Chapter 4 : Fallen Angels
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April 24, 2007
Married life was treating Ginny well. She and Harry had been incredibly happy during the past two years. Harry had gotten several promotions in the auror office, and Ginny was living her childhood dream. She had begun organizing a school for young children. Ginny had always thought that the younger witches and wizards should have somewhere to go before Hogwarts. It was not to be a boarding school, only a day school at which busy parents could drop off their kids. Harry supported her completely, and helped in every way he could.
Today was Saturday, and they both had the day off. They had slept in late, and were now sitting down to an early brunch. They each had steaming mugs of coffee, warm scrambled eggs, and slightly burnt toast in front of them. They were just getting settled and ready to eat when green flames erupted in the empty fireplace, carrying a young head with them. Ginny recognized the face of Ian Flitherprumps, a new trainee under Harry’s command.
“Mr. Potter, sir. So sorry to bother you, sir. Mrs. Potter,” he nodded in greeting.
She smiled back, amused by his behavior. She had always found Ian quite entertaining. He was a good kid, though a bit overenthusiastic.
“Mr. Potter, there’s been an emergency in Diagon Alley. Mrs. Narcissa Malfoy has taken hostages in Gringotts. She refuses to let them go until she sees you.”
Harry sighed, rubbing his temples exhaustedly. “There’s no other way to talk her down?”
“No, sir. She wants to speak to you.”
“Fine. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”
“Hurry, sir. She’s threatening to kill them.”
“Ten, we think. But there could be more. We don’t have any way of really knowing, and she won’t tell us.”
“Thank you, Ian. You may go.”
With a pop, the younger auror disappeared from the fireplace.
“Go, go. They need you. I can wait.”
“It’s fine. I have some stuff I need to get done around the house anyway. Just promise me something.”
“Promise you’ll come home and finish this meal with me. I’ll keep it warm.”
He smiled and leaned down to kiss her.
“Promise me, Harry.”
“I promise. I promise I’ll come home and share this meal, and many more to come,” and with that he stood up, changed into his black auror robes, retrieved his wand, and left the house. He returned a minute later, gave her one last kiss, and left the house again. She could hear a small “pop!” from the garden, and then all was still.
Ginny started clearing the dishes away, storing the food in warming containers. She soon moved onto paperwork for her school… she was behind in the records. After a while had passed, she started to feel queasy and nervous, and her hands were shaking and sweaty. She could feel that something was wrong, but she didn’t know what it was.
“Harry, where are you?” she whispered as she collapsed on a couch. A few minutes later the doorbell rang.
“Ginny! Ginny, it’s me! Open up!” Ron called from outside, where he was banging on the door.
“Come in, it’s open!” she yelled back, her heart sinking in her chest. Something was very, very wrong.
She heard the front door swing open wide and heard his footsteps as he hurried down the hall.
“Hey, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I am just feeling a little ill. Something is wrong Ron, I can feel it. You have got to get Harry. Please, go.”
Ron was shaking his head sadly, watching her with worried eyes.
“Something has happened, hasn’t it? Tell me Ron! Is it Harry? Where is he? Where is Harry?”
“Ginny, it was a setup. Narcissa set him up.”
“What are you talking about, Ron? Is Harry hurt? Is he at St. Mungos?”
“Ginny, he- he- he did not make it. I am so sorry.”
Ginny felt like the floor had fallen from under her. She was falling. The walls were crashing down around her. “Do not say that, Ronald!” she whispered. “Why would you say something so cruel? I hate you! I need to see Harry! Tell him that I am looking for him! Go!”
“Ginny, he is gone. Please, Ginny, believe me. Do not make this harder than it already is. He is gone,” he pleaded.
“Shut up! I don’t believe you!” Tears were streaming down her face, and she felt ready to throw up. Though she was fighting hard not to, part of her was beginning to accept that Ron was telling her the truth. She had felt it. “You must have heard wrong! There has been a misunderstanding! Go get your facts straight Ron! Harry is not dead, he cannot be!”
“Why not, Ginny? He was just a man, after all. He was not immortal. All men die.”
“Harry was, no, is not just a man, Ron! He’s my husband!”
Ron had tears running down his face now too, but they were nothing compared to hers. There was a dull aching in her heart, and she was starting to feel an absence in her life. When you are truly in love with someone, you can feel when something has happened to them. Like a mother knew when her child was hurt, Ginny knew when Harry was hurt. She had felt sick; she had felt him get hurt and she had felt him leave his body. Her husband was dead and though her mind did not want to believe it, her heart knew it.
“Ron, what am I going to do? I cannot live without him. Ron… I need to see him.”
“Ginny, I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
“Now, Ron. I need to see him now. Take me to my husband.” Ginny didn’t know why she needed to see Harry; she just knew that she really did.
“Fine. Come with me. You are too weak to apparate by yourself. Hold on to me.”
She reached out a shaking hand to her brother, and they apparated together. They landed on the steps of Gringotts bank, where a crowd of somber looking witches and wizards had gathered. They stepped back when they saw Ginny, and formed a path toward the doors of the intimidating bank. Ron helped her towards the entrance, where the doors were pulled open for them. She took another shaky breath and stepped forward.
The lobby was a mess. The ceiling had caved in several spots from misplaced spells. Dust covered the floors, and any statues that had once stood in the hall were now in pieces. Craters covered the floor, and pictures hung ruined from the wall. It was truly the location of a battle.
Ginny’s eyes caught on a dark form at the end of the room. A lump caught in her throat as she tried not to cry out. She collapsed, but Ron caught her just before she hit the floor. With a lot of support from him, she made her way over to the shapeless form. She laid herself across his body, trying to shield him from the danger that had already befallen him. “Harry,” she moaned softly to him. Her love had fallen at last. Her fallen angel.
A shriek of victory at the end of the hall startled her from her grief. Unfolding herself from Harry’s body and turning, she saw Narcissa Malfoy staring at her. The woman was dirty and a wreck: she clearly hadn’t been taking care of herself. She looked maddening.
“What is she still doing her?” Ron roared.
“You wrecked my family!” Narcissa shouted, pointing a shaking finger at Ginny. “You ruined us! You killed my husband and sent my only son to jail! Now you will feel what I feel; now you will live what I have to live! You brought this upon yourself! I killed your husband, as you killed mine! It is your fault, and you will never forget it! You ruined everything! My family! You ruined us!”
A still hysterical Narcissa Malfoy was led away by no fewer than ten aurors. Ginny turned back to Harry’s broken and defeated body, and collapsed again by his side.
“Harry. Harry, I am so sorry. Please, Harry. Come back to me. You promised, Harry! You promised you would return to me! Please!” she sobbed over him, wishing with all her might that he would return. “Please.”
“Ginny, it is no use. Come on, we need to get you out of here.”
“She is wrong, Ron. I didn’t ruin her family, Voldemort did.”
“I know, Ginny, I know.”
“But she didn’t. If she had known, she would not have killed him. I would still have him. Why, Ron? Why are people still suffering from ignorance?”
“I don’t have an answer for you. C’mon, let’s go to mum’s.”
“We can’t leave him here all alone, Ron!”
“He is not here anymore, Ginny! That is just his body! Please, why can’t you see that? This is hard enough as it is!”
“I know, Ron. I am sorry,” she cried. “He just can’t be gone. Please, he can’t be. He promised to come home. He promised! Our breakfast is at home, still waiting for him. Our home! We have made a life together, and it is gone in one moment because of one disillusioned woman! It is just so wrong!”
“Harry used to tell me that ‘death is but the next great adventure’. He said it is something Dumbledore once told him. He is on his next adventure. You know him, he is always looking for adventure.”
“He is supposed to be adventuring with me, Ron! We’re supposed to have kids, start a family! How could you say that?”
“I am sorry, Gin.”
“I know. I have got to get out of here. I cannot do this. You cannot expect me sit back and watch them bury my husband, to live life without him. I’m leaving. I am- I am going with him.” And with that, she disapparated. She could hear Ron shout her name right before she disappeared.
She reappeared in the middle of a distant wood. She knew exactly where she was headed though, for she had been there many times before. She ran barefoot over the hard ground- she must have lost her shoes while running. She skidded to a stop, panting, at the end of a cliff. This was where Harry had proposed, on that cold winter night three years ago.
She stood at the end, studying the waves below. The reached up to reach her, calling her to them. Stormy clouds rolled ahead, threatening rain, and thunder sounded in the distance. Lightning flashed from the clouds and into the seas. She smiled, insane with grief. To think that it had been a perfect sunny morning only hours before!
Her white flowing dress blew around her, and her hair was whipped by the wind. She stood there for a moment, mentally preparing herself for what she was about to do.
“I am coming Harry.” She jumped, flying through the air freely. The rocks were coming closer and closer. She would see her husband again soon. She felt so peaceful.
She closed her eyes, bracing for the impact. It never came. Ginny felt herself being lifted gently upward. At first she struggled, trying desperately to escape. She gave up though, allowing herself to be carried back to the cliff.
Hermione stood there, pointing her wand at her and smiling grimly. Her eyes were red and her face blotchy- she had been crying too.
Ginny floated towards her, and landed in a heap by her side, sobbing silently.
“I thought I would find you here,” said Hermione sadly. “I was almost too late though.”
“How did you know?” Ginny asked in a teary whisper. Only she and Harry knew about this place, and neither of them had told any of their friends. It was too personal, too sacred.
“Harry told me,” Hermione replied. Ginny stared back at her. Harry would not have told her. Would he? “I received this a little while ago,” she explained, handing Ginny a white piece of parchment. Ginny opened it with shaking fingers, and read what was written inside.
If you are reading this then I have truly left this world behind. Thank you for making my life what it was. You and Ron truly saved me.
Please send Ron my farewell and best wishes. He was truly a best friend, and even more of a brother.
My real reasons for writing are formed by the anxiety I am feeling over Ginny’s reaction to my death. I need to ask one last thing of you, Hermione. I need you to find her. Comfort her. Keep her safe.
If you cannot find her, then my worst fears are confirmed. If this is true, please follow my directions right away. They are on the back of this piece of parchment.
Oh, and Hermione? When you do find her, can you give her the enclosed envelope? Thank you, Hermione. Give everyone my love.
With much love, your friend, Harry Potter.
Ginny felt the tears streaming down her face as she traced his handwriting with her finger. She next reached for the small envelope that had come with it. It had her name written on it. She opened it carefully, trying not to rip the invaluable paper that had once been touched by her husband. With trembling fingers, she pulled from it a small piece of parchment.
If you are reading this, than Hermione has found you and I am indeed dead. I am sorry that we could not spend more time together in this lifetime. I love you as I have loved no other. You mean everything to me, and a world without you would mean nothing to me.
Although I feel like a hypocrite for telling you this, I know I must. I need you to keep on living Ginny. Please, live out your life. I know I could never live without you, but I must ask you to live without me. There is nothing you can do, I am dead and that is the way things are. You do not have to be dead because I am. Live Ginny.
I love you; I hope you’ll always know that. But I want you to move on. I want you to find someone else and be happy. You are such a beautiful person; I love you so much. I want nothing more for you to live and be happy. But if what I have said thus far has not convinced you, I have another reason that you need to keep living, Ginny. You are pregnant.
I love you with all of my heart and all of my soul, and I will be waiting for you in this next great adventure. Love, Harry
P.S. Trust me. You are having our baby. Healer Bishold wrote us this morning with the results of your check up last week. I plan on telling you tonight, but if something should happen to me today I would still like you to hear the news from me. This baby needs you now, my sweet angel. I am sorry that I will not be there to help. I love you! I love our child too, even though we never had the chance to meet. Please tell our baby that. Tell him or her that I always loved you, my family. Goodbye Ginny.
Ginny folded the letter back up carefully, and returned it to its envelope. She was breathing with small gasps now, trying to breathe through the pain in her heart. The tears had not stopped. She had never cried this much in her life. It just was not her way.
As much as Harry’s letter had hurt to read, it had also given her something new to think about. Was she really pregnant? Could she really be carrying Harry’s only child, the only child left to continue the Potter line? The last of the Potters?
The thought seemed to ease her pain a little. Harry would live on in his child, and Ginny would give it all her love. She would see to it that the baby would be happy and loved, and she would tell it all of her memories of its father. The dream comforted her.
“C’mon, Hermione. Let’s go to St. Mungos. I think I am pregnant.”
Back in the living room of the old woman’s house, the light of the fire flickered against the walls. The sun had long ago set, and the mood of the room was drowsy and calm. Realizing that her grandmother was finished, one of the older children cleared her throat and asked a question.
“And Grandpa Harry was right, wasn’t he, Grandma? You were pregnant!” she shrieked with delight.
“That’s right,” the woman laughed.
“Except he was wrong too! You didn’t have a baby; you had two babies!”
“That’s also right, sweetie. I gave birth to two beautiful children.” Then, as if in an afterthought she quietly added “Lily and James. They saved my life. Without them, I would have been lost.”
The woman and her grandchildren sat in silence for a few minutes more. The warmth from the fireplace was comforting, but the warmth from the happiness and love between them was even more protective. Wind blew at the walls and windows from outside, but it didn't affect them.
“Listen children, it is far past your bedtime. Why don’t you go up to your bedrooms and I’ll come tuck you in? You little ones are falling asleep right where you sit!”
The children got up, one by one, and slowly started up the stairs. Soon only the redheaded girl remained.
“You really loved him, didn’t you, Grandma?”
“Yes, I did.”
“I hope I will fall in love like that some day. It is so romantic!”
The old woman laughed again. “You have a while yet.”
“I wish I could have met Grandpa Harry.”
“I wish you could have too.”
The girl thought for another minute before asking her question. “Did Grandpa Harry really promise to return to you?”
“Well, I am sure he really tried, Grandma. He would have definitely returned to you if that woman didn’t kill him.”
“Grandpa Harry doesn’t make promises he cannot keep, Sweetie. He’ll come back for me, don’t you worry. Now get up to bed, and dream sweet dreams. I will be up in a moment.”
The girl looked back at her grandmother, puzzled by the statement, and then walked up the ancient stairs. The old woman stayed in her chair for another minute, staring deeply into the fire, lost in her thoughts. After a few minutes, she too went up stairs. She kissed each of her grandchildren good night, and got into her own bed.
That night, she dreamt of Harry Potter.
Lily Potter-Longbottom, Craig Longbottom, James Potter and Jasmine Potter stood on the front stoop of Lily and James’s mother’s house. Ginevra Weasley had lived there for over fifty years. She had not left since her husband died in the year 2007.
After about two minutes of knocking, a very sleepy girl with large green eyes opened the door.
“Mummy!” she shouted happily, embracing Lily. As mother and daughter reunited, her uncle asked her a question.
“Honey, where is Grandma?”
“She’s still asleep, Uncle James,” said the girl seriously.
James looked worriedly at his wife, sister and brother-in-law. It wasn’t like his mother to sleep late when she had the children. She was usually up at dawn, cooking some elaborate meal or preparing for a day of fun and games.
“I am going to go check on her,” he whispered to the others. James walked up the stairs slowly, almost knowing what he was going to find at the top of them. He entered his mother’s room, and walked over to her bed. He could tell just by looking at her that she was no longer living. Even in death, she was beautiful. Her pale skin made her graying red hair more vibrant than ever. She was smiling slightly, as though in a happy dream. In her hand, she clutched a yellowing letter. He recognized it as the one his father had written to her so many years before.
James shook his head sadly and tucked the sheets in around her. His mother had lived a hard life. She deserved this eternal peace.
He walked back downstairs to where the adults were waiting for him. He told them about his mother in a hurried, hushed conversation. Then he called the kids over to him, and told them to sit down.
“Hey guys. I have some bad news.”
“Did something happen to Grandma?” one of the smaller children wondered out loud, scared for his Grandmother.
“Kids, your Grandmother passed away last night.”
His statement was met by a stunned silence. Some of the children had tears in their eyes, but none of them openly cried.
“Are you guys okay?” asked Jasmine softly.
The older redheaded girl stepped forward. “Grandma told us last night about the promise Grandpa Harry gave her the day he died. Grandma said that he would keep it, and he really did. He finally came back for her.”
The adults looked at each other, each at a loss for words.