Hello everyone. I am so sorry I have not updated in so long. Several months ago, my hard drive crashed on me, and I lost everything. It didn't take long to get a new computer, but what took forever was getting the speech software I need on it, because I am blind. But finally, I have it back, and I'm all set. Over the last little while I have written a bunch of one-shots to help me get back into writing again, but now, I finally feel I am ready to delve back into this long project. Thank you all so much for your patience.
A really cool thing that happened to me was that at Christmas, Mum and Dad took what I'd written of Love is Immortal so far and bound it into a real book that I can show people. Of course, it can't be published, but it's cool that I can actually have a real copy of it!
Okay, here's the next chapter! I hope you enjoy it!
Chapter 61: Trust
That night, Harry couldn't sleep. Thoughts of today's therapy session preyed heavily on his mind. For the longest time, he had tried not to think about the bullying he had undergone when he had lived with the Dursleys. But now, he could remember it precisely. He didn't blame his guardians at all - he knew they only wanted him to talk about his memories so he could feel better about them, and he knew it would take time. And right now, he could only think about how alone, how depressed he had felt at his old school.
Dudley had made it impossible for him to have any friends. As he had told his guardians, anyone who tried to befriend him would get beaten up, so many children didn't, out of fear. Others didn't because they agreed that Harry was a scruffy little freak who caused nothing but trouble.
Priscilla, the only person who had ever stood up for him there ... Harry wondered where she was now. He knew she'd moved to Australia, and hoped that wherever she was, she was doing well. He remembered the guilt in her eyes when she told him she was leaving. It was as if she felt she was abandoning him. She had told him she'd never forget him, and Harry had felt emotion bubble up in him then and still did now.
Giving up on sleep, Harry threw some clothes back on and tiptoed downstairs to the common room to sit by the fire. He didn't expect anyone else to be down there, but he was wrong. As he made his way over to a couch, he saw Ginny sitting down too, a book on her lap. She was simply staring at the page, not reading it. A sad look adorned her face, and Harry was strongly reminded of the day the Unforgivable Curses had been demonstrated in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and he had come down to the common room that night to see Ginny in a similar position. Things had changed so much since then.
"Hey, Gin," Harry said softly, sitting down next to her and patting her shoulder gently. "Are you okay?"
Ginny looked up from her book, and Harry's heart ached as he saw the remnants of tear tracks on her face. "Hey, Harry," she whispered. "I'm ... I'm okay."
"No, you're not," said Harry, tentatively putting an arm around her. "What's wrong?"
Ginny was silent for a few moments, simply gazing, mesmerized, at the fire. Finally, she sighed, and turned to look into Harry's concerned emerald eyes. "It's just ..." she said, wringing her hands. "I just really miss Dad."
Harry felt guilt squeeze his heart as his eyes locked with her soft brown ones, which filled again with tears. "I'm so sorry," he said. "This must be so hard for you."
Ginny felt awful. She wished Harry hadn't come down here, because she felt she needed to get through this on her own. The last thing she wanted was for Harry to feel that this was his fault, which she knew he was struggling with. She knew it had gotten better for him ever since he had sworn to have seen Arthur in that strange limbo place, the place he had gone to when he was in the coma over the Christmas holidays. But she also knew the guilt ate him up again when he saw people grieving. And with Cedric's death still on his mind, it made it doubly hard. All she could do was return Harry's embrace, managing a soft smile for him. "Remember what he said, Harry," she said softly. "None of this was your fault."
"I ... I know," Harry replied. "But I'm still really sorry. Your dad was a wonderful person."
"He was," Ginny sniffled, her head resting on Harry's shoulder. "But what's on your mind, Harry? Could you not sleep either?"
Harry looked into her eyes once again, and a warm feeling swept over him when he saw the sincerity, the trust in them. Despite her own grief, Ginny was still concerned about his own well-being. Normally, Harry would pretend that nothing was weighing him down, but once again, he felt he could talk to Ginny. There was just something about her that broke his barriers down and made it easier for him to explain his woes and worries.
So he told her everything. He told her about how he had shown Sirius and Remus the memory of that summer's day that seemed so long ago now, Priscilla's last day at their old school. "She was the only person who stood up to Dudley and his gang," he explained quietly, the fire crackling soothingly in the hearth. "She was really something. She knew Dudley and his friends could hurt her, but she didn't care. She tried to help me anyway."
"Oh, Harry," Ginny whispered, her head still nuzzled into his shoulder. "I'm so sorry she left. And I'm so sorry for what you had to go through." Her face suddenly grew fierce as she continued, "The rest of those kids were cowards. Why didn't they stand up for you too? I would have."
"I know you would, Gin," Harry said, squeezing her hand and smiling softly. "But you've got to understand how intimidating Dudley and his gang were. Nobody wanted to get beat up, and I could understand that."
"I still think it was cowardly of them not to stand up to them though. Bullying should not be tolerated," Ginny said adamantly. "Not at all."
The couple lapsed into silence then, simply relishing in the other's presence. It seemed to Harry that whenever he was down, this honest, loving girl was there to cheer him up, despite the awful things she had been through. Tom Riddle, experiencing the sorrow of Cedric's death, and now, the loss of her father ... yet she was here, beside him, wanting to listen to his problems and help him through them. As he stared at her, he couldn't help but notice how beautiful she was. Her red hair seemed to glow in the fire's warmth, and her arm around him felt so soft. Gently rubbing his hand up and down her shoulder, he decided to do something that Sirius and Remus had done for him which he had found very helpful. "Tell me, Gin," he said, smiling, "About some of the good times you had with your dad."
Ginny looked back up at him, surprise on her face for a moment. But then, she smiled back, and launched into speech. At first, Harry was worried that this tactic had not helped - she looked terribly sad and forlorn as she explained about Arthur's jokes, his laughter, his obsession with Muggles. But as her speech continued, she began to look happier.
"He was completely enthralled by Muggle batteries and the acid inside them," she said. "Mum was always on him to be careful, that he could really hurt himself messing with stuff like that. "Don't worry, Molly," he would always say. "I know what I'm doing. I say, though, this stuff is so wonderful! Muggles are amazing! I can't believe they'd think up all this stuff, and be able to do it all without magic!" That man was certainly a riot," she said, and then she laughed.
Harry's laugh joined hers, the sound of their joy echoing through the room. Harry was relieved that this was helping her - Sirius and Remus had employed the same tactic when asking him about Cedric.
Once their giggles had died down, the two simply relaxed back into the couch, and instinctively, Harry took her hand within his own. He entwined his fingers with hers, and Ginny smiled again. Harry was such a comfort to her, and for the first time in a long time, she was able to think of her dad without breaking down. The smile remained on her face as she reminisced about the good times they had had together. She remembered when he had given her piggy-back rides, when he had sat in the kitchen with her as her mum made hot chocolate. She recalled listening to Muggle casette tapes with him, marvelling at the music on them.
And before she knew it, she had fallen asleep, her insomnia cured. Here with Harry, she felt warm, content, and comfortable.
Harry grinned warmly as he heard the soft snores of the girl in his arms. He was glad she had fallen asleep - the circles under her eyes proved that she had needed it. Feeling suddenly exhausted himself, he allowed a feeling of complete relaxation to wash over him. He didn't want to move, and he certainly didn't want to disturb Ginny's slumber.
So, he stayed right where he was, his emerald eyes closing of their own accord. The last thought he had before he fell asleep was that he was so lucky to have Ginny in his life. He knew that no matter what happened, he would always be there for her. She was truly a person he could trust.
Author's Note: The tactic of talking about good times has come from my own experience. Once again, I thank each and every one of you who has made comments about my brother. I find it so uplifting to remember the good times with him, and it makes me smile rather than cry when I remember those.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter!