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.

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July 2011

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