Written for the Pairing One Hour Challenge at HPFF Forum :) The challenge was to write a one-shot of minimum 1000 words in one hour with the given pairing and prompt and I'm really happy I managed to complete it. I'm not quite satisfied with it, but what could you expect in an hour, right?
Loads of love to my beta, TamariChan, who always makes my stories better :3 This story couldn't have been written without her support.
Prompt: Windows of Past
They were both half dead, half alive; they had both lost a part of themselves in the war, a part which left them incomplete for the rest of their lives; yet they completed each other, in ways they didn't know it was possible.
She approached him when he was sitting by the lake, hours after his funeral, throwing pebbles in the grey musky waters of the lake. She lifted her skirt and sat down next to him hesitantly, and he moved to make more room for her.
"George, I can - I can understand how you feel," she began, biting her lower lip as she spoke.
"Can you?" he asked her, tilting his head slightly. He wanted to scream, shout, yell and ask how could she understand? How could she understand how it feels to lose one half of yourself when she never had another half? How could she know how it feels to be incomplete when she was born complete?
Yet he didn't; he didn't scream, shout and yell; he didn't ask her anything. He didn't explain to her how it was impossible for her to understand, or to empathize. He just sat there and continued to throw pebbles in the shallows instead.
"Yes, I can. I lost Cedric - I lost the only person I ever loved in my entire life and I lost him when I didn't even know it was possible to lose someone. I lost someone too, George, and back then, I thought no one could understand either."
He turned to look at her, her hair messed up, her clothes torn, her heart bleeding, and felt her words, realizing the absolute truth in them. She was staring at the lake, and he put his arms around her, whispering softly, "I understand, Cho, I understand."
"I miss Fred so much that sometimes - sometimes I fear I will turn numb from the absolute pain - I can't take this anymore Cho, I just want to die! I can't live with these incomplete sentences, these incomplete moments, these incomplete jokes - please just, just let me die," he begged her, crying, and she held him close.
"Shhhh. I understand, George, I understand. I felt it too, felt empty, felt hollow inside and I still do - I still miss Cedric. So I'm not going to tell you this feeling goes away with time - it never does and it never will. But time heals the wounds and it teaches us to live again - and I will complete your sentences - just teach me how to."
She smiled at him kindly, and he looked at her as if looking at her for the first time. This was the girl who had just saved him from dying; who had stopped him from committing the ultimate sin; and, no matter how much he tried to run away from her and the entire world, she always found him.
She said it was because she understood, understood all his needs, but he needed to understand too: understand that he needed someone- not someone to replace Fred, but someone to teach him how to live again.
And perhaps she wasn't the best candidate for it, since she hardly knew how to live herself, but she understood his pain. And maybe she wanted to live a little too, by being with someone who understood hers.
It was the first of April and he was a mess; there were broken things everywhere, scattered around his new flat, and as she picked up the shreds of the glass, she saw him, sitting amidst the pile of broken things, crying loudly.
"George, it's your birthday -"
"DAMMIT, IT'S HIS BIRTHDAY TOO! Just because he's not – he's not here – it doesn't mean you all can just forget him and expect me to celebrate and prank and – and how can you all just forget him? HOW!" he screamed and she took a step back, nearly falling in the mess. "How the fuck has everyone forgotten him already?" George yelled, picking up another glass and shattering it on her feet, "Is he that replaceable? Does he mean nothing to anyone anymore?" He threw the entire table upwards and, as its content scattered around his flat, Cho saw him sinking in it.
"George!" She ran towards him, pulling him into an embrace. "Are you okay?"
"I'm not okay, Cho, and I will never be okay! I should have killed myself that day - why the fuck did you save me? Why? Why?" He was crying then, tears streaming down his face and lips quivering and, as she held him close to her chest, she answered his question softly.
"Because I can't afford to be alone anymore," she whispered, more to herself then to him and suddenly he was looking at her again. His lips were on her lips and he was taking off her clingy shirt and she was tearing off his pants and their bodies were colliding and as they became one, again and again, George finally felt complete.
"Cho, I have to - I have to tell you something,"
"Yeah?" she asked, her hand pushing back the strands of hair which had fallen out of her headband. As he looked at her for what was perhaps the last time, he swallowed and felt his throat drying up. "I - Angelina came back yesterday and she - she's pregnant."
"Oh - I didn't know she was dating someone. But then, she left England after - after the battle, didn't she?" Cho asked softly, unsure, and as her quiet voice reached his ears, regret washed all over George - he couldn't do this, what had he been thinking?
He couldn't marry Angelina, because he loved this girl; and that thought, that thought stilled every movement of his body. Did he love Cho? He couldn't love again, could he?
"Angelina - you wanted to tell me something about her. You said she was pregnant and I asked you if -"
As she stared at him, puzzled, her fingers holding the pages of the dusty book she had been going through, George understood that he could love again, and he had loved again; but he had also lost again.
Cho had never been much of a Gryffindor; he had always known that, but he couldn't help feeling empty (broken) again when he heard that she had left. It was Ginny, who told him, half-exasperated, running up to him halfway through his wedding,
"George, she left - Cho - she left you this - asked me, asked me to give it to you."
Thank you for making me feel whole again - that much I owe you, and that much, I will give you.
I know why you're doing this and I won't judge you for it, so don't be upset - be happy.
If I had a chance, I would have done exactly what you're doing.
I'm glad you got the chance to preserve Fred's memories forever.
Your sentences will always be complete now.