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Darkness Descending by Andrewsquill

Darkness Descending


Chapter 1: Realizations.

Harry was sitting alone at his tiny, scarred, desk at the Dursleys. It was one of the first times since he returned from Hogwarts that he had actually been left alone. Ron and Hermione had gone back to the Burrow to help with the preparations for Bill and Fleur's wedding. Leaning back in his chair, Harry let his gaze wander around aimlessly while he tried to figure out what Dumbledore had meant that his ability to love was the power that would enable him to defeat Voldemort.

He thought about his relationship with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Sirius, & the rest of the Weasleys. He knew that he would give his life to save any of them, but did it really mean that he loved them? Having grown up devoid of loving parents, Harry worried that he wouldn't be able to recognize what love really meant to him. Sure, he knew about the concept of love, having longed for it his entire life, but he didn't really have a strong frame of reference to base his experiences.

Ron was his first friend in the Wizarding world but their relationship had been tested over the years due to Ron's jealousy over fame and money. Harry still considered Ron as the brother that he never had. After thinking it over for a few minutes Harry realized that, he did indeed love Ron as a brother, even when he was being a git.

The next person Harry considered was Hermione. He knew that their friendship was strong and that she had never doubted him. She had always been there when he needed advice, and even when he didn't want it. Harry chuckled to himself as he remembered all of those times when Hermione would do or say something that would keep him focused and out of trouble. Hermione's faith and devotion to Harry, even when he knew he was wrong, amazed him. Shaking his head from side to side, Harry understood that Hermione's love for him was unconditional and he felt the same way towards her. She was the anchor that kept him grounded, even if she did drive him nutters occasionally.

Her relationship with Ron always puzzled him though. Hermione and Ron were always bickering and Harry often thought that it was because they had unspoken feelings for each other. Now he wasn't so sure anymore. They had started dating after Dumbledore's funeral but it still seemed a bit forced to Harry. He just hoped that he didn't have to pick up the pieces if their relationship fell apart.

Harry had no doubts about his late godfather's love for him. Sirius had died protecting him from his own foolishness. Harry let out a stifled sob as a wave of guilt wracked his body. If only he had mastered Occlumency as Dumbledore had insisted. Harry knew that he loved Sirius and that he would carry the guilt of his death forever.

A few days ago, Harry would have said that Ginny was the one that he loved the most. It wasn't until Remus Lupin sent him a photograph of his parents during their Hogwart's days that Harry realized Ginny looked exactly like his mum.

Harry realized that he now loved Ginny like a sister and that he had pushed her away because he thought that it would protect her. Now, he was glad that he broke up with her. It gave him a bad case of the shivers when he looked at a picture of his mum side by side with one of Ginny. Harry slumped down in his chair and put his hands up to his head. Taking a deep breath to fortify his nerves, Harry knew what he had to do. He took out a quill and some parchment and began to write her a letter.

It surprised Harry when he realized how much better he felt after getting some of those things off his chest. The lump in his throat was still there because of the pain that he knew that he had caused Ginny.

Looking over to the bureau in the corner of his room Harry called softly, "Hedwig, would you please take this to Ginny Weasley?"

She stuck out her left leg and Harry secured the letter carefully and opened the window for her. Nipping him on his ear lightly, Hedwig opened her wings and soared out of his window into the night.


The past couple of weeks had been terrible for Ginny Weasley. The ever-growing fear of Voldemort's rising power in the absence of Dumbledore's guidance was causing everyone to feel a sense of foreboding. Between the death of Dumbledore and breaking up with Harry, she was at her wit's end.

Ginny felt like she was just going through the motions of life but not actually living it. Some mornings she didn't even want to get out of bed but it was even worse trying to fall asleep. She kept having second thoughts about why Harry had told her that they had to stop seeing each other. Ginny knew that her entire family was in terrible danger no matter what, or where, Harry was at any given moment.

Hermione had noticed the way Ginny listlessly shuffled around during the day completing whatever task her mother assigned for her. She tried to talk to her friend about it but she always got the same, "I'm fine." that Harry had made so famous during his troublesome fifth year. Hermione decided that she was going to talk to Ginny in her room that night before bed because she hated seeing her just going through the motions of life, not actually living one.

Ginny was startled from her revelry by a tapping noise at her window. Slowly she pulled open the window and stepped back to let the beautiful snowy owl into her room. "Hello girl, how are you?" she asked.

Hedwig gave a low hoot and stuck out her leg. Ginny took the letter and slowly sat back down on her bed. She wasn't sure if she was ready to read a letter from Harry just yet. He had caused her so much pain and she was still confused about her feelings towards him. Taking a deep breath Ginny broke the seal on the letter and began to read.

Dear Ginny,

I have been the world's biggest prat. I don't know if you can ever find it in your heart to forgive me and I probably don't deserve it anyway. There are some things that I need to explain, such as why I broke up with you.

I am terrified. Everyone that has ever loved me has been killed by Voldemort and I have been blaming myself. I was afraid that he would take you to get to me. Ron and Hermione already know all about this fear and they still won't leave me.

Something Dumbledore said to me made me realize that if I pushed everyone away then I would be giving into my fears and letting Voldemort win. While I am still fearful that you could be harmed because of me, I also realize that you are still in danger because he already knows about us because Malfoy told him last year.

While I don't expect you to forgive me, I hope that I haven't lost your friendship. I should have told you everything last year but I was afraid. There are things that I still have to do but I now realize that I will need help if I am going to succeed.

I know that I hurt you terribly and for that, I am truly sorry. I will tell you everything you want to know when I arrive at the Burrow for Bill and Fleur's wedding. If you don't want anything to do with me after that, I will understand. Just know that I will always love you.



Tears were falling silently down Ginny's cheeks. She didn't realize that she was even crying until a tear splashed down onto the letter. "He still loves me!" Ginny cried softly to Hedwig.

Hermione was worried about Ginny. Since she and Ron had returned to the Burrow to help with the wedding preparations Ginny had been keeping to herself the entire time, only speaking when someone asked her a question. She was just about to open the door to Ginny's room when she heard Ginny whisper that Harry still loved her. Smiling to herself, Hermione slowly backed away from the door to find Ron and tell him the good news.

"Ron!" whispered Hermione, "Wake up."

"Five more minutes, mum." mumbled Ron as he tried to bury himself further into his orange Chudley Cannons blanket.

Smirking to herself, Hermione leaned in close to Ron's ear and began to wiggle her fingers mimicking a spider crawling. Ron's reaction was instantaneous; he rolled over and promptly fell onto the floor at Hermione's feet wildly beating at the side of his face to remove the imagined spider.

"Bloody Hell, Hermione! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" yelped Ron when he looked up to see her laughing silently at his expense.

"I'm sorry Ron. I couldn't resist. Besides, you look so cute when you're swatting the invisible spiders away." Hermione blushed slightly when she realized that she had said that last bit aloud.

Ron's ears were a bit pink as he blurted out, "Hermione, why did you wake me up? Is something wrong? Is Harry ok? How is Ginny?"

"Ron, slow down. Everyone is fine, maybe even better than fine if Harry has finally realized a few things." Hermione stated simply.

A look of confusion appeared on Ron's face before Hermione took pity on him and began telling him about what Dumbledore had mentioned to Harry about the prophecy and the power that the Dark Lord knows not, the ability to love and be loved.

Harry was laying on his small bed inside Number 4 Privet listening to the sounds of his cousin and uncle snoring. `How did Aunt Petunia sleep through that racket, Harry wondered?'

He felt relaxed, like a large weight had been lifted off his chest, for the first time in ages. Hedwig had returned with a short note from Ginny earlier that evening. At first, Harry was terrified that Ginny would send him a howler, or worse, not reply at all. His fears turned out to be unjustified because Ginny's short letter was more than he could have ever hoped.

Dear Harry,

I forgive you, come home soon so we can talk.



Harry sat there completely gob smacked at first. He had never understood what it meant to have a family that would forgive and love him, and to have a place that he could call home. That Ginny was willing to forgive him shook Harry to the core of his soul. It also made him feel that much worse because he knew that it was his own short sightedness that had caused this whole situation.

He also realized that he owed Hermione an apology as well. She had stood by him for the past five years without once wavering in her support of him regardless of how insensitive he was being.

Realizing that it was late, Harry decided to get ready for bed. However, sleep never came easy for him. When he was younger, the nightmares were about his mistreatment at the hands of the Dursleys. After he went to Hogwarts, the nightmares were still there but they were replaced by a different type of terror. Voldemort was the primary cause of the horrors in his dreams, even if he was not in every one. Unfortunately, each year he spent at Hogwarts brought with it a new nightmare to add to his growing collection.

The nightmares he was currently experiencing were from the cave with the Horcrux and Dumbledore's death on top of the Astronomy tower. His older nightmares never really went away but they didn't have the power over him that they used to. In time, he would get used to this new set of nightmares too.

They still left him shaken when he awoke in a cold sweat. This evening's dream started out no different from the other ones. He was frozen under his invisibility cloak, powerless to stop the horror of seeing Dumbledore's body fall over the ramparts towards the grounds below.

In his dreams, Dumbledore always gave Harry a look of betrayal as he was hit with the killing curse. It seemed that bright flash of green light that had changed his life when he was a baby would forever haunt him. So many of Harry's loved ones had died at the monster's hands that Harry knew that even without the prophecy hanging over his head that he would want to be the one to kill Voldemort.

Just as the light hit Dumbledore in his dream, everything shifted. Harry felt a sense of calm come over him and then he found himself standing in a doorway facing the back of a beautiful woman. As she turned to her right Harry was able to see the tiny infant in her arms that had a shock of messy raven hair and startlingly bright emerald green eyes. He could not identify the woman but he felt that he knew her.

The only color in this part of his dream was the green of the baby's eyes. As Harry stepped into the room all he could focus on was the tiny little infant in its mother's arms reaching out to him. As Harry stretched out his hand, he awoke as soon as his fingers touched the child's tiny ones.

Harry was breathing heavily and sweating a little but it was not like the cold sweats that he got from his usual nightmares. He desperately clung to the images in this dream so that they would never fade from his memory.

As he was going over the scene in his mind again Harry realized that what he was feeling was unconditional love, for the woman and the child; their child. This was what Dumbledore meant when he told Harry that he would have a power that Voldemort did not understand, the love for his wife and child…his own family.

It was that dream, more than anything, that Harry had been thinking about over the past month that finally caused the biggest change in Harry. The belief that he had something to look forward to, something that he wanted more than anything else in the entire world, focused Harry's mind and gave him a true sense of purpose and a long term goal beyond just killing Tom Riddle.

Harry understood that in a way he did pity Tom Riddle. He no longer thought of him as Voldemort because he realized that it was just a name made up to hide a scared, lonely, man and his insecurities. Dumbledore had only called Tom by the name of Voldemort in front of others, people that didn't know who he really was. This business of people being too afraid to say a name had to stop. Saying You-Know-Who instead of Voldemort was completely ridiculous.

Harry wanted people to start calling Voldemort by his given name, Tom, and to do that he was going to need help from someone he absolutely loathed. Rita Skeeter.