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Harry Potter Alternate Universe >> Chapter 3: Misunderstood by summerpotter

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Chapter 3: Misunderstood

Ginny, Ron, and Hermione returned to the Burrow together around five-thirty: two hours after Harry had left the beach. Neither of her parents had seen Harry, though Mr. Weasley was sure he was still at the Auror offices. Feeling guilty, grumpy and ready to cry, Ginny excused herself to shower and change. She took the stairs at a steady pace, repeatedly telling herself that things weren’t so bad and that she was overreacting since Harry could not possibly be as angry with her as she was thinking he might be. All she needed was a hot shower to calm her nerves and think of something constructive to say to him when he got home.

With the bathroom door closed against the rest of the world, she leant against the cool wood with her eyes closed, allowing herself to remember the way he’d looked at her before he stormed off. Harry had never looked at her with such dislike before and she did not like it. Recalling the look made her heart pound and her stomach churn. Why didn’t she instinctively pull away from Jackson? Why was she suddenly so desperate for a man’s attention that she’d go anywhere to get it? She’d grown up to be so much more than a little school girl waiting, wishing, and hoping for someone to notice her. Moreover, outside of thinking that Jackson was cute, funny, and a good friend, she felt nothing for him. She knew that Jackson had been a little flirty with her, and maybe she’d felt confident enough in herself that she’d flirted back without having realized it? How long had she allowed Jackson to be a little flirty with her? Had she been unconsciously letting this go on all summer?

She liked Jackson as a friend, but she couldn’t see herself having any kind of romantic relationship with him. In spite of her desperate attempts to escape it, her entire life revolved around the wizarding world. And as much as she wanted to hide from it, she knew that a big part of her problem was her fear and her uncertainty; emotions that could be resolved if she’d made the effort to deal with them.

Ginny, you’ve been pathetic, she reprimanded herself bitterly.

She looked at herself in the mirror with a grimace and raised her chin with determination to stop being such a sad mess. This was going to end today! She would be seventeen this summer: an adult. She wanted to finish school and play professional Quidditch. She did not want to spend the rest of her life being sad and alone because she’d spent an entire summer building a foundation of pity and an unhealthy obsession with her past with Harry.

Ginny missed her brother and her friends, but the pain would get easier. Hogwarts might not feel safe for the first little while, but Voldemort was gone: there was no safer place to be. On the bright side of things, Hermione and Luna would be back at school with her and so would most of her friends. She could almost see herself feeling normal again by November once school started and she could get back into a routine. She was sure the healing would start when she and Harry talked and had a real conversation to resolve their issues. And if not, she would go to Hogwarts in September, and she wouldn’t have to be tortured with his presence any longer. After summer, she really wouldn’t have to see him except for holidays if she really didn’t want to.

Opening the shower door, she turned on the water and stripped down to stand under the warm spray. She had to fix this! She had to talk to him and get him to understand that although she’d acted stupidly, she had no good excuse for things other than she wasn’t herself right now. She’d been having trouble sleeping all summer, and when she could sleep, she often had terrible nightmares of the Battle at Hogwarts. She often heard screams, felt her bed shake after an explosion, and worst of all, she sometimes had to suffer through a vivid recurring nightmare of Hagrid carrying Harry’s limp, dead body in his arms, but in her dream, Harry did not make a miraculous reappearance.

To walk past Fred and George’s room was also a challenge as seeing the second, unused bed made her remember that Fred would never come home. How could Fred be dead when the rest of her siblings and her parents had survived? George was not the same, but he was doing better these days. He was mature and strong enough to know that Fred would not have wanted him to be sad. It seemed that life was moving on for everyone except for her.

While she felt like her life was stuck in a standstill, the rest of the world appeared to be moving on. There were some Death Eaters still on the run, and every few weeks there would be some act of crime or some small public display of pure-blood fanaticism, but it did not cause a panic. It was as if the wizarding world knew that without a leader, the crime and public stunts would be stopped by the Ministry. The Aurors had never been more revered for their skill and hard work, and Kingsley was very public about his efforts to make the country safe. Ron and Harry spent many days at the Auror offices to complete their probationary period and skill training so that they could officially join the ranks and share their successes.

Hermione’s way of coping and form of distraction was to divide herself three ways between reading in her school books, spending time with Harry and Ron, and the rest with her parents. Ginny knew that Hermione still felt guilt over modifying her parents’ memories, especially since her parents had not taken this news well. Hermione admitted that her parents were hurt by Hermione’s secrecy and her morally-good attempt to protect her parents.

With everyone so busy living their own lives, Ginny had never felt so alone at the Burrow. This loneliness drove her into the muggle town to think about other things and to lose herself in muggle-watching. She’d met Annie and Jackson, and they’d talked about normal teenager things. It was like a vacation from all the darkness that was suffocating her these days. It let her get away from her isolation made worse by her selfish expectations Ginny had had in expecting to pick up where she’d left off with Harry. It took a few weeks into summer before Ginny had realized how much she’d relied on the idea of having Harry back in her life as her boyfriend. She supposed it had been a source of comfort and of hope to think that if they both made it out of the war, she and Harry could have a real chance together.

As she massaged shampoo into her hair, she wondered what to do. Talking to Harry was high on her priority list, but she supposed she ought to speak to Ron and Hermione first since there was no telling when Harry was going to come home. She needed to tell them the truth about what had happened and how alone she felt. Today had proven that bottling everything up and hiding with her muggle friends had only made things worse.

Ginny hadn’t anticipated that her guilty pleasure could cause so much trouble. Jackson wasn’t supposed to be attracted to her! He deserved to be with someone with whom he could share everything with, and who could know him just as well as she knew him. As for Ginny, there was no doubt in her mind that all she wanted was Harry, and it probably always would be Harry. Most of her thoughts revolved around him, and she’d seen him at his best and at his worst. She knew how to calm him when he was frustrated, and Hermione had commented that she’d never seen him as happy as he was when they’d first got together. If she’d made Harry so happy, why didn’t he want those feelings again? It was maddening that they were both single, Voldemort-free, and that they were wasting an entire summer ignoring each other.

Finished with her shower, she already felt calmer. Determined to start making things right, she felt her spirits lift a little higher. By the time she had dressed into a pair of old jeans and white T-shirt, dinner had already been served. Ginny walked down the stairs to find her parents, Ron, Hermione, and George sitting down to eat at the table.

“Sorry I’m late,” Ginny excused herself, taking a seat next to George.

“That’s alright, dear,” Molly said, passing her a dish of roasted chicken.

“What did you all do today?” Arthur asked, looking around the table.

“Harry, me, Ron and Hermione were at the beach,” Ginny answered.

“And her muggle friends,” Ron added, glancing at Ginny as if to remind her not to omit any details of what had transpired on the beach.

“Muggle friends?” George asked blankly. “You’ve got muggle friends, Ginny?”

“They’re quite nice,” Hermione interjected. Ginny smiled at her friend, feeling a wave of appreciation for Hermione and her peacemaking efforts.

“I met them in the village,” Ginny replied conversationally. “Jackson and Annie live down there. They’re my age, and they’re good fun.”

“What kinds of things do muggle teenagers do at your age?” Mr. Weasley asked with great interest, pausing with a green bean speared on his fork.

Hermione was trying to hide a smile at his blatant curiosity in muggles, but Ginny answered with a shrug. “Not much… usually we watch television, or walk around the village. I guess it’s mostly hanging around and talking.”

“Fascinating how alike we are, isn’t it? Although I do wish we could get a tellyfision! Muggles are always watching programs on the tellyfision!”

“Television,” Hermione corrected gently.

Ron swallowed a mouthful of chicken and then added loudly, “Yeah, Ginny seems quite close to that Jackson, bloke. Anything going on with him, Ginny?”

“Ron!” Hermione hissed as she glared at Ron. Everyone at the table was looking at Ginny with the same look of surprise and confusion.

Ginny set her goblet down a little harder than necessary and had to mop up the spilled pumpkin juice that had sloshed out.

“A new bloke already, Ginny? Blimey… you’re too popular, little sister,” George teased, although even his joke did not manage to break the tension at the table.

“Ginny, are you seeing this boy?” Molly asked curiously, eyeing her daughter with the same look she got every time that Ginny mentioned a new boyfriend.

All eyes seemed to be on Ginny as she met her mother’s gaze with great dignity. “No. No, I’m not.” She turned a glare at Ron and added, “And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions. It might make things seem worse than they are.”

Ron’s ears turned pink. “Don’t blame this on me! It’s not my fault Harry’s upset! I wasn’t the one walking around with some muggle’s arm around me and letting him hold my hand. You were practically flaunting it in front of him! How is that supposed to make him feel? How is that supposed to make me feel? I’m the one who has to deal with the mess, Ginny.”

“I thought Ginny and Harry were together?” George asked, peering around for someone to clear up this issue.

“I was not flaunting it, Ron!” Ginny snapped, her face burning with humiliation. “And he was the one flirting… I told him that nothing could happen.”

“Not soon enough, I guess,” Ron returned in a grumbling tone.

“Poor dear,” Molly murmured worriedly. “Ginny, you really should be more sensitive. Harry’s just come through an awful lot, and you two seemed-”

Ginny’s stomach flopped as she held up her hand to stop the lecture. She knew what her mother was going to say about what she and Harry seemed to be with all the awkward tension, the longing looks, and the careful avoiding of touching. It had seemed that they were one conversation away from reuniting.

“I know, Mum,” Ginny answered automatically, her stomach churning with guilt. Didn’t anyone understand that she’d never meant to upset Harry? She wasn’t trying to be a bad person- things just kept happening to make the situation bad. “Can we change the subject please?”

There was a long moment of silence before George jumped in. “I interviewed a couple decent people to help me out at the shop today! It would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about Ron working so many hours between the Ministry and in Diagon Alley.”

“You’re still doing hours there?” Ginny blurted.

Ron raised his eyebrows. “Yes, I’m glad you’re keeping up.”

Arthur gave his children a stern look. “Behave, both of you.” He resumed eating and turned back to George. “Well that’s a relief. When do you plan to open up again full-time?”

As the conversation turned to the joke shop and how the rest of Diagon Alley was fairing as shop owners reappeared to assess the damages and reopen their doors, Ginny found herself distracted by Ron’s reaction. Since when did he want to have anything to do with her relationships? Ron was normally blunt and he didn’t typically think before he spoke. She’d put his earlier idiocy down to what was normal for Ron. It surprised her that he cared so much about what had happened with Jackson, and made her wonder whether Ron would be easier on her and Harry in the future.

That was, of course, if Harry gave her a second chance after today. If Ron was accurate about just how much today had bothered Harry, he might have given up on her. If roles were reversed, she couldn’t deny that it wouldn’t have hurt to see Harry so easily off with another girl without saying anything to her about moving on.

Wanting some time alone to think, she wandered out into the yard after dinner. The sun was setting and the sky was a fiery orangey-red as she unlocked the door of the broom shed. She pulled out her old broom and kicked off from the ground, shooting up as high as the tree tops of the orchard. As she flew around the paddock, she wondered briefly if she had been so distraught as to officially take a break from the wizarding world, would she be able to give up everything magical? The idea of having to leave flying and her dreams of playing for the Harpies behind was not a pleasant one.

Ginny had no idea how long she’d been flying, but she stopped when it was got too dark to see anymore. She landed reluctantly, relocked her broomstick in the shed, and went inside to warm up. The house was quiet except for murmuring of her parents in the sitting room and the faint voices from upstairs. She followed the voices up to Ron’s room and knocked on the door, wondering if Harry had returned yet.

“Come in!” Ron called from behind the door.

Ginny opened it and sighed inwardly when she realized that Harry was still not back yet. Hermione smiled tentatively at her, but Ron looked unsure whether he wanted her in the room or not. Ginny shut it behind her anyway and moved to sit on the floor, hoping that Ron wouldn’t throw her out.

“Have a good time out there?” Hermione asked, breaking the awkward silence.

“Yeah, it’s nice to just fly around. I miss the pitch, though. It’s annoying to stay under the cover of the trees.” She glanced at Ron and then decided it was best to confront her brother now instead of dragging it out.

“Okay, Ron, just let it out,” Ginny said grimly. “I can see you want to say something to me, and I want to talk to you too, so go ahead.”

Ron hesitated with a glance at Hermione, who was studiously picking a piece of lint off her shirt. “I’m not… angry at you, Ginny. I just want to know why you haven’t talked to Harry about whatever it is you have with Jackson. It’s just getting a bit out of hand. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Harry’s been putting in ten to fifteen volunteer hours at the Ministry per day… he’s going to have met his required hours by August at the rate he’s going. He’s on the verge of going mental, I think.”

She opened her mouth to speak but he quickly added on, “And I know I usually stay out of this kind of stuff, but look, it’s not exactly a secret that Harry has had feelings for you all along. We just think you owe him more than putting moves on some muggle to get your point across.”

Ginny sighed, collecting herself. This was what she needed to do: to talk, to explain herself. And explaining it to Ron and Hermione would be a right-side easier than talking to Harry so this would be good practice.

“Jackson has never really been that forward before today, and I never encouraged that kind of behaviour. I guess the best explanation I have is that I’ve been feeling really alone, and unnecessarily anxious, and confused. You three have been away a lot and really busy with your own lives, so it’s usually just me and Mum around here. And when there are people around, I felt like all we can talk about was the damage done by Voldemort at Hogwarts.”

She shrugged, hoping that she was being clear. “So it was nice to be able to be around people who didn’t ever bring it up. I liked being around people who wanted to see me every day, and to be around me to just be a normal person. It was like taking a break from remembering that the house was really empty, that Fred was gone, that my brother and my friend weren’t ever around, and that Harry hasn’t talked to me for longer than the length of one of Mum’s Celestina Warbeck songs.”

“Jackson is just a friend to me. I was caught off-guard today, and I guess with everything I’ve been feeling, I sort of let things happen to just feel good for a few seconds. I have absolutely no interest in pursuing him. We’re too different, and-”

“But I saw you hold his hand after he had his arm around you!” Ron argued, cutting across her. “You kept letting it happen.”

Ginny nodded, a humiliated blush creeping up her neck. “Yeah, I dunno… I wasn’t thinking! I didn’t reciprocate anything, though. I don’t expect you to understand, but I think I just liked being liked… it’s just a normal, uncomplicated thing compared to the rest of my life. It felt nice. Did you know that for over a year, people were looking at me like I was some sort of pathetic victim? I’m the girl that Harry Potter dumped to go save the world…” she shook her head. “Not that I was looking for anyone else at Hogwarts, but I wasn’t even with Harry and I was marked as Harry’s girl. I was a walking-talking tragic romance to so many people. It became very depressing to hear people whispering about it, and it wasn’t true. It was just a constant reminder of what I didn’t have. I hated being branded as belonging to someone who had left me, and who might not ever come back.”

“And at the same time of people whispering about me and gossiping about how much I must cry myself to sleep, I had to deal with worrying about Harry, and you, Hermione, and everyone else. I left Hogwarts early to go into hiding, but when I was there, it was awful. The school was awful, the Carrows were evil, and some of the most important people in my life were putting themselves in terrible danger.”

“You must have found it really hard,” Hermione replied softly, sympathy shining in her eyes.

Ginny nodded. “It was. But I also had Luna, Neville, and the rest of the DA,” Ginny replied dully. “I dealt with everything, and I guess I just learned to accept that people were going to gossip regardless… plus I shouldn’t complain when I think about what you three were off doing…”

Ginny ran a frustrated hand through her hair. “Anyway, I just wanted you both to know that I never meant for Harry to be so hurt by my stupidity. I just wasn’t thinking, and I don’t have a better excuse than that. And on top of that, I’m having trouble sleeping, I feel anxious a lot of the time…”

“It’s understandable, Ginny,” Hermione told her gently. “To feel like you do after what happened. It’s normal…” she glanced at Ron and then sighed. “And we should have realized you would need us too. I guess none of us have handled our emotions very well. I’ve spent a lot of time with my Mum and Dad, and the rest with Ron. I probably haven’t been spending enough time with Harry, come to think of it.”

Ron nodded, looking a bit sheepish as he and Hermione exchanged knowing, guilty looks. “Yeah, I suppose not. I’m sorry I was a git today… I shouldn’t have done that in front of your friends. Harry’s been avoiding us too, and that worries us. We’re waiting for him to snap after everything, so I guess I’ve been a little protective of my best mate.”

“He spends more time with the Aurors than what’s necessary,” Hermione added grimly. “He’s probably avoiding all of us, not just you. You know how he gets… he just holds it all in.”

“Yeah, I know. Any idea when he’s coming back? I really need to talk to him…”

“Actually, no,” Ron said, checking his watch. “Although, I don’t think he’ll be able to stay at the Ministry much longer. They’ll want to lock up for the night.”

Hermione seemed to understand how she was feeling because she reached out and put her hand over Ginny’s, squeezing reassuringly. “Don’t worry. It’ll be okay. You two will have your chance to talk.”

“Yeah… I suppose. I just hope he’s willing to listen.” She got to her feet a little reluctantly and walked to the door. “If you see him, tell him I’m looking for him?”

“We will,” Ron promised.

Nodding, she left Ron’s room for her own, unsure of what to do with herself until Harry got back. She remembered that she had a stack of letters to write to her friends sitting on her desk. She’d been slacking on returning owls and was starting to feel bad about it. She also needed to talk to Jackson over the next few days and make sure that he was alright. Losing Jackson and Annie would be painful after they’d become such a major source of comfort for her.

Ginny had only just reached her room when she nearly smacked right into Harry who was coming up the stairs. They both jumped apart startled, and Ginny desperately tried to jumpstart her brain into remembering what she had to say to him. Sadness and worry quickly overtook surprise at the way he was looking at her. It wasn’t as bad as the look he’d given her on the beach, but it still wasn’t a happy-to-see-her type of look.

He looked as if he wanted to melt through the floor, which was quite upsetting. Ginny had seen him use this look on Cho Chang and she remembered it had brought a snide sense of satisfaction. She had never thought there would come a day where he would use that look on her. She missed his goofy smile and that crooked grin he wore whenever he was about to kiss her. She missed his laugh, and how adorably nervous he looked whenever he asked to go for a walk with her.

“Hey,” Ginny managed to get out, pushing her hair from her face. “I was hoping you’d come home soon.”

“I was at the Auror offices…” he said in a dull voice, his eyes skating over hers and then in the general direction of the stairs beyond where he could make his escape from her.

“Yeah,” she took a steadying breath. “Listen, can we talk?”

He opened his mouth to say what she was pretty sure was going to be a flat-out refusal, but then he seemed to steel himself and he nodded, mumbling something about having a few minutes. Reminding herself that he did have a right to be upset, she decided to overlook his desire to be far away from her. He was confused and she hadn’t been fair to him or herself. It was now time to solve the problem.

She opened the door to her room and gestured for him to enter first. He went in without a word and Ginny could just feel the anger and frustration radiating off him. Ginny sighed and followed him, pulling the door shut behind her. With Harry there looking so uncomfortable, and as she felt extremely nervous, her room suddenly felt as if the walls were closing in on her.

“What’s up?” He asked coolly, his eyes meeting hers with a startling intensity. Ginny looked back at him, her heart beating a little faster. Did he hate her now?

“I thought I should clear this up: I’m not interested in Jackson. We’re friends… he got the wrong idea, and I let it get too far today. I’m sorry if you got the wrong impression, and I’m even sorrier that you had to see it.” There, she thought desperately. Flat-out honesty had to be the best policy here.

Harry seemed to take a few moments to recover, but then shrugged. “I never asked if you’re interested or not. Really, that’s your business. If you want to date him, you should. He’s a good-looking bloke, and you’re both single.”

Ginny bit her tongue at his fire. “I don’t want to date him, that’s kind of my point here…”

He folded his arms across his chest. “It’s just that I’ve noticed you’ve spent all your free time holed up in that village with him.” He shook his head, his anger breaking his mask of mere discomfort. “You’re always down there with him… and you seemed pretty comfortable today on the beach. You never want to hang out with us… you never seem to show any interest in being around any of us.”

It took everything she had not to raise her voice at him. She’d been humiliated if the entire house heard this argument. “Harry, it’s hard to hang out with you when you spend fifteen hours a day at the Ministry. I just talked to Ron and Hermione, and we’ve already apologized to each other. None of us have been around for the other, so don’t pin this solely me. You’re not doing anything by hiding from us.”

“I’m trying to be an Auror… I’m here so I can do some good in this world,” he retorted calmly.

“You’re trying to avoid me just like I was trying to avoid you. But I’m sorry for that and starting today, I’m going to change. I’m going to spend less time in the village and more with you guys.”

“Jackson will be disappointed.”

She gasped, startled by his jab. Usually Harry wasn’t so quick to draw a biting remark. She glared at him, and then asked, “Do you really have to be a jealous git right now? I’m trying to apologize to you, and I’ve already told you! There’s nothing going on between us. And if Jackson does feel something, it doesn’t matter. I’m not interested in him. I’m interested in us.”

She wasn’t sure, but she could have sworn she saw him flinch slightly at the mention of ‘us,’ although he continued on his rant. “I saw you today. You moved on… things changed. I didn’t expect you to wait… we never discussed you waiting for me.”

Ginny’s breath caught in her throat. “No, we never did. Can we talk about it now?”

“No.”

His one-worded answer made her laugh mirthlessly. The fault line in her chest rippled painfully as her heart threatened to fall to pieces once more.

“No? Why not? I want to talk about it! I want to get everything on the table.”

“It’s already on the table, Ginny.” And then he was moving to the door. “It’s pretty clear. I got it.”

“Don’t you dare open that door, Harry Potter!” She snapped, her voice quivering on the verge of tears. “You can’t leave before we actually talk about this. I’m tired of going round in circles with you.”

Harry whirled back to face her, his voice shaking with anger. “Fine! I’ll talk. You have no idea how hard it was to break it off and be away from you. I ended things to keep you safe… so I wouldn’t have to worry about you being targeted. All I wanted was to keep you safe… to allow myself to be sane while I was out hunting Horcruxes.”

“You think it was easy knowing that? Harry, girls at school kept coming up and hugging me because I was the girl that Harry Potter dumped to go save the world! I was never allowed to forget! Do you think I slept? Do you think I can sleep now? I’m still having a hard time… it’s partly why I’ve been so stupid.”

Creaky floorboards upstairs made them both pause and reminded them that other people were home. Harry brought his eyes back down, undeterred by the interruption. “Well, I’ve had a lot of other things going on that have kept me from thinking about us. You think I can get a good night’s sleep? Hell, you think I’ve spent the last seven years sleeping soundly? I didn’t want to pull you into my own personal hell! I didn’t want to do that to you, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t care.”

Unable to stop herself she moved closer, hastily wiping away the two tears that had dropped onto her cheeks. “If you wanted to pick back up where you left off, you could have told me. You could have said something- anything!”

“I guess I waited too long, huh? It’s been two months… wow, sorry that I didn’t take time to get my life back together first,” he said sarcastically. “If you wanted something, you could have said something. But I guess not… you’re always down in that village with Jackson. What the hell am I supposed to do?”

The volumes in their voices had been rising and so Ginny found herself half-shouting at him: “You’re supposed to fight for me!”

“I did fight! I killed Voldemort! I got rid of the one person that was keeping us apart!” This final shouted line was all it took for Ginny to finally break down.

As the tears spilt onto her cheeks and her shoulders shook with the sobs that wracked her. Across the room, Harry stared at her in awkward silence, frozen to the spot. He made a jerking movement as if he was going to go to her but he stopped himself. He scrubbed his face in his hands and shook his head. “Please don’t cry,” he murmured. “I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“Why are we fighting like this?” She demanded hysterically, hastily trying to wipe her tears and calm herself. “Why wasn’t this easy? Ron and Hermione got it together, but we can’t. If we both wanted it, why wasn’t it like fitting together the last two pieces of a puzzle?”

Harry wasn’t looking at her anymore, but his face had gone back to being a blank mask. “Dunno… maybe those last two pieces were never meant to fit together.”

The impact of those words brought a fresh batch of tears to her eyes, but this time her cries were silent. She couldn’t believe that they were saying these things to each other. Silence had filled the room again and they stood there for several long moments, Harry not looking at her and Ginny staring at her feet, the tears still streaming down her cheeks as she silently begged him to take it back.

Harry was moving to the door again. “I should go. I can’t do this right now. I’m going to bed,” he told her moodily, opening the door and shutting it with a sharp snap behind him.

Ginny stared at her door, incredulous that he’d just up and left. With Harry gone, reason returned to her and she swiped at her eyes, angry with him and angrier with herself. She began to pace her room, her heart still pounding and as she tried to work out if he’d meant what he said or if he was just angry. The few times she’d seen Harry that angry it had been over how tortured he was with Voldemort and how worthless he’d felt.

“…maybe those last two pieces were never meant to fit together.”

Had he officially told her that their relationship was over? Were those the words she had dreaded all summer? She continued to pace for several minutes, trying to regain control of her breathing and her pounding heart before she collapsed of a heart attack. She certainly felt like she was going to fall apart if she allowed herself to start crying again.

She stalked over to the bed that had felt so unwelcome these past few weeks and dropped onto it. That conversation had not gone at all as she had expected. Some bizarre voice in her head was asking when had Harry developed a temper that could match her own, and was congratulating him on being able to have a good fight with her. This was their first ever big fight, and they weren’t even a couple to have it.

Harry had left her for such noble reasons so shouldn’t this fairy tale end with a happily ever after somewhere in the future? And now what was she to do? If Harry had actually ended things, should she keep her promises and spend more time around Harry, Ron and Hermione, or was she actually free to spend time with her friends in the village? Should she be a little cruel and spend more time in the village to make Harry think that she had gone to Jackson after all?

No, was her immediate reaction to that vindictive idea. She hated the immaturity of girls who did that.

Now that she and Harry were worse off than before, she determined that she probably had developed an unhealthy dependence on a muggle identity. Actually, she probably had post-traumatic stress disorder. McGonagall had sent every student onto the train with information on post-traumatic stress disorder but Ginny had stuffed the sheet in her trunk, still content to be alive.

Taking a look at her day, she glared at her wall in discontent. In a matter of hours, she’d allowed her own heart to get broken, pissed Harry off, broken the heart of a nice guy, and had in effect probably destroyed the friendship she had with her muggle friends.

Ginny buried her face in her pillow, allowing her tears to fall freely. She knew who she wanted, who she had to be with. She didn’t think she could bear it to have to try and really belong to anyone else. Maybe that was stupid, possessive, and unrealistic, but it was the only thing that made sense. She still had some fight left in her and once she had calmed down, she could work on Plan B. As pathetic as she felt, tonight she needed to be sad.

She just had to hope that Ron and Hermione could help her with Harry. Perhaps he just needed more time to get his life back in order. Maybe once he’d done that, they could both apologize and look back on this fight in a couple years and laugh at it.

Maybe.


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