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Chapter 11: The Funerals
Ginny was sitting holding Harry's hand watching the winged animals leave. She was very jealous, whishing she and Harry could go with them. Part of that was because he was Teddy's Godfather and in fact he asked her to share the duties with him. What these are she had no idea, it was the principal of him wanting to include her.
"Jealous? I know from Quidditch how much you two love to fly" Hannah observed.
"Very. It's something we both love. Besides each other" she grinned.
"What happened to his broom? I remember in the Tri Wizard Tournament how fast he was on it."
"I don't know. Maybe it is here in the Castle?"
"Why don't you try to summon it? It might make a difference."
"I guess it can't hurt. Here, take his hand while I try." Hannah reached out for Harry and sparks flew when she came in contact with the white shimmer which surrounded him.
"Oww that smarts!" she replied rubbing her fingers.
"Hannah I'm so sorry!! Harry you remember Hannah Abbott don't you? From the DA? She and Neville are dating now." Ginny took Hannah's hand in her other one and the white light spread up her arm. "Go ahead. He'll let you touch him now."
Hesitantly Hannah reached for Harry's other hand. This time he did not resist, and she felt the warmth of him spread through her. "You remind me so much of Neville. Both of you are strong, courageous men. And the love I feel is amazing. Ginny you are quite fortunate."
Smiling Ginny got up and stood near the outside wall. She held up her wand and said: "Acacio Harry Potter's Firebolt." She returned to the other side to wait for a response. "Speaking of jealous Hannah I bet every girl here hates you right now! All but two."
"What? But why?" Hannah asked dumbfounded until a smile crept across her face.
"Minerva told me last night. And that you are moving in with him."
"Don't make it sound like that! It's not like we are sleeping together" she said as she got redder.
"Hannah you two didn't ... "
"No. It was the morning after you came back. Minerva told us to go into her private Office. We ate and changed into the clothes the House Elves provided us and fell asleep on the couches. While we were asleep Neville began thrashing around."
"Harry used to do it all the time at the Burrow. If I held him the nightmares went away."
"That's what I did. I awoke with my head on his chest. He was awake staring at me, like he was looking at me for the first time. Then I teased him a little."
"Hannah Abbott what did you do?"
"I transfigured what I was wearing." Knowing they were alone she traced her wand across her chest, showing Ginny the barely on shirt she slept in.
Ginny whistled then covered Harry's eyes. 'I don't want to give him a heart attack. I can't compete with her, but I bet he will love what I have when the time comes'. "Trust me Hannah he has noticed you."
"Really? How do you know?"
"We were in the Room of Requirement. He kept pacing saying "THAT BASTARD!" I asked him why and he said it had to do with you and Dean."
"I remember that day. We were study partners in the Library for a History of Magic paper we had to write. Dean kept trying to feel up my leg. I kept pushing him away but he wouldn't stop. There was a loud crash-Neville had dropped a stack of books and was glaring at Dean who moved away and we got the paper done.
The next day I was back to study for our O W L S. I could see Neville wanted to talk to me but that bitch Pansy Parkinson was there, rubbing herself against him. I saw her press a note into his hand and kiss him on the cheek not three feet away!! I got up and ran out saying I had a headache. That night I heard about my Mom and left school."
"Then you don't know the rest of the story. He went back to Gryffindor House and went straight into the Seventh Year boys loo. He burned the note and all the clothes he was wearing. He asked his Room Mate Seamus Finnigan to use 'Scourgify' over and over on him! Then he spent the next hour in the shower 'trying to clean all the filth off'. He showed me his hands the next day and they were all wrinkled."
"I HATE THAT GIRL!!!"
"Don't worry I got her back for you and all us girls. I charmed the back of her cloak to read 'I charge by the hour'. She didn't understand why guys kept walking up to her asking her how much. Even the Slytherins didn't tell her. After a couple of weeks Millicent Bullstrode felt sorry for her and did tell her. She made a big deal about it insisting Snape expel whoever was responsible."
"Thanks Ginny. When you were talking I noticed you frowned when you mentioned Dean's name. Did you have a problem too? I thought you two dated."
"We did. I knew Harry was seeing Cho Chang, and I thought I had no hope. I dated Michael Corner first, then Dean. We broke it off and then Harry and I got together. He was definitely worth the wait. Anyway the morning after the Battle I went looking for Harry. Yes I saw him but minutes before I thought he was dead. I guess I wanted to make sure it wasn't a dream. He, Ron, and Hermione were in the Headmaster's Office. I left and went back to Gryffindor House to get some sleep. I figured out which bed was his and I asked Kreacher to make sure and fell asleep. Sometime later I felt someone crawl in next to me. I asked if it was Harry and he said yes." Ginny slid her hand through his long tangled hair again. "When I realized it was Dean I threw him out. He tried to come back but Kreacher made him leave. Hannah I feel like I cheated on Harry!!!"
Neither girl noticed the wind begin to pick up, or how Harry's face became contorted. "Ginny you didn't ask for him to do that! To lie to you trying to impersonate Harry!! Now we know why Minerva sent him away. We heard some of that before she closed the doors on us. Last year he tried to seduce every girl he could!!"
"I bet Pansy wouldn't have charged him much" Ginny tried to joke. Her hand was gripping Harry's tighter, so she didn't notice he was doing the same. She tried to let go and stand when she realized this. Tears were running down his face.
"HARRY? Harry can you hear me?" she pleaded. "I know you Harry James Potter. Right now you are blaming yourself for this!! But like Hannah just told me it wasn't my fault. And what happened to us wasn't any of ours fault. Hermione is better. She and Ron went to the funerals for Remus and Tonks. Neville and Luna are with them so nothing else happens. Please come back to me Harry! I love you!!!"
"Ginny I think Harry is bleeding" Hannah softly said, gesturing to the sheet covering him.
"Harry I need to change this" she said as she stood. She felt his hand relax and saw the tears stop. The bed now had wheels and they pushed him back into the curtained off area. A stack of fresh sheets were there and she pulled off the soiled one. A gasp from Hannah brought her back to reality. The horcrux scar was bleeding now too, in addition to the one from the killing curse. With Hannah's help his wounds were cleaned and she was about to cover him up when Poppy arrived for her afternoon visit.
"So how are our patients today? Good to see you Miss Abbott. It's very nice of you and the DA helping so much. And for keeping Ginny and Harry company" she said.
"Poppy I don't think I was too much help today. Ginny and I were talking and I said some things which got Harry upset. He's more hurt now because of it" Hannah reluctantly said.
"Nonsense! These wounds were created by Dark Magic which heals differently. This special lotion I have here was invented by then Professor Dumbledore during the first War." In her hand was a container full of purple cream which smelled familiar after it was rubbed on Harry's chest.
"Treacle Tart. It's like Amortensia isn't it? Whenever I smell it I think of Harry."
"It smells like roses to me" Hannah replied thinking about Neville as she fingered the rose still in her hair.
"Yes it does smell different to each individual. And it does work very effectively. By tomorrow morning we should see a lot of improvement" Poppy stated, wishing for this to be true. In Harry's case because these were so severe she wasn't as confident as she normally was.
* * *
Hermione almost didn't notice Buckbeak getting closer to the ground. They were following Luna on her thestral over a forest. In a clearing ahead she could see a farmhouse with a small pavilion erected next to it. With four more lazy loops Buckbeak gracefully landed near Kingsley. "Miss Granger it's good to see you up. How are you feeling?" he asked as Ron removed the sticking charm so Kingsley might help her down.
"Much better thanks. Kingsley was it smart of us to come? I don't want to cause any trouble" she replied.
"We are paying our respects, nothing more. I have disillusioned Aurors stationed around us. Nothing will happen" he responded to a worried Hermione.
"Actually it's me they should be worried about" she replied. Her wand was in her hand and Kingsley could see no one had better mess with her, Ron, or anyone else today.
Especially Ron. He took a look around, checking for problems. Specifically anyone whose name started with the letter W. In the distance he saw a group of people wildly waving at him. "Great. The press" he mumbled.
"This was publicized in the Prophet. For tomorrow too. Kingsley couldn't stop it" Hestia Jones said. She was one of the Aurors here today.
"Vultures is what they are. Especially that Rita Skeeter. She's in front, waving like we are old friends" Ron replied. "She thinks she's everybody's friend. Until she gets her story, or in her case whatever version she wishes" Ron added. At Bill and Fleur's Wedding her book 'The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore' had just been released. Harry got a copy and was flabbergasted at what she wrote.
"She's bragging about writing a book with Harry. Can you imagine the nerve?" Hermione stated. She was now standing beside Ron glaring at Rita.
"Ron? Hermione?" a small voice said from behind them. Standing dressed all in black was Andromeda Tonks. She was cradling Teddy, whose hair was now bright red.
"Andy we are so sorry. Remus inspired Harry, who in turn inspired us. We owe it all to him. And Tonks. Her joy filled the room. She was like a big sister to us, especially Ginny and I" Hermione told the grieving woman.
"Kingsley told me she and Harry couldn't come. Are they all right? I've heard rumors ... " Andromeda told them.
"The Battles have us all worn out" Ron partially lied. "Harry is trying to rest and build up his strength. He told both of us he wanted to be part of Teddy's life from the moment Remus asked. And Ginny wants to also."
"We do too. No one should have to grow up the way Harry had to. If there is anything you need we will help you" Hermione added.
"Can I quote you on that Miss Granger? And where exactly is Harry Potter? Is he shacked up somewhere with Miss Weasley, too busy to come to the funeral?" Rita Skeeter asked. Her quick quotes quill was poised ready for a response.
Ron was livid. He balled up his fist ready to punch the reporter's face into next week but Hermione stopped him. She smiled and waved her wand. Rita felt herself floating in the air and landing near the group of reporters who were now stampeding towards them. They came to a screeching halt, acting like they had run into something. A few tried to apparate but that didn't work either.
"Minister I believe Mrs. Tonks wishes to press charges for trespassing" Hermione calmly told Kingsley who came running up. He had stopped the Weasleys as soon as they had arrived and was trying to distract them until Ron and Hermione left.
"Certainly. Each of you were told to stay off private property. Obviously you haven't" he replied.
"That's OK we have our story" one of them smugly said holding up his camera. Suddenly all cameras and note taking equipment left their hands landing at Neville's feet.
"Minister I believe you will need this as evidence" he replied, much to the reporters chagrin.
"Absolutely! And with the Ministry being so short handed it might be weeks or months until I get the chance to examine all on these" Kingsley gestured. Luna was now examining the cameras, taking pictures of the butterflies.
"Can't we reach a compromise?" another asked.
"If you agree to publish the truth, then I will not have you arrested. But if I see anything else, I will hold every one of you accountable. Do we understand each other?" Andromeda Tonks asked.
The reporters were all staring at Rita. She knew she could not embellish her story like normal or face the wrath of the Ministry and all the other reporters. "I agree too" she smiled. With her other plans in the works she didn't need this story. Or the one tomorrow at the Weasleys.
Luna finished taking her pictures. She distributed them to the reporters, keeping all the others they had taken. The anti apparition charm was lifted and all departed including Rita.
"We haven't seen the last of her" Ron sagely added as she left.
Neville had moved away after the reporters were 'captured'. When he heard Kingsley mention the Weasleys he stationed himself between his friends and the house. He guessed they had arrived by floo, and he was right. Molly, Arthur, Percy, George and Angelina came out, followed a few moments later by Fleur. Molly wanted to rush forward when she saw Neville, thinking correctly her children were here. Fleur placed a hand on her arm, and she grudgingly walked back into the home with her Family.
"Neville how are you? I haven't seen you since the Battle. How badly did Voldemort hurt you?" she wondered.
"I'm healing. My hair is almost grown back, thanks to Hannah" he replied.
"I've heard about that. Congratulations. And how are Harry and Ginny?"
"She is almost healed, but Harry is not even close. Hannah is with Ginny right now while we are all here. But what about you? I can't imagine what you are going through."
"I have been better. Thanks to Ginny Kingsley let me see both Bill and Charlie this morning. They are puzzled why they are being held, and don't believe me why. Kingsley has their memories of what happened and I am concerned what will happen when they can see for themselves what they did."
"It's all so tragic" Luna added as she came up. "Friends fighting like this. It's almost like the imperious curse where they had no will of their own."
"Mon Dieu. Luna you are a genius" Fleur said as she hugged the smaller girl. Now she remembered what she read about while at school in Paris. "Please tell Hermione and Ron I will stop and visit later. And I will keep the Weasleys occupied until you leave."
Neville shrugged his shoulders and returned to Hermione and Ron. For a moment he considered sending his patronus to Hannah asking her to floo here so they could ride back together but that wouldn't be fair to Ginny. They were waiting ready to leave not wanting to be a further distraction. And they wished to avoid Ron's Parents who were sure to come back out at any moment. He filled them in on his conversation with Fleur and they rose back into the sky, disillusioned again just in case any stray reporters were still there.
* * *
"What do you think Ginny? About what Fleur said last night?" wondered Hermione.
"I don't know. What she described sounds like what happened, but I can't be sure. The memories Minerva and Kingsley are collecting will tell us a lot. Until then we cannot afford a repeat of last time" Ginny said as she and Hermione ate breakfast. Ron was spending some 'man time' alone with Harry while they finished their meal.
"What did you decide about today? You really should go you know" Hermione insisted. Ginny was torn between staying with Harry and attending Fred's funeral. "I am happy to stay with Harry. Hannah volunteered to keep me company so Neville and Luna can come with you and Ron. I think this reminds her of her Mother's funeral, so I can see why she stays behind."
Ginny spent the morning explaining to Hermione what she was doing to help Harry. In the early afternoon they heard voices coming from the terraced area and were surprised to see Hagrid. "If you and Ron don't mind I'm coming too. How's Harry today?"
"I think he's getting better. Sometimes he'll squeeze my hand or smiles a little" Ginny sadly replied.
"At least he's improving. Try to keep your spirits up. We can leave as soon as you want" answered Hagrid.
Ginny gave Hannah a hug and watched her take a seat across from Hermione, grasping Harry's other hand. She went outside and was surprised to see not only Buckbeak but six thestrals. "Ginny these are the ones we rode to the Ministry. They all wanted to come, and Hagrid is taking Buckbeak" Luna told her from astride hers, which she had nicknamed 'Spot'. Ginny leaped easily onto her mount's back and they climbed into the sky.
* * *
Headmistress Minerva McGonagall anxiously paced along the barrier at the Burrow. The funeral was about to start and she was worried something had happened to Ginny, Ron, and the rest. Arthur and Molly had promised her not to interfere when they arrived, but that was like asking a leopard to change its spots. She glanced behind her to see Fleur Weasley standing between her husband Bill and his brother Charlie. Both men stood with their shoulders slumped, seeming half their actual size. 'I wonder what's going through their heads right now? Burying their brother Fred, or what they apparently did to their Family?' She had yet to show them or any other member of the Family their memories, and Molly was resenting that. "Minerva until I can see these for myself they are innocent!! Only a Death Eater could do what they are accused of!!" she insisted.
A gong sounded indicating the Ceremony was about to start. She hastened back, taking her seat alongside Kingsley. Both were to speak today, remembering the antics of the twins. To her right the western side of the tent was open, and near the base of the old oak tree was Fred's coffin.
Directly in front were the Weasleys. They sat in order from left to right, starting with Arthur, Molly, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, Percy, an empty space, George, and Angelina. Two more chairs were there in the hope Ron and Ginny would sit with them, but that hope was slim at best.
Minerva returned to her seat, not remembering even speaking. The sun was setting and she thought she saw something. She felt Kingsley tug on her sleeve and she watched as winged figures appeared, like they flew right out of the sun. Ginny was the first to land and dismount, and the way the light was around her she looked like the phoenix Fawkes when she appeared. Ron was next and he landed alongside his sister. Hagrid, Luna, Neville, and the other two rider less thestrals floated down between them and the crowd which had begun to get out of their seats.
Hagrid sat in the center on Buckbeak with Luna on his left and Neville on his right. The intensity in their eyes convinced people to stay away. Two thestrals flanked either side, effectively blocking anyone from viewing what was taking place. They could not see Ron and Ginny kneel next to Fred's casket, hugging it as they cried. Those sounds alone drifted to the ears of those in attendance who had returned to their seats. A frustrated Molly and Arthur did so too, wishing all their children could be united to grieve together.
As the sun set they rose back into the sky, Ginny and Ron both wondering if they would ever set foot in their Family home again.