Title: To Blame
Prompt: A door left open
The door had been left open, just as much as it was closed.
It had been months since the last spell had been cast. The dead were buried, Voldemort was gone, and those left behind were the conquering heroes. The world returned to normal, everyone happy to resume their lives as before, with no more worries about evil wizards.
Behind closed, carefully guarded doors, those closest to the fight were still reeling.
The attention poured upon Harry had nearly suffocated him, and he had poured all his attention into his relationship with Ginny in order to survive. They had so much to catch up on, so much to forgive, so much to try and forget -
Despite their best efforts, it was too much.
The night was dark. Harry sat in the darkened kitchen, a lone candle burning in the window, twisting his wedding ring idly around his finger. He and Ginny had married fast, as had been expected of them. It had been what they both needed, someone to cling to, someone who understood.
It was only now they were realizing that neither of them really understood.
Harry had no idea where Ginny was at this present moment, nor did he have a clue as to what her thoughts were – about him, about their relationship, about anything. They still held hands, kissed, and played the part of loving husband and wife, but too many words went unsaid. Too many feelings were left unhandled.
The battle was over, but it had only just begun.
Harry rose abruptly and strode out of the house, stowing his wand in his pocket and slamming the door behind him. It was raining, and he strode down the darkened path purposefully, going nowhere in particular. He was surprised when he ran into Ginny, sitting by herself in the rain.
He sadly noted the change in his feelings. Once, he would have smiled at the sight of her and swooped in to kiss her sweetly. They used to talk for hours, and now their lives were mostly silent.
The memories were just too much.
Harry sat down next to her in silence. Ginny didn't turn, but a moment later her voice came through the darkness. "Harry, we need to talk."
He nodded mutely, knowing she couldn't see him. He figured she could sense his agreement that nothing was right.
Her hesitation was obvious, but when she spoke her words were clear. "Everything's different," Ginny said softly. "From – from-"
"From before the war," Harry finished for her. He was glad she couldn't see the defeat in his eyes.
"Yes," Ginny agreed, dipping her head down. "And I love you, Harry, I really do, but-" She hesitated, and Harry could hear her swallow. "But," she continued, her voice only wavering slightly, "There's just too much… blame."
Harry had known that was what she was going to say, and he heard the words she omitted.
She blamed him.
Harry rose from his seat and turned away from her. He could feel Ginny's eyes watching his back. It was hard to contain the pounding of his heart; it felt as if it could crush him. "I know," he said softly, almost choking on his own emotion. He walked away.
It didn't surprise him, what Ginny had said. Harry had guessed that these were her feelings for weeks now. She blamed him for everything – the almost decimation of her family, the destruction of her school, the obliteration of life as she knew it, and most of all, the death of her brother. Frankly, Harry couldn't fault her for thinking those things.
He blamed himself too.
Harry's footsteps were heavy as he walked back to the house. He could hear Ginny following him, but he paid her no mind. He knew what he needed to do, as much as his heart desperately wanted him to turn around, kiss the love of his life senseless, and make her understand that really, there had been no other choice for him –
Harry stepped into the house and went upstairs to pack a bag. He was being a coward; he was walking away from something important, something worth fighting for…
But for once in his damn life, he wanted someone to realize how much he had already given up. And for once, he was done fighting.
It only took him a moment to gather what he needed. When he looked up, Ginny was standing in the doorway, leaning against it. Her eyes were red.
"Harry," she said quietly. "Please don't go."
He stared at her for a long moment, his green eyes boring into hers. "I'm to blame," he said, his voice unwavering. "I hope you realize that I already know that."
He brushed past her, leaving a burning kiss on her temple, and left the house, slamming the door behind him.
Harry didn't look back for many steps. When he finally did, the door was open.
Harry spent the next three days traveling aimlessly. He somehow found himself in the spots he found most painful. He paid the Shrieking Shack a visit, and then stood for many moments at the dock where Dumbledore's journey to the grave had begun. He finally ended up at King's Cross Station, staring hopelessly at the numbers 9 and 10.
He didn't know what his purpose was anymore. Frankly, Harry had no idea what his purpose had ever been beyond defeating Voldemort and saving the world. Everything else seemed rather trivial in comparison.
Perhaps his purpose had been Ginny. Now, he'd never find out.
It was there that she found him. He didn't move as she sat down next to him, the bustling of the train station seemingly blurring everything around them. Neither spoke for a moment.
"Harry," Ginny said quietly. "I'm sorry."
Harry shook his head, placing his hands on his knees. "I don't need an apology."
"Yes, Harry, yes you do." Ginny took his hand and dragged him around until he was facing her. "I was wrong. I don't blame you. I know that isn't fair."
Harry remained silent.
"I – I just – I just haven't been able to deal with F-Fred's death," Ginny said softly, squeezing Harry's hand again. "And – it was easier to blame you, Harry. It is easier to swallow if I can just pretend that everything is wrong, with you, with us. Only when… everything is going wrong… does it seem even plausible that Fred could be dead."
Harry wrapped his arm around Ginny comfortingly, letting her draw her head to his shoulder. He still remained silent.
"Harry," Ginny continued, looking up at him. "Please forgive me. I don't blame you."
"Someone has to take the blame," Harry said bitterly.
"Yes," Ginny agreed, still staring him down. "But you've taken enough responsibility. You can't carry this, too."
Harry breathed deeply. For the first time, someone had recognized what he was so desperate for – forgiveness, freedom.
"I'm sorry, Harry," Ginny repeated. "I never should have said those things. I love you. We can get through this – we'll talk, and try to understand one another. Help each other carry our burdens."
Harry sighed deeply and squeezed Ginny's hand. He knew he loved her, too. "Is the door still open, Gin?"
She smiled back at him. "It never truly closed."
Harry rose up and pulled Ginny with him, and they began walking towards home.
There was still too much blame, too many words unsaid, too many feelings still to deal with. There was still too much pain. But Harry knew, even through their challenges, loving Ginny was infinitely better than hating himself.
For Lily. And. Alice for the Endless Opportunities Challenge on HPFC. Not my favorite piece, but still, reviews are welcome!