Summary: She wrote on the last of the parchment she had, a handful of inches from the end of a roll tucked in the back of an old magazine, wrinkled and worn but still useful.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Character: Ginny Weasley
Original story: Out of Chaos by emei
Notes: Dark themes. AU. My thanks to the people who helped.
partial uneven chaos (the fiery crash remix)
The scotch was purchased shamefully from the corner shop across the street from the one where she purchased her pints of milk and half-loaves of bread. The notes were crumpled and dirty when she pulled them from her coat pocket, and when the bored attendant asked for her id, she twitched and slid her eyes away, hand going to rest against her wand where it was strapped always against her thigh, pulling out the sliver of plastic which would only stand scrutiny against someone who didn't particularly want to see it anyway.
She didn't drink it that night. Instead she set it on the other side of her cheap pressboard table, staring at the script and seeing snow, fingers not quite touching the red-black of the seal and feeling blood slick between the pads of her thumbs. She fell asleep there, slumped over a paper she'd forgetfully taken from work the week before, waking to pain and blurry vision and a combination of disappointment and relief. She set the bottle behind the dishwasher powder beneath her sink, and most days she could convince herself it wasn't there at all.
The pen was a cheap ball-point, filched from behind the counter at the restaurant where she worked most days. She was still unused to writing with things that didn't have feathers or sharp points, and her normally fluid script looked cramped and scrawled on the page before her. She wrote on the last of the parchment she had, a handful of inches from the end of a roll tucked in the back of an old magazine, wrinkled and worn but still useful. The pen sank into it, making her words form deep, uneven creases in the page. That's what I remember, she writes, and pauses at the bite of the comma. Of course that is the whole problem, isn't it? Memory? She grits her teeth, presses down until the next words, the white of the snow nearly tear a hole.
She doesn't sleep that night, stares into the square of dark starless night visible from the one window in what she can only call the front room, what her mother would call a box with a light. It tells her nothing she did not already know, and her eyes are red-rimmed when the owl arrives the next morning. He is patient and silent and sees far too much.
It is easier if she doesn't think of the ghosts, hanging like a trail of poorly-washed laundry behind her. There are so very many, and she had never been the sort of witch who was interested in much beyond the scope of her own normal, ordinary life. She doesn't think of herself as much of a witch now, that identity robbed of her as thoroughly as all those she had ever loved, in the second time the Death Eaters attacked. They had not known the Death Eaters would do that, the people who knew such things generally. It was an ambush, the attack on Hogwarts, and there are many days she wishes she had joined the ranks of the ghosts who dogged her every step.
Those days, she has a staring contest with a bottle. Those days, it is harder to ignore the memories that come unbidden, even in here in her Muggle apartment, surrounded by her Muggle things, living as much of a Muggle life as she can manage, considering. The ghosts are not unkind, but nor are they welcome; that is the nature of ghosts, she supposes, and falls asleep in the ancient confines of the bathtub.
She has only gone to the graveyard once, and she regretted it then. She does not like to be confronted with the reality she has so meticulously absented herself from. She does not want to speak to Luna about that truth. She has carefully built her life, her thoughts, her habits, around the absence of everything before. She would not have gone to the graveyard at all if she had not seen a wilting club of tiger-lillies at the corner market where she was purchasing her ready meal for that evening; if she had not seen those flowers and was not swept up in an arc of grief.
She had purchased them then, instead of her dinner, and they cost her half a shift's wages, and more besides. Perhaps they were not worth it, but her mother had loved them, had loved making the flowers come alive with a practised flick of her wand to hear them growl playfully in the kitchen sunshine. She only knew that her mother would have liked them, and that bringing flowers to a stone was something other daughters must do for their lost parents. She went, and saw Luna; choked on her words and did not look back once.
She had only gone to one Memorial Day, but she recalled the date unfailingly every year. She had gone from her parents' warm house to the welcome stone of Hogwarts; from there to Gnostic Alley, and when that became unbearable she fled to Edmonton Street, unassuming and quiet and so terribly unlike every other place she knew. In her dingy, tiny little flat precariously placed between two other, larger buildings, she lit a candle and opened her bottle. On this day, she allowed herself the prickling, piercing fault of remembering; on this day, she let ride her anger and her pain, and did not recall the words she wept out on the floor of her front room, staring sightlessly out her one window until dawn came, and she packed everything away again.
She chose Greece because it was where Bill had gone his first summer after his NEWTS; she wore suncream, but it didn't stop her from turning brown, freckles in sharp relief, hair lightening to a brassy blonde. It had not been hard to leave England. No one had particularly wanted her there. There was nothing she was leaving behind. She thought perhaps someone would come to give her the death she had once wanted, but weeks passed and there was nothing. She did not think she would mind it if someone did come; but then she would not mind living, either.
She ate pomegranates, and watched the juice spill on the whitewashed stone of the porch, and felt very much nothing at all.