Chapter 6: Heartache
The next morning Hermione woke up with a start. At first she was confused by the noise that had woken her up. She thought that it could’ve been the ghoul in the attic that had woken her, but as her senses woke up a bit more, she realized that it was a wailing noise from the doorway that had roused her.
Hermione groaned and really just wished that she had not let Ginny run off in the middle of the night. She knew that she could not lay there forever and pretend that she had not heard Mrs. Weasley cry out in the doorway.
“Where is Ginny? Where is my baby girl?”
Reluctantly Hermione rolled over and faced Mrs. Weasley. The older woman had a panicked look on her face. With a sigh Hermione got up and retrieved the letters lying on Ginny’s desk. Then she gave them to Mrs. Weasley with shaking hands. She didn’t want to be on the receiving end of the well known wrath of Mrs. Weasley, but she had made a promise to a dear friend for whom she hoped that everything would work out in life. And if she needed to leave for a few weeks to get that then it had to be that way.
Mrs. Weasley looked wearily at the letters in her hand; the one on the top was addressed to Harry so she placed that on Ginny’s desk again and opened the one for her and Mr. Weasley.
Hermione didn’t really know what Ginny had written but she could read the many emotions that surfaced on Mrs. Weasley’s face as she read her daughter’s words: shock, anxiety, bewilderment and a bit of fear.
Mrs. Weasley had to read the letter a few times before she really comprehended what her daughter was trying to tell them. It seemed as if she had decided that leaving her family and loved ones would be the best remedy to get over what she had been through. In some part of her mind it didn’t really make any sense at all, but her daughter’s words plainly stated that this was what she needed to do.
“Mom, dad, you have to understand that I need to work through a lot of things in my life, and I don’t really think that I’ll be able to do that when I’m at the Burrow. Please know that I love you all very much and I would never question the love which I have felt all my life.”
While Mrs. Weasley reread the letter again she couldn’t help the small tears running from her eyes. She had hoped that being with her family would help Ginny get over everything.
Mr. Weasley came into the room and when he saw his wife’s tears he hugged her briefly and asked why she was so upset. Mrs. Weasley sniffed and gave the letter to her husband.
After reading the letter Mr. Weasley simply said, “Oh my!”
“Yes, it’s horrible; I don’t know what we have done wrong. Why couldn’t we help her get through this?” Mrs. Weasley cried out.
At this Hermione felt that she needed to say something that would help them understand.
“Mrs. Weasley. I don’t believe that you have done anything wrong. I know that you have been nothing but supportive and caring for your daughter. Please understand that this is something that she’ll have to deal with in her own way.”
“How can you say that? It’s not your daughter that has gone gallivanting to God knows where, without any proper goodbye,” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed.
“Oh please understand me; she has not done this to hurt you. You know that she loves you all very much. Please just give her some time and I know that she’ll come around,” Hermione begged, and when Mrs. Weasley remained quiet she continued, “And I know where she is by the way, and you can always send an owl, they always find the person they’re looking for wherever they are!”
“You know where she went? Thank heavens, we can go get her back.”
“Well I sort of made a promise not to tell anyone,” Hermione whispered, and when she saw the almost angry face on Mrs. Weasley she hurried to say, “Please don’t make me break my promise to her, I could never do that. Please.”
Mr. Weasley sensed that his wife was about to start yelling again, and therefore he lay a comforting arm around her shoulders.
“I think Hermione might be right. As much as it hurts me to find my daughter running off in the middle of the night, I think that we should give her a chance to work through everything at her own pace.”
When he felt his wife’s shoulders tense and saw that she looked as if she were about to protest he added, “And we can’t deny that she is an adult now, however young we might think she is. But Molly dear, she has been through hell and back and survived, and that is something we should be thankful for. The least we can do now is to let her try and run her own life.”
Hermione could see that Mrs. Weasley thought about her husband’s words for several moments and then her shoulders slumped a bit.
“I can’t say that I’ll condone the fact that she thought she had to run off in the middle of the night, but maybe you’re right, I really don’t know for sure. But I do know that I’ll write a letter to my baby and let her know that we love her, and then pray to God that she’ll come home real soon.” The words were really hard for Mrs. Weasley to say but she found strength in the knowledge that they would always be able to reach their daughter by owl.
When Mrs. Weasley turned around to walk down to the kitchen, Ron came down the stairs. When Ron saw his mother’s glum face he asked, “What happened? Did someone die or something?”
Mr. Weasley hushed his son and passed him the letter from Ginny. When Ron read that his sister had decided to run off in the middle of the night he was a bit confused. He thought that she had gotten over the whole thing; well at least she seemed to have gotten better every day.
“Oh my, this is not good; this is not good at all. What will Harry say to this? I bet he’ll be a bit heartbroken when he hears about this.” After a few seconds he added, “Hey, speaking of Harry, where is he by the way? He never got up to bed last night; you don’t suppose he has run after her, do you?”
“No Ron, he didn’t run after her. He doesn’t even know that she left,” Hermione said and grabbed his hand. “I think he’s still sleeping down on the couch. That’s were I left him last night.”
They all walked down into the living room. Here they found Harry still bleary-eyed from sleep. When he saw the glum faces on everyone he asked what had happened.
“Well Harry, there is no easy way to say this, but Ginny sort of left last night,” Hermione said quietly, not sure how he would react.
“What do you mean by sort of left? Where did she go, and why, what…?” Harry didn’t even know what he wanted to ask, everything sounded a bit odd to him. Why would Ginny leave? Did it have something to do with him and what had happened last night? Oh please let it not be that, I can’t loose her, I just can’t.
Hermione just gave him the letter and said that it was from Ginny and that it would explain why she thought she had to leave.
Harry took the letter and just looked at it; he still didn’t really believe that she had left. But when he looked up at the sad faces of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, he knew that something was not right here.
Mr. Weasley saw that Harry hesitated in opening the letter and knew that he might need some privacy to read it.
“We’ll just leave you alone.” Then he pulled his wife and son into the kitchen. Hermione stayed a few seconds more. She could see that Harry was very confused about why Ginny would leave so suddenly, and she just hoped that Ginny had been able to explain everything to Harry in that letter. Then she also went into the kitchen with the others.
Harry just stared at the letter for a few minutes, tracing his own name that Ginny had written on the envelope. Then he opened the letter and read:
My Dearest Harry
You have no idea how hard it is to write this to you. But this is just something that I need to do by myself. I believe that for me to work through everything I must get away from my daily routine, and I’ll be able to find myself again. I don’t think I can do that when I’m at home. I really enjoy our time together, and I want to be able to spend every day of my life with you, but some times I still get flashbacks of what happened to me. It’s like I’m being surrounded by grey clouds. This has by no means anything to do with you. My psychologist said that I could experience something like this. It’s only a result of what I have been through. And therefore I really need some time to work through everything.
I believe that I’ll only be able to do that if I get away from everything (not everyone just everything that happened) and work out where I go from here.
I don’t discredit the love I know everyone has for me (especially yours, Harry, I carry your love forever in my heart) because I know that I have a whole family and a wonderful boyfriend who all love me very much. And I love you just as much, please just remember that. If nothing else, just remember that I love you, my dear Harry, and I’ll come back to you.
Please promise me one thing: Don’t go all sulking and withdrawing from the world over this. Please Harry, I know how you get when things don’t go the way you plan. Just keep remembering that I LOVE YOU, and I WILL come back.
With all my love,
Harry reread the letter a few times more, and still he felt numb inside, he really couldn’t comprehend that Ginny had actually left without saying goodbye. Some part of his brain understood that she might need some time away from everything. But leaving just like that in the middle of the night. The other part of his brain couldn’t help but start blaming himself for scaring her off like that. He had been the one trying to do more than she might have been ready for. Why had he done that? Why had he let it get a bit out of hand when he knew that she probably wasn’t ready for anything like that yet? Why? The only reason he could gather was the fact that he was an inconsiderate boyfriend. One who didn’t understand what she had been going through and only thought about what other blokes his age would do. These thoughts made him feel miserable and he felt hopeless because he didn’t see how she could ever forgive him. A tiny part of his conscience attempted to reason with these thoughts, and tried to tell him that right now he was doing the very thing that Ginny had asked him not to. But he couldn’t help blaming himself just a little bit.
Nevertheless once he got a bit more control over his emotions he decided that he would at least try to take this in a positive way and believe that she would get through this her own way. Then he got up from the couch, gently pocketed the letter from Ginny, and walked into the kitchen to have breakfast with the others.
Over the next couple of days Hermione received a few owls from Ginny, which let everyone know that she was well. This helped improve Mrs. Weasley’s mood a bit, but everyone could see that she was still distraught about her daughter’s absence. Everyone could also see how hard it was for Harry to maintain a certain façade to make them believe that he was okay with everything. But both Ron and Hermione knew that their friend was struggling inside to keep himself calm and poised.
One day they all went down to the pond to rest and enjoy one of the last summer days.
Harry was sitting with his feet in the shallow water and watched Hermione and Ron taking a swim. He couldn’t help but smile when he saw that Hermione easily could out-swim Ron in their little swimming contest. Harry knew that Ron was a poor loser and knew that he would hate to admit that he could loose to a girl, even if it was his girlfriend.
Harry felt the empty hole inside him grow a little bigger when he thought about how he didn’t have his girlfriend here. Ginny would have loved to take part in the swimming contest. He pulled his feet out of the water and hugged his knees to his chest. When would Ginny come back? It had been little over a week now and he had only heard news from her through Hermione. He couldn’t help but feel a little put out with the fact that Hermione still hadn’t said where Ginny had gone. He wasn’t mad at his friend, just a little annoyed that the girls had this secret that he didn’t knew about.
Hermione and Ron came out of the water, laughing and joking around. When Hermione saw Harry’s sullen face her smile faltered a bit and she could see how hurt he was. She turned to Ron and asked him if he would go get something to drink from the Burrow. She really wanted to talk to Harry alone, and Ron caught her meaning and walked away to find what she asked.
“Hey Harry, are you okay?” Hermione sat down beside him.
Harry shrugged and nodded. Hermione could see that something was bothering him, and she had a notion as to what it was. She knew that he had never directly accused her of keeping the secret about where Ginny was, but it had to be something like that that was bothering her friend. She knew that if he found out where Ginny was he would Apparate there right away.
After a few minutes Harry spoke. “Why can’t you tell me where she is?”
“You know that Harry. I’m truly sorry about keeping a secret from you, but I made a promise to Ginny. Besides I know that you’ll try and find her if I do tell you, won’t you Harry?”
Harry just shrugged again and placed his head on his knees. Hermione hoped that he didn’t hate her for this. That would be unbearable.
“Harry, please forgive me. I don’t want you to hate me for this. Please don’t hate me.”
“I don’t hate you, I hate myself. Why couldn’t I just keep my hands to myself and respect that she needed more time before we… err well you know...”
Even though Harry had his head bent Hermione could still see the slight blush creep up his neck.
“No, Harry, please don’t blame yourself, Ginny wouldn’t want you to do that.” Hermione laid a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“I know. But I still can’t help it. I guess I just have to live with that until she gets back.” Harry looked at her and smiled a bit.
“And she will get back; she loves you too much not to do that. This is just something that she’ll have to work out on her own. Just hang in there and before you know it she’ll come back to you.” Hermione hoped that her words could help him get through this.
“Thanks…” Before Harry could say anything else Ron returned with three chilled Butterbeers. But Hermione knew what Harry was trying to say, and she was happy that this was not going to break their friendship. And she knew that he deserved to be loved by someone like Ginny. There was no better match, they had both been through some excruciating times and had shared both pain and joy throughout their friendship.
The next couple of weeks flew by. Harry had had a lot of Quidditch practices those weeks, but every time he was alone, either at the Burrow or in his apartment, his thoughts were always on Ginny. He missed her terribly and each day that she was not there ate another piece of him. The empty hole inside him grew bigger. One day he even managed to get hit by a Bludger in practice when he had been thinking about Ginny, and not paying attention to the game around him.
That day Hermione found Harry sitting under the large oak tree in the garden at the Burrow. When she saw the black and blue mark on his arm, she asked what had happened to him. He told her, and then shrugged it off, saying that it was nothing. Then he turned and looked over the meadow behind the Burrow. The pain and dejection she saw in his eyes made her heart break. Then she knew that she couldn’t let this go on anymore. As she refused to break her promise to Ginny, the only thing left for her to do was to go find Ginny herself.
With determination in her stride she Apparated to her own place and began packing a small bag to bring with her. When she was almost done she heard a soft pop from her living room, indicating that someone had Apparated to her place. Just as she heard Ron’s voice call out she remembered that she and Ron had made dinner plans that afternoon.
“Oh damn, I forgot about that,” she whispered to herself. She hurried out to meet her boyfriend, and explained her plans. Luckily Ron agreed with her, he had also noticed the way Harry had withdrawn himself from the world around him, and he also wanted to see him happy again. And that would only happen if he got Ginny back into his life.
Hermione gave Ron a kiss goodbye and promised that she would come back in the next day or two. Then she Apparated to Lands End, where she only hoped that she would find a Ginny who would be ready to face her life again.