into the distance. "Where are you?"
Taking a few steps in the direction she thought she heard the voice from, Ginny was stopped by a strong heat wave. The heat burned her body and she fell to her knees, gasping. The breeze blew again and Ginny looked up, her eyes watering. For with the breeze more whispered words came, sentences that Ginny couldn't understand. She tried her best to hear what was being said, to try to figure out if it was Sirius talking, but the heat was overpowering.
On all fours, Ginny gasped for breath.
"You've finally come."
And with those three words the heat stopped and the cool breeze blew over Ginny. She wiped her face, which was damp from sweat. The voice was not Sirius', it was much lighter. Ginny had a feeling it was not a person at all.
"I've come for Sirius Black," Ginny said when she managed to catch her breath.
A deep chuckling filled the air and Ginny got to her feet. Still no one was around her. It was as though the breeze was the voice of the Veil.
"Your arrival has been awaited. We've been wondering when you would come for him."
Her heartbeat quickened and her grip on her wand tightened. Ginny had no idea who she was addressing and that wasn't important to her. She just knew that whoever, or whatever, she was addressing was in control of her return with Sirius.
"Please," Ginny yelled into the air. "Please let me take him back."
The breeze became stronger and Ginny's cloak blew up. She tried to remain still.
"And what shall you give up in return for Sirius Black? And what shall we take from him? Each guest of the Veil is given two choices: Stay within the Veil, become a part of the Veil and cross over. Or… Leave. Leave the Veil and leave a part of yourself."
Ginny shivered, wrapping her arms around herself.
"What did you take from Ember Devito?" Ginny asked softly.
Ginny could remember reading that Devito had been sent to St. Mungo's, that he had never seemed right after returning from the Veil. Biting her lip, Ginny wondered what she could possibly give to the Veil. What could she give to the Veil to make it so that she and Sirius could both return? All she had was her wand and she had a feeling that even if she offered that up it would not be accepted. The Veil wanted a part of her.
Finally Ginny bit her lip hard enough that she drew blood, causing her to snap back to reality. She couldn't spend all her time thinking up what to give the Veil. Who knew what time it was outside of the Veil, if Severus was looking for her? Who knew if the Deatheaters had been alerted that she was missing from the office in the Ministry of Magic?
"What do you suggest?" Ginny finally questioned, looking up to the sky.
The breeze picked up again and seemed to form a tornado like windstorm around Ginny. Her hair blew up and she put her arms down so her dress wouldn't fly up also. She closed her eyes, listening to the voice as it whispered to her.
"We want your love."
"We want the love you and Sirius Black have for each other."
The breeze settled down and Ginny felt her heart sink.
"Our love?" she whispered. "What do you mean?"
"We will take the love between you both, the passion, the desire, the protectiveness, the tenderness. The love. You will return back to your world, your time, indifferent to each other-"
"No! No, I refuse, I refuse to do that!" Ginny cried out, horrified.
That deep chuckle filled the air again and Ginny shivered.
"Then you shall not leave."
And just like that the breeze was gone and Ginny was left alone in the large, empty space.
Ginny ran until her legs felt like they would fall off, till she couldn't breathe, until she felt like she was flying. She wanted to cry, cry from the injustice of it. The Veil wanted her love for Sirius? And it wanted to take Sirius' love for her? She couldn't handle the idea of such a thing.
Collapsing in a heap, Ginny curled her legs under her. The soft grass tickled her face and she closed her eyes tightly. But what else could she do? She needed to leave, she needed to get home. And she needed to bring Sirius with her.
She wondered, briefly, how long she had been in the Veil. It felt like ages. Ginny sighed and rubbed her runny nose. Finally she sat up and took a deep breath.
"Fine," she muttered. "Fine, you can take it, as long as he can come home with me."
The grass on the hills in front of her blew suddenly and Ginny's body stilled as she waited for the breeze to hit her. It hit her hard and she cried out from all the voices speaking her. It was as though the many voices had intensified, screaming at her. And she couldn't make anything out.
Covering her ears with her hands, Ginny screamed.
The wind continued whipping around her, digging up grass from the ground beside her. Dirt hit her face.
"You would give up your love for Sirius Black?"
The voice was mocking her, laughing at her.
"We would never really expect that."
Ginny lowered her hands from her ears, surprised.
"We would never give you leave that easily."
Ginny shakily got to her feet, despite the fast winds around her.
"What do you want then?" she yelled, trying to be heard over the roaring of the wind.
"We want your memories of him."
The wind stopped suddenly and all the dirt and grass dropped beside Ginny. The Veil wanted her memories of Sirius? Quickly, Ginny tried to think of a world where she couldn't remember Sirius. Where he was simply Harry's godfather, the escaped convict from Azkaban. Where Ginny didn't love him.
It made her stomach turn but she found herself speaking before she could stop herself.
"Take them. Let us go home."
There was a pause in the air and Ginny felt as though the magic around her, that surrounded her and engulfed her, was thinking.
"And what if we took his memories of you? What if he remembered everything about life but you? Would you still want him? Would you still want to take him back to your time with you?"
The words, delivered without any type of breeze, echoed in Ginny's head. She felt nauseous suddenly and she closed her eyes tightly.
"He would give us his memories of you. And you would give us your hope of ever living a life with Sirius Black."
The world seemed to be spinning when Ginny opened her eyes.
"And he has no choice? He won't even know? Shouldn't he be asked the same questions as me?" Ginny asked, her voice weak and shaky.
"He will have no choice. You shall make it for him."
It seemed easier, now, to live in a world where Sirius and Ginny didn't have feelings for each other, as the Veil originally desired. And it seemed easier to live in a world where Ginny would be the one not remembering Sirius, where she would have no recollection of him. But the idea that Ginny would know everything, would remember all her times with Sirius and he would remember nothing of her, made her shake.
"You can have him if you accept."
And then, suddenly, in front of her appeared Sirius. Her breathing got caught in her throat as she saw him materialize in front of her. He was laying on the ground, his eyes shut. Ginny ran towards him, falling to her knees when she reached him. She reached out and touched his face with trembling hands. His skin was soft and he seemed as though he hadn't aged since the battle at the Department of Mysteries. In fact, he seemed healthier and younger. Did the Veil heal him?
"What's wrong with him?" Ginny whispered, gripping onto Sirius' arm tightly and getting no response.
"Bellatrix Lestrange hit him with a curse before he fell through the entrance way. He has yet to awaken."
Ginny stared at Sirius, her eyes watering and her mouth going dry. Nausea still swarmed in her stomach and she felt like she was giving her life away when she spoke.
"Fine. Take his memories of me. Please, let me take him home with me. Let us leave."
Author's Note: I wasn't sure how to write the interaction in the Veil, so I kept it as short and to the point as possible. I hope you enjoyed! Review.