Living Without You
A/N: So, originally Ginny was going to be the only narrator in this fic. When I started writing the last chapter, however, I realized that if I stayed with Ginny and only Ginny the entire time, it would be a pretty short fic compared to what I had intended. Trying to work out this problem, I decided that it would be worth it to switch to Harry's point of view particularly. I have never tried to write Harry before, so if you have any suggestions after reading this chapter, please let me know.
My heart was racing uncontrollably. My worst fear over the past few months had been that something like this would happen—that Ginny would be in danger because of the dementors. Truthfully, I never really thought it would happen; Ginny was a skilled enough witch to take care of herself.
That's why I didn't worry about the consequences of taking her into the forest that night. Her family even knew I was doing it; if there was any significant trouble, they could find us easily. There was no need to fear the forest or being alone.
My legs were moving without me telling them to. Everything around me was a blur—the only thing I could see was that horrible creature sucking the life out of my helpless fiancé. Even from the distance I was at, I saw her body start to go limp.
"EXPECTO PATRONUM!" I shouted.
Light enveloped the scene before my eyes, briefly making it impossible for me to see her. When the light faded, I saw her body lying on the ground, as still as any inanimate object. I was with her in a heartbeat, pulling her into my arms. Her entire body was ice cold. Had I cast the spell in time? Was she all right?
All my senses seemed to be on alert. I could hear the sound of her breathing, as well as see the rise and fall of her stomach, but I still took her wrist to feel the pulse. I knew that my main concern didn't have anything to do with whether her body was alive or not, but I felt the need to make sure she wasn't struggling for air.
Feeling slightly relieved at the normality of her breathing, I moved my gaze up to her eyes. Although they were both open, there was no life in them, no emotion. They stared into the distance at nothing, completely oblivious to my presence. Their bright, shining blue was gone; they were grey.
No, I thought to myself, trying to suppress the truth from sinking in. I had seen too many victims of the Kiss to deny the facts, but I was almost completely unable to grasp the fact that Ginny was one of them…
"NO!" I screamed, no longer able to contain my emotions. "NO! NOT YOU! GINNY!"
I began sobbing and pulled her body closer to mine. My entire being was shaking, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I heard footsteps behind and a gasp as they stopped short.
"Ginny," I heard George whisper.
"Is she…all right?" he asked as he knelt down next to me.
I knew he already knew the answer, but just like me he didn't want to admit it. I heard myself wail and clung onto Ginny's body as if it was my only chance to live. George stood up and ran back to the rest of the family to tell them the horrible, undeniable truth.
At first, I wouldn't let them take her to St. Mungos. I was convinced that I could take care of her, that I would be able to keep her body living, even if her soul were not. In the end, the Weasleys convinced me she would be safest in a ward, but I only consented on the condition that visiting hours wouldn't apply to me. The people at St. Mungos knew better than to object.
I knew it was entirely my fault. Had I not taken her away from her family and into the woods, she would have been completely safe. She would have had her wand with her, she would have been surrounded by other witches and wizards, and she wouldn't have been left to fend for herself. I was the one that had told her to run, and when she did, I didn't pay attention to the direction. I was under the impression that they were all in my general area, that there were none once you escaped it. I had never imagined that Ginny would become victim to the Dementor's Kiss…
Ron and Hermione didn't find out for a week. They had purposely not told anyone the exact location of where they would be, which was perfectly understandable, but highly inconvenient. Looking back, we probably wouldn't have told them that night even if we had been able to reach them. There was no reason to ruin their wedding day with news of something that was irreversible.
When Ron and Hermione did return from their honeymoon, they were obviously completely shocked. Ron decided to join me in finding and locking up all the dementors immediately, often leaving Hermione in their house alone. Hermione didn't mind—she was busy reading everything she could about victims of the Kiss, even though she knew it was useless. In the entire history of the world, no one had ever 'recovered' from the Kiss. We all knew that she was gone, that we would never hear her laugh again, that she would never smile. We knew she wouldn't talk to us, she wouldn't see or recognize us.
And yet, we still hoped.
I visited her every day—well, usually multiple times a day. About a month after it happened, it was just as normal to see me there as it was to see any of the doctors. People who had been excited to meet 'The Chosen One' now regarded me as just another human being, one they were used to seeing regularly. It was almost as if I was a part of her room—I brought her flowers every day, and tended to the ones that were already there. I would bring pictures of her family and place them on the walls. Everyone was well aware that it was her room—she would stay there until she died.
I still hadn't quite accepted that fact. To me, she was just the same Ginny, only petrified. Often, I would talk to her, tell her about my day and what was going on in everyone else's lives. I would update her on our captures of dementors as well; each time I caught a new dementor, I wondered in my mind whether this was the dementor that had taken my Ginny away from me. As far as I knew, there was no way to tell, but still I wondered.
Months passed. I had quit my job as an auror to search for dementors full time. It seemed that the more we caught, the more attacks there were, and the more frequent they seemed to become. I was thankfully able to save many other souls from the fate Ginny's had suffered.
Why did she have to suffer it? Why wasn't I fast enough?
What I hated most was spending time with the Weasleys. Of course, none of them blamed me outwardly, but I knew inside they were all struggling with the fact that the very person who had saved their daughter when he was twelve hadn't been able to repeat the action at the age of eighteen. After killing Voldemort and saving the entire magical world, I was tragically unable to save the person that I loved.
Time went by so quickly that none of us could quite believe it when Ron and Hermione said they were going to Rome for their anniversary. They weren't leaving until a few days after their actual anniversary; no one was quite ready to celebrate on that specific day, not even the two of them.
When the day did come, I sat on the edge of her bed, gazing at her beautiful face. It had aged some over the past year, although the change was barely noticeable. There were two dozen roses on the nightstand next to her of all different colors. I took her left hand in mine and found myself stroking her ring.
"Happy Anniversary," I whispered.
I had decided that I was going to try to remember this day as the day we got engaged, not as the day I lost her. As far as I was concerned, our marriage had been finalized that day.
I would never love anyone else.
I thought back to that fateful day one year ago, thought back to the happiness I had felt before the dementors attacked. In my mind, I relived the sensation of her lips against mine, my hand running through her hair. I felt once again the excitement as I put the diamond ring on her finger. She had been so warm…
Now she was cold.
I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair, knowing it was probably best for me to try and forget what happened on this day, pretend she was only resting.
"Guess what Ron told us at dinner last night?" I asked her, trying to smile. "Hermione's pregnant! Three months in. You're going to be an aunt, Ginny!"
My thoughts immediately turned to what the child's relationship with his or her aunt would be like, and the fake happiness was gone. I buried my face in my hands, feeling all the sadness I had ever felt in one single moment. Most days I could pretend, I could forget about reality for a while…
I heard the door open, but didn't turn. The doctors were used to seeing me there, and I was used to them periodically entering and exiting the room.
Whoever it was sat down in the chair behind me. I didn't turn to look until he spoke.
"How're you holdin' up, mate?"
I sighed and turned to look at my best friend. "Why aren't you with your wife?"
"We wanted to ask you to come to dinner with us," he said tentatively.
"On your anniversary?"
"You should spend time alone. I don't want to be a bother."
Ron ran his fingers through his hair, frustrated. "We want you to come, Harry."
There was a long pause. I turned back to look at Ginny, feeling increasing sad and regret for what had happened a year ago. If I had only been faster, if I had paid better attention…
"We miss her too, mate," Ron said quietly.
I heaved a sigh, realizing that I was being selfish. She was just as important to her family as she was to me, and here I was acting like I was the only one that cared.
I forced myself to smile at Ron. "All right. When?"
He looked at me, slightly surprised. "Now, Harry. Hermione's waiting downstairs."
"Early? It's 19:00! How long have you been here?"
I shook my head and unwillingly let go of Ginny's hand. I stood and gathered my things, then bent over her and kissed her forehead as I was about to leave.
"I love you," I whispered, and reluctantly turned away to follow my best friend out of the door.
A/N: So what did you think? What could I have done better? What did I do well? How are you feeling about the story in general? Thanks for reading!