Title: Ricocheted

Summary: "And Ginny; poor little Ginny who stood up to all the men who tried to beat her down. She wears believer like a shroud around her shoulders." Their labels don't define them. / Harry, Ginny, and living in the shadows. AU one-shot for dimitrisgirl18.

Prompt: Advent Calendar challenge - HarryGinny

Day: Eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five gold rings... four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Recipient: dimistrisgirl18

Notes: Gah, I need to post, need to post - I will edit this and make it longer tomorrow, but for now, here is a present for my amazing and gorgeous twin, dimitrisgirl18, who I love to pieces. Hope you enjoy this, sis!

"Marks of battle, they still feel raw; a million pieces of me, on the floor." - The Script, Exit Wounds.

They know them as labels. But they are so much more.

They wear them as scars across their faces, scrawled in black ink that won't fade. The words grow, with time, and maybe shrink, but they remain black. Black like midnight and dead things and starlight; black like shadows and souls and ink stains.

People have come to accept them; they are a part of who they are, like their eye colour or their height or the brightness of their smiles.

They are battle wounds, memories, things best left alone.

These labels appear on everyone - popular, arrogant, weak, insane, friendly - and everyone has good and bad, and each is shown to the world. And the world accepts it; no one's labels are the same. No one's labels are better.

They don't have to be. The labels are who they are. And no one is better.

Once upon a time, there is a girl, whose words read clever and ugly and stubborn and know-it-all. She has long since grown out of her ugly, little-girl looks, so ugly is hidden on the base of her heel, trodden to the ground with every confident step. Clever remains stamped across her forehead, and stubborn is scribbled across her forearm.

Know-it-all is covered at the base of her spine, where another rests his hand each night, remembering more innocent, more terrifying times.

There are more words, but those affect her the most. She can't tell you why.

There is a boy, who is covered with poor and angry and loyal and fierce. His efforts in the war have guaranteed that he will never be poor again, but the word twists over his hip and he thinks it means more than just money.

Angry is curled around his wrist, dark against the pink of his scars. Loyal is bold, like a necklace (or a noose) around his neck. Fierce hides on his ankle.

But he knows better than anyone that someone is worth more than their scars.

Their scars don't define them.

Then again, this couple, so strong (a label echoed on the backs of their necks, partly covered, but there, stronger than ever) cannot compare to another.

Harry; his scars are numerous. A lightning bolt, a locket and lies. Then he has the little ones, the ones you may not see - they contradict and fight each other, but they are tattooed onto his skin, engraved across his heart and sewn into his soul.

Liar. Proud. Honest. Stubborn. Kind. Worthy. Worthless.

His labels are less pronounced, they curl on his skin, loop at the corners and twist at the edges. But you can see them, if you look hard enough.

The two brightest ones are two that Harry thinks are too clich├ęd, but true all the same. Broken is sketched on his cheek, a blemish on his face already so scarred by lightning and glasses and eyes that look just like - well. That's just another scar, dear.

Brave is loose around his shoulder, the biggest letters of them all. Harry is ashamed of this one, because he doesn't think it to be true. But the labels never lie.

And Ginny; poor little Ginny who stood up to all the men who tried to beat her down.

She wears believer like a shroud around her shoulders.

Incomplete mars her left ear. Intelligent crosses over her knuckles. Loved winds around her fourth finger like a wedding ring. Explosive runs down her back like water. She has Weasley across her hip and never tells anyone but Harry.

These labels appear throughout their lives; they are cursed to be shown to the rest of the world, their lives spread out like the pages of a book.

Harry and Ginny; their labels don't complement each other. They fight and they hate and they cherish and they cry, but most of all, they love, like they have never loved before. They stay together. Their labels grow and warp and darken, but they don't care. They don't need words to know the other.

After the war, they could have started again, Ginny and Harry; but what would have been the point? They know each other from every angle, every spectrum, every label (written and otherwise), even by the outlines of their silhouettes.

More labels appear. Others, like freak and seventh almost disappear, hidden from view; shadows in the starlight of their lives. Unwanted, now. Unneeded.

They no longer need reminders.

Ones grow in the places that have formed - labels such as cherished and beautiful - and Harry and Ginny adore them like no others. Their love ricochets and rebounds and begin again. Their scars don't define them. But maybe their love does.