War affects everyone. That was a fact, a solid intellectual fact, but it was the kind that never really sank in until it cut you, deep and sharp and personal. It was that blade of reality that still dug into her chest, and Ginny wasn’t sure she could breathe past the blade much longer, at least not where she was.
It had come as a shock, when she’d decided to leave the world she had known, but everyone was still numb enough from their own cuts that not much fuss was made. Not when she made the announcement to the painfully near-empty table one night at the now-quiet Burrow. Not when she packed her bags the next morning, and not when she waved a silent farewell to her mother and brother and stepped into the green flames.
She half expected someone to come after her those first few nights as she drifted from one inn to the next as working her way out of Wizarding England, then Wizarding Europe all together. Then, as she sat alone in the small room she’d rented, she realized that there was no one left to come.
Her own numbness had worn off then, and everything she’d been running from rushed up from inside her, crashing over her in waves of hot pain and cold grief. Her two eldest brothers had somehow managed to survive it all, but they were off, trying to find a way to remove their own cuts, Bill with his wife in France, and Charlie with his dragons in Romania. Percy hadn’t been as lucky, the third eldest Weasley having died over two years before during an attack on the Ministry offices. Ron and the twins had made it to the final battle, but only Fred had made it off of the battlefield alive.
Shudders racked her slender form as she remembered the hollow glaze that had filled the eyes of the once lively jokester as he’d sat in the makeshift camp while so many around them celebrated their victory. Her mother had looked the same, and a stolen glance one night when the Weasley matriarch had thought herself alone told Ginny that she still did, though Molly buried it well underneath her determination to keep her youngest remaining son up and pranking. It was almost funny, mused the redheaded witch, how her mother had been pouring so much of herself into the shop she had been so against her sons starting. Yet she had been, for over a year now, since the end of the Dark War, she had been devoting nearly all her time to helping Fred keep Weasleys Wizard Wheezes running no matter what.
Everyone tried to find something to hold their attention after something like the Second Rise, Ginny supposed, if only so they wouldn’t have to think of what they had been through, what they had lost. Her father certainly had, the interest he’d had in Muggle artifacts before the War looking like nothing in comparison to the way he’d dove headfirst into the obsession after the Final Battle.
No one had paid too much attention to how anyone else coped at the time, too concerned with finding their own method, and Ginny, in her self imposed exile at the Burrow had been the only one there to hear the loud bang come from her father’s workshop where he’d been examining what Hermione had later explained to her was called a pistol.
Arthur Weasley’s funeral, barely a year and a half after the Final Battle, had been the first time Ginny had seen either Hermione or Harry, the two having gone into their own seclusion, taking comfort from each other as they dealt with everything. Seeing the two clinging to one another, never once releasing hands throughout the entire service and wake had not surprised the youngest remaining Weasley, but it had driven home her own loneliness and made the following weeks at the Burrow all the more unbearable. Molly had barely spent more than a few hours a day at the house, and even then, they were spent in Bill and Charlie’s old room, the only space in the house that didn’t remind her of someone now lost forever.
That was when Ginny had decided that any healing she might do would have to take place elsewhere. A once loving house was no more than walls and a roof now, the homey feel having faded away with the loss of each of its former inhabitants. She felt bad that she was causing that feeling to fade even more with her own departure, but her mother had just about moved into an empty flat a few shops down from WWW as it was, and her staying wasn’t doing anyone any good. So she left.
She left England, she left Europe, she even considering leaving the Wizarding World as well, but the last image of her father after she’d run to his workshop to investigate the strange noise was still ingrained too sharply in her mind’s eye for her to do so. Instead, she headed somewhere as foreign to her as the Muggle world. America.
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