Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Author's Note: I got the idea for this while writing today's chapter of "All the Colors of the Rainbow," which is a series of ficlets, one for each character of the series. Today's character was Alecto Carrow, and a scene I did from her point of view inspired me to write the same scene from Ginny's point of view.
This story wrenched my heart to write, but I always find that I have the least trouble with this particular genre, as sad as that might be. Please, please let me know what you think!
Ginny Weasley walked down the hallway, dread filling her stomach as she drew nearer to the Muggle Studies classroom where she'd be having detention. Today, during class, she hadn't been able to help the vicious comments that had spewed out of her mouth towards her so-called teacher, who tried unsuccessfully to get the entire class to believe that all Muggles were scum.
Ginny felt like snorting with hysterical, bitter laughter whenever she realized that she was actually in Hogwarts. This wasn't Hogwarts, just a sick parody of it. This was no longer a school filled with carefree students, lounging about in their common rooms doing homework and laughing with their friends. This was something straight out of Hell.
And worst of all, he wasn't here with her. Harry. The boy she'd had a crush on since she was ten years old. But she could admit now that when she'd first fantasized about him, she'd thought of him as just a celebrity. Over the years, though, she got to know the real person within, and that crush developed into something else - love.
And she'd not been able to believe her eyes when Harry felt exactly the same way about her. She felt an incredible pang of nostalgia whenever she thought about their walks by the lake in the spring air the year before, and their tender kisses while sitting under the beech tree, as he took her small hand within his own.
But no, they hadn't just kissed and held each other - they'd talked, actually talked. Deep, meaningful conversations were shared between them, and he freely admitted things to her that he hadn't even told Ron and Hermione. He told her, his beautiful emerald eyes seeming to gaze into her very soul, that he was scared. Scared of fighting Voldemort, scared of having to be the one to kill him, but above all, scared of what would happen if he failed. What would happen to the world as they all knew it if Lord Voldemort were to take over?
Ginny had tried to be strong for him, had tried to reassure him that no matter what happened, she'd be there to see him through. But she couldn't deny that she was scared, too - scared of losing him, scared of those beautiful eyes containing no life within them anymore, blank and empty. If she tried to think about spending her days without Harry, she could hardly breathe - everything looked gray and bleak. Harry had always been a constant, even for all that time they hadn't been dating and he'd only thought of her as "Ron's little sister." If he was gone, if Lord Voldemort succeeded in killing him, Ginny Weasley knew she would break. Her world, the world as she knew it, would come to a violent end.
Her fear was especially prominent now; it had entered her fully on the day of her brother's wedding, when Harry, disguised as Cousin Barney (who didn't really exist), Ron, and Hermione had had to make a run for it. None of them had been seen since, and all Ginny had to go on was hope. The fact that there had been no reports of their deaths made her sure they were still alive - Voldemort would have announced it to all and sundry if he'd killed the Chosen One.
The Chosen One, she thought bitterly as the place of her detention grew nearer and nearer. Harry didn't choose this. He didn't want this. He'd told her that all he wanted to be was a teenage boy, just Harry. Holding her close, he'd confided to her that she was one of the only people who made him feel normal. With Ginny, he was not Harry Potter; he was just Harry, in love with a beautiful girl named Ginny. Ginny had felt tears come to her eyes then - it wasn't fair that she should be one of the only people to evoke that feeling of normalcy within him.
Her thoughts brought her right to the classroom's entrance. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and prepared to walk to whatever was in store for her. She'd made Neville and Luna aware of her detention, and begged them not to go off on some foolhardy rescue mission, but if she knew anything about them - Neville in particular - she knew they wouldn't listen to her. And a tiny part of her was grateful for that, even though she felt like a coward for wanting to escape whatever would be thrown at her. She took one more deep breath, and entered the classroom.
The first thing she noticed was that it was entirely dark. She couldn't see her professor, Alecto Carrow, anywhere in the room. A sudden feeling of foreboding came over her - what would be her punishment today? Would she have the Cruciatus Curse cast on her? Would she be made to cast it on someone else? Would she ...
And then, she saw it. As she walked further into the room, she saw her worst nightmare, an image that had been haunting her for nights on end, an image that had plagued her ever since Harry had left to go on the quest that would hopefully defeat Voldemort once and for all.
There, laying upon the floor, in plain sight, was a body with messy, jet-black hair, glasses, and behind those glasses - emerald eyes. But what was contained in those eyes, and the overall facial expression, was so, so wrong.
Those eyes, those expressive, expressive eyes that had looked at her with love and tenderness and an incredible inner strength were blank, vacant, lifeless. The expression on his face was one he had worn during some of their more serious talks at the beech tree by the lake, one of total fear, of complete vulnerability. And it was frozen there, fixed there for what she knew would be eternity. She no longer saw the future in that face, those eyes - all she saw was barren emptiness. Harry, her Harry, was dead.
And Ginny Weasley broke.
Everything was a blur as a long, keening cry escaped her lips. She ran over to the body of the boy she loved, flinging herself upon him, holding his cold, limp corpse to her like it was the only thing in the world. She put her hand to his face, stroking it tenderly, and then she held his hand, his ice-cold hand. He wasn't meant to be like this! He'd always been so warm while they held each other; this cold Harry was something entirely new, and it wrenched her heart, shattering it into tiny pieces. "HARRY! HARRY! NO-NO! IT CAN'T END LIKE THIS! WAKE UP, HARRY, PLEASE!" she screamed. She squeezed his freezing hand, looking desperately into his sightless eyes, continuing to scream his name. But it was all to no avail; he continued to lie there like a statue, as if he'd never even been a human being at all.
The next thing she heard was laughter, but the sound was somehow very, very far away. It sounded like Amycus and Alecto, but she couldn't concentrate on it - her whole world was Harry. Harry's face, Harry's eyes, Harry's hand. The longer she held him, the more sickening the reality became - Harry's essence, his spirit, his determination, his often foolhardy but endearing bravery ... gone. All gone. And with him went her future, and the future of the world. Only darkness was to remain now. Those bleak, gray days that she had worried about experiencing ... that was her reality now.
Suddenly, she heard another faraway noise, though something in her blurry, preoccupied mind told her that something else was happening right here in this room. There were footsteps, and spells being shouted. "PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!" There were two identical thumps of a person hitting the floor.
Then, suddenly - "RIDDIKULUS!" was spoken by a dreamy, serene voice.
And all at once, those empty eyes she had been looking into, the fearful face, the coldness beneath her - they disappeared as if in a puff of smoke.
And one word entered her mind through the fuzz. Just one word.
And then another pair of arms was holding her, but those were warm and reassuring. A pair of brown eyes looked into hers, brown eyes which were filled with life. Ginny was looking into the face of Neville Longbottom as he gently helped her to stand and guided her out of the room.
Once they were outside, he continued to hold her, stroking her back. Her mind was still racing, but slowly, words made themselves clear to her. "It's okay, Ginny, it's okay. It was just a boggart. Just a stupid boggart. Those Carrows ... Merlin, they're such scum. How could they taunt you like that? They're disgusting. Don't worry, we've put them in Body-Binds. They can stay like that forever for all I care. They're sick, sick human beings."
"Too right, Neville," said Luna as she joined them. "I just told them that they're not very nice, not very nice at all." Her eyes then focused on Ginny, who was still trying to process everything that had just happened. "He's still alive, Ginny," she said softly. "He's still out there, fighting for us. Have faith in him."
"God, that was ... that was horrible," Ginny choked out.
"I know, my friend." Luna placed a hand on Ginny's shoulder. She looked her squarely in the eye and continued, "But that vision won't come true. He's going to win. I know it."
"How can you be so sure?" Ginny whispered, breathing deeply.
"Because he's Harry." Luna answered simply. "Harry always comes through for us in the end."
And for the rest of the year, up until the night of the final battle, Ginny tried to cling to those words. The nightmares following her detention were even worse than the ones before it, but as the sun rose each morning, she desperately tried to hold on to the picture of Luna saying what she had said. After all, this was Luna Lovegood. Luna Lovegood didn't let anything exit her mouth that she didn't have unwavering faith in.
And, thank Merlin, she ended up being right. As the body of Lord Voldemort fell to the ground, defeated, and she was caught up in a relief-filled, euphoric embrace with a triumphant Harry, she could hardly dare to believe it. Her Harry was still standing. The future they'd mapped out together could still happen. Those nightmares could finally start to fade.
But it wasn't as easy as that. In the weeks following the battle, Ginny would still wake up drenched in sweat, the image of Harry dead seared into her mind. She knew that the best thing to do would be to tell him about the dreams, but after all he'd been through, how would he react? Would he accuse her of not having enough faith in him, because she thought the possibility of him dying was such a big one?
And that was why she didn't say anything until the first night they slept together in the same bed. Ginny woke from that same nightmare to find a very-much-alive Harry staring at her, his emerald eyes full of love and concern. He'd held her hand and implored her to tell him what was wrong, and without being able to stop it, the entire story came out.
But instead of reacting negatively like she had feared, Harry just held her close. "I'm alive," he said softly. "I'm still here, and I love you, Ginny. I always have. If not for you, I might indeed have just given up, just lay down and died. You were the one thing that kept me going on days when I was afraid it would all come to an end, and in Voldemort's favor."
"I love you too, Harry." Ginny whispered, and their lips met in a loving, gentle kiss. And for the first time in what felt like forever, she didn't flash back to that night. She saw only life in his emerald eyes, saw only contentment on his face, felt only warmth as he held her close to him.
And that, Ginny thought as she drifted off to sleep again - that was enough.