The end of the year.
She was supposed to be in class, it being a Tuesday, but she had skipped the day's lessons. She didn't want people around her, she barely wanted to be around herself.
It was some time during lunch that she came to a new awareness from the dull state she had been in. Pansy could tell it was lunch from the increased noise down below, and that was when she felt tears of self pity sting her eyes. Rubbing her hand against her face, she gritted her teeth and stared determinedly at the Forbidden Forest. The crisp air and the light blue of the sky made it possible for one to see far. It focused her, on seeing nothing...
Worrying only caused more worrying, and yet Pansy could not help herself.
Draco was acting more strange that usual was her main concern. She frowned, he had been acting like this all year and she couldn't understand why. She suspected it had something to do with the Dark Lord. But, that was nothing new. With his father in Azkaban, his mother... in danger was one way to put it and him, eager to prove his worth... Pansy feared for him, afraid what he had to do.
Lately everything seemed to revolve around the Dark Lord. Pansy shivered, then frowned. She saw how people in the other Houses looked through the newspaper, dreading to see if one of their relatives was dead. If any of hers did, if would be under the fallen enemy, and she would not be given any time to grieve.
Her cousin had died. She hadn't been particulary close, but it had surprised her to receive a letter from her parents telling her... he was dead. He was twenty. She couldn't understand why he was dead. The Aurors, had blasted his body out of existence and they never knew who he was. The family was far too scared to even hold a service for him.
That panged. What if that had been her? She would have never been properly mourned. She wouldn't even been buried. Pansy didn't want that. She didn't want to die. But if she did, she wanted people to be sorry and that her death was worth enough for a simple ceremony. Was that asking too much?
But... Going to Dumbledore, would be paramount to death. She loved her family, her friends to much to ever betray them like that. It would betrayal going to the so called 'Light', her family could never forgive her. Draco wouldn't either. It was impossible to even think of.
She didn't know why she even was thinking this. None of this would make a difference, in the end, she wouldn't make a difference. She wasn't equipped or trained for wizardry warfare. She was barely passing DADA!
However, her thoughts drifted, would that be enough. Would people stop a hex because she wasn't trained to defend herself properly. No, they would act quicker, take relish in her weakness.
Gripping her skirt, Pansy shook, ever so slightly. Death, how that word seemed to be spoke so frequently. It was almost. seemed to be becoming the school motto. Everyone's mantra, was death. Hogwarts, was so different from first year when she had taken pleasure in seeing a Hufflepuff cry. They wouldn't cry, not when their parents might be dead or their siblings...
No one would cry, until death came.
"Oh... It's you."
"Were you expecting anyone else?" He asks, stepping forward so he stands beside her. He wonders why she is shivering, the weather is quite warm. The sky is clear and the air is fresh. Harry breaths deeply, smiling at the weather.
"Not extactly, no." She turns away from, as she speaks, her voice sounding distant. "I really wasn't expecting anyone to come up here. Stupid of me, I suppose. It's..." she pauses, "Just that I thought, and I wanted it... I just thought I would be alone."
"It's nice up here, you can see everything from here. I've come up here before, and, Hogwarts really is wonderful, isn't it?" Harry smiles.
"I - I guess. I never really thought of it like that," she shrugs, "It's just school. Homework, teachers, students, owls, lessons, parchement and ink... Just school."
"Hogwarts is more than that! It's the most magical place, you can see that can't you?" Harry asks, shaking his head at her apathy. "It's Hogwarts, Parkinson, and we only have a few short years here..." His voice trails off.
"Yes... I guess, you could see like that. I don't. I never really wanted to come here. It's not the place that makes it work. But the people, the magic, it's just secondary... Hogwarts itself."
Harry pauses, "I couldn't imagine Hogwarts without Hermione or Ron. They're part of Hogwarts to me."
"And after Hogwarts? Will the magic fade? Will you feelings or friendship for them go away because you aren't at Hogwarts any more? Will Hogwarts simply become a memory? Or has it already become that?"
He looks at her, as she stares at him, almost desperately, "They bind Hogwarts together, the people." He shrugs, "I dunno, Hogwarts is Hogwarts, and I love it..."
Her face slowly falls, crumpling in on itself as she steps forward and -
Harry watches her leave, not quite sure what had just happened. He touched his cheek and shook his head. That couldn't have happened. It must have been his imagination. He smiled now.
Hogwarts would always remain dear to him, simply because of the people, the magic and everything that made it Hogwarts. He felt sad that she didn't see or feel that.
Hmerione and Ron, they weren't just peopl, or friends, they were more than that. They were family. Harry was so grateful for magic, and Hogwarts, that had made him meet them.
And Ginny... Harry cared deeply for her. A shadow passed over his face, his mouth twisted and his eyes darkened. It wasn't, alright however. Ginny was happy, he supposed he was. But there was something wrong, something niggling at him, there was something -
He didn't feel right, there was something wrong with Hogwarts. He thought of Dumbledore, and shook his head. Harry feared for him, no matter what Dumbledore himself said.
Death, That was what was so different about Hogwarts. Everyone feared it, everyone hated it and everyone wished it wouldn't happen to them or anyone that they loved and cared for.
Would Hogwarts be the same without Hermione and Ron? Without Dumbledore and Ginny? Without students and the teachers? And... even, without Snape and Malfoy? Would it be Hogwarts as he knows it?
He shakes his head, brow now furrowed in frustration and thought.
"Is something wrong?" Millicent asks, as Pansy enters the room they share together. "You look... shaken. Pale, and clammy. You aren't alright." Millicent marks a page in her book as she swings around to face the pacing Pansy.
"I - I don't really feel like talking about it Millicent. I don't feel... right. I don't want to feel this way and I don't want to talk about it."
Millicent looks deeply at Pansy, then nods. "I understand. If you need anything... Just holler." Picking up her book, she quietly leaves the room
Alone. It isn't exactly what she needs, but it was she wants. She doesn't want anyone to see her break down and see her crying like she is now.
The tears are hot and sticky and Pansy hates the way they cling to her skin. How they taste of salt and simply won't stop coming down. She sniffs,slumping to the floor.
She remembers when she had some happiness, some belief in something greater than herself. Her parents had been her heros until she started to grow and see all their mistakes.
They were human and that jurt her. She wanted them to be more than that. She thought they were and so when their humanness came to light, it hurt. She knew, she supposed everyone went through this and but for her, it wasn't the same. Parents were supposed to keep you safe.
Hers hadn't. She hated them for that. But the funny thing was, she still loved them.
This isn't how it is supposed to be. She never wanted it to be like this. She wanted to be happy. Wasn't she supposed to be? Didn't her mummy promise her some happiness?
Lies, that was what they told her. All lies.
Happiness was only a myth. One she could never reach.
"Harry?" She asks, quietly, before sitting down beside him.
"Yeah?" He turns away from the parchment he was writing on and faces Ginny. Her eyes are tired and there are shadows under her eyes. A remnant of the Owls, he thinks. Placing his quill down, he smiles at Ginny.
"Are you okay?" She looks away from his suddenly intense eyes, an arm drapes across her stomach protectively as she explains. "You don't see the same."
"Of course I do. Maybe it's you who changed." He sees the hurt flash across her face, and he shifts and drops his gaze. They're both not looking at each other now.
"That could be true Harry, but, you're sadder. You seem more restless." She glances up, this time, and Harry is forced to look at her as she speaks, "I don't want to be left out Harry. Please. I'm not a child."
Her brown eyes flash at him, Harry can't help but wonder that she still looks pretty when she is angry. One of her hands grabs his, and she hold it tightly between her startlingly cold fingers. Her cheeks are flushed a warm rose, and Harry thinks of sunsets.
"I know that," he says slowly, "Ginny, trust me, there's nothing going on. This year..." he pauses, "Has been strangely quiet. Absent of all the normal dangers. Odd really what with Voldemort finally risen." He watches her flinch at the name, with some detachment. It's normal now, he wonders if Dumbledore feels the same.
"Oh, Harry!" She embraces him, cool tears resting against his neck. He pats her back, some what awkwardly and tries to soothe her.
"It's okay Ginny. We're safe..."
He wonders if he is so easy to read or if Ginny only adept as reading him. Harry resolves to hide himself more, if only to protect Ginny, Ron and Hermione. He doesn't want them knowing how he feels, it would only hurt them if they knew his every up and down.
He just wants them to be happy. That's all.
"We're safe," he repeats, more to himself than to the stiffening Ginny. "Don't worry. We're at Hogwarts."
"But - Everything that's happened to you at Hogwarts! You can't seriously think that I would ever believe that?"
"I!" She pauses and looks away, "That's not fair Harry."
"Life isn't." He mutters flatly, staring at his shoes. The distant roar of the common room is fading.
"I thought... you were happy, with the things, as they are, some of them at least." Her voice sounds drained, left with her usual light.
"I don't think I can say I'm happy with everything." Harry says, scratching at his forehead, brushing at his dark hair.
"Is anyone?" She presses on.
"I want more!"
"Oh, I see..."
Harry wondered how much she actually did see and how much she did understand. He never asked, and never felt the need. Not enough to see Ginny's face change again.