Chapter 2 : Heartache
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He was breaking up with her. It was not like she had not seen it coming. He was a noble hero. He was not able to commit to her, not yet anyway. Ginny had known they would not last, especially after Professor Dumbledore’s death. That did not make the pain any less gut wrenching though.
The last few weeks of her life had been some of the best. She was just about the only girl who could claim she had been Harry Potter’s girlfriend. She was one of the few girls her age that could claim she had been in love, and she could truthfully say that she knew he was still in love with her too.
The moment in which their love was truly unleashed kept replaying in her head. The Gryffindor quidditch win, his unsuspecting face entering the common room to screams and shouts, her sudden inability to stop herself from running into his arms, his smiling face bending down to kiss hers.
People had been shocked at first to hear of the romance, but they eventually got over it. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley were a match “made in Heaven,” as the muggleborns would often say. They spent all of their free time together, though that wasn’t much considering she had O.W.L’s coming up, but it was enough for them to be content with. She most enjoyed the hours they would spend together at the lake, cuddling in the grass or just sitting together, hands entwined. They shared this magnificent gift: the gift of love.
And yet here he was, breaking her heart. He was giving her all of the right reasons, but it still felt so wrong. She sat next to him, smiling and agreeing, when inside she really felt like running off and taking a good cry.
She knew their relationship was not truly over, and that it probably never would be, but she also knew that it would not be the same as it had been those past weeks for a while yet.
Early August, 1997
Ginny lay snuggly in her beg, happily trying to sleep off the effects her brother’s wedding had had on her. It had been a happy day, filled with laughter, dancing and delicious food. Ginny couldn’t remember feeling this happy and secure in a long time.
The sound of footsteps padding lightly down the hall broke her from her reminisces. She turned to face the door, listening intently. The footsteps suddenly stopped. She realized that there were two people outside her room. Heart hammering in her chest, she reached for her wand.
Suddenly, she heard rustling on the other side of the room. She did not turn, but she knew that Hermione was moving about, and in the direction of the door. Ginny now understood who was in the hall. She sighed in relief as Hermione stepped outside the room, closing the door quietly behind her.
“Are you ready?” asked Harry.
She heard Hermione draw in a deep breath, answering with a strong “yes”.
They are leaving! Ginny thought suddenly. She waited until the footsteps had resumed walking before she jumped out of bed, pulled on some clothes and a light robe, snatched her wand back up, and swiftly ran from the room.
She left the house in time to see Harry, Ron and Hermione enter the woods in back of the burrow. Ginny followed and stopped just short of where they had gathered. She was close enough to hear their hushed conversation, but far enough to not be noticed. Harry was talking.
“-find them before we kill him. So I guess that is our goal for now.”
“But what are we doing right now, Harry? It’s the middle of the night!”
“She’s right, mate. There’s nothing much we can accomplish in the dark.”
“I didn’t want to raise suspicions. I’m going to Godric’s Hollow.”
“Yes! I only woke you two up because I knew you’d be mad if I didn’t. If you don’t want to come, I’ll understand.”
“No, it’s not that. Of course we’ll come.”
“We’ve got to get going though, before anyone notices that we’re gone.”
“Alright then, Harry. If you are sure.”
With three small pops, the trio disappeared. Ginny scowled, grounding her teeth angrily. Doesn’t want to raise suspicions, eh? What wasn’t suspicious about sneaking off in the middle of the night? And to add to that, Ginny had no legal way of following them. Feeling that of her two options, using a portkey would be easier and safer than apparating, she quickly made one.
Looking around, she found a deflated ball that she or one of her brothers must have left when they were younger. Pointing her wand at it, she whispered a single word: “Portus”. The shapeless clump seemed to glow with power. She then whispered three more words: “One. Two. Three.”
Ginny felt as if someone had tied a knot around her stomach and was now pulling it with all their strength. One moment she was standing in the woods behind her home. A few seconds later she lay crumpled in a heap in the middle of a cobblestone street. She stood shaking, looking around her as she did. On both sides of the street stood small, quaint 18th century cottages. The street was lined with streetlamps that held candles, instead of the light bulbs the muggles now used. Ginny felt as though she had just traveled through time. Afraid that something had gone horribly wrong with her portkey, she went off in search of Harry, Ron and Hermione.
Rounding a corner, she found the three of them standing outside of a white picket fence. Inside the fence was an overgrown yard. Large stone steps stood in the middle, and a charred rectangle of land lay just beyond them. It looked like the remains of one of the old houses. In what must have once been the front yard, a lone tree stood. From one of its strongest branches hung a wooden swing. Behind the remains of the house, Ginny could just make out a wooden sandbox. A plastic blue shovel was sticking up from the sand.
Harry, Ron and Hermione still stood before the picket fence. None of them spoke. Their silence was peaceful. Slowly, Harry reached for the gate. Swinging it open, he stepped inside the yard. He walked up to the stone steps, and there he fell.
Ginny knew that this had to be one of the toughest moments of his life, and he had had plenty of them. Ron and Hermione, being the good friends they were, kept their distance. Ginny wished she could do the same, but something would not let her. This was the man she loved. When he suffered, she suffered. She felt the need, the longing to comfort him. Running down the street, she brushed past Ron and Hermione and entered the yard. She stopped in the middle, staring at his slumped form. Time stopped right then. She could hear nothing but her own pounding heart.
As if he sensed her presence, Harry turned to face her. The traces of his tears shone in the moonlight. Before he could say or do anything, she ran up to him and held him in her arms. They stayed like that, rocking back and forth slightly in the breeze for what felt like an eternity.
Ginny sat outside, wearing a yellow sundress and waving a white fan wildly in the heat. She hated the flowery dress, but she knew that the occasion called for it.
School had ended yesterday, but here she sat on the grounds with her family. The day was hot and humid, and the sun beat down unbearably.
Today was graduation day.
Today Harry, Ron and Hermione would be forever leaving their school days behind. Ginny could hardly believe it. They had been so close to not graduating at all.
Last summer, Harry and his friends had no intention of returning to the school. They had things to do of greater importance. Professor McGonagall had come to them one night with a proposition. She wanted them to return to the school. She had found a letter from Professor Dumbledore asking her to ensure that the trio completed their training. Professor McGonagall promised that if they came back, they would be allowed to leave whenever they needed to. She had set up a portkey herself, which would bring them out of the grounds to somewhere they could apparate from. She promised that if they came back to the school, they would have free reign of the castle and grounds, including the restricted section of the library and the Room of Requirement. Lastly, they were to have additional private lessons with each of their teachers and some of the aurors stationed around the school.
The offer had been too good to give up.
So the three friends had returned to the school, where they learned more in their last year than they had in the rest combined. They left the school almost every weekend and though reluctant at first, they eventually began letting Ginny accompany them. They also began teaching her some of the spells they learned in their private sessions. Sometimes the teachers would let her join the actual lessons.
Harry and Ginny became closer than ever that year. He told her everything he knew about his life and his destiny, and she accepted who he really was. She helped them in every way that she could. Together, they had destroyed all of Voldemort’s horcruxes, and she even destroyed one herself. She had grown into a powerful young witch. This year had been the greatest of her life.
Now though, it was all over. They were graduating, and she still had another year to go. She had thought about leaving school with them and not graduating, but Harry and Ron strictly forbade it. They played their roles as the overprotective brother and the overprotective boyfriend very well- almost too well. She was to finish school and then, and only then, could she join them in the fight against the Dark Arts. After many arguments and heated discussions, she had finally given in. The only reason she did, however, was because she could see how much they both truly loved her.
Clapping erupted around Ginny, startling her out of her reverie. Looking up at the stage, she noticed that McGonagall had entered and now stood standing in the middle. Ginny looked over at Harry, who was clearly lost in his own thoughts. She knew what he was thinking. Although Professor McGonagall meant a great deal to them, they both knew that it should have been Professor Dumbledore standing there today. It was not fair that he was gone. Professor McGonagall held her wand up to her neck for a moment and muttered something inaudible. She then took a scroll out of her pocket. Addressing the crowd, she read:
“‘Witches and Wizards, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Today you have come to bear witness to the graduation of these very special students. Take pride in the young men and women who stand before you, for they combine to form one of the most talented classes to ever pass through Hogwarts’ doors!
“Each student standing here has accomplished great things during his or her time at Hogwarts, and I think I speak for the whole staff when I say they will be sorely missed.
“During these dark times, it is sometimes hard to find the goodness in the world. This class will help you find that goodness. They are funny. They are bright. But most importantly, they are inspirational.
“Let these young people be as much of an inspiration to you as they were to me.
“A graduation like this one serves not only as recognition of the completion of school, but also as a celebration of these students’ entrances into the adult world. All of the people you see in front of you are either seventeen or eighteen, and therefore what we call “Of Age”. They are legally adults now. I have watched each person here grow from the scrawny children they were when they entered this school to the strong, intelligent adults they are today and all I can say is this: I could not be prouder.
“Take them under your wings as I have taken them under mine. Encourage them to grow as I have encouraged them to grow. Love them as I have loved them. Take care of these beautiful children; these beautiful adults. We could not be prouder.’”
Professor McGonagall paused as she rolled up the scroll. Ginny started fanning herself harder. A bead of sweat trickled down her face. McGonagall resumed her speech.
“Those were the words of the late Albus Dumbledore.”
Ginny’s head snapped up as the crowd and students broke out into surprised muttering. Harry just sat staring out over the lake and at the white tomb in the distance. Professor McGonagall waited for the silence to resume before continuing.
“I found this scroll inside Professor Dumbledore’s office late yesterday afternoon. I’ve never seen it before, though I have been through that office many times. It was undoubtedly intended for this class, for it showed itself on the eve of your graduation. Professor Dumbledore obviously saw the promise in this class, as do I. I want to congratulate you all on what you have done here at Hogwarts, and on what I know you will do in the years to come.
“Please rise when I call your name and come to the front of the stage. You will each receive a certificate of completion and the Tap of Closure. The Tap of Closure is a ceremony that has taken place at Hogwarts since the First Graduation. I will tap each of you with my wand once. Although you will see no physical changes, you will receive knowledge, luck and of course, a sense of closure. Let us begin.
The crowd cheered as the blond-haired girl walked up to the stage. She smiled as she received her certificate and Tap of Closure.
Of the many things they had learned this year, this was one of the most useful. They had learned to talk to each other in their minds. The practice was considered unorthodox however, and was only used in dire situations. The fact that Harry was using it in the middle of his graduation worried her. She turned her attention back to him.
Who Harry? Who’s here?
Voldemort. And with that, he was gone. Ginny watched as he slowly stood up and walked over to where Professor McGonagall was currently giving Justin Finch-Fletchley his certificate. Harry waited politely until Justin had left before addressing the Professor.
“Potter! It’s not your turn, I-” frowning at the look on his face, she once again raised her wand up to her throat. She had a hurried discussion with Harry, in which she turned steadily paler. She magnified her voice once more and addressed the crowd.
“I have just been informed that there are Death Eaters on the grounds. Please don’t panic. I have several portkeys ready to whisk you off to the Ministry. This being said, I’m going to ask that anybody willing to fight please remain behind. I am not about to let this school fall.
“Now, all children, Muggles and adults unable to fight please follow me. I’m going to leave the rest of you in the care of Mr. Potter here.”
Ginny was pleased to see that the only people leaving were young children, Muggle parents and a few Slytherins. The children were exchanging tearful goodbyes with their parents. This saddened Ginny, for she knew that the possibility that some of these children would become orphans today was great.
She looked next to her to where her own mother and father were sitting, clasping each other’s hands.
“Mum. Dad. Maybe you should be going as well. I-”
“Oh Sweetie,” Mrs. Weasley sighed sadly. “Your father and I may not seem like we belong here, but we’re much tougher than we look. We’re not about to run like cowards. We were top in our defense class back in the day. Together, we’ll be alright.” Mr. Weasley squeezed his wife’s hand and held it with more ferocity in his own. They both had a look of steely determination in their eyes as they looked out across the grounds.
Ginny smiled grimly. She could only hope her mother was right. She stood up, pushing her chair back as she did. She told her parents she loved them. She calmly walked up to the stage, where she joined Ron and Hermione. Together, the three of them joined Harry at the front. He looked gratefully at them as Ginny took his hand in hers. She gave him a nod of encouragement, and he turned back to the crowd.
“I am not going to lie to you. I want you to know what you are facing.” Harry took a deep breath. “Lord Voldemort is here.” The crowd flinched as one, and then broke out in frightened muttering. “I need you all to promise me that you won’t go after him, no matter what he has done to you or your family. A prophecy was made eighteen years ago. You are not going to be able to kill him so please, do not try. Stick to fighting the Death Eaters. Although some are powerful, many are weak. Voldemort does not train his followers, for he fears they will turn on him. The Death Eaters do not work with strength. They work in numbers. The Death Eaters do not fight fair. They only win by outnumbering their victims.
“Today, our numbers will be about even. I know many of you are great fighters and powerful witches and wizards. If we stand together, our chances of winning are great.
The Death Eaters do not know that we know that they are here. Therefore, we have the advantage. We have the element of surprise. We will continue this graduation as normal. We will wait for them to attack. They will be thrown off by how quickly we respond to their aggression, and how we do not panic. When it is time, I’ll tell you. Let us give them a fight that they will remember.
“We don not have much time. Prepare yourselves.”
Harry nodded to Professor McGonagall, who had returned from her trip to the portkeys. She resumed calling out names as Harry guided Ginny over to the seats.
“You should probably go back down there. They will be here soon.”
“Nobody is going to notice me and even if they do, they will probably just think that we have special permission. Everyone knows that the Hogwarts Heads have a weakness for the famous Harry Potter,” she teased.
“The day McGonagall likes me enough to have a weakness for me will be the day Voldemort renounces his ways and joins the Order. It will never happen.”
Ginny leaned in, and kissed him deeply. “I have a weakness for you.”
“I have one for you too.”
“Do be careful. Do not do anything stupid.”
“Confronting Voldemort when you are only seventeen is stupid, and there is no way out of that,” he reminded her softly.
“I believe in you, Harry. Most of the people here stand with me on that matter.”
He turned away, choosing not to answer. Finally he said:
“They’re going to attack when I’m up there. I can feel it. Ginny, if something goes wrong here, as it very well may, I want you to know that I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”
“Harry Potter!” came Professor McGonagall’s voice from the front of the stage.
“I love you too Harry.”
“Promise me you’ll take care of yourself.”
“Harry, you are-”
“Promise me, Ginny!”
This was all they had time for before Harry had to start walking. Ginny was vaguely aware of the fact that they had missed Hermione’s turn. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see that she and Ron were holding hands. She could also see that each of their free hands were in their pockets, undoubtedly clutching their wands. She turned her attention back to Harry, bracing herself for the attack. It never came. He received both his certificate and Tap of Closure without incident. Turning his back on the crowd, his eyes locked with Ginny’s. Confusion and worry was etched in every part of them.
Just then, a red jet of light flew towards his head.
“Harry!” she cried.
With a flick of his wand, the spell shot back in the direction it came from. Harry had a steely glint in his eyes.
“Cowards!” The twins shouted from the crowd. “We would like to see them try that when his back is not turned!”
“Rise!” shouted Harry. “Rise and fight! Fight for your families! Fight for your freedom! Rise now and fight!”
Death Eaters were now streaming out of the woods, shooting spells at the crowd as they did. Harry nodded to Ginny and then dove into the fight.
“Good luck, Harry!”
He raised a hand to acknowledge that he had heard, pushing his way through the crowd. He was gone.
Ginny immediately turned to Hermione and Ron. The three of them set off. It was not long before they too were separated.
Ginny was finding it hard to move in her dress. Bending down, she tore the edges, making it easier to run in. When she straightened up, she found herself face-to-face with Draco Malfoy.
“Good of me not to jinx you when you were down there,” he acknowledged. “I think we will have more fun this way.”
She stared at him coldly, without saying a word.
“What is the matter, Sweetheart? Have you forgotten how to speak? You know,” he said quietly, leaning towards her, “it’s a shame you’re a blood-traitor. You and I could have had some fun together. Ah, well, I still have to get you back for that cute little hex you put on me back in my fifth year. Weasley’s only sister, the Mudblood’s friend and Potter’s girlfriend? Yes, I believe we’ll have to find something special for you.”
“I am surprised that you are still alive, Draco dear. From what Harry has told us, it seem like Voldemort should have killed you long ago.”
“What do you know about it?” he asked angrily
“A whole lot. Did you know that Harry was up there with you on that tower the night you were supposed to kill Dumbledore? He saw the whole thing. I guess we should be thanking you though. If it wasn’t for you, we would have never known Snape was a traitor.”
“Shut up!” he yelled, pointing his wand at her. She barely flinched. Before he could do anything, however, Ginny had him in a full body bind.
“Idiot,” she murmured. Then, just to spite the boy, she cast a bat boogey hex on him too.
She ran off, and soon engaged in another fight. Easily defeating her opponent, she again went off in search of some action. She found it in the form of Neville Longbottom, Michael Corner and Dean Thomas. Well, isn’t this ironic? Ginny thought wryly.
The three boys stood back-to-back, with their wands held in front of them. No less than ten Death Eaters surrounded them. Ginny quickly stunned two of them, providing the boys with the break they desperately needed.
With two of their number down, the remaining Death Eaters seemed a bit unsure of themselves. Using this distraction to their advantage, Ginny and her former love interests managed to stun each of the other Death Eaters.
“Thanks, Ginny,” muttered Michael. He started to turn away, but his eyes widened with shock. Instead, he pushed Ginny to the ground. A green bolt of magic hit him in the chest, and he fell next to her.
“Michael! Michael!” she screamed. Kneeling next to him, she turned him over. His blank eyes looked up towards the heavens. The emptiness of his once dancing eyes chilled her to the bone. He was dead. “No! C’mon Michael, get up!” she moaned.
“Come on, Ginny, there’s nothing more you can do for him,” Neville told her quietly. He started to lead her away from the fighting, but she pulled out of his grasp.
“No, Neville, I’ve got to stay. There’s too much at stake. Fight with me. We make a great team.”
He nodded soberly and followed her to where a great mass of Death Eaters was fighting a great mass of the graduation crowd. Ginny and Neville joined the crowd, taking down more than 15 Death Eaters between the two of them. That particular fight was more than won by the Hogwarts Crowd.
Ginny turned to congratulate Neville, but he was no longer there. Turning, she found him locked in a serious battle with Bellatrix Lestrange. Though longing to, she didn’t dare go help him. Neville would never forgive her for that. She knew that he had to capture Lestrange on his own, or die trying.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Rodolphus Lestrange jumped into her path. He had an evil glint in his eye, and Ginny couldn’t help but feel a little unnerved. Although the other Death Eaters had been no match for her, this one was in Voldemort’s inner circle and was therefore an experienced and strong fighter. Ginny could tell that she was more than well matched. She eyed him coldly, looking for a weakness. She couldn’t find one.
“Imperious!” Lestrange shouted. Ginny suddenly felt very light, as if she was floating in a cloud. Ginny knew what to do. She waited for his command.
Kill, came his voice. Kill the Order. Kill the aurors. It sounded like such a good idea, but she also knew that there were other things that she had to do.
“No! Stupefy!” Lestrange had been so surprised by her ability to defy of his command that he had no chance of blocking the spell. He was down. One less Death Eater, she thought savagely.
Ginny looked up, noticing a change in the fight. The Death Eaters were getting desperate, and they were making mistakes in their desperation. The Hogwarts Crowd bore down upon them, taking many out even as she watched.
A bolt of purple spell went flying by Ginny’s head. She turned to face her attacker, and found Lucius Malfoy smiling at her. She glared back at him. This was the man who had endangered everyone’s lives in her first year, and who had caused her to be possessed by Tom Riddle, the boy Voldemort.
“Miss Weasley,” he acknowledged. “I do believe we have met.”
“What do you want, Malfoy?” she snapped.
“Dear, dear. Where are your manners?”
She only continued to glare in reply.
“I can imagine how distraught your blood-betraying, muggle-loving father would be if his only daughter were to be murdered. What a tragedy it would be!”
“What has he ever done to you?” she asked angrily.
“Your father is an insult to my kind. To our kind. To wizard kind.”
“You and I will never be of the same kind, Malfoy,” she spat.
“Tut, tut. I had hoped you would see the flaws in your father’s ways. With the Death Eaters, you could be great. But maybe it is not your father that has influenced you? I have been hearing some pretty rumors, girl. Now tell me, are they true? Have you really captured the heart of the famous Harry Potter?”
He spat his last words like they were cursed. She did not respond. His smile grew even wider.
“It is true then.” It was not a question. “This has the potential of being even more fun than I could have hoped for. Both Weasley and Potter love you. Ha! Crucio!”
The attack had been so sudden, so unexpected that she did not have even the slightest chance of stopping it. The pain hit her, and she fell to the ground, writhing in pain. It seemed to go on forever. When he finally let up, she could hardly move.
“Now, you could die instantly, or you could die slowly and painfully. I prefer the slow and painful death myself. Crucio!”
Again she was hit by the strong curse, this time simply too weak to deflect it. He held it for much longer than he had the last time. When he lifted the curse, she was once again panting on the ground. Lucius Malfoy was examining his fingernails. She backed up on her hands, trying to get as far away from him as possible. Her hand hit something long and slender. It was her wand, which she realized much have dropped when he had hit her with the curse.
“You’re not going to get far, you know,” he said, still looking at his hands.
“Impedimenta!” He went flying back maybe twenty feet or so, landing in a tree. His cloak ripped and he started to fall. The fabric was untangling. The only part of it that didn’t break was his collar. Ginny watched, sickened, as he jerked back toward the tree, where he was caught. His body went limp, and she knew he was dead.
Ginny felt numb. She had never killed anyone before, accidentally or not. She felt sick. Weakened immensely, she collapsed.
It wasn’t long before she felt strong arms pick her limp form up, carrying her away. She recognized their touch.
“Harry, you beat him good?”
“I beat him good,” he laughed roughly in reply.
In the weeks that followed, Ginny learned many accounts of the fight dubbed “The Battle of His Downfall” by the Wizarding World. Besides Michael Corner, thirty-four others had died. Of those thirty-four, only two had been Death Eaters. Although it seemed from these numbers that the Hogwarts Crowd had turned out on the worse side of things, this was not true. They had not been aiming to kill, whereas the Death Eaters had. They were only trying to capture. By the end of the fight, over two hundred Death Eaters had been captured.
Harry defeated Voldemort, as she knew he would. He never shared details of his personal battle with the Dark Sorcerer, and she respected his decision.
Ginny’s friends and family had had a huge impact on the battle. The twins were said to have organized a big group of students that they led against the Death Eaters in strong ranks. Working under their identical generals, the ranks destroyed all Death Eaters in their path. Stories about the twins had flown around the wizarding community.
Neville had defeated Bellatrix Lestrange, but he had to spend a few days in St. Mungos as a result of it. Like Harry, Neville would not speak of his ordeal. Bellatrix had been under tight security ever since.
Besides Voldemort, Harry had fought a second personal enemy. He had captured Wormtail, avenging his parent’s deaths and his godfather’s life. When Wormtail realized that it was Harry who was attacking him, he had turned into his rat animagus form, hoping to flee. Harry chased him right into a mousetrap he had conjured. The trap kept Wormtail from changing back into his human form. Wormtail tried to bite off his own leg, hoping again to escape, but Harry found him and put him in a cage. Rumor had it that Wormtail was now located in an African Zoo, with the instructions that he was never to be let out of his cage.
Hermione, Ginny’s parents, Bill, Charlie, Tonks, Lupin, McGonagall, the teachers, the members of the Order- they had all played a big part in the Battle of His Defeat. Their presence was what really won the Battle and by winning that battle, they had won the war.
One of the most remarkable things about the battle had to do with Ron. Hermione had come up to Harry and Ginny just minutes after the Death Eaters surrendered. She was wringing her hands, and her eyes were darting around wildly.
“Have you seen Ron? I can’t find him anywhere.”
Harry and Ginny exchanged worried glances, and Harry hurried off to help in the search. Ginny was still too weak to even attempt moving.
Ginny learned later that Ron had stumbled out of the forest a half-hour later, bleeding heavily from his head, chest, and shoulder and limping freely. Harry and Hermione had taken him straight to St. Mungos, and then Harry had come back for Ginny. By the time they had returned to the hospital, the Healers had taken Ron away, unconscious.
Ginny remembered everything that followed very well.
Hermione was a wreck, and Harry guided Ginny over to a chair next to her. Weary though she was, Ginny acknowledged her friend.
“What?” asked Hermione tearfully.
“Your ring. You didn’t have it before today. Ron proposed?”
Harry stared at Hermione and Ginny, shocked beyond belief. His two best friends, engaged?
“Oh. Yes. That,” said Hermione shakily. “We’re not ready for marriage, not for a couple of years anyway. It’s more for commitment. Ron gave it to me right before the fight. And now… and now we don’t even know if he’s going to survive it! What am I going to do, Harry?” she broke down, large tears streaming down her cheeks. Harry awkwardly patted her on the back, trying to comfort his friend.
It was hours still before they were allowed to see Ron. By that time, the rest of his family and friends had also arrived. They packed inside his room, where he still laid unconscious. It was another hour before Moody and Kingsley arrived, and the news they carried surprised everyone.
“We went to the part of the woods Ron was in. There was a clearing, and we found this in it. Kingsley held up a gold chain. On the chain was an ancient looking gold ring, with an emerald set in the middle.
Ginny recognized the ring immediately. So did Hermione.
“That’s- That’s my grandmother’s ring!”
Everyone turned to stare at her, shocked.
“It doesn’t fit me, so I wear it around my neck. I gave it to Ron today, as a substitute for his engagement ring!”
Mrs. Weasley gave a small scream, her hand over her mouth. This was quickly followed by a dry sob. They had forgotten to tell her of the engagement.
“This wasn’t the only thing we found in that clearing. The other was Severus Snape.”
The crowd gasped and looked back at Ron with newfound surprise and wonder. Ginny noticed that Harry was looking on thoughtfully.
The story came out slowly, and in pieces, but soon what had occurred between Ron and Snape in the forbidden forest was common knowledge, and Ron was famous because of it. A few days after leaving the hospital, he had come back from Diagon Alley beaming from ear to ear. His happiness seemed to radiate from his person.
“Ginny! Harry! You should’ve seen them, Mate! Lining up to get my autograph! Mine! There was even this one kid who said he wanted to grow up to be just like me!”
He walked away happily, looking for other people to tell his story to. Ginny could swear she heard him humming something that sounded awfully like “Weasley is our King.”
“Fame’s gone to his head a bit,” she observed thoughtfully, watching Harry closely. He laughed.
“Yeah, just a bit.”
“How’re you feeling, Harry?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you defeated one of the most powerful wizards of all time. You must be feeling something.”
“I knew it would have to happen someday. I just hate that I had to kill him. I hate waking up everyday knowing that I’m a murderer.”
“Not really, Harry. He would have killed you and the rest of us if you had not stopped him first. It was more like self-defense.”
“Still, it did not make me feel good, like I once thought it would. I thought that revenge would somehow make my parents’ and Sirius’s death easier to bear. I was wrong though.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” He looked back at her, amazed. “Harry, I’d be worried if you had enjoyed it.”
He grunted. “That is not the only thing you wanted to ask me though, was it?”
“Well, no. I know how badly you wanted to get Snape yourself. Are you mad Ron got there first?”
He considered her for a moment before answering. “No,” he said finally. “I think if you had asked me before I would have said yes, but now that I see the results… I like it better this way. Snape is still captured, is he not? And Ron is truly happy. He has always wanted some fame, and now he has it. Ron was Dumbledore’s student too. He avenged Dumbledore and the school for the students.”
Ginny looked at him admirably. “I love you, Harry James Potter.”
“As I love you, Ginevra Molly Weasley.”
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