ginger_veela: (Twelve Fail-Safe Ways)
[personal profile] ginger_veela
Title: The Blessing
Pairing: Harry/Ginny
Rating: PG
Word count: ~ 900
Warnings: dark themes and maybe a teensy allusion to Harry's Oedipal complex if you squint really hard
Summary: "No one else dreads this day each year the way I do; not even Neville understands — thank God — the emptiness of growing up unloved, bereft of the singular comfort that makes life worth living."

Notes: Written for [ profile] hpgw_otp's Halloween Challenge; fic must be 500-2,000 words, must begin with "It was a dark and stormy night," and must take place in the time period after Harry and Ginny leave Hogwarts and before they are married.

This fic can be read as a mini-prequel to my H/G story On A Night Like This; I haven't yet decided whether to let this stand alone or make it a flashback in the longer sequel I'm writing. Feedback on that matter (or any matter) is appreciated, as always.

The Blessing

It was a dark and stormy night when they died, though rather less so than I'd imagined before seeing it myself. Not that I tried imagining it often, mind — I'd much have preferred to forget.

Before I saw Voldemort's memory, I remembered only my mother's scream — a small mercy, if anything about my parents' murders can be called merciful. When I lose myself in dark thoughts of that night, Ginny reminds me — in her gentle way — that I'm not alone in my grief, that many others lost loved ones in the Wars. And yet no one else dreads this day each year the way I do; not even Neville understands — thank God — the emptiness of growing up unloved, bereft of the singular comfort that makes life worth living.

But that's not what brings me here today.

It seemed appropriate — necessary, even — that Ginny come with me, though their remains still moulder beneath the earth as they did years ago, barren bones and empty skulls deaf and blind to our presence. But trepidation fills me as I push open the gate; I'm not ready for this, perhaps even less ready than I was the last time, because everything and nothing has changed since then. I've a family now — or will, when Ginny and I marry next summer — and yet I feel the loss, more acutely than ever, of the family I never had: the mother who won't be dabbing her eyes as we exchange vows; the father who won't be beaming with pride; the never-born siblings — a brother, perhaps, who might have been my best man; a sister, Ginny's bridesmaid.

We kneel before their graves; Ginny conjures a bouquet of flowers — lilies, fittingly — and lays it against the headstone. I open my mouth to say something — to her, to them — but introductions seem ridiculous: dead parents, meet my fiancée. Fiancée, dead parents.

Instead, I withdraw the picture from my coat pocket, nestle it amongst the flowers: a photograph taken at last year's Ministry Christmas party, shortly after our engagement. I still remember the raised eyebrows, the not-so-quiet whispers: Too young to get married. It'll never last. And my personal favourite: Of course it won't last. Aurors always end up dead or divorced.

I'd love to say it was only the naysayers who brought me here, but it wouldn't be true. I've doubts of my own, fears and misgivings I'm too scared to share with anyone, even the woman who knows me better than I know myself. How will I be a good husband, with no example to follow? How will I be a good father to our children?

I run my fingertips over the white marble, tracing their birthdates — just twenty-one when they died, with a fifteen-month old son. Did they dream of watching me grow to manhood, of meeting my future spouse? What other dreams died with them? Why didn't I ask the friends who knew them best when I still had the chance?

I watch our picture-selves laughing, smiling — spitting images of my parents, we two — but that Freudian tin of Flobberworms begs examination on some other day. I can't say all the things still left unsaid, not even silently — not I miss you now more than ever or tell me it won't always hurt this badly or what if we really are too young for this — because thick tears are already sliding down my cheeks, down the back of my throat, and I can't do what I came here to do, can't think of anything except getting as far away from here as possible, right now. I rise to my feet, hold out my hand to help Ginny do likewise, but she declines to take it; her warm brown eyes meet mine.

"I'd like a minute alone, if that's all right."

I nod, confused, and make my way back to the kissing gate; I watch her from afar, hands clasped in her lap, head bowed, lips moving in what appears to be solemn prayer. I turn away, my brow furrowed; I never knew Ginny was religious. My heart fills with doubt again; what other things don't I know about her? Perhaps we should wait, uncover each other's every idiosyncrasy and foible first...perhaps the naysayers have a point—


I turn back; Ginny's standing next to me, hands fisted in her coat pockets, her cheeks as wet as mine.

"I just wanted to thank them, for giving you to me. To the world."

Her arms circle me, and then I'm clutching her tightly, drying my tears in her sweet-smelling hair — and I know, with the same certainty I felt when I asked her to marry me, that what we have is good and strong and right...because she's everything I need, Ginny, everything I could ever want: my best source of comfort, the end of the emptiness...

We walk hand in hand through the kissing gate and down the street, our breaths frosting the chilly air; we reach the town square, the statue of me and my parents. I glance up, and for the briefest moment, I imagine — because it must be my imagination — their stone likenesses smile and nod at us as we pass by.

Somehow, I've a feeling — wherever they are — we have their blessing.

Date: 2010-10-19 02:30 am (UTC)
aggiebell90: (HG wedding kiss)
From: [personal profile] aggiebell90
Oh. I...

Wow. *is speechless*

This is gorgeous. The imagery and emotion just about knocked me over. Beautiful and strong and powerful.

Date: 2010-10-19 02:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks, Julie! *blushes at praise from you* I'm so happy you enjoyed it!

Date: 2010-10-19 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So bittersweet and lovely!!

Date: 2010-10-19 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aww, thanks!

Date: 2010-10-19 04:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh I've missed your H/G fics. Sentimental yet with emotional streghth.
I think I like Mondays now. ^o^

Date: 2010-10-19 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I do tend to post H/G fic on Mondays, don't I? *scratches head*

Date: 2010-10-19 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is both heart breaking and beautiful. ♥

Date: 2010-10-19 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks, Ilana. :-)

Date: 2010-10-19 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Absolutely wonderful. I really felt Harry's heartache here.

Date: 2010-10-19 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed.

Date: 2010-10-19 09:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Beautiful and haunting.

Date: 2010-10-19 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, sweetie. :-)

Date: 2010-10-19 01:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh. Wow.

This is really beautiful. The play of emotions is so haunting and powerful at the same time. I really love it. :)

Date: 2010-10-19 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much for such a kind review. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Date: 2010-10-19 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I will always be a little bit in love with your Harry from these fics!

Date: 2010-10-19 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, thanks! (I'll always be in love with your Al and Scorpius.). ♥

Date: 2010-10-19 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, that's so lovely. Almost made me cry there for a minute.

Date: 2010-10-19 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks, bb. ♥ *passes box of tissues*

Date: 2010-10-19 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm in a very canon place at the moment (though Harry/Ron is practically canon), and really needed some Harry/Ginny. Gorgeous.

Date: 2010-10-19 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! Glad I could fulfill your need. And since you're a fan of boys with boys, I plan to be serving up some 100% canon Al/Scorpius porn pretty soon. ;-)

Date: 2010-10-19 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hurrah! You're the only person who writes next-gen I actually enjoy!

Date: 2010-10-19 09:25 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-10-19 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You've slain me with this, veela. The tragedy of James and Lily's lives comes through so well here (and yes, I'm obviously going to look at the L/J here rather than the H/G know, OTP and all) and beautifully too. I hate that they were barely adults when they died, that they never really got the chance to live like they should have, that Harry doesn't have role models to follow or parents to be there for those big moments. Poor James, poor Lily, poor Harry, poor everyone. Ugh. But Ginny's moment alone at the grave was very touching.

Date: 2010-10-19 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for the lovely review! I hate that too about the HP stories -- I mean, we never even learn what they wanted to do with their lives, what careers they wanted, any of that. That's something I regret so much -- not getting to know my mom better before she died. I imagine Harry would have wished for that, too.

Date: 2010-10-19 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Beautiful and what an interesting/original response to this challenge!

Date: 2010-10-20 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I can't resist a good challenge. :-)

Date: 2010-10-19 11:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wonderful! Seriously. Great story, beautifully written -- I'm normally not a huge fan of stories with so little dialogue, but you kept a great pace and had a wonderful take on this idea that's been told quite a few times before.

Lovely work!

Date: 2010-10-20 07:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! I've never written anything with this little dialogue, but the situation seemed to call for it. Glad you enjoyed the story.

Date: 2010-10-20 02:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wonderfully written. That was quite beautiful. You managed to get me teary-eyed, too (glad the hubby's not home - he'd be asking why I'm crying at the computer...he doesn't understand the HP fanfic thing...). Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2010-10-20 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I'm flattered to have evoked such a strong reaction. *hands you tissues* My husband doesn't understand the fanfic thing, either. Glad you enjoyed!

Date: 2010-10-20 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is absolutely gorgeous! The emotions here are so vivid, I can just feel the entire scene perfectly. I love the way you took the "dark and stormy night" prompt and made it into Harry's meditation on the night his parents died -- it's both perfectly fitting and not at all what I expected.

Date: 2010-10-20 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I couldn't resist such a tempting challenge. I always imagined that Halloween, being the anniversary of his parents' deaths, would be a day of mourning for Harry — and well, you know I've got a thing for tearful graveyard scenes. :D


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