I am unwritten.

Can't read my mind,

I'm undefined.

I'm just beginning.

The pen's in my hand;

Ending unplanned...

Harry James Potter of Number 7, Gryffin Place in Godric's Hollow was not taking part in the celebrations still happening all over Wizarding Britain. Even from his private residence built on the site of his childhood home, he could hear the shouts of jubilation and see the reflections of multicolored wand sparks on the smooth surface of the small lake in front of his estate.

Exactly one year ago to the day, the most evil wizard that Britain had ever known had been slain after a battle that had cost the lives of many of the members of the legendary Order of the Phoenix. After everything that had happened on that night, the killing of the mortal Tom Riddle had been almost anti-climactic. Harry knew, because he was the one who had done it.

Avada Kedavra. One curse, just two words.

Harry had never wanted to use the killing curse even on the man who had tormented him his entire life, who had personally killed his parents and had caused the deaths of many others, people who Harry would never stop missing, not even if he lived to be as old as Albus Dumbledore.

Avada Kedavra. A jet of green light and the end of a monster.

Harry, who for eighteen years had kept a piece of Tom Riddle's very soul ensconced within his own body, had been ripped in two that day as well, for only in tandem with the act of murder was he able to free himself from that fragment, only in murder had he been able to split the two parts of his soul and release the part he had never volunteered to harbor.

Avada Kedavra. Because neither could live while the other survived.

As he stared out the window over the small lake, he took a rather large sip of the Firewhisky from the glass he held in his shaky hands. As he watched and listened to the celebrations of the jubilant wizards scattered throughout the town, he found himself unable to believe that an entire year had passed since that battle; an entire year had passed since the point at which he was supposed to begin his own life, the first part of life he had ever known without the specter of Lord Voldemort ever before him, insidiously spoiling every good moment he had ever had.

He had once had dreams of the life he would have when Voldemort was gone; dreams that had been suspended during the months when he believed that, as a horcrux himself, he would have no choice but to die if he wanted to end the reign of terror which had been gripping the Wizarding world for years; dreams that had been resurrected after his friends had found a way for him to survive. Oh, yes, he had had dreams, but a year after the deed had been done, the dreams were no more than wisps of smoky memory hovering on the edges of his life.

He had not married Ginevra Weasley, even though she had mercifully survived the final battle of the Second War. He had not become an Auror, though that, at least, no longer held any appeal to him. He no longer played Quidditch; indeed, he had not even ridden his Firebolt in months.

What he had done was to build the estate on his parents' land in Godric's Hollow and, little by little, to become a recluse. The death of his two closest friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, seemed to him to be Voldemort's ultimate revenge, for how was he supposed to live without the two people who had loved and supported him unconditionally since he had entered the Wizarding world? The death of Remus Lupin had severed the last ties Harry had to his parents, leading, in part, to his decision to build his estate in Godric's Hollow, where he had been born and where his parents had died.

The public's attention had thankfully waned as Harry stayed locked in his home more and more often in the immediate months following the battle. Though he was still toasted in pubs across the country and though this very day was a holiday in his own name, he was rarely approached by anyone anymore. Tired of his rebuffs, people had just stopped coming to call.

Taking another sip of his Firewhisky, Harry turned at last away from the window and its reminders of the world beyond the boundaries of his home.

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words that you cannot find

Reaching for something in the distance,

So close you can almost taste it.

Release your inhibitions...

Whether the knock sounded on the front door five seconds, five minutes or five hours after he had left the window, Harry would never know, but he did not stir as he heard the pattering footsteps of Dobby hurrying across the tile to answer the summons. The elf was prepared, no doubt, to issue the same statement he had been issuing all night.

"Harry Potter is not currently receiving any visitors," he had been instructed to say politely but firmly, "but thank you for your kindness in coming to call."

Harry had been dreading this night for weeks, even months, knowing that it would bring his name back to the forefront of the Wizarding world gossip network and would most likely result in more people than he cared to count daring to come to his door or to try and contact him by Floo. He had actually disconnected his fireplace several months before, not that the average wizard would have been aware of that. The fact of the matter was that his fame had grown a hundredfold after he had defeated Voldemort, and he simply could not have his fire open for fear of intrusion. That was what he told himself, at least.

Lost in his thoughts, Harry did not even realize that he had never heard Dobby send his visitor away. He leaned back in his favorite chair, closed his eyes, and began his usual routine of building up his Occlumency defenses. It was not a necessary exercise anymore, but even though Harry realized that, it calmed him, even soothed him, to work at shutting the world out even more completely than he already had.

A moment later, his eyes flew open and he jumped up and back, his reflexes only slightly slower than they had been the year before. Gripping his wand tightly, he stared at Ginevra Weasley, dressed somberly in navy blue robes with just the merest hint of silvery thread, her arm still outstretched as it had been when she had reached out to touch his cheek.

"Put your wand down, Harry," she said, her voice calm but slightly frightened. She had not seen him in almost eight months, and she could sense the change in him almost as though it were a palpable thing in the air between them.

"What are you doing here?" Harry asked her, breathing heavily as he lowered his wand and cast his eyes about, looking anywhere but at the woman who had haunted his dreams each night for the past year.

Ginny looked around at the messy drawing room. Though it could not be classified as actually dirty because Dobby would never have allowed it, there was sufficient clutter and other signs of wear to prove to her that this room was indeed where Harry spent most of his time. Sadly, she noted the half-drunk bottle of Ogden's Best Firewhisky on the table next to Harry's chair, and she wondered just how much Harry had been drinking over the past months. From everything she had heard, no one ever saw him anymore, not even the shopkeepers in the small wizarding section of Godric's Hollow, who had apparently been delivering Harry's orders by owl.

When Ginny didn't answer his question, Harry sighed. "Ginny, I'm not really set up for guests right now, so..."

Her eyes flashed in a way that vaguely reminded him of the years before the last battle of the war. "The Harry Potter I knew would never have turned a friend away from his home," she stated coolly before she turned to leave the room.

Harry watched her walk towards the drawing room door, his heart stirring as he noticed that she still swayed her hips ever so slightly as she moved and her hair still swung across her back in that familiar long, red plait. When she was almost to the door, he spoke without even knowing where the words were coming from; for a moment, it seemed as though someone else was speaking through his lips, as though he was disconnected from his own body. "Wait," he said quietly.

She turned to him, her eyes full of the tears that she had been trying to blink back until she was safely away from the house.

"Don't go," he said, again wondering where the words were coming from. He himself had had every intention of letting her walk away.

In a flash, Ginny had crossed the room to him, throwing her arms around his neck. Although he did not return the hug, she could tell by the small relaxation of the muscles in his chest and the ever-so-slight way that he leaned into her that he was glad she had done it. 

"Harry," she whispered. "Why have you locked yourself away?" It was a question she had wanted to ask him for months.

Closing his eyes, Harry breathed in the flowery scent that he remembered every night in his dreams, but he did not answer her. For a few moments, the only sound in the room was their soft breathing as they stood, Harry locked in Ginny's embrace, until a quiet pattering on the window beside them announced the arrival of a summer rain shower.

Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you

Only you can let it in

"Come on," Ginny whispered, slipping her hand into his. To her great surprise, Harry intertwined his fingers into hers, just like they had when they had dated at Hogwarts three years before. He looked down at their tightly-clasped hands almost as though he was not sure how they had gotten that way.

"Where are we going?" he asked.

"Outside," she replied simply. "You can't stay in this house forever, Harry."

As though under a spell, Harry allowed Ginny to lead him past a protesting Dobby ("But it is raining outside, Mr. Harry Potter, Sir and Miss Wheezy!"), right out the back door and into his private garden. She walked confidently, as though she had visited his house on many occasions, even though he could not remember her coming to call since construction had been completed and he had moved in.

The cool summer rain stung the dry skin of his face, and Harry felt something unfamiliar stir in his chest, a small tickle of sensation the likes of which he had not felt in years.

"Isn't it wonderful?" Ginny asked softly, noticing with satisfaction that Harry did not seem to have any intention of going back inside. Rather, his head was tipped up almost imperceptibly as though to invite the cool droplets to splash on his skin and form small rivers down his cheeks.

"Why are you here, Ginny?" Harry asked again, though this time, his voice was much gentler than it had been before. He did not look at her as he asked, but kept his gaze firmly upward as though tracing the trajectory of the raindrops through the gray, cloudy sky.

"Because it's time, Harry," she replied simply, squeezing his hand just as it seemed he might pull away from her. "You can't hide forever."

He looked away from her then, hiding his face from view, but she reached up with her free hand and gently forced him to face her. Softly, she reached up and wiped the moisture from his cheek, more moisture than should have come from the small amount of rain that had fallen on them since they had come out.

"I miss them too, Harry," she said, her voice barely audible above the spatters of the rain on Harry's roof. "Every day, I miss them."

Harry lowered his head, the rain spattering his unkempt hair as tears dripped from the end of his nose onto the ground. "You shouldn't be here, Ginny," he whispered.

"Why not?" Ginny replied.

For the first time that night, he raised his head and looked her straight in the eye. "Because I'm a murderer."

No one else, no one else

Can speak the words on your lips

Drench yourself in words unspoken

Live your life with arms wide open

Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten.

"No, Harry," she said softly, her eyes filling with tears at the confirmation she had just received, confirmation that his self-inflicted solitude was not born solely of mourning for those he had lost.

"I used an Unforgivable Curse, Ginny," he replied, a hard edge to his voice as he stared at her unblinkingly, all evidence of his tears gone. "I should have gone to Azkaban by Wizarding law, but they didn't even put me on trial for it."

"And they shouldn't have done," she replied, matching his gaze while refusing to relinquish his hand.

"Just because Tom Riddle was a murderer himself doesn't give me the right - " Harry began.

"Tom Riddle wasn't just a murderer, Harry," Ginny reminded him. "He was a monster, barely human if he even was at all, and someone had to do what you did. You know as well as I do that we could never have imprisoned him. He was too powerful and had too many followers."

"I wasn't going to do it, Ginny," Harry said, breaking the gaze before she did and looking away. "Use the Killing Curse, I mean. I didn't even think I could."

"I know you didn't, Harry," she told him gently, once again using her small hand to force him to look at her. "I know, and so do all the others. But in the end, you did what you had to do to save everyone."

"Not everyone," Harry countered, blinking furiously. "Not Ron, Hermione, or Remus, or... or your mum."

This time it was Ginny who looked away as he named the very reason she had taken so long to come and see him. She had lost her mother and her brother in the final battle, and the pain she had been feeling over the past year had threatened to overwhelm her as well as the remaining members of her family.

"Harry," she said firmly as she mustered her strength. "It wasn't your fault."

"I know that," he said.

"Do you?" she asked, looking searchingly into his green eyes. "I don't think you do."

"It was his fault," Harry muttered. "I watched him, I tried to stop him, but I couldn't."

"No one could have," she said, blinking away her own tears, "but you stopped him in the end, and you saved the rest of us. You saved me, Harry, and my father and brothers. You did what you had to do."

"I'm so sorry, Ginny," Harry whispered, his voice breaking. "I'm so sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry for," she said fiercely. "Nothing, that is, but what you've done over the past year."

Harry's eyes widened in surprise at the ferocity in her tone as she stared at him, showing anger at him for the first time, though not the anger he had expected. Her absence had served to reinforce what he had thought: that she and the rest of her family would never forgive him for the loss of Molly and Ron Weasley. In truth, Ginny had been dealing with her own demons, demons that she had no desire to share with him because she knew he had enough to deal with on his own.

When Harry said nothing, Ginny continued, her voice growing louder and resembling her mother's so much that Harry's heart ached as she spoke. "You think this is what my mother and brother died for? Is this what they would have wanted for you? Is this what Hermione or Remus would have wanted for you, Harry?" She gestured wildly around the damp garden as though it had offended her in some way.

Harry did not, could not answer around the choking lump that had lodged itself firmly in his throat.

"Do you think my mother and my brother died so you could hide yourself away, so that you could become your own worst enemy the moment you finally got the chance to live a real life?" she said, jerking her hand from his and looking squarely at him. "Is that what they died for? What about Sirius and Dumbledore? Would they be proud of what you've become? Merlin knows you have had a right to grieve, Harry, but that time is over, do you hear me?" Too agitated to stand still, she began pacing furiously, her arms swinging a sharp cadence with her steps.

Harry watched her in amazement. This was not what he had expected, though if he was honest with himself, he would have admitted that he should have. "How have you been doing it, Ginny?" he asked her as she stormed past the spot where he remained stationary, allowing the soft rain to continue soaking his hair and robes.

Ginny stopped in front of him again, her expression softening.

I break tradition.
Sometimes my tries
Are outside the lines.
We've been conditioned
To not make mistakes,
But I can't live that way

"It was hard at first," she admitted. "There were days that I didn't want to get out of bed, that I didn't think I could move even if I tried."

Harry nodded in understanding, but Ginny ignored it as she continued, "but then I would remember summer holiday mornings and Mum shouting up the stairs that we were wasting the daylight. She always had a breakfast ready for us, and a small list of things we were to do for the day."

"I remember," Harry said, visions of his times at the Burrow flashing in front of his eyes. He had spent some of the happiest times of his life in that house under Mrs. Weasley's care.

"I've been trying to do what I can for them," Ginny said. "For Dad, Fred, Charlie and George, I mean." She looked away from him. "Mum was always the one who held our home together. We love each other as much as we ever did, but it's just not the same...it's like we're all bouncing around the house, disconnected..." She drifted into silence for a moment, watching the steady rain ricocheting from the stone garden table before she fixed him with another unwavering gaze. "You say you remember what my mother was like?"

"I could never forget her," Harry said sincerely, gulping around the lump in his throat.

"Then how can you think she would have wanted you to live this way?" Ginny asked.

"I guess..." Harry began, not sure what to say. "I don't deserve - "

"You don't deserve what?" she shot. "To live your life? Merlin, Harry!" She spun on her heel and began to pace again, but this time Harry surprised her by grabbing her arm and wrenching her roughly back to face him. She gasped, but he ignored her protest and held on so tightly she wondered if she would have a bruise in the morning.

"I'm a killer, Ginny," he said forcefully. "A murderer. All these people died to help save me; Sirius, Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, Lupin, my parents and even your Mum tried to stand between us, and in the end, I'm no better than he was." He let her arm go and she staggered backwards, rubbing it and staring at him with the same hint of fear that he had seen when she had first come to his house and he had held his wand on her. Remorse tugged at his heart, but he didn't know how to take the moment back.

"Don't you dare compare yourself to him, Harry Potter, do you hear me?" Ginny said in a low voice. "Don't you dare! It's not true and it's not right, and you are dishonoring all of their memories if you say that. Were Ron and Hermione no better than Death Eaters, then?" She sounded so angry that Harry would not have been surprised if she had slapped or hexed him.

"I'm sorry," he repeated, not knowing what else he could say to her. Part of him wished that she would leave him alone; however, another part of him was growing more prevalent by the second, the part of him that never wanted her to leave again.

"Don't say you're sorry, Harry," she said, softening at the look of abject pain written clearly across his features.

"What do you want me to do?" he asked her, unconsciously moving closer to her, taking small, shuffling steps on the wet pavestones until he was standing near enough to see the glistening droplets of water in her hair.

Reaching out, she drew him into her arms again and nearly broke out in renewed sobs as she felt his arms move slowly, tentatively around her waist, barely touching her as he fought against everything he had been telling himself for the past year.

"I want you to honor their memories," Ginny whispered into his neck.

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words

That you cannot find

Reaching for something in the distance

So close you can almost taste it

Release your inhibitions...

"I want to Ginny, but - "

"No buts," she said softly as the rain grew harder and he held onto her just the tiniest bit more tightly. "Just do it."

They stood silently while Harry digested all she had said to him that night. After a pregnant pause, Harry finally whispered to her, his voice almost concealed by the rumble of thunder overhead. "How?"

"Dance with me," she said.

Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you

Only you can let it in...

The heavens opened as they began to sway back and forth, holding onto one another as they both began to feel their demons lift from their shoulders, washed away in the sheets of clear water coursing over them.

It seemed like an eternity before Ginny finally spoke again. "It's time to live, Harry, because that is what they would have wanted for you...and for me."

Harry shivered as emotions he had not thought himself capable of feeling anymore coursed through him all at once. He wanted to cry and he wanted to laugh...he wanted to scream and he wanted to jump on his Firebolt and fly. For the first time in a year, he could feel something besides heartbreak, and he thought his heart might burst from it.

"Can you do it, Harry? Will you?" she asked softly, feeling him tremble but not knowing what it meant.

For an answer, Harry tipped her head up and gazed straight into her chocolate brown eyes as she blinked away the heavy raindrops intermingled with her tears. Slowly, as though he had forgotten how to do what he was about to do, he lowered his lips to hers and kissed her softly.

No one else, no one else

Can speak the words on your lips

Drench yourself in words unspoken

Live your life with arms wide open

Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten.

He knew he would never forget them, for as he kissed Ginevra Weasley in the middle of his garden during one of the heaviest rain storms of the summer season, he could feel them all around him in a way that he had not been able to do before, in a way that told him that the young woman in his arms had been exactly right: the time had come.

And so it passed that twenty years after his birth, Harry James Potter finally began his life...and Ginevra Molly Weasley resumed hers.

Today is where your book begins,

The rest is still unwritten.