For the houses competition year seven, round 1 (bonus):
Prompt from category 1: Ginny Weasley
Prompt from category 2: The Astronomy Tower (during an astronomical event.)
Word count: 1607
Word count inc AN: 1680
A short out to my teammates who beta'd my story: Butterflies765, Vanilla Ashes, CupCakeyyy thank you so much.
Also, it's slight AU I think. Could be canon but I'm pretty sure this didn't happen.
Ginny Weasley looked up, her gaze firmly fixed on the lights shooting across the sky above. Even though her Astronomy class had finished and all her classmates had packed up and were leaving, she didn't join them. She was so distracted she hadn't even started to pack up her things. Instead, Ginny continued to watch the annual Orionids Meteor Shower, enjoying the usually fast version of this phenomenon. She briefly wondered if there was any magic involved to make it appear as if there were more meteors.
The lesson had been on the meteor shower, and she had found it extremely exciting. While it was not the first time Ginny or her classmates had witnessed such an event or had a lesson on it, Ginny still found it beautiful, entrancing and interesting. She found it was easing her mind too, allowing her worries and fears to leave her.
Despite the fact Ginny had the support of her large family behind her, who was always there and willing to help, and regardless of whether she had received mental help through the school, Ginny was still not back to her usual self since the incident with the diary the previous year. But could one expect her to be? For almost an entire school year, she had been possessed by the diary of You-Know-Who, also known as Voldemort, which not only caused her to lose memories but had also scared her for life.
It was only now as she stared up into the sky that Ginny felt at peace, for what she was sure was the first time since last September. She knew the meteor shower would be over soon, she knew Professor Sinistra would soon insist she returned to her dorms, but Ginny couldn't bring herself to care; she'd go when she had to. Until then, she'd enjoy it.
While Ginny's eyes were glued to the spectacular display, she could tell the Astronomy professor was watching her. Once the last students had left the tower, Sinistra approached her, her footsteps seeming very loud in the quiet room.
"Lovely view, isn't it?" the professor remarked, coming up next to Ginny to watch the meteors. "I was told the shower this evening would be a beauty, but this is just amazing; far better than anyone predicted. Fortunately, it's not cloudy, otherwise it would have been a waste."
Nodding, Ginny agreed, not really wanting to say anything.
"Miss Weasley, are you alright?" Sinistra asked. She sounded cautious. "You seemed a little distracted throughout your lesson and even a bit now; it's almost as if you're not entirely there. We have all noticed it, and everyone's worried."
Ginny glanced at the woman, she noticed concern in the professor's eyes. "Who's we?" Ginny asked, knowing it was unhelpful, but needing to know.
"All the professors... bar Professor Snape, of course," Sinistra said bitterly, surprising Ginny. It seemed to her that all the professors at the very least pretended to get on, so Sinistra's leading remark surprised her.
Ginny swallowed. "My family have tried to help and still are," Ginny spoke, considering her words carefully, "but I am still not over what happened last year, and I haven't gotten any better, despite their efforts. It's distressing! People keep talking about the things that happened, and I can't remember them! Some that I was supposedly there for! Some we all heard about!"
It was hard to tell the professor about it but now that she had started, Ginny found the rest came easily. "Sometimes I'm walking down a corridor and I hear him," she says softly, a shudder running over her back. "He laughs at me, taunts me, tells me how stupid I was for trusting him. I couldn't help it! Everyone looks at our family and thinks 'you couldn't possibly be lonely', but it's not true! I am! It's hard being the only girl with so many boys! And I'm the youngest! That's why I continued to write to that... that... that diary, and by the time I realised something bad was happening to me, I…" She sniffed, looking anywhere but at the worried professor sitting next to her. "I couldn't stop!"
Ginny felt her eyes watering and only realised she was crying when the tears dripped down off her cheeks. She felt embarrassed, so embarrassed, but she didn't know what she could do to change that, to change the way she felt about everything, and it was driving her mad! The constant look she got from everyone, the whispers that followed her through the castle… It was too much for her to handle. She just wanted to be normal again! She just wanted to be Ginny again. Was that too much to ask for?
Sinistra didn't react instantly but eventually placed a hand on her shoulder.
"At night, I have nightmares. I don't remember any of them happening, but I don't remember much of last year, so who knows! Most nights I hardly ever get any sleep, and no one seems to understand! Or if they do, they don't say it in the right way. My brothers certainly don't." She couldn't help but huff out a sad chuckle. "No one blames me, but I still worry Professor Dumbledore will change his mind and expel me. Colin, he's frightened of me: it's not much, but now and then I see the fear in his eyes, and that upsets me too." Dejectedly, Ginny looked down at the ground. She twisted her hands nervously. "Until tonight, I can't remember the last time I felt at peace. This meteor shower has allowed me to feel as such, I am spellbound to it."
"I'm sorry to hear you're going through that, Miss Weasley," Sinistra said, her tone portraying true honesty. It was nice to hear someone talk normally to her once in a while, not as if she was about to spontaneously combust. "It must be so hard for you. Mental scars, they take time to heal, and some never do. You'll have to be patient, and it will be hard, but you'll get there; I'm sure you will. I'm not a healer of any sort and have limited knowledge on the mind, but talking to people does help, even though it's hard."
"I know, but who do I talk to? As I said, Ron, Percy and the rest of them don't understand, and whenever I see Dad, he's busy or tired. And mum... when I try to explain it to her she just showers me with affection, meaning half the time I don't get to fully explain myself. She doesn't listen, instead, she goes over the top with sympathy."
"Mr Potter was there too, wasn't he?" Professor Sinistra asked, to which she nodded slowly. "You could approach him about it. I'm sure he would like to talk to someone about what happened, too. Or your friends? They may not understand, but I have found discussing things with friends is different from family, and it always seems to make one feel better. I had problems when I was your age and talking to my friends was the only thing that helped."
"Maybe you're right," Ginny said slowly, thinking she would tell Luna about it next time she saw her. This did remind her of the comment Luna had made at the end of the previous term, offering her ears if Ginny ever needed them. Luna, despite all her quirks, was lovely and she always seemed to understand. Yes, she could get frustrating at times, but Ginny knew Luna would be the ideal person to talk to because a person could just talk to her.
"You can also talk to your head of house or any of the other professors. That's partly what we're here for," Sinistra explained, smiling softly at her. She stayed silent for a while, just looking at the sky like Ginny had before. "Yes, the sky has that power over people. You have no idea how many students have said that to me when I find them up here or they stay after class. It's amusing in many ways. As much as I like and encourage interest in astrological events," she muttered, eyes still focused on the brought sky above them, "I do worry that some of them are going to jump."
Despite the fact Sinistra's last comment wasn't a laughing matter, Ginny found herself giggling. "I'm glad I'm not a professor," she admitted, thinking that would be very nerve-wracking. "Has anyone?"
"Yes, be glad. No, not yet" Sinistra said with a grimace. For a few moments, they let the silence take away all of the worries that were hanging between them, and as the seconds ticked by, Ginny felt herself relax. With the soft twinkling of the stars above them and the occasional hooting of an owl, she felt at home. After what felt like hours, the Astronomy professor pulled her back to the present. "It's almost over and it's getting late. You should head back to your Common Room."
"I know," Ginny sighed, seeing the meteors were starting to decrease.
"If you ever need to talk to someone, my door is always open, Miss Weasley," Sinistra said, looking down at her student as they turned away from the window.
"Thank you, Professor," Ginny said gratefully, feeling much lighter, and knowing she'd remember that offer.
After she had packed up her things and headed down the stairs away from the Astronomy Tower, Ginny had an extra spring in her step. She felt better than she had in a long time. The sky had made her spellbound to its magic, but it was for the better.