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Gone/Ghost of a Memory
Ghost of a Memory - Chapter 1

By Kinsfire

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Ghost of a Memory

Chapter I

Harry climbed on the plane, still more than a little annoyed at Hermione Weasley, which is why the threat from her husband still rang in his ears.   Of course, having given Hermione the single finger salute had been what had led to the threat, so he really couldn't blame Ron.   I went overboard in my comment to her, but damn it, it was the only way to stop her!

"Harry, I worry about you, you know that!" Hermione said to him as he sat in his kitchen, trying peacefully to drink his coffee.

"I know, and I appreciate it.   You and Ron are my best friends, and I know you're trying to do what's best for me.   I grieved at home.   I see no reason to go out in public in black.   I saw no reason for it at the time.   I didn't go out and get plastered, but I certainly felt it necessary to live the way she'd want me to.   My public face was the one she'd want — get on with your life, and live!   I still grieve, Hermione — I pray you or Ron never have the chance to discover what it's like to have the only thing that ever really gave life meaning suddenly not be there.   But she'd kick my ass if I sat around wearing black all the time, and moping.   I do my job hunting down the last of the Death Eaters, although there aren't many of them left after I scared most of them by destroying Voldemort, and the somewhat battered condition of the bodies that I brought in of other Death Eaters.   I scared the hell out of them enough that most turned themselves in.   Why do you think they'd rather be Kissed than face me?"   He smiled.   "I live, Hermione, and face another day.   She taught me that.   I do my best to face it with a smile, the way I did when I woke up next to her every day.   It's how I honour her memory."

"But you don't have any real contact with anyone anymore!"

"You know why, Hermione?" he answered, getting a little hot.   "Because I get the same reaction from everyone.   Molly smothers me like no one's business.   Fred and George are so serious that it's not funny, and I'm well aware of the multiple meanings of the phrase.   The Order members by and large avoid me because they don't know what to say.   Even you and Ron can get a little too close sometimes.   Take inviting me on this vacation to St. Tropez.   Is there a hidden reason you two are taking me to a clothing optional beach?"

She grinned.   "We thought you might enjoy the scenery," she blushed.   "It's why Ron and I go."

"When you can get your eyes off each other," Harry laughed.

"Well, that's part of the scenery!"   Her eyes sparkled.   "Ginny always seemed to enjoy it when we went together."

"Well, I never told you, and I don't know if she did, but I think during that period that some kids seem to develop homosexual feelings, well, she had a crush on you, and neither of us ever exactly complained about the way you fill out a swimsuit."

"Why, Mr. Potter — are you putting the moves on a married woman?" she laughed.

"Not if I want to keep everything attached, I'm not," he laughed.   "I'm merely stating an appreciation of a pleasantly artistic composition."

"Nice safe answer.   Did she … was she … um, how do I ask this?"

"She never told me she was bisexual, and considering she'd tell me anything she thought might either shock me or turn me on, I seriously doubt she was bisexual, and I think I can state with some certainty that if she was a lesbian, then she was one hell of a good actress.   She merely told me once, just like I admitted to looking once or twice in the showers.   Doesn't mean I swing that way.   I was a kid, and so was she."   He grinned at her.   "Did I cover your question, and any of the others that might have come to mind?"

"Yes.   How did you get to know me so well, Harry?"   She smiled at him across the table.

"By being your best friend for these past eleven years.   Dating you for a couple months didn't hurt either."   He chuckled.   "Ginny always seemed to appreciate some of the training you gave me while we were dating."

"Oh, I know she did," Hermione blushed.   "She thanked me for teaching you a few things."

They sat for a while, quietly drinking their coffee, when Harry saw Hermione's face change, and he knew what she was going to say.   He knew she didn't know that she telegraphed this specific statement with that specific look, and he knew that he was going to say something he'd regret this time, but …

"Harry, it's been three years.   You need to find someone new."

Yup.   Well, here goes …   "If you're so hot and bothered to replace the love of my life, Hermione, you could always dye your hair red and sleep with me."


The strike across his cheek was quite painful, and he knew he'd be cleaning up the coffee cup she'd just belted out of his hand.   He tried to clear his vision of the stars she'd caused him to see.   As he moved his jaw to make sure she hadn't broken it, he heard the crack as she left.   Can't say as I didn't deserve it, but maybe someday she'll stop saying the same fecking thing.   I have no intention of remarrying.   And finding someone new means replacing Ginny.   I can't.   I won't.   That's the one piece of my grief I refuse to lose.  He felt tears threatening.   Damn it, I haven't cried in two years, and I'm not going to start now.

He walked into the kitchen and waved his wand around to clean the floor and repair the coffee cup.   I really shouldn't have been that snide.   *CRACK*   "Ah, Ron.   Good to see you," Harry said without turning around.

"What the hell did you say to her?" came the shout from behind him.   "She can't decide whether to cry or scream at me!"   Harry didn't turn around as he finished cleaning up the kitchen.   When he felt Ron's hand grab his shoulder and start to turn him roughly, he spun, and the fist in Ron's stomach drove the air from him.

"I am sick of everyone telling me that I need to replace Ginny!   I loved her, I love her memory, and I am damned if I'm going to go looking for someone to replace the best thing that ever happened in my life.   If I had to offend your wife and you to get that point across, then so be it!"   He pulled a spare coffee cup to himself, made it a portkey, and then handed it to Ron and activated it.

Up went the anti-Apparition wards, and he locked his doors.   About half an hour later, he had a flight booked to Logan airport.   He needed to get away from everyone for a while

He sat in his seat in first class, looking out the window.   He could actually still see Hermione and Ron in the window; Hermione looking worried and Ron fuming.   I really shouldn't have flipped her the finger, but she was falling back into it again.   I need to get away from everyone for a while.

He slept for a time on the flight, and found, not for the first time, that he much preferred flying via broom.   The feel of the wind in his face was much better than this canned air being pumped at him

Finally, to his great enjoyment, the jet landed at Logan Airport.   It was a pain in the butt going through security, but given what had happened in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. just a few months ago, he couldn't exactly complain about it.   He couldn't be sure, but he though that the loss of life in those towers being so low was probably due to a hell of a lot of Apparating going on.   Obliviators must have been working overtime, if that was the case.   It would also explain all those small explosions people kept reporting in the conspiracy theory sites online.

He got to his rental vehicle, a rather nice convertible sports car, and looked at his maps for how to get to Salem.   Nice to know that I'm not going to be driving all day.   I should be in my residence hotel before the hour is out, if these directions are correct.   Fourteen miles?   Not bad at all!

Sure enough, he was relaxing in his room a short time later, and dozed off, not waking until the next morning.

He walked the town, enjoying the sights.   Given that it was summer, some of those sights did happen to be young women in sundresses, miniskirts, or tight shorts.   I may be a widower with no intention of remarrying, but I'm not dead, he chuckled to himself.   Besides, Ginny always suggested I look.   I resisted at first, until she explained what would happen if I did look.   I looked with abandon after that.   Never understood why me looking at other girls turned her on so much.   He thought for a moment.   Change that — I do know, now that I think about it.   She knew that she was the only one in my life, and always would be.   Sort of a sense of victory, or something of the sort.   Don't know, and it'll be a long time before I can ask her.   So I'll watch girls in her honour.

He'd been openly watching them for a while when a blonde girl looked at him with some disgust and came over to him.   "I don't think I have to ask if your wife knows if you're doing this," she barked at him.

He looked down at the wedding ring he still wore, and started to laugh quietly.   "Miss, my wife knows better about my girl-watching now than she did when she was still alive and asking me whether or not I found this girl or that one cute."   He looked back up into her face, and became aware that she was trying to choose between blushing furiously or turning white in horror at the horrible faux pas.   "Don't worry about it, miss.   It's not like I wear a sign around my neck that says 'Still in Mourning', after all.   She loved life, and I honour her by living it, and loving it as best I can."

The girl hung her head, ashamed.   He smiled and put his hand under her chin and pulled her face up to look at him.   Once she was looking at him, he leaned over and kissed her cheek.   "That's from Ginny.   She'd have appreciated your efforts too."   He kissed her other cheek.   "That one is from me."

"Does it hurt to talk about her?" she asked.

"No.   We threw a massive party for her at her wake.   'Eat, drink, and be merry, and enjoy tomorrow's hangover!' would have been her attitude.   So we did.   Oh yeah, I cried, but that's normal."

"How long has she been dead?"

"Three years now.   I came to America yesterday to get away from the friends who keep telling me I need to move on and get involved with someone else.   That's the one thing I won't do unless she appears before me and tells me to move on and find a new love.   And since I never saw her ghost, I'd say that she moved on somewhere happier, and I'll see her again someday when I die.   Since killing myself would really piss her off, I live life and enjoy it.   I'll just spend the rest of my life a widower."   He laughed.   "Damn, that sounds more depressing than I intended.   Sorry about that."

"That's all right," she laughed.   "You're a lot more together about life and death than most people.   Most people look at you oddly if you talk about ghosts, and here you are talking about them as if you've seen them."

"I have.   My school was haunted.   I used to talk to them on a regular basis."

"Cool!   Would you be willing to talk to my boss?" she asked, but he lost the rest of what she was saying as his eyes caught sight of someone walking toward them.   She was no taller than five-foot-two, with quite pleasant curves.   Her red hair was waist length, and done into a long braid that swayed as she walked toward them, which is how he'd realized its length.   She was wearing a long dress, long and flowing, with a gauzy appearance, and clung to her enough to advertise those curves.   It was her face that he was staring at, though.   The woman walking toward him looked as if she was Ginny's twin sister.GoneGhost of a Memory - 1Ghost of a Memory - 2Ghost of a Memory - 3Ghost of a Memory - 4Ghost of a Memory - Epilogue

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