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A Broken Sunrise

This is the first chapter of the third installment in my Questioable Encounter Universe (does three stories make a Universe?? I always wanted to have my own Universe!) This one follows the events of A Piece of Red Yarn.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione and Lupin/Tonks (as canon as is comes)
Rating: PG-13 just to be safe

A/N: This story follows the events of A Piece of Red Yarn. I want to thank all who have read A Questionable Encounter and A Piece of Red Yarn. Any newcomers to this little universe might benefit from reading the previous two fics, but they are not completely necessary to enjoy this one.

A Broken Sunrise

Molly Weasley sat at her kitchen table in silence, the half-folded basket of laundry beside her. The magically charmed walls of the Burrow could have fallen down around her and she would not have even noticed, but they did not. The morning had started like so many before it, Arthur leaving before the sunrise and no other sound left in her empty house. So she had started on the washing to fill the void with noise. But in the midst of mating socks, she had turned to her clock checking it compulsively as she had for the past year. She had stopped and stared. Now the only movement in the house was the gentle downward floating particles of dust filtering through early morning sunshine onto the floor; well, the dust and the hands of her clock.

~*~

The sun was up now and Ginny had yet to move. She was still sitting at her desk in the exact same place that Hedwig had found her late last night. Her eyes, red with lack of sleep, were the only things moving in the room; and they were slowly following the lines of scrawling script on the piece of parchment in Ginny’s hands. She couldn’t stop reading it, over and over again. She was not sure what to think now. The night had been filled with so many emotions she had hardly any left for the morning. And so Ginny sat in silence, numb from it all and so much so that she did not notice the eerie, uncharacteristic silence that had enshrouded her home.

~*~

Arthur let his head fall into his hands, not caring that he sent a pot of ink tumbling to the floor. He had been at work since before the sun had even thought about making an appearance that morning. He was now in the basement of Grimmauld Place, trying to write up a report. His son had been here not many days before. No one had been able to get into the Ministry that morning and rash of bloody and violent attacks all across Britain had brought nearly every employee out into the field of battle. There were Aurors and Obliviators out in full force across the country, doing their best to erase the latest stain the Death Eaters had left on the Magical and Muggle worlds. Arthur was waiting for a floo call from Kingsley to see if Voldemort had indeed taken over the Ministry. And his children were out there, somewhere in the midst of this war. He let his head fall to the table in front of him, and though he wasn’t given to it, he wept.

~*~

My Dear Ginny,

This will be my last letter to you. There is no need to burn it when you finish, at least there won’t be by the time the sun comes up. I can only hope that I get to see it, the sun come up I mean. I can only hope that I get to see the freckles on your nose again in the warm light of some summer morning, feel you warm and close next to me when I wake up, see you smile and laugh and be truly free. I hope for that with all my heart, just like I love you.

I would have spent every day of my life trying to make you as happy as you made me, Ginny. I swear I would have. I would never have wasted a moment that we could have been happy and together. I would have been beside you for everything that life had to offer, good and bad. I would have held you when you cried and kissed you when you laughed. I want to kiss you again Ginny, just one more time before I do this. I want the years we should have had. It’s not fair Ginny, it’s not fair!

But my life’s not been fair since I can remember, and the time I have had with you has been the best part of my almost eighteen years. Almost eighteen, it doesn’t seem right that I should have to do this now; but I do. I have to Ginny. I am the only one that can. And I have to for you and your family, for everyone who is decent and good, for Cedric and Sirius, for Dumbledore, and for my mum and dad. I have no other choice to make. Any other choice would be too cowardly and easy, but it wouldn’t be right. He’s taken everything away from me Ginny, everything except you. He tried once, but I beat him and I only hope that I can do it again.

If I don’t see the morning, think of me once in awhile when the sunrise hits the freckles on your nose; but don’t stop living Ginny. Live and be happy for me no matter what happens. I won’t haunt you, but I will never truly leave you. I love you and that lasts forever. You will always have my love; it’s a part of you now. And your love is a part of me, Ginny, the best part of me. I love you. I love you. I love you.

Yours Always and All My Love,
Harry


~*~

The sun was coming up, Lupin knew because he was human again. The cave where he lay was still dark and the ground was damp with, from what he could remember, blood. The bitter salt and copper taste of blood was in his mouth and there were bodies here. They were all human in death, he though, the last irony of this disease. But there had been others here, he knew. Witches and wizards had been throwing curses in the midst of flying fur, gnashing teeth and torn skin. Remus was crawling, one leg injured badly, toward the light of the sunrise. Tonks would turn her hair pink for him when he got out of here; the thought was what kept his mind from the pain as his hands stuck in the grime of blood-made mud.

He was suddenly jolted from that place in his mind that was clean and beautiful by the touch of metal under his outstretched hand. In the warm light of the morning Remus Lupin looked down on the body of one he had in the past called friend, and realized that Moony was indeed the last Marauder.

~*~

The spell that was holding her was suddenly broken, and Hermione saw the first rays of dawn fall on the red hair of the man that she loved. She wanted to run, but her body was racked with pain and so she crawled to his side. Hermione turned him over to see his handsome face, his blue eyes were closed. She still had her wand, how did she still have her wand? She didn’t know, but she pointed it at Ron’s chest and whispered the incantation to revive him: once, twice and again. Her tears were flowing freely as Hermione brushed the hair from his face. There were no words for this. Everything her mind had to offer her at other times failed her now. She laid her head on Ron’s chest daring herself to not hear his heart beating like she had for so many nights in a row now. Hermione felt a great rattling breath beneath her cheek.

“Er-my-nee ‘at tickles,” and she felt Ron’s arm raise to brush her bushy hair from his face. Hermione laughed and kissed him with strength she had no right to have.

~*~

“It’s over,” Tonks sighed as she wiped the blood from the corner of her mouth. The young Auror’s wand was trained on her aunt, but then again Narcissa had always placed a much higher value on blood than Tonks had. The Death Eater was disarmed and cornered in a dark hovel in Knockturn Alley at the end of a bloody battle. Anti-Disapparition Jinxes surrounded her, and Narcissa’s white blond hair was streaked with dried and fresh blood. Her aunt had gotten sloppy there at the end, Tonks thought, and there was a look of a wild animal caught in a trap in the blue gray eyes. Then, suddenly, with a banshee-like scream, Narcissa’s dirty and delicate hands flew to her head. Soon there were chunks of hair in her fists as she wailed back at her captor.

“It’s not over! He’ll come back for me! He’ll come back. He’ll come back.” The words were punctuated by the sickening sound of hair being ripped from Narcissa’s scalp.

~*~

The sun was up. It would all be over now, and Ginny finally rose from her chair. There would be no escaping the news; she would have to know soon. They would all know soon. What they would know she had no idea. Either they would be thrown into terror, or they would be free. But even if she were free, she might very well be all alone. Was that really freedom, to have her hopes and dreams torn from her? She stood not even realizing what she was doing; Harry’s letter was still in her hand.

Ginny wandered in a daze down to the kitchen of the Burrow. She would have some tea, she thought, there was really nothing else that she could do, so she would have some tea. The sight that greeted her upon entering seemed to confirm her worst fears. Her mother was sitting at the well-worn table with her clock and Molly’s head was on her arms. Ginny saw her mother’s shoulders shaking with sobs. Suddenly it was as if she was in a tunnel and her mother’s weeping was echoing back to her from very far away. The edges of her vision went black and she was falling.

~*~

Kingsley Shacklebolt had been attempting to break through the locking charms on the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic for over three hours. In desperation he leaned against the door of the telephone box and to his surprise it slid open under his weight. He looked around at the team of Aurors behind him and with a nod he attempted to Apparate into the Ministry. With a pop, he found himself in the atrium, there were signs of a battle, but no one was there now. He ran for the lifts as the sound of his fellow Aurors Apparating into the building came to his ears. He knew that if they had made it in, there was only one place to look for them.

He should have waited for back up he thought as the grinding of the lift told him that he was descending down to the Department of Mysteries.

~*~

They had to get to Harry, Hermione was safe and they had to get to Harry. That was all that Ron could think. She had done her best to heal his wounds and ease the pain, but spells could only do so much and every step shot waves of pain through his body. Hermione was holding him up; he would not let her levitate him. He would be on his feet when they found Harry. Voldemort had taken no chances, there would be no more lives sacrificed for Harry Potter. Instead they would watch him die, that was what the Dark Lord had told them. And so he left them alive, bound and barely breathing, but alive. But the charms had been broken and there was only one way to explain that, even Ron knew. Voldemort was dead; the last piece of his soul had lost its hold. They made it to the door and Ron tried to brace himself for what he and Hermione would find on the other side.

She wrenched it open with one hand, balancing him with the other. She was so beautiful and strong, his Hermione. He would marry her, he would never leave her, never even look at another witch for as long as he lived. These were his thoughts as the door swung wide, and he saw his best friend lying on the hard stone floor next to what had until recently been the body of Lord Voldemort.

~*~

Molly was roused from her tears by the sound of her daughter’s body hitting the floor. Ginny had fainted as she stood in the doorway. Molly chided herself for indulging in an emotional outburst that could have been so easily misunderstood. She could only imagine how the scene must have looked to her youngest child. Molly was on the floor pulling her child to her when she noticed the parchment still in Ginny’s hand. With Ginny’s head in her lap, Molly scanned the first few lines of the letter. She gathered her baby in her arms and carried her to the couch, covering Ginny with a blanket before reviving her and summoning the clock from the kitchen.

“Ginny, darling, Ginny. It’s going to be okay. Look love, look at the clock.” Ginny’s eyes seemed to slide into focus as she gazed at what had caused her mother’s giddy tone. The clock was sitting on the table and Ginny began to make out the position of the hands. According to the clock she and her mother were at home as were the twins and Bill, Charlie was traveling, her father was at work and so was Ron! How could that be? Not a single hand of the clock was pointing at Mortal Peril. It was over, Ginny thought, but where was Harry?

~*~

There had been a blinding flash and all was light. He was in his mother’s arms, his father’s embrace was surrounding them and he heard a bark of a laugh. Sirius was here with them in this place, wherever it was and his mother was weeping. But there was love, like a palpable force holding him. It surrounded him almost completely, except for one gaping hole at his side. Why was she weeping? They were together now, the way they should have been. Why was she crying now when it was all over? Why was his happiness not complete? Why could he still smell flowers? Why did he ache for something more? He felt his mother’s hands upon his face and her lips pressed to his forehead, pressed to his scar. And darkness and agony came crashing back in.

There was something wrong, death should not hurt so much. There should not have been so much pain here in this place. Where had the light gone? Where was his mother? The scent of flowers was gone and he tasted blood and ash in his mouth. Death was still here in this room next to him. He could feel it, but it was not his own. He opened his eyes and recognized this chamber; the doors were spinning again. One of them had just been shut.

~*~

“Harry!” Hermione’s shriek of terror hit Harry’s ears like a canon blast. His head rolled over to see the much taller Ron draped over her. She did not leave Ron behind and rush to Harry’s side, but pulled him along as fast as she could carry him. They would all be together; no one would be left behind. Harry blinked furiously; there was blood in his eyes. Ron collapsed at his side.

“Harry, mate, you still with us?” Ron’s voice was scratchy as if he hadn’t spoken in weeks. Hermione had dropped to their side on the floor.

“Yeah, I think so,” and at Harry’s words Hermione burst into tears and collapsed pulling Ron down with her into an awkward half hug between the three of them.

“Completely barking, that one,” Ron whispered, his attempt at teasing completely undermined by the tears on his face and the choking of his voice. Harry wanted to laugh, but he thought that all of his ribs might be broken, so he just smiled.

“Oh shut up you,” Hermione scolded and Harry watched as his two best friends kissed not caring that they were only inches from his face. In that instant, Harry remembered the scent of flowers and the empty ache he had felt even in his mother’s arms: Ginny. He closed his eyes and Harry allowed himself to think of warm sunshine, freckles and the fact that they were all free.

And so it was that Kingsley found them as he burst into the entry way of the Department of Mysteries, in a huddled mass on the floor: all broken but alive.




A/N: Thanks again to my crack beta squad LadyTonks, Phoenix, Blackwell Sister and last but not least Spellcaster for all your comments, corrections, suggestions and brainstorming. You are the best a girl could ask for.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
mugglewitch1
Oct. 26th, 2005 11:37 pm (UTC)
Oh that was wonderful! I love your work, and this (as always) left me wanting more!
ladytory
Oct. 26th, 2005 11:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks! There is more on the way, probably two more chapters. Thanks for reviewing!!
mickawber
Oct. 26th, 2005 11:55 pm (UTC)
Oh! Answered one of my more subtle (not) questions already! Yay!
mickawber
Oct. 26th, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, indeed 'tis a 'verse. And a lovely one at that.

I love the way you used the clock to build and release (and build once more) suspense. I loved the various wakings up. Narcissa's breakdown was devastating--though I was worried for pink-hair-for-Remus Tonks until the very end.

And Harry's letter? NO FAIR. That was heart-breaking. If I were Ginny, I'd want to make sure he lived to see the morning light, just so I could kill him when I saw him!

Speaking of which... I assume that this is a finished work. The way you ended it made me cry No! when I first read it... But then I realized that there was a part of me that didn't want you to show us the final re-unification with Ginny.

Or at least, to show it to us in a separate fic/chapter. ;-)
ladytory
Oct. 27th, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)
yes of course separate chapters
I do love a nice cliffy now and again
mickawber
Oct. 27th, 2005 12:16 am (UTC)
Well, so do we all!

And in a way, I would have accepted it if you had told us, "That's it. You can imagine Harry and Ginny's reunion on your own."

But I would have pouted, and that's for sure. :-(
miz_tith
Oct. 27th, 2005 12:26 am (UTC)
Tory, I just adore your stories, That was just glorious, the letter, Moony and Wormtail, and that one heart stopping second when I thought you had done the unthinkable, but tyhen I remembered who I was talking too!!

Brilliant, just brilliant!
ladytory
Oct. 27th, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC)
NO dead!Harry!!!!!! I think I have that written down in my own personal bylaws somewhere. Nice Icon btw where ever did you get that??? ;) Hee hee thanks dear. So glad you enjoyed it! More chappies on the way!!! PM me your email over at AP and maybe I can squeeze you in on my crack beta squad. Just don't tell HPCA !
annamel
Oct. 27th, 2005 02:14 am (UTC)
Great... I loved the tension, the angst. It felt very real... I can't wait for the next chapters.
jandjsalmon
Oct. 27th, 2005 06:52 am (UTC)
Yay Yay! I am glad you couldn't leave this universe (and that's what it's called... no matter how many fics... you just deserve it!) alone! :)
ladytory
Oct. 27th, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC)
Awe thanks dear, glad to know that you can still enjoy the Harry/Ginny on occasion *sly wink*
jandjsalmon
Oct. 28th, 2005 04:25 am (UTC)
Only when the writer is as good as you my dear... only when it's good! ;)


(*pokes icon...* you see how easily it was to be swayed to the dark side? How can you NOT love a face like that?)
ladytory
Oct. 28th, 2005 02:35 pm (UTC)
Tom Felton I love, its Drace I have problems with dear LOL
jandjsalmon
Oct. 29th, 2005 01:19 am (UTC)
Oh I wish I could picture Draco without Tom's face.... well, not really... I enjoy picturing his face... particularly since I do read a lot of smut! ;)

*giggles*
ncsh
Oct. 27th, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC)
Excellent, as always.
ladytory
Oct. 27th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
Awe thanks NCSH! I am so glad that you brought your Badass!Ginny icon over to Livejournal! It is one of my favorites!
tunxeh
Oct. 29th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC)
Very good, a fit conclusion to your other stories. I hope you don't mind if I friend you; I've been reading your stories over on SIYE but I think I will find them more reliably here.
ladytory
Oct. 29th, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
New friends are always welcome! Thanks for leaving your thoughts, I am glad that you liked the story. And yes, Sink seems to be updating a little slower than they have in the past.
tunxeh
Oct. 29th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC)
It's not so much the update speed, it's wading through all the lesser stuff to find gems like yours.
ladytory
Oct. 29th, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
*Blushes* Well thank you, I will try to hold to my previous standards, so as not to disappoint!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )