Four Minutes by YKuang
(A/N): This shall probably be the last of the Harry/Ginny drabble ficlets I'm uploading for quite a while... actually, it was the first one I had written, but I never quite got around to uploading it here. *scratches head*
For those of you wondering, Predictability will not be uploaded here... its fate is hanging suspended in my hands, and as of right now, it'll probably be discontinued, save for one last chapter I'll be uploading at ff.net for closure. I am starting a new Lily/James fic, though, and it's in the works right now... I'll be loading previews at my livejournal.
And now onto the rest....
For Dede (Solarism), who inspired it, and Koonelli, who showed interest in my hypothetical drabbles.
Disclaimer: JKR owns the characters, situations, books, and my soul. I own the spaces inbetween.
She scrubs the dishes with just a little bit more force than necessary, as though it'll somehow take her mind off of... everything.
The wedding had gone smoothly enough. She had been glad for it, really, something that had let her forget about all the gloom and doom of their situation, if only for a few hours. Fleur had made a beautiful bride, of course she had, and Bill had never looked happier. She thinks it's amazing, really, that they can still be happy at a time like this, when she feels like breaking down at almost every moment. She never does, though.
It's not allowed, she reminds herself. It was a wedding, after all.
She remembers thinking there were too many empty seats.
A wedding like theirs should have been filled with people- she knows her mother would have invited every person she'd ever met, if she could. But instead, they had settled for a small wedding, just Fleur's close family, a few Order members, and a few of Bill's friends from work. She remembers seeing the empty seats and feeling' for the first time, how hopeless the situation was, how very affected they all were by this war. She had counted sixteen empty seats… sixteen people who should have been there, but weren't. It had been the first time in the wedding that she had felt like crying.
But the moment had passed, and she had smiled through the rest of the ceremony, through the reception.
Now, though, everyone's asleep, or just somewhere else. There's no one left for her to lie to.
No one except for him.
He's been standing outside on the porch for the last seventeen minutes, and she feels her heart breaking, just a little bit, when she sees him like this. Alone, so very alone, but never doing anything to change that.
Ginny sighs and gives up all pretense of not watching him. Throwing the dish towel down, she glances at her sudsy hands, trying to remember what it had been like, those few, short, weeks when she had been standing next to him, when he had held her hand, when he hadn't avoided her eyes. She supposes it was always going to end this way- he's supposed to be the hero, after all, and heroes are supposed to walk alone.
She thinks she hates him a little for that.
It's drizzling now, and she wonders when it's going to rain.
"Hello, Ginny," he says when she steps onto the porch. He doesn't look at her.
She wishes he would.
"Hey," she finds herself answering back. She smiles lightly, standing next to him. Close enough to feel him tense, but not close enough to touch. She hates that, but they pretend they don't notice. They pretend a lot of things, she thinks, and wonders why she suddenly feels like a child. "What're you still doing up?"
"I could ask you the same thing."
"I was washing dishes," she says simply. "You could've helped."
She tries to keep the accusatory tone out of her voice.
He laughs shortly and replies, "Really couldn’t."
"Aren't you cold?"
The question is asked quietly, just like everything else has been all summer. Quiet. Silent. She doesn't understand why, but it seems like there's no other way. She can't remember anything but the silence. She wonders vaguely if it'll always be this way. He doesn't answer, and looks at his shoes. They're muddy and dirty, and she wonders how it happened; it's not raining yet.
"The wedding was nice," he says, after a pause.
"It was," she agrees.
"You were beautiful," he says softly, looking at her. She’s startled; it feels like he hasn't met her eyes all summer. The moment passes, though, and he's staring blankly out at the drizzle again.
"Thank you," she says, even though it's a bit late for an answer.
His eyes flit towards her, and he nods shortly. They pretend everything is fine, just a little longer. She hates that they have to pretend.
It's childish and silly, and she's so very sick of this. Part of her wants to scream, but she knows they can't break the silence. It's all they have, really.
"Are you coming in?" she asks, even though she knows the answer.
"No." It's always no.
She stands still for a while, searching for something to say.
She notices him glance at his watch, and in an instant is reminded of something. She knows it's childish, and she wonders what makes her think he would even care, but she feels she just has to say it. They are, after all, little more than children. Perhaps they can even pretend, just a little while longer, that things haven't changed.
"It’s eleven eleven," she says, feeling a bit stupid. "That's when you make wishes."
He lets out a laugh and turns to look at her.
It happens so suddenly, that afterwards, she's not even sure it happened at all. His lips are on hers, and there's an urgency in it that never used to be there before. His fingers are pressing lightly at her waist, and she feels warm, for the first time in a long while, as he brushes his mouth against hers. His lips are chapped and dry, and she can't help but wonder if she still tastes the same to him. "Ginny," he whispers, and she can feel the movement of his lips as he says her name against her mouth.
And then his lips leave hers, and he's not looking at her anymore. She wonders if she imagined it. But no- his breathing is just a little bit ragged, and his hands are clenched.
She raises a hand to her lips, unsure. He sees the movement and catches her wrist. His thumb is brushing lightly over the skin, over her pulse... and he's looking at her. She wonders if this is what it takes to break the silence.
"Harry," she starts. But then-
"I changed my mind," he says curtly, and turns to go in. It takes her a second to realize what he's talking about. And then it doesn't matter, because he's leaving, and she doesn't know how to make him stop.
"What did you wish for?" she asks, more for something to say than anything else.
He pauses at the door, as though he's remembering something. "Socks," he says, with a funny sort of smile. "You can never have enough socks."
And then he's gone, and she's alone, left to her thoughts about dishes and wishes and drizzles and socks.
"What do you see when you look in the mirror?"
"I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks."
"One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books."
It was only when he was back in bed that it struck Harry that Dumbledore might not have been quite truthful. But then, he thought, as he shoved Scabbers off his pillow, it had been quite a personal question.
- Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, pg. 214, American Edition.
(A/N): Well, what’d you think? Review and you’ll make me squee!