A/N- I'm not sure about this. I kind of want to continue it, but I kind of don't. Let me know what you think. It's a bit sparse, because if I do continue it as a chaptered fic, it's just a prelude - something to set up the situation, as it were. Meh. I don't like it, but I like the ideas I have for the whole story if I choose to continue it. Like I said, let me know what you think.
'Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.' – Sylvia Plath, Lady Lazarus
Was her life over when Harry died?
She thought so at the time. He was the love of her life, her hero, her reason to fight. She'd believed herself in love with him since she was eleven years old, and known herself to be in love with him since she was sixteen. How could her life go on without him?
But go on it did, and the fight continued around her.
Before the battle, she hadn't fully realised what the word 'horror' meant. She did now. She had known as she held Neville – brave, sweet Neville – in her arms as he bled to death. He had been caught by falling debris, and his injuries had been irreversible. The skin on the side of his head had been blown away. She could see grey shards of his skull, and his teeth through the gaping hole in his cheek. It had taken him two hours to die. His last word had been 'Trevor'. She'd handed him his beloved frog, and Neville squeezed the animal to death in the final throes of his agony.
She hadn't seen Harry die. Hagrid had brought his lifeless body into the school, and she and her friends had been forced to watch as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and the Death Eaters mutilated his corpse. His remains were left scattered across the Hogwarts lawn. His glasses remained on the bloody football that his head had become.
By the time her friends had died, she knew that her life would continue, no matter who she lost. It's all very well to talk of your life being over, but actual physical survival comes all too naturally. It is not, she had realised, possible to actually die of grief. The dying you had to do yourself, if you had the nerve, which Ginny had discovered she did not posses.
After Neville had died, Luna was the next to go. Greyback dragged her off somewhere. She hadn't even screamed. Ginny, Ron and Hermione found her body later by following stray locks of blood-soaked blonde hair.
Hermione was the only one to survive, although where she was, Ginny did not know. All of the others were gone. Every friend she'd ever known. Gone.
She even knew she'd survive when she found her father sobbing over her mother's body. By that point, too much had happened to compute anything else. Fred was gone. Her darling, beloved Fred was gone, and George was without his other self. Her mother was dead. Another victim. Another statistic. How could she understand it? She was seventeen years old and she'd lost her mother and her favourite brother. Two out of nine, and only seven left.
When the battle was over, the man who had once been Tom Riddle had lined up her father and her remaining brothers. One by one, he had killed them himself.
She'd been made to watch as they'd died. She'd been kept last in line, awaiting her turn.
Her father. Her daddy. He'd turned to his children, told his boys to be brave, then kissed his daughter on the forehead.
Charlie. He'd spat in You-Know-Who's face before he died.
Percy. He'd sobbed until the bitter end.
Bill – her beloved Bill. He'd asked if his wife could be shown mercy. You-Know-Who had laughed.
George, her remaining favourite. He had said nothing as he went to join his twin.
Then Ron. He'd struggled so he might hold Hermione one last time, to no avail. When he'd died, a screaming Hermione was dragged away.
Ginny fainted at that point.
What she didn't see was the man who had once been Tom Riddle stand over her, wavering in his decision to kill. The girl was pretty, even he could see that. And no tear tracks marked her cheeks. He liked that. He couldn't stand crying children – he'd never been able to abide it, not even in the orphanage.
Not only that, but he felt that he'd seen her before. Where? He could not recall. But there was something indefinable about her that he recognised. Something…
He was curious.
Snape lifted up his head, his expression unfathomable. He hadn't said a word since the Potter boy's death.
'What is the girl's name?'
Snape looked at the girl. Red hair. Pretty face. He'd always been grateful he'd never had much cause to be around her. Too many memories.
His master nodded. 'Take her to the manor. She can sleep in the cellar.'
For the first time since Potter's death, Snape felt an emotion. Surprise. Nothing more. 'You do not intend to kill her, my Lord?'
Lord Voldemort smiled. He was in the mood for it, this evening. 'Do you know, Severus, this time I am inclined to be merciful. It has happened before, has it not? You may recall it.'
Snape's hand tightened around his wand, unseen by his side. Yes, he could recall it.
-If the girl means so much to her, Severus, you may keep her. No harm will come to her once her son is dead, I assure you.-
A lie. A lie that had destroyed Snape's life. And now Potter was dead. Snape had kept himself alive and sane only by dedicating himself to keeping Lily's son alive. All in vain.
But he would not fail her completely. He could do it now-
No. Not tonight. It would require planning, and careful timing.
He picked Ginny Weasley up in his arms, and apparated to Malfoy Manor.