BORN FOR YOU - Chapter One: Gryffindor Courage
"I don't understand. I thought this was what you wanted, what we both wanted."
"It is what I want, but it's just not going to happen for us."
"How can you say that!" he said, becoming angry. "I have been nothing but loyal to you…"
Ginny Weasley sighed sadly and looked at her long time fiancé. "Yes, Harry, you have shown me loyalty and kindness, but not love." She continued on quickly when he looked like he was about to shout. "Not the kind of love that will keep us together for the next 125 years."
Harry shut his mouth with an audible click. He couldn't believe this was happening, not after everything. All the people that had suffered in order for them to be together, for them to be the poster boy and girl couple after the war.
"That doesn't even make sense, how can there be loyalty without love, Ginny? One cannot exist without the other, so how can you say I don't love you?" Harry asked, hoping for her to see reason.
"I agree and disagree with that," she stated. "Some degree of love or caring would be needed for someone to show loyalty to another person, freely at least. Especially with the amount of loyalty you have shown to me and my family, but that in no way means you love me, Harry, really love me the way I want and deserve."
Harry's anger flared again at her words. He wanted to shout at her, to shake her and ask why she was fucking with the one thing that kept him sane after what had happened. He did it for her, so they could be happy together. So they could have a family.
"You wanted me, that is why we did what we did… And I wanted you too, Ginny. It's not like we didn't want to be together. So why are you doing this all of a sudden? You knew what this was the moment we agreed to stay together and make it work despite..." Harry stopped, raking his hand though his hair, a small tell that signaled his rising frustration. "This is like a slap in the face to him, to everything I gave up to be with you."
"Don't you speak to me that way, Harry Potter! It was your decision, too…" Ginny stopped talking and took a deep breath. She would not have this fight again, not again. "I know I agreed to do this, but Harry, is it so wrong that I want to find someone who wants me and only me? Not my family or your ability to trust me or my… ability to carry your children?"
"God, Ginny," Harry muttered as he hung his head low, he couldn't even argue with anything she said, though her bluntness cut deep.
"Look, you know I love you, Harry, and I think we would have been happy if not for the way fate intervened." Ginny stopped talking when she heard Harry scoff across the dining room table of their shared apartment. "Yes, it was fate, Harry. I know you think that is some kind of dirty word, and who can blame you after what you were destined to do since you were a baby, but we were stupid to try and go against it. Look where it has gotten us," she said, trying to make him understand. She needed him to understand. They were running out of time and they had to make this right.
"Where you have gotten us you mean? We were doing fine. It's only you who all of a sudden wants to break our engage..." Harry started but was suddenly cut off.
"I know about the dreams, Harry," Ginny said, squeezing her eyes shut. She was hoping it wouldn't come to this. It was, after all, still painful for her to think about, let alone discuss.
"Oh, God. Those…they…it's nothing, Ginny. They will go away like all the other symptoms, the books all say…"
"I know what the books say! I've read the same ones as you, and frankly I'm tired of living my life according to what the books say will happen to you next because of the separation. The bottom line is I'm not happy and you're not happy, not really, not in the way it matters for a married couple and were not even married! For Merlin's sake, what will it take for you to see that this is a failure and there is only one way this can end? Only one way you will ever truly be happy?"
"And you? What about you and your happiness, I swore to protect it…"
"That's just it, Harry, I don't need a protector. I want a relationship where I'm really wanted and desired. I know I had just as much to do with this as you did, and Ron, he was a major contributor to your decision, but I think even he regrets it. I know Hermione does. In my barely sixteen-year-old head it all sounded so lovely, so romantic. Screw the plan the fates had lined up for you so we could be together, so we could be in love. Now I just feel ashamed. How we could hurt someone like that? How selfish we were."
"Stop, Ginny, please, just stop," Harry interrupted; his beautifully tanned face had gone pale at the mention of his betrayal, of their betrayal.
"I know you regret it, Harry. I can see it in your eyes when you look at me and I hear it every night while you dream of him. I know you're only with me today because you think it will all have been for nothing if we don't stay together. You think it will be worse if we don't work it out because of what you gave up…"
"That's not true, Ginny…"
"Enough!" Ginny shouted. "I'm not saying that you don't care about me, hell none of this would have happened if you didn't, but I'm not going to let this go on any further. I won't let you hide anymore and ruin your one chance at love because of me. We're not idiot children anymore, we're adults and we both know what we did was wrong!" she shouted angrily.
"I don't see the point to any of this, Ginny. It's too late…"
"It's not too late," she argued.
"It is," he said with finality. "It's been seven years…"
"No, it's been six years and fifty weeks, Harry. You are exactly to the day, two weeks from being too late," she said giving him one of the famous Weasley grins that only promised mischief, even if it was tinged with brief sadness that only years of knowing her could have discovered. "Two weeks, Harry, that's a fortnight to find him and make him forgive you and for you two to live in that little elusive land called 'Happily Ever After'."
Harry choked on the ridiculousness of that thought. "You're mad! That's not nearly enough time! Plus there is no way in hell he would forgive me after what we did, what I did to him!"
"He will forgive you," she insisted. "It's bred into him to do so."
"What if he doesn't want to? You know my sway over him dulls the less we see of each other as time goes by, and it breaks completely after seven years of no contact, what if he's ready to be free of me finally?" Harry asked, a trace of fear touching his voice.
"Even if that is his plan, he still would be happiest with you. You only have to make him see it."
"God, Ginny, I-I can't. How would I even approach him after everything? No forget that, how would I even find him? He's exiled to some kind of community made up of mainly his own kind."
"Exactly, Hermione said that will make it all the easier to find him."
"You told Hermione! Oh for the love of… And Ron knows too, I expect?"
"Of course," she said easily, as if it was nothing to worry about, even though Harry looked like he was about to lose it. Ginny sighed in exasperation. "I had to tell them, Harry, if only to cut off Ron's temper at us calling off the engagement. This way he can't blame you and pull his normal 'I'm angry at the world so I'm going to ignore everyone' routine. Besides you're going to need help."
Harry snorted. "And you think Ron is going to help me with this? He practically devised the plan seven years ago. Now you think he wants to help undo it?"
"I told you, Harry, Ron and Hermione regret what happened. Ron may not like it, but he is willing to help. In fact, it was Ron who suggested our first course of action."
Harry held his breath to the point of almost making himself dizzy. He couldn't believe this was happening. Was he really considering going after him, after so much time had passed? The thought filled him with both hope and dread, and if he was honest with himself, a small bit of anger. The three people he trusted most were going behind his back to orchestrate this fiasco when they had been the main reason for the plan in the first place. No, that wasn't fair, he knew he had been just as much a part of it, he had distrusted just as much, and in fact he played the role of villain quite well.
Ginny waited patiently while she watched a barrage of emotions flash across his face. She was scared. Half scared he was going to refuse and insist on them making it work and half scared that he wouldn't protest at all. She knew it was useless for them to continue, but still, a part of her wanted the perfect life with Harry she had envisioned as a child. That was the problem. She longed for a dream that was never hers, should never have been hers. She watched him sigh heavily while rubbing his tired eyes behind his glasses, seeming to finally come to a decision. She waited.
"I…it's not that I don't appreciate the thought you have put into this, Ginny, or your concern over my happiness, but you're making it sound as if were not happy at all."
"I know we are happy sometimes, Harry, but when were not it's like... it's like this huge weight of depression just sits down on top of me and at the same time I know it's not the typical depression. It's so much more dense, much heavier, it's like the guilt is sentient. Fate, she is angry with us for ignoring her decision and I know the only way I can be free of the guilt and heaviness is if we right the wrong that was done almost seven years ago."
"You're acting is if fate is a living breathing being…"
"Isn't it? It's caused us both physical pain every time we tried to be intimate, we can barely do so much as hold hands and I haven't kissed you in almost seven years because of it. The longing you have for him haunts your dreams more than Voldemort ever did, not to mention everything else that the book told us would happen and has happened. It's because I've taken you away from your predestined soul mate. If that's not the consequence of giving fate the two finger salute then I don't know what is, Harry. I'm not willing to anger her anymore. I want to be free, to find happiness without the burden of this on me. I know that's selfish, especially after I was your burden…"
"No, don't say that. I know you're right. It's just, we've almost made it through, seven years is almost over and the bond will break in a few weeks. We would finally be able to marry, finally be able to touch each other again. This was the plan that we made, it's what I could always count on when things got bad, that there was a purpose to it all. That purpose was the future for us. Now everything is uncertain again? We don't know if he will even be receptive to seeing me..." Harry trailed off. This was a disaster waiting to happen, he knew it.
"Then make him see you, show yourself to him…"
"I can't do that! That would be taking the decision away from him again. I did that to him once, I won't do it again."
"Well this is where Ron's plan comes in…"
"Ron's plan?" Harry scoffed at the idea.
Ginny gave him an annoyed look for having interrupted her yet again. "Yes, his plan. It's actually more like advice and fairly simple to follow. We only have to ask Fleur what she thinks the best course of action is. I'm sure she knows where most of the Veela settlements are located. We know he lives on one so we will start there."
"We?" Harry asked with a grim smile that Ginny would like nothing better than to slap off his face.
"Yes we," she said waspishly. "I will talk to Fleur with you, if for nothing more than for her to see that you're serious. She won't tell you anything if she doesn't think your absolutely serious, Harry, and it will be nice to see her for once not treat me as the 'other woman'. Honestly! We were together first!"
Harry snorted while trying to contain his amusement; it was a sore spot for Ginny that her sister-in-law regarded her as a home wrecker. "Alright, I can't believe I'm about to say this but, when do we start?"
Ginny gave a relieved yet watery smile. "You won't regret this, Harry, not this time. I promise you that."
Harry gave her a small doubting smile in return and hoped to Merlin that this time, they were right.
"Harry! It's so good to see you; I can't believe that this is happening. Are you really going to speak to Fleur and try to find him?" Harry was almost knocked over by Hermione's enthusiastic hug as he barely made it out of the Floo.
"Calm down, woman! You can't be running and jumping on him like that, especially with all that extra weight in front. What if you knocked him back into the Floo and he disappeared, then how is he supposed to go and search for the git?" Ron said good-naturedly as he dodged his wife's fist.
"I think there is a rule about you not mentioning your pregnant wife's weight, Ron," Harry joked as he reached out and shook his best friend's hand.
"See, even Harry knows your being an arse!" she scolded.
"But look at you, only five months gone and you look like you're about ready to pop, it's kinda frightening actually. What are you going to look like at nine months?" Ron asked innocently, not paying attention to how red his wife's face was getting. "I swear we should get a second opinion on if you're having twins."
Harry cringed as he watched Ron stupidly dig himself a deeper hole. Hermione's weight gain had been a bit more than what was normal but nothing serious. In typical Ron fashion he had absolutely no delicacy in dealing with it.
"I'm not having twins, Ronald," she exploded, "one more word about it and so help me I will tell your mother you called your pregnant wife fat!"
Ron paled while Hermione snickered and moved off into the kitchen presumably to devour it, if the suspicious look on Ron's face said anything. "She's barking I tell you," he said to Harry in what he thought was a whisper. "She's always threatening that she'll tell my mother. She has absolutely no grasp on the situation; all I'm trying to do is keep her cravings under control. There are all sorts of things that can happen if you eat the wrong things, you know. The other day her ankles looked like snuffaluff pods because she ate too many crisps! That can't be healthy," he said in all seriousness, while Harry hurriedly covered his mouth lest he give away that he was smiling.
"I can still hear you, idiot, our flat isn't that big and your whispering is about as quiet as a hippogriff tearing through the forbidden forest!" Hermione yelled from the kitchen as Ron sputtered.
"Err… So I guess Ginny already talked to you both?" Harry said trying to draw the conversation off of Hermione's cravings before Ron got himself bludgeoned with the nearest kitchen utensil.
"Oh right, that." Ron said as if he would rather discuss anything but that. He walked Harry into the kitchen to take a seat at the table, while Hermione set out some tea and biscuits that Harry eyed warily like he used to do with Hagrid's rock cakes.
"Oh don't worry, Mum made those. Hermione has all but given up trying to bake." Ron smirked as he dodged another blow aimed for the back of his head.
Harry felt a twinge of jealously at their easy-going manner. Even at the best of times things were so fragile with Ginny, he never had this kind of laid back attitude with her. At the beginning he was always afraid he would say something or do something wrong, and she was always worried he would run off if she did anything to offend him. Then came the fights. Not loving jibes like Ron and Hermione used or even the passionate anger some couples had. No, they knew how to blame and cut, and cut deep with their words just for the purpose of hurting. They didn't fight all the time, but when they did it was damaging for days.
"So I guess you're here about what Ginny came to us about last week, Harry?" Hermione said as she took a seat.
"Err… Yeah, I guess. I'm still a little unsure as to what you know, so maybe we should just start with that?"
Hermione shared a quick glance with Ron, another thing that gave Harry a pang of jealousy. "All right, stop with the couple telepathy and tell me what was said, what do you think?"
"Ron, I think you should tell him. I think it will mean more coming from you since you were more opposed back then," Hermione said, all seriousness returning to her tone.
"Yeah, all right. Well…basically…we wanted to tell you...we think we might have been...shit! Why is this so hard?" Ron said, rubbing his forehead.
"OK, now I'm starting to get worried, Ron? For goodness sake just spit it out, Ginny said that you… That you maybe regret what happened?" he asked.
"Regret it?" Ron snorted. "That doesn't even begin to describe what I feel. What we did, what we pushed you to do…"
"You didn't push me…" he tried to argue.
"Come off it, mate, we pushed you. We didn't trust him, with good reason from his past and his family, and we pushed you to do what you did. I… I could tell at the end that you were starting to care for him, Harry. No, no more lying to ourselves," Ron said as if he was arguing with himself.
"We all could tell that you had fallen for him a bit, but we still encouraged you, we basically ripped you apart from your soul mate for our own selfish reasons, so you would be with Ginny, someone we could trust. So yes, I regret it, every day I regret it." He finished as he closed his eyes unable to look Harry in the eyes.
"How..." Harry stopped talking, having to swallow and regain his composure. "How long have you felt this way?"
"Almost from the moment you sent him away," Ron admitted. "Bill came to the Burrow and he took me aside. The things he said, Harry, you should have heard him. We read the books, we did the research but we just didn't get it. We took you away from someone who was, for all intents and purposes, born to love you. At the time I don't think I could even fathom what that really meant but he really was born to love you, Harry." Ron swallowed thickly.
"Bill tried to explain to me how special that is," Ron continued. "How that the few of us that fall in love are damn lucky, but those of you who have predestined mates, like you and Bill, are more than lucky. You have a destiny to love someone who was put on this world for you. How many people can say that? That the world gave you someone who would love and be devoted to only you? Bill just kept saying that over and over, how we had ripped your one chance at true happiness away and how we ruined someone's life by taking their sole purpose for being born from them. He said it didn't matter if we trusted his motives or not, because he was your mate. He said that it would be impossible for him to betray you once his inheritance had awakened, because from that moment on he was born again. Meant to be with and love only you."
"And he did, he really did love me and I did what we thought he would do, I betrayed him," Harry whispered, unable to make himself say more.
"Yes," Ron agreed. "There was no doubt in my mind by the end that he did love you but by that time we were so deep in everything with Voldemort's Horcruxes that it was too late to go back and fix things. And you had already sent him away and no one knew where he went. It seemed best to just leave it alone, give you and Ginny a chance, but I have to be honest mate. I don't think that's going to happen. I think we fucked up, we fucked up real bad, Harry."
"I think, what Ron is trying to say in his own colorful way, Harry, is that we made a mistake, and we all realize it, and now we only have a small open window in which to correct it. Roughly two weeks," Hermione whispered as she absent-mindedly rubbed her belly with one hand while holding Ron's hand with the other. "I'm… We are so sorry, Harry," she said sadly.
"Yeah, mate, we can't tell you how sorry we are…"
"Stop it, the both of you. You may have encouraged me but you didn't think anything that I didn't already think myself. Ultimately it was me who hurt him, who sent him away." Harry shuddered as a part of the horrible memory worked its way to the surface before he pushed it back down. "Oh god, sent him away isn't even the right term for it, I threw him away, threw him out. I was horrible," he muttered, shaking his head.
"Harry, he will forgive you, it's in his nature…"
"But that makes it worse doesn't it, Hermione? That he has to forgive a bastard that tricked and treated him horribly?"
Hermione looked down unable to argue, but Ron picked up where she couldn't. "How does it make it worse, Harry? He's your destined and since he is the one with the creature blood fueling the magic that pulls you together, the pull is naturally strongest on him. It is what it is, not worse or better. You and Hermione need to realize that not everything can be categorized in a neat little box, labeled for your convenience. Some things just are what they are," he tried to explain, for what he felt was the hundredth time.
Being raised in the Muggle world, Harry just couldn't understand Ron's reasoning of some things and he knew Hermione had trouble as well. For them, they didn't grow up thinking things just did what they did because of the magics, no explanation needed. Things happened because someone made them happen or invented something to do it for them. Things like house-elves and soul mates were just such a strange concept they had trouble understanding.
"That's not the point, Ron; anyway I don't think this is going to work. There is no way he will forgive me after everything," Harry argued.
"You still have two weeks until it has been seven years, until his twenty-fifth birthday when the bond breaks, Harry," Ron said. "You need to use that and show yourself to him before then. We'll leave for Shell Cottage tomorrow morning and go from there. Ginny will meet us so we can convince Fleur."
"I'm not going to use the bond that way, Ron, it feels dishonest; like I'm using it for my own gain."
"Are you serious? Of course it's for your own gain! That's the whole purpose of a bond, to benefit those involved! You basically did the worst thing you can do to a Veela, Harry; don't you think you might need a bit of an edge?"
"Ron!" Hermione tried to chastise before her husband cut her off again.
"You need every advantage you can get! The magic is there so use it!"
"'The magic is there so use it?" Harry asked incredulously. "So according to you the magic of creating Horcruxes is there so we should all use it? Just because it's something you can do, doesn't mean you should do it, Ron!" Harry said angrily.
"Did you really just liken your marriage to Malfoy to creating Horcruxes Harry? For Merlin's sake it's a completely different matter! Just forget that part of it OK? Tomorrow we will go to Shell Cottage and you can worry about the rest when you actually see him, alright?" Ron tried to reason. It didn't go unnoticed to him that when he said marriage and Malfoy's name Harry had flinched. It was something they rarely did, mention the man's name or the fact that they were bonded in marriage. Ron didn't like to use its shock factor like that, but Harry needed a wake-up call. He needed to act like a true Gryffindor, and stop making excuses not to go after what he wanted.
"Harry, I know you want to go about this in the best manner possible, but promise me that you won't throw this chance away, use anything you can to grab what you want as long as it doesn't hurt either of you," Hermione pleaded. "Don't lose him a second time just because you think something is wrong. Discuss it with Malfoy, make the decision together. Don't take control of the situation from him this time. I think he would appreciate that."
Harry listened to Hermione's argument and knew she was right. "What about Ginny? What will she do?"
"You don't need to worry about that, Harry," Hermione said sternly. "Your husband should be your first priority. We will make sure Ginny is fine, besides this is all her doing remember? She also wants you to be happy; she's setting you free so you can be."
"Ouch, it felt like you channeled Professor McGonagall there for a second, 'Mione, you know how to make it sting."
"Oh, Harry, you know I don't mean to sound preachy… OK well, I at least don't mean to hurt you but Malfoy really does need to be your first priority and whether you like to think of it or not, he is your husband. Shouldn't he be the one that gets your loyalty first now that you're going after him?"
"I… I don't know how to give him that, I don't even know him really," he said pitifully.
"Well, then use these two weeks to get to know him then! Honestly! Why do men always make things harder than it needs to be? It took Ron ages to pluck up the courage to ask me to marry him when he knew I would say yes! Gryffindors indeed!" Hermione stomped away in a huff back into the kitchen.
"Great, see what you did, mate? It will take me all night to get her out of there now."
"I heard that, Ronald!"
Harry grinned at his friend's sheepish look despite his own dire circumstances. He was nervous about seeing Fleur the next day, sure he had seen her at many family functions but she always treated him with a chilly civility. Tomorrow his future depended on her giving him information he would need to try and find Malfoy and then it was all up to him to make it work.
Just the thought of everything that had happened in one day made him tired, so he trudged off to the Floo, giving his friends a lazy farewell of, "I'll see you in the morning." As he called out his address he wondered if Ginny has already left or if she would still be there packing up her bedroom. The thought left him depressed on top of his worry about the next day and he knew he was in for a rough night.