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Chapter 31 : Chapter 31: And A Funeral
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“Morning dear.” Mrs. Weasley said brightly. Ginny yawned and fell heavily into an open seat and Harry sat down next to her. “You two are up early.” She commented before spooning porridge into a bowl for each of them.
Ginny glared at him but Harry just shrugged. “I couldn’t sleep.”
“You hardly ever sleep, Harry.” Ginny whined and then yawned again.
“I know but… something just doesn’t feel right to me.” He shut his mouth. It sounded stupid to say it out loud.
“What do you mean Harry?” Remus asked in concern.
“I don’t know. I just have this feeling that something is going to go wrong today.” Harry looked over at the fireplace as an owl came through. Because of security, the owls needed to enter through the fireplaces. It was not safe to have the windows open. The owl landed next to Mr. Weasley who removed the Daily Prophet before paying it and the delivery owl flew out again.
Harry watched Mr. Weasley unroll the paper and start to read the front page. “Ah. Maybe this is what you were thinking about Harry.” He passed the paper over.
Harry read the headline allowed and then the attached article. “HARRY POTTER MARRIED! It has come to our attention that Mr. Potter, age seventeen has married Ginevra Weasley, age sixteen, in a private ceremony last month. Mr. Potter has been unavailable for comment but sources close to him have been quoted as saying ‘They love each other despite everything.’ Let us hope that Mr. Potter has truly found love with the very young Ginevra.”
“Oh! Did they have to call me Ginevra?” Ginny whined as she snatched the paper from him. “And what’s this ‘very young Ginevra’? I’m almost of age!” Her look of indignation turned to incredulity before she dissolved into laughter. “You didn’t finish reading! Listen to this: We interviewed Potter’s former girlfriend, Lisa Turpin, who was quoted as saying ‘Ginny Weasley has been after Harry since she was a little girl. She was quite nasty to me when I was dating Harry and she turned him against me! I think she has used a love potion to snare him!’” Ginny turned to Harry. “What do you think Harry, did I sabotage your relationship with her?”
Harry laughed. “You didn’t have to. She did that all by herself when she made it clear she wanted the fame more than she wanted me.”
“So does that mean Ginny got you with a love potion?” Bill asked. Harry looked over at the rest of the table and saw that everyone was trying not to laugh.
“I doubt there is a love potion that could control me.” Harry said with a shrug.
Ron and Hermione walked in together and took a seat. “Good morning.” They said together.
“Ah now all of the lovers are up.” Fred sung while placing a hand on his heart.
George opened his mouth to continue to take the mickey out of them but he winced and looked over at Fleur who was seated next to him. She raised one perfectly arched eyebrow and cocked head to the side, just staring at him. George grinned at her and winked. “Yes, good morning one and all.”
Tyler stirred in his pram so Bill picked him up and gave him a kiss. “Hello son.” Tyler smiled and waved his fists widely. “Ginny and Harry have made the front page of the Daily Prophet.” He told Ron and Hermione.
“Really?” Hermione asked before reaching for the paper. “Honestly! Do they not have anything better to write about? Oh my… that quote from Lisa.” Ron read occasionally over her shoulder but he seemed more focused on breakfast. “This is beyond ridiculous. OH!” She looked over at the fireplace as several owls shot into the room. Two owls landed in front of Hermione, two in front of Ron, one for Ginny and two for Harry. Harry untied the letters and the birds took off back out the chimney along with the other owls. He examined the seals and noticed that one was a thick envelope from Hogwarts and the other was an official looking letter from the Ministry. He opened the Ministry one first and saw that it was his NEWT results. He scanned it quickly and saw that he had an O (Outstanding) in every subject except the practical in Divination. His mark in that subject was a D (Dreadful). He laughed at that before turning to the letter from Hogwarts and found that it was his official job offer for DADA.
“I passed potions!” Ron yelled before he grabbed Hermione.
“I’m really proud of you Ron!” She told him and then they kissed.
Harry looked over at Ginny who had opened her Hogwarts letter and was scanning it quickly. “I’m going to need a few new books and some potions ingredients.” She told Harry.
“That’s fine love.” He told her before kissing her cheek.
“Well?” Mrs. Weasley interrupted them impatiently.
“Well what Mum?” Ginny asked.
“Are you Head Girl?”
“Of course I’m not Head Girl.” Ginny said with a smile and Harry heard the twins cheer.
“Knew you could do it Ginny!” George bellowed.
Fred wiped invisible tears from his eyes. “Proudest moment of our lives.” He turned and glared at Ron and then Bill. “Unlike some other prats!”
“Hey!” They both yelled together.
“That’s enough!” Mrs. Weasley shouted above the argument and Tyler giggled.
“Mum,” Ginny said pleadingly. “Professor Dumbledore did ask if I wanted to be Head Girl but because of everything else that is going on, I declined.” The twins groaned. “I really did not want it.”
“Well then I suppose that’s all right then.” She told her daughter.
“Ginny! How could you become Head Girl?” Fred complained.
“We thought you were better than that!” George glared at her.
“I happen to have the highest marks in my year so it was bound to go to me.” Ginny explained to them. “I did turn it down and that should count for something.”
The two looked at each other before turning back to her and speaking together. “All right then. We won’t disown you.”
Everyone laughed but Mrs. Weasley who glared at her sons. “What were your NEWT results?” She asked Harry, Ron and Hermione.
“O’s in everything.” Hermione said with a grin.
“I got O’s in the important things and P’s (Poor) in Divination and History of Magic.” Ron told his mother.
“O’s in everything but a D in practical Divination.” Harry told her.
“That’s wonderful.” Remus commented.
“Yes we are all proud of you.” Mr. Weasley added. “Are the other letters your job offers from the Ministry?” He asked Ron and Hermione.
“Yes. We are supposed to go in today and sign some stuff.” Ron told his father as he looked over the parchment.
“What will you be doing at the Ministry?” Fleur asked them.
“Auror.” Ron said.
“I’m going to be an Unspeakable.” Hermione told her. “It will be fascinating.”
“Well you had best be off to get ready then.” Mrs. Weasley told them and they got up and left to dress.
“Yes we all need to be off.” Mr. Weasley said before he picked up his worn traveling cloak and putting it on.
“Bye Tyler, I love you.” Bill told his son as he kissed the top of his head.
Fleur took her son. “Au revoir mon petit amour.” (Good-bye my little love). “J’taime.” (I love you). She kissed him and cuddled him for several moments before handing him over to Ginny. She looked longingly at her son before she kissed him again and turned to leave with Bill. The twins, Remus and Pru were following them out with a farewell.
“He’ll be fine.” Ginny reassured her sister-in-law. “Well it’s just us today my little love.” She told him as she rocked him but he started to whimper. “Oh I know I’m not as good as your Mum.” Harry watched as Tyler started to nuzzle at Ginny’s chest. “Oh is that your problem?”
Mrs. Weasley laughed. “I’ll get the bottle warming.”
“What is he doing?” Harry asked.
“He’s trying to nurse. That is how babies let their Mum’s know that they are hungry.” Ginny explained. Tyler was still trying to bury his face into her. Ginny sat down next to Harry and took the bottle from her mother to feed him.
“I need to head to Diagon Alley this morning for a bit of shopping. Do you want me to take Tyler with me?” Mrs. Weasley asked them.
“We’ll watch him Mum.” Ginny reassured her.
Harry’s feeling of unease returned. “Do you want me to go do the shopping for you?”
“No thank you, Harry. I will be fine in Diagon Alley.” She told him before she placed a hand tenderly on his cheek. “Don’t worry, I’ll be back by lunch.”
Three hours later Harry and Ginny were feeding Tyler in the kitchen. “When do you suppose Mum will be back?” Ginny asked him.
Harry looked over at the family clock. Most of the hands were pointed towards ‘work’ but Mrs. Weasley’s was still on ‘shopping’. He had kept Ginny in the kitchen most of the morning so that he could keep an eye on the clock. His feeling of unease had turned to a gnawing sense of dread that he could not shake.
Ginny placed a hand on his arm. “If you are that concerned then go and check on her!”
“What if it’s nothing?” He asked.
“What if it’s something?” She retorted. “Tyler and I will be fine! Why don’t you go? You are starting to worry me and I would feel better if you go check on her.” She grinned cheekily at him. “If nothing is wrong then you can still carry her parcels around as she drags you from shop to shop.”
Harry gave her a small smile. “You are right. I’ll just go and find her.” He got up and kissed her. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
He leaned down and kissed Tyler’s chubby cheek. “I’ll be back soon.”
She nodded. “Make sure that you are.”
Harry Apparated to the back room of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and opened to door of the store. “Harry!” Fred exclaimed as he walked into the main part of the shop.
“What can we do for you?” George asked as he rung up a sale for a customer.
“I’m going to find your Mum. I can’t shake this bad feeling.” Harry told them sheepishly.
“Ah.” Fred mused sagely. “You were driving Ginny batty so she kicked you out.”
“Happens to the best of us.” George assured him.
“Yes, she told me to leave.” Harry said distractedly as the feeling of dread turned to alarm. Something was definitely not right. “Fred, George, I mean it. Something is not right!”
The twins looked at him closely. “Okay Harry, we believe you. We’ll close up the shop and help you look for Mum.”
George moved to close the cash register and Fred moved to the back room. When he came back Harry saw that his pockets were bulging with blue spheres. He handed about twenty to Fred before handing several to Harry. “Smoke bombs.” He explained. “Throw them on the ground and it will blind everyone for about a minute. Nothing can dissipate it but time.”
“Right.” Harry took them and put them in his pockets. He was glad that they were taking him seriously. Fred placed several charms on the door to their shop and they took off quickly down the street. There shop was located at the far end of Diagon Alley, across from Ollivander’s.
With every step Harry felt his stomach become heavier. Where was she? Had she said where she was going to go? Harry thought but could not remember. They passed Gringotts and check Flourish & Blott’s before heading down to the apothecary. Harry walked in and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw her haggling with the shop owner over the price of ginger root. “Harry, Fred, George! What are you three doing here?”
Harry looked down at his feet. “I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong so Ginny made me come to look for you.”
“I’m fine Harry, I promise!” She exclaimed. “But I appreciate your concern.”
Harry looked up at her. “She told me that I should carry your purchases around for you.”
Mrs. Weasley laughed. “I give in. Here.” She handed him a small sack and she paid for the ginger root. “I’m done. We can head over to Florean Fortescue’s for some ice cream.”
“Excellent!” Fred and George told her.
They walked down to the ice cream parlor that was across the street from Gringotts. Harry was still feeling uncomfortable but now that he had his family with him he felt better. They ordered ice cream and sat down. Harry faced the street and looked around. There were about fifteen children of varying ages eating at the other tables but only two adults. The street had people milling about doing their shopping. He knew that he should not be worried because the Death Eaters would probably not attack Diagon Alley. It was too large to do a lot of damage. Their tactics had been consistently midnight raids on families except for their assaults on Hogsmeade.
“You okay mate?” George asked Harry but he ignored his brother-in-law. He had just felt something. He looked around for the source but… DAMN!
“Anti-Disapparition Wards!” He hissed.
“What?” The three others shouted looking at him as if he were crazy.
Harry looked around and saw all of the children. They were going to be killed if… “Mum!” Harry turned to Mrs. Weasley. “We are about to be attacked. Get all the children in the shop and I’m going to lock you in.”
She looked at him for a long moment before nodding. She stood up and turned to all the children. “Attention. I need everyone inside quickly!” She ordered. They all stared at her but did not move.
Harry’s anxiety and frustration burst through. “NOW!” He shouted at them as he stood up. They all looked at him and he saw the two adults look at him in recognition and they began to herd the kids in.
“Damnit!” Harry yelled and turned around to see that Gringotts was under attack. “Fred, George, GO!” He pushed the last stragglers into the shop before placing several shields and wards on the ice cream parlor as quickly as he could. When they were in place, he spun and ran towards the wizard bank. Death Eaters were everywhere shooting spells at shoppers. Harry saw several fall to Avada Kedavra and his feeling of dread intensified. Harry started to shoot spells rapidly at the black-cloaked figures. He shot Freezious at several, freezing them instantly. One was hit by a stray curse and he fell and shattered. He stunned others and removed wands before turning their clothes into a portkey to Azkaban. He saw George dueling with a Death Eater off to his left and he was holding his own. George’s face was twisted in concentration and fury. Harry didn’t see Fred anywhere but knew that he was probably in the bank trying to help. He made his way up to the bank and entered to find the room completely filled with blinding smoke. Fred had to be here. Harry walked cautiously in and found to his immense relief that he was able to pick out shapes moving through. He stunned two more Death Eaters and sent them off as he had the others. He turned and saw a man carrying a petit woman.
“Bill?” Harry called quietly.
“Harry!” Bill called in a choked voice. “We can’t leave and Fleur is…”
Harry ran towards his brother-in-law and saw Fleur in his arms. She was covered in blood and was deathly pale. Harry grabbed a stone from the ground. “Portus.” He handed it to Bill. “This will take you to St. Mungo’s.”
Bill nodded and Harry saw the terror and tears in his eyes. “Thanks.” He said before he was gone.
Harry kept searching the bank and found several more employees but no other Death Eaters. He sent the injured to St. Mungo’s and then ran out to continue to help. He entered the street and saw about fifteen Death Eaters at the far end of the street coming towards him and shooting spells at building or anyone who had not taken shelter. Harry went down to move towards them when something stopped him. He looked at a woman lying in the street. He saw her vacant eyes were open wide. He looked just beyond her and saw a bedraggled toddler kneeling next to the woman and crying and Harry felt his heart stopped. As he stared at the small child a green light shot passed the little girl, hitting right over her head. “NO!” Harry screamed and ran towards the girl. He grabbed her in his arms and Apparated back to the kitchen at Grimmauld Place. He looked over and saw Ginny sitting at the table staring at the clock, sobbing. Tyler was sleeping next to her in the pram.
“HARRY!” She jumped and ran to him.
Before she could embrace him he handed the child to her. “I need to go back Ginny!” He Disapparated back to Diagon Alley to continue the fight.
He looked over to where the Death Eaters had been and saw that they were gone. He turned and saw about fifty Aurors checking through all the stores.
“Harry!” Harry turned and saw Fred and George running towards him. “They fled right after you left with that baby. You destroyed the Anti-Disapparition wards when you Apparated out of here which allowed the Auror to get in.” Fred explained.
“You need to come let Mum out. We can’t break what you did.” George told him with a grin.
Harry let out a breath at the turn of events. It had only been a few seconds and then he remembered. “Fleur is hurt… she might be...” He couldn’t say it. She had become his beautiful and giving sister-in-law and he could say out loud that she was dead.
Their faces fell into an expression of horror and anguish. “Where?”
“I sent Bill with her to St. Mungo’s.” Harry told them as he walked quickly to the ice cream shop. He took off the wards and opened the door. Mrs. Weasley and three other adults stood in front of him with their wands drawn. Harry looked at his surrogate mother. “Mum… it’s Fleur. You need to get to St. Mungo’s.”
She brought her hands to her mouth and tears filled her eyes. “Can I Apparate?” She asked shakily. Harry nodded and she disappeared with a pop.
“The rest of you follow me.” Harry told the group and he escorted them to a Ministry official he had seen moments before. Several worried parents ran up and grabbed their children into hugs before leading them away. Harry had the parentless kids give their names to the official whom Harry learned was the head of Family Affairs for the Ministry.
“Name’s Bruce Lansing.” He introduced himself quickly to Harry. He was a short, thin man with thinning brown hair. Once he had all of the other children’s names he checked it with another list. “Let’s see, four of you have parents who were sent to St. Mungo’s. You two,” he pointed to the last two children. “Your mum’s the Healer right?” They nodded. “She is helping patch some of the wounded up. You’ll stay with me until she is done and then she will fetch you.” Their faces broke into grins. “Go sit by that wall and don’t move.” He ordered and they did as they were told.
“I’m ready to take the children to St. Mungo’s now.” A tall man with glasses told Lansing.
“Right, off you go then.” Lansing told the other four.
The other man held out a piece of parchment. “It’s a portkey. Put a finger on it.” They did and in a moment they were gone.
“Mr. Lansing, I found a baby next to her dead mother. A Death Eater fired a curse at her so I Apparated her to my home and gave her over to my wife.” Harry explained.
Lansing studied him for a moment. “The woman who was near Gringotts? She has brown hair and was wearing blue robes?”
Harry thought back and remembered that the woman did look like that. “Yes that was what she looked like.”
“Yes, we noted that her daughter was missing. The woman’s name was Mary Cannon and she was a widow. I’m glad that the girl is safe… I’ll call off the search for the child, Nicole is her name.” He signaled to an Auror and spoke to him for several moments.
“Harry, we’re going to go to St. Mungo’s while you sort this out.” Fred told him.
“One of you go home first and tell Ginny what is going on.” Harry told them.
“Right. I’ll go.” George assured him and with two pops they were gone.
Lansing came back to him. “If you want to bring the child to the Ministry then we will get her to the orphanage.”
“Orphanage?” Harry asked horrified. “I didn’t know that Wizards had an orphanage.”
“We don’t. It’s a muggle orphanage we have made arrangements with. She’ll be the first child to go there.” Mr. Lansing informed him as he looked over his list again.
Images of Tom Riddle flashed into his mind and how much he hated the orphanage he had lived at. “Doesn’t she have any other family?”
“Not that we know of. We will do a search of course, but it will take time.”
Resolve hardened in Harry’s gut. “My wife and I will look after her until you locate family.” He was not going to let any child go to an orphanage if he could help it. Every child deserved loving parents.
“Mr. Potter,” the man stated wearily. “Are you fully prepared to take on the responsibility of raising a child for several weeks?”
“Yes.” Harry said firmly. He wanted to get out of here and go back to Ginny. He knew she was by herself and she probably knew that Fleur was… he stopped his train of thought. Could they take on a child when his sister-in-law might be… STOP! He told himself to stop thinking like that before he knew for sure… but in his heart he knew already. Should he bring Nicole into that? Harry decided that the one did not really affect the other. That baby should not go to live in an institution like his Aunt Marge had threatened him with several times. Harry took a deep breath. “My in-laws live with me. I have a large family. They would all help out.” He told the man.
The older man sighed in resignation. “Very well. I can’t say that I relished sending her off to live with muggles. I’ll be in touch when I hear something about her family.”
Harry nodded and Disapparated back home to the kitchen. Ginny was sitting at the table with Nicole and giving her some little bits of food that the little girl was picking up carefully with her small fingers. Ginny had obviously cleaned her up and Harry could now see the small, pale child’s face clearly. She had large brown eyes that were the same color as her dark chestnut hair. Ginny looked over at him and breathed a sigh of relief. Harry saw that her eyes were red but she was no longer crying.
“Fleur?” She asked as she walked over to him and into his arms. With trepidation Harry looked over at the clock and saw that her hand was no longer on the clock and he felt a sob come to his throat. She really was dead.
“Gringotts was attacked.” Harry told her as he felt tears slip down his cheeks. “I found Bill carrying her and sent them out by portkey to St. Mungo’s.”
He felt Ginny nod. “George told me a few things then Dad checked in here before he went to St. Mungo’s. I think that’s where Ron and Hermione are as well.” She gave in and started to cry again. “I’ve been so worried and you were right this morning but we didn’t listen. If you wouldn’t have gone more people would have been killed.”
“I wish I hadn’t been right.” Harry told her. He was relieved that he had gone but felt the grief that he had not save all of his family. He heard a noise and looked down to see that Nicole was standing next to him with her stretch up towards him, her small face was full of fear. He let go of Ginny and picked the little girl up. She rested her head against his shoulder and stuck a finger in her mouth. Harry kissed the top of her head and hugged her.
“What are we going to do with her? Who is she?” Ginny asked.
Harry explained how he had found the girl and the conversation that he had had with Bruce Lansing. “I couldn’t let them send her to an orphanage… I know we have so much going on here but I just couldn’t.” He gazed imploringly into his wife’s eyes.
Her brown eyes showed understanding and she put her arms around him. “I know love. I know you couldn’t and I am fine with it. She needs someone. It will be tough with the family, without Fleur.” She sobbed again and brought a shaking hand up to wipe her tears. “We’ll manage. We have to manage.”
“I love you.” He said as he kissed the crown of her head.
“I love you too.”
“Do you want to go to St. Mungo’s and be with everyone? I’ll stay here with them.” Harry told her gently.
“No, I’ll stay. This is where I am needed more.” Ginny turned at the sound of a small cry. She let out another sob as she moved over to Tyler to pick him up. He quieted instantly as she rocked him and he fell back to sleep. “He’s lost his Mum.” She whispered as she looked at Harry. The tears were flowing freely down her cheeks.
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