Love conquers all

Chapter 2: Questions and answers

Chapter 2: Questions and answers

The dim morning light shone through the tall windows of the hospital wing at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The light fell upon a red-haired girl laying in one of the hospital beds. Her hands were tightly clasped around a young man’s hand; he sat at her bedside in a chair, his head resting on the bed. Neither of them stirred when the doors opened and the school’s Healer walked into the room. When she saw the couple, she couldn’t help but smile a bit in spite of the reason they were there. She still hadn’t quite grasped the thought that this innocent young girl, on the brink of womanhood, had been violated in the most gruesome way imaginable. When she reached the bed, she quietly put the tray she carried on the bedside table. Gently, she woke up the black-haired man. He was a bit startled, but when he saw the familiar face of Madam Pomfrey, he relaxed.

“Oh, good morning, Madam Pomfrey,” Harry said and forced a smile to his face.

“Good morning, dear. Have you slept well?” she asked.

“Hmm,” that was all Harry said before he turned and looked at Ginny. She had not yet woken up. Their hands were still clasped and he lightly squeezed her hand. Harry brought his other hand up and gently caressed Ginny’s cheek.

Madam Pomfrey saw this small loving gesture and wanted to leave them alone, but she still needed to ask one question before she left.

“Harry, I need to ask whether Ginny has woken up during the night?

“She was awake shortly. She was really confused about everything. I don’t think that she fully grasped what has happened to her. I really don’t know.” There was a slight thickness in his voice and he dared not look at Madam Pomfrey.

“It’s quite alright, Harry, I understand. We will see when she wakes up again. It is good though, that she has been awake, that is a good sign.” Madam Pomfrey lightly patted his shoulder and walked away.

Harry kept his hand in Ginny’s, slowly stroking the back of her hand with his thumb. He didn’t want to wake her just yet; she needed the rest. But after a few minutes her eyes fluttered open, and when her brown eyes fell on the black-haired man sitting beside her bed, she gave him a tiny smile.

“Hey, how are you feeling?” asked Harry gently, looking at her with worried eyes. She seemed a bit more rested than when she had woken up during the night.

“I’m fine.” Ginny shrugged slightly and looked down at their clasped hands. Had he really been here all night holding her hand? A small flutter of joy rushed through her, but that was soon replaced with the dark and horrible memory of why she was in the hospital wing.

Harry saw all these emotions run over her face, and he didn’t know what to say to her, to soothe her pain. And so they just sat there, without speaking, just being together.

It was still early, but within half an hour all the Weasleys and Hermione were gathered around Ginny’s bed. This became a rather emotional affair, when Mrs. Weasley ran over to her daughter with tears in her eyes, and hugged her tightly. Ginny tried not to cry, but when her father gently asked who had attacked her, the dam broke down and her tears seemed unstoppable. She broke her mother’s embrace, pulled the sheet over her head and curled up in fetal position, never saying a word. Just small sobs could be heard from under the sheet. Everybody seemed a bit shocked by this and no one knew what to do.

“Oh, dear. My baby, please talk to me, everything will be alright,” soothed Mrs. Weasley and put her hand on where Ginny’s head would be under the sheet. More sobs could be heard and then,

“Please, go away, all of you. I don’t want to talk to anybody. Just go away!” At this, Mrs. Weasley broke down in tears and turned to her husband for support.

“I think we should leave her be, just now. Let her calm down a bit,” said Mr. Weasley and he looked with pain-filled eyes on his family. Each and every one of his sons had both sad and angry looks on their faces. None of them could believe what had happened to their baby sister. But after a few moments they all walked away.

Harry was still standing at her bedside, not really wanting to leave her side. He gently put a hand on her shoulder, but before he could say anything, Ginny sobbed, “Please just leave me alone. Go away!”

“But Ginny, you need to…”

“Go away, Harry! I don’t want to talk to anyone. Please leave me alone!” Her sobs intensified, and Harry felt his heart break, but knew that this might not be such a good time to ask any questions. As such, he followed the Weasleys back to Madam Pomfrey’s office.

Madam Pomfrey had told them that she had been awake during the night and that Harry had spoken with her. At this all six Weasleys and Hermione turned to Harry, each with the same question in mind. Did she say who did it?

Harry gulped down a bit of air, he had come to love this family like his own, but now he had no positive news in answering the question they all wanted an answer to.

“She didn’t say much I’m afraid. She seemed really confused about everything. She never said who she met or who could have done it,” said Harry, looking down at his shoes.

“Oh Harry, that’s all right dear.” Mrs. Weasley gave a small-strangled sob and gave Harry a hug.

Within the next half hour, some breakfast was brought up for everyone. But not much was eaten. Even Ron, who usually had a good appetite, didn’t eat much.

Throughout the rest of the morning, there were a few attempts to talk to Ginny, but she still lay under the sheets, crying and telling everybody to leave her alone.

When Dumbledore came to the hospital wing, he was accompanied by two investigators from the Ministry of Magical Law Enforcement. They were a man and a woman, both wearing official-looking robes. Dumbledore introduced them as Mr. Brown, and Mrs. Jones. They were there to ask Ginny a few questions.

“But she won’t even talk to us,” exclaimed Mrs. Weasley, and looked as if she might begin to cry again.

“I see. But could I please try? It might help if it’s someone she doesn’t know. That sometimes helps, I’ve seen it before,” said Mrs. Jones calmly and looked around the gathered family. “I won’t push her or anything, I promise. I know this is hard for everyone and you all have my deepest sympathy.”

Everyone nodded their consent, and they saw the young investigator walk over to Ginny’s bed. Harry just wished he could be there for Ginny, but he hoped that at least Mrs. Jones could reach her, and get her to talk about what had happened.

They all watched with anticipation as Mrs. Jones pulled up a chair next to Ginny’s bed. It was not possible for them to hear what she said, but after a little while Harry saw that Ginny had pulled the sheet down and seemed to talk to Mrs. Jones.

While Mrs. Jones talked with Ginny, Mr. Brown talked a bit with Mr. Weasley. Harry didn’t really pay attention to what they talked about, it was something about what they had been able to find at the crime scene yesterday.

Suddenly Harry heard Hermione gasp say in a shrill voice, “That… that is the Malfoy crest, and… and… I know I have seen that clasp before. On… On… On Draco’s robe. I… I… just know that, it must be him who… who did… well you know what...” Her voice shook with rage and fury.

“Calm down, Ms. Granger. I have also recognized the Malfoy crest but that doesn’t mean that young Mr. Malfoy is whom we seek. This item could have been stolen. And so we need to do further investigations on this matter, and that is also one of the main reasons for us to come here today, to see if Ginny could give us a lead. I know that it might seem harsh to press her into talking already, but trust me. Mrs. Jones has a lot of experience in talking with victims, especially girls who unfortunately have undergone the same experience as Ms. Weasley,” said Mr. Brown in a calm voice.

The entire Weasley family along with Hermione and Harry were in an unnerving state of impatient uproar. They all just wanted to run over to Ginny and find out if this was true. But Mr. Brown stood in the doorway and he managed to calm them down slightly.

Harry walked in the back of Madam Pomfrey’s office, pacing, and in a fit of nerves he clenched and unclenched his hands, which very much wanted to beat the crap out of whomever had done this to Ginny. His mind was reeling around the fact that it could have been his old school enemy who did this to his Ginny, his Angel. Oh, how he would just love to get his hands on that low scum good for nothing piece of trash.

Harry felt numb all over, like someone just punched him in the stomach. He couldn’t believe that someone could do such a thing to someone as nice and caring as Ginny. He loved her, he knew that, and he knew that she loved him. They had fallen in love last summer; she had helped him see the world in a new light after he had killed Lord Voldemort. She had been there for him, even when he didn’t want to talk to anybody. When he had sat out by the pond near the Burrow, Ginny had just sat next to him, letting him know that she was there. After a few weeks he had begun talking to her, about everything, and she had listened to every hardship that he had felt. She had even held him when he had cried his eyes out, over the loss of the people he loved: his mom and dad, Sirius, and everyone who had died in the last battle.

After that, they had begun to spend more and more time together, now also talking about other things, like the future, hopes and dreams, what he wanted to do now that he had finished his time at Hogwarts. He told her that his dream of becoming an Auror had died when he killed Voldemort. And so he was now thinking about playing Quidditch on a professional level. Ginny had been delighted about this and had said that she knew that he would be a great Quidditch player.

Their friendship had progressed into something deeper, and Harry clearly remembered the afternoon when they crossed the line from being just friends to being in love:

It was a warm summer day; Ron and Hermione had gone down to the pond to cool off. Harry couldn’t help but smile when he watched his two best friends walk away, holding hands and casting shy glances at each other now and then. They had started dating just after their last exams had been over, and Harry was happy for them. He had just barely lived through his exams; the ordeal with Voldemort had only occurred a few weeks before they were to be taken. It was only pure willpower that dragged Harry through those exams, but he had made it, and the results had come just a few days before. He had come through with good marks; even good enough to go to Auror training, but that was not an option. Ron, on the other hand, had gone through with it and had applied for Auror training. He had talked with Harry about it, and Harry had said that he was happy for Ron. He would make a great Auror; he was a great strategic person, which would definitely be a plus in that line of work. But it would never be Harry’s place to become an Auror. And so Harry was now looking for job opportunities on various Quidditch teams, and had even gotten an offer from the Chudley Cannons, but had not said anything to Ron yet. They were of course not the best team in the league, but in the past year they had managed to climb up higher and were now in for the fight for the national championship. Harry still needed some time to think this over.

But right then his mind reeled in a different direction when he saw Ginny walk out of the Burrow. When she saw him sitting under the great oak tree, she walked over to him.

“Hi Harry, may I sit down?”

“Hi Gin, sure anytime, you know that.” He gave her a lopsided grin and patted the grass next to him.

“Hmm, this is so nice, the cool shade, the birds, the flowers, just so wonderful,” Ginny mused and leaned back against the tree trunk.

Harry cast a sideways glance at her profile, her stubborn, but cute nose, her brown eyes looking at the rosebushes in the back garden. Her golden red hair pulled back in a ponytail. Small wisps of hair had come loose and were falling around her face, with the pale freckles that dotted her cream-colored skin. She had closed her eyes and seemed content and relaxed, not noticing Harry looking at her.

“Mmm, this is really nice, it’s too hot to do anything at all,” said Harry and leaned back against the tree trunk as well.

They just sat there, enjoying the sound of summer, the birds chirping, the low buzzing of bees and other insects. Suddenly Harry felt Ginny lean her head against his shoulder; he looked down and saw that she had fallen asleep. Her mouth was slightly open, wisps of hair flowing around her face. Harry smiled and leaned back, this was nice, just sitting here, with a girl at your side, he could almost get used to this. He looked at her face again and a new feeling began rolling in the pit of his stomach, it was a feeling completely unknown to him. Her breath on his arm heated his skin, her hair tickled his arm, and her scent filled his nostrils: she smelled of vanilla and strawberries. Suddenly it was as if everything about Ginny wrapped itself around him, filling him, completing him. Before he could reflect more on this new discovery, he suddenly felt her wake up.

“Ugh, oh my, I think I fell asleep for just a sec. Sorry about that.” Ginny smiled shyly at him and sat up straight. Harry suddenly missed her being close, but mumbled something about that it was quite all right.

“Thank god, I didn’t drool all over your shirt,” laughed Ginny, not really noticing that Harry was a bit uncomfortable, and reached over and touched his arm right where her head had been minutes before.

Harry gave a strangled laugh, and thought that he didn’t mind her drooling on his shirt, if she would just want to lay her head on his shoulder again. But he just patted her hand and said, “Oh it’s okay, no harm done, any time you need a pillow I’ll be there.”

Ginny laughed at this, but suddenly she noticed that Harry hadn’t moved his hand away from hers. She looked up at his face and saw something she hadn’t seen there before. His green eyes seemed like they were on fire, green flames reaching out to her, pulling her closer.

Suddenly they both moved closer and their breath mingled, the air becoming hot between them. Green flames reaching out to brown orbs, still getting closer. As if they were one mind, they both moved at the same time, their lips meeting in a frenzied kiss that intensified the fire in their eyes. Harry moved his hand around her nape, pulling her hair out of the hair tie, letting it cascade down her shoulders. He marveled at the softness as he ran his fingers through the heavy mass of golden red hair, pulling her even closer.

The kiss seemed to go on forever and ever, neither of them wanting the wonderful feelings to stop. But soon they where both in need for air and pulled away, Harry keeping his hands in her hair. He was amazed at the new wonderful feeling inside himself, and he just looked at Ginny trying to grasp what had just happened. He had just kissed Ginny, Ginny who was his best mate’s younger sister, the girl who had helped him through everything this summer. His heart leaped with joy but also anticipation. What did this mean? Would she hate him now?

Ginny took in a deep shaky breath and closed her eyes, her heart beat at triple rate and she could still feel the heat of Harry’s lips on hers. She could feel him shaking as well, his fingers trembling when they caressed her below her ear. Neither of them spoke and she was afraid to look at him just now, afraid of this new feeling he had started within her. What did that mean? Here she was, had just kissed the boy whom she had always crushed on when she was younger, but there had been nothing young or innocent about that kiss. She had felt his very soul reach out to her, seeking her, begging her to open up and let him in.

Finally she opened her eyes, taking a deep breath, biting her lower lip. When her eyes found his, she noticed that the fire within them had not died, if it were even possible it had intensified, and that scared her just a bit. But she also felt content and happy. She put her shaking hands over his and spoke.

“Harry. Harry, what does this mean?”

“I don’t know really, well I sort of know, but I’m not sure really. I just know that… that I feel something for you, something deep. I think… I think I… I love you.”

Her mind went blank at that moment. What do you say to such a statement? She had never in her wildest dreams thought that this would ever happen. Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived or well, now he was the Man-Who-Killed-Voldemort, had just said to her that he loved her. But she felt it, from his trembling hands to the fierce burning in his eyes.

“Oh Harry I… I… I don’t know what to say, really this is… this is…”

“Just say you love me too,” urged Harry and caressed her face with his hand.

“I do, I mean I really do, but this is just, wow, I don’t know…how come… I mean why do you… well this is just, wow…” stuttered Ginny. Her vocabulary seemed to have left her; she was not able to put two words together.

“You do?”

“Err what? I do what?” her mind suddenly working again.

“You really love me?”

“Oh, well, yes I do. I do love you. I just can’t believe that I’m actually here with you and you…”

“I’m here with you, and I’ll always be here,” he whispered against her lips and then broke of any other words her mind had managed to put together.

This kiss was different, it was deeper, more profound, and it went deep into their souls, reaching out to the other, holding on and never wanting to let go.

Their mouths crushed together, bringing them closer, their hands moved on their own. Ginny reached up and let her hands travel through his thick black hair and caress his soft neck.

Harry let his hands go down her back, bringing her body closer, one of them groaned at the new closeness or maybe it was both of them. The world was lost and the only thing that existed right now was them; their souls meeting in a new dance. Everything else was gone: the chirping birds, the humming bees, the great oak tree, the Burrow.

Suddenly Ginny realized that they were lying down, she was lying on top of Harry, and the real world came rushing back. This was going way too far, too fast. Reluctantly she pulled away, but Harry stopped her before she could rise.

“Harry, we need to stop, we need to talk,” stuttered Ginny and blushed deeply. She looked pleadingly into his eyes, his still burning eyes, hoping that he wouldn’t hate her. But she only saw love and understanding. Reluctantly, he let her pull away and sat up himself.

“I know, I’m sorry, that went just a bit too far,” he gave her a lopsided grin and took her hand, kissed it and whispered, “I love you.”

“I love you too, Harry. I think I might have for some time now.”

And then they talked, talked about love, and the future. The rest of that afternoon they talked about how they would live through a whole year without being together. There was no doubt that they had fallen in love, they both felt it, and knew that they would be able to live through that year even if it was going to be hard. They made a deal that they would try and take it slow the rest of this summer, even though it might be difficult. But they both reasoned that putting more fuel to the fire would just give them more pain for the rest of the year. And so they were content to just be together, talking, cuddling and small kisses here and there.

The rest of that summer was spent together alone or with Ron and Hermione. It was easiest when they were together with Ron and Hermione, that way nothing would happen. But it was difficult to hide their feelings for one another to the world around them. Especially after they were caught kissing outside the Burrow, by just about every person staying at the house. They thought that they would be alone, but suddenly just about every member of the Weasley family, plus Hermione, was standing out on the lawn. They apparently were there to see some new firework thing the twins had made. Mrs. Weasley had been just about ready to hex everyone around her, if it had not been for the calming voice of her husband, who looked like he was about to laugh. The twins of course came with some crazy catcalls that just earned them a stern look from their mother. In all of this Harry had just wanted to crawl down a gnome hole and stay there. But Ginny seemed to be the braver part of them at that moment, and stood up and told everyone to sod off and let her kiss her boyfriend goodnight. That rather shook her mother, but after a while she let herself be pulled back to the Burrow by her husband, and everyone else followed. But Ron lingered shortly and before he went inside he turned and gave a thumbs-up to Harry and Ginny, and with a smile let himself be pulled inside the house by Hermione.

The next day they were not out of the woods as Mrs. Weasley had pulled her daughter away from everyone and talked to her about things. Ginny had reassured her that she and Harry had talked about things and that they were keeping it on low, until she finished school. This seemed to impress her mother and Mrs. Weasley gave Ginny a big hug and said that she couldn’t be happier for her. Harry had to go through an even more embarrassing conversation with Mr. Weasley. But after a short talk, where Harry had assured Mr. Weasley that nothing would happen between them at this moment, he had patted Harry on the back and said something like, “Welcome to the family.”

The rest of the summer had flown by in a hurry; all too suddenly Ginny was getting on the Hogwarts Express, and beginning her final year at Hogwarts. It was the hardest goodbye Harry ever had had to say. And as promised he wrote to her almost every day, telling her how much he loved her and missed her. Ginny also wrote long letters to Harry, telling him all about school and that she was counting the days till they would see one another again.

Harry was suddenly pulled out of his reverie by the return of Mrs. Jones. When she came into the room, just about everyone started asking her questions all at once.

“Calm down everyone, please!” Mrs. Jones tried to get everyone to be still again.

After a few more attempts to ask more questions everyone was silent. And then Mrs. Jones said in a calm voice, “I know you’re all worried sick about how Ginny is doing at the moment.”

“That’s the understatement of the year,” muttered Ron under his breath, but when he received a hard look from his mother he didn’t say anything else.

“I was able to talk with her, just a little bit, about what happened yesterday. She is still in great shock and she might be that way for a while. And so, I must advise you all to treat her gently in the following weeks. It might take weeks or months before she can open up completely. I know you all love her greatly, and would do anything for her. But have patience with her, she needs time and space to get her life back together again,” said Mrs. Jones in a firm voice.

“But what did she say about what happened? Did she tell you who did it?” asked Harry in a despairing voice.

“Not much, but as you might have talked with Mr. Brown, we do have a suspect, and something tells me that we are on the right trail here. She was able to remember a voice that she recognized being the one of Mr. Draco Malfoy.”

When that last word came out of her mouth everyone was silent for several moments. But when realization struck the women, Mrs. Weasley and Hermione broke down into sobs and hugged each other, while the entire male population of the Weasley family, except Mr. Weasley, broke out into a complete uproar. That included Harry, who was by far the most aggravated of them all. They all claimed that they would hurt Draco in whatever way possible. Harry was even trying to get out of the room, muttering something about finding that scumbag and doing some nasty hexes on him. But he was stopped by both Dumbledore and Mr. Brown.

“Harry, please, you need to calm yourself down. If you go out and hunt down Mr. Malfoy on your own, he will get at chance at escaping and then he will not be put through trial,” Dumbledore’s voice calmed him a bit, but fury was still boiling in his veins.

“But he doesn’t even deserve to stand through trial! Why not throw him straight to Azkaban?!” roared Harry, trying to shake off the calming hand Dumbledore had put on his arm.

But Dumbledore just held his arm more firmly and looked straight into Harry’s eyes. Harry always calmed down when Dumbledore gave him that look, but right now he hated himself for being so weak; he just wanted to fight for justice.

“Harry, you know that we cannot allow any of you going on a private rampage fighting for what you think is right. I must say I agree with you all, that if indeed it is Mr. Malfoy who is the culprit here, I also wish to see him in Azkaban. But please let the law deal with this.” The last sentence was said out loud so every one of them heard it.

This calmed everyone down just a bit, but they where still quite aggravated and restless for things to move on.

“I think we have what we need to press charges against Mr. Malfoy, but we still need to see Ginny in our office, let’s say in a week’s time. She will then have had some time to calm down and be well rested before we start preparing for trial. We might use a Pensieve so as to determine what actually happened,” said Mr. Brown and he looked at his colleague who nodded.

“Yes, I believe we have everything we need for now, but please remember what I said about giving her some space. If you want to, you could contact a psychologist at St Mungo’s. I have a name here, and she is really great, especially with these kinds of cases. She might be able to help Ginny get on with her life, but she must agree to be helped,” advised Mrs. Jones and she gave Mrs. Weasley a card with a name on.

“Thank you,” sobbed Mrs Weasley and pocketed the card.

“We’ll be off then. We’ll send an owl with the time and date for Ginny to meet us at our office,” said Mr. Brown, and then both he and Mrs. Jones went around saying their goodbyes to everyone.

When they had left, no one really knew what to do or say, but just then Madam Pomfrey came in and said that Ginny was asking for her mother.

Mrs. Weasley gave a strangled cry and ran out to her daughter. The rest of the Weasleys just stood there, looking like they almost wanted to ignore what Mrs. Jones and Dumbledore had said about leaving the authorities to deal with Malfoy. But then Mr. Weasley spoke.

“I think we should all gather our things and prepare to leave for home. Madam Pomfrey said that Ginny would be able to come home with us tonight.”

After a few moments, everyone complied and went to get their things, and shortly after that they met in front of the fireplace. One by one they left to the Burrow by Floo Powder.

But Harry kept pacing inside Madam Pomfrey’s office, now and then casting a longing look towards Ginny’s bed. He could see that Mrs. Weasley was holding a crying Ginny in her arms. Oh, he would love nothing more than just to be right by her side at that moment, but he also knew that right now she might need her mother more than she needed him. It still hurt deep in his heart.

“Hey Harry, are you coming?” asked Mr. Weasley, but when he saw Harry’s longing eyes looking at Ginny he said, “I know, I would like to be there for her just as much as you do. But I think she needs her mother at this moment. Come on son, they will follow us in a few hours.”

With one final glance at the mother and daughter hugging and talking quietly Harry followed Mr. Weasley to the fireplace. Automatically he took a pinch of Floo Powder and said, “The Burrow.” When he arrived in the Weasley kitchen every one was sitting around the table, no one saying a word, just staring out in space. Harry looked at all the sad faces and felt a lump in his throat, he couldn’t stand being in here, and so he walked swiftly out of the kitchen and moved to sit under the great oak tree. With his head leaning against the rugged bark, he thought about that afternoon when he had kissed Ginny for the very first time. He remembered how bright and shiny her eyes had been, her soft red mouth smiling at him, kissing him. The ache in his heart grew bigger and bigger, and suddenly he felt tears running silently down his cheeks. He sat there the rest of the day, not really noticing the sun beginning to set in the horizon. He was in pain and he just felt lost.

He never heard Hermione coming out to him, not until she spoke.

“Harry, you need to come in now, it’s getting dark. Ginny and Mrs. Weasley have come home, she is sleeping now. I think they gave her some Dreamless Sleep Potion. Please come in or you’ll catch a cold sitting out here. Please.”

Harry tried to hide his tear-streaked eyes, as he reluctantly rose, but when he felt Hermione’s hand on his arm he knew that she had seen them. They hugged, desperately trying to soothe one another. They both felt like they were part of this family, they both felt pain for what had happened.

Nobody spoke when they prepared for bed, both Ron and Harry didn’t know what to say. They hugged briefly when Harry came back inside, and then they quietly went off to bed. Neither one of them knew what the next day would bring, both hoping for the best but also fearing the worst.

As Harry lay on his cot in Ron’s room he almost wished that he had some of that Dreamless Sleep Potion. He knew that he was going to dream about Ginny, dream about the pain he had seen in her eyes when he had spoken to her last night. It was an unbearable pain that threatened to fill his every thought, his every dream. Silent tears of sorrow and pain filled his eyes as he fell into a restless sleep.

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