Chapter 16 : Saying Good-Bye
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Hannah stared ahead of her. She wanted to cry, but couldn’t. Her eyes felt too grainy. Her dad put his hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her. She drew in a shaky breath. Her father’s kindness wasn’t helping her control. She closed her eyes, trying to force herself back into some slight semblance of calm, one shaky breath after shaky breath. She turned her attention to the single casket in front of them.
She couldn’t believe they were gone. It wasn’t fair. They were made for each other, so why didn’t they get a chance to live their lives? She had never seen Harry happier than when he was with Ginny. She gave a mirthless laugh. It had taken him long enough to figure out that Ginny was meant for him. Most of the girls had already given up this past year, at least all except for a few. Even in Hufflepuff, they had heard how Harry and Ginny began dating - in front of the entire Gryffindor house in their common room after having won the Quidditch Cup.
Her behavior towards Harry kept hitting her in the face. How could she have let Ernie talk her into believing that Harry was the Heir of Slytherin! He hadn’t protested, but it had to have been more than a little bit of coincidence that he was near those who were Petrified. Then to find out that Harry had heard the Basilisk and had been trying to find out where it was, especially after Hermione had been Petrified. How had he found the Chamber of Secrets? He hadn’t explained that part. Only that he had killed the Basilisk and rescued Ginny.
Then there was their fourth year. Her cheeks flamed in embarrassment. Those stupid badges, why had she decided to wear one? Hadn’t she watched several other under-aged students try to cross the age line that Professor Dumbledore had set around the Goblet? Hadn’t she watched each one grow old and have to go to Madam Pomfrey to be cured? She had seen Harry’s face when Professor Dumbledore had called out his name. He had been terrified.
She had overheard him talking with Hermione about not wanting to enter the Tournament. That he had been looking forward to watching it with everyone else. Why had she worn that stupid badge? Especially since he had risked his life to bring Cedric back and warned everyone that You-Know-Who was back.
She listened into a conversation that the Fat Friar had with Nearly Headless Nick. What hadn’t been said, until he told them their fifth year, was that he watched You-Know-Who regain his body and dueled with him. How had he managed to survive then?
She ducked her head again, forcing herself to take another deep breath. She looked over where the Weasleys and Hermione were sitting. Their Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher from their third year sat with them next to a lady with raven-black hair. Even from this distance, she could tell that Mrs. Weasley wasn’t doing well. It was also easy to see that neither Ron nor Hermione were doing well either. Hermione was leaning into Ron, her shoulders shaking. Ron was patting her back awkwardly. She shook her head with a small, sad smile. When would they realize they were perfect for each other?
She was surprised that Percy wasn’t sitting with his family. She had heard rumors that he had a falling out with them, though she couldn’t ever figure out exactly why. She started looking for him, but stopped when her neck began tingling. Someone was watching her.
When she looked back, she saw Neville paying attention to the people behind him. Whatever they were saying, it didn’t seem to be nice, given the grimace on his face. It was also very easy to see that he was upset. She sighed sadly. Today had to be more than a little difficult for him. He was, or had been, mates with Harry. He probably had been closer to him than anyone else in their year or the school, saving Ron and Hermione, of course, and Ginny.
She glanced at her father sitting to her right, “Dad?”
“It’s alright to cry, if you need to.” Her father nodded slightly towards the casket. “After all, you did know them.”
“I would like to think we were friends, even though we didn’t talk very much. He taught me so much…” Hannah shook her head, not wanting to reveal exactly how much Harry had risked teaching them their fifth year. She didn’t know if that Jinx was still good and she didn’t want to wind up like Marietta Edgecombe.
“I’m sure he did,” her father gasped. “What in the name of all that is… what is she thinking? And him, he should know better that that! Wearing that… that…”
Hannah looked in the direction her father was staring and rolled her eyes. She couldn’t help but notice Luna and her father in their rather vivid fuchsia robes. “I’m sure Harry and Ginny wouldn’t mind, Dad.”
“It’s still not right!” her father protested. “Not for a funeral!”
Hannah shrugged. This past year, she had seen many of her friends and fellow students grieve for their lost ones and watched those who refused to admit they were gone. She grieved for those people especially. It was as if the only way they could live was to deny others had died.
Her mother had been killed almost a year ago. She had been at school when Death Eaters attacked and killed her. She had been in Herbology class when the news came. Her father had picked her up for the funeral and she hadn’t returned to Hogwarts for the rest of the year. She had wanted to come back, but her father couldn’t even think about not being able to see she was safe.
She had read in the Evening Prophet near the middle of June that Professor Dumbledore had been killed. Her father had brought her to his funeral, but they sat in the back and she didn’t have a chance to talk to any of her friends. Her father had whisked them away almost directly after. She remembered seeing Minister Scrimgeour starting to speak to Harry who looked downright mutinous.
She had been surprised when Neville had sent her a letter telling her what had happened to Professor Dumbledore. She still had that note hidden in her trunk with a precious few other notes. She had taken the chance to write back to Neville, first asking about news on her friends and what had been happening at school. The news she got back had been bleak. She could tell it had been difficult to write. Ink splotches and water splotches dotted the parchments.
Yet there still seemed to be something she was missing, something important, even though she didn’t know what it was. She paused to consider. It felt more like something had been left unfinished or incomplete. She looked to the ground. It didn’t make sense, not at all. She shivered as a crow began cawing in its grating tones.
Luna sat next to her father who was taking notes about who had come and possible reasons. She held a small notebook to write down her own thoughts concerning the funeral, but after a few such notes, she turned to watching the people instead.
She found the Weasleys rather easily and noticed that Hermione sat with them as well as two other women and a man that looked remarkably like one of their former Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. She also noticed that Percy was sitting with Minister Scrimgeour and Professor Umbridge instead of his family. Her quill rested near that note as if assuring herself that she had captured it. Given the reason they were here, it was more than a little rude that Percy didn’t sit with his family, however, it could explain why Minister Scrimgeour looked more than a little pleased with himself, though that could also be caused by Blibbering Humdinger.
She tapped her chin with her quill as she considered Percy. She knew that Penelope often found time to be with him while they were in school. She didn’t like him though she was hard pressed to say why. She had as little to do with him as possible. Her wide eyes narrowed as she remembered snippets of rumors that she had discounted, rumors that said that he had had a falling out with his family because of You-Know-Who, but that was back a couple years. Even if that was the real reason, why did he not sit with them now? The Ministry certainly had admitted that You-Know-Who was back. So there wasn’t any reason for him to stay away, was there?
Penelope had gushed on and on about Percy’s plans for the future, which had thankfully stopped once he had graduated and she finished her seventh year though she got owls from him quite often that caused her to glow for a bit before she hid them away.
As she looked around, she noticed Hannah sitting with her family, staring straight ahead, not looking around. She was another person whose life had been complicated from the first war. Hannah was sweet and kind. There was no forgetting that Hannah had believed Harry to be the Heir of Slytherin. Or that she had worn those horrid badges that the Slytherins had created to destroy Harry’s confidence during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. There was no denying that she had changed since her mother’s death in this war. She had written a condolence note to Hannah and had received a very nice note thanking her for her kind thoughts.
She found Neville sitting a few rows back with his grandmother. A small smile curved her lips as she realized that Neville was watching Hannah with interest before he turned his attention to the people talking behind him. She followed his eyes to see he at least was looking in the direction of the Weasleys. It made sense.
She looked back to Hannah to see she had turned slightly in her seat and was watching Neville who was concentrating on something the witches behind him were talking about.
She began smiling. This was a rather nice development. Hannah was kind and since the battle at the Ministry, she hadn’t heard Neville call her “Loony Luna”. Though she had to admit, the only time she did hear him call her that name, it was to tell Harry and Ginny who she was while they were on the Hogwarts Express. He hadn’t called her that name to her face.
The smile slipped from her face as she thought about Harry and Ginny. Ginny had stood up for her and defended her from the others when they started picking on her. She knew that others thought her odd because she didn’t act like them. Really, why should she act like them and be petty and spiteful? And Harry… he had offered to help her look for her things that the others had taken and he had defended her to others also. She shook her head as she turned her attention back to the front since Minister Scrimgeour started speaking. She tried to ignore the crow’s grating cawing.
Draco Malfoy hoped the spells he used would last for the duration of the funeral. He knew the gathered people would hex first and talk later given his role in Professor Dumbledore’s death. They didn’t know that he was about to accept Professor Dumbledore’s help. That it wasn’t him who killed Professor Dumbledore. How like Saint Potter to know only enough to get himself into trouble. He had been shaken when Potter had started yelling at them, watching Potter try to duel with Snape just before he Disapparated away from Hogwarts. Snape refused to speak about the incident.
Now Saint Potter and his girlfriend were dead. It was too difficult to believe that such a thorn in his side since their first year could be gone. His mind balked to think about the years ahead without Potter in them.
He scanned the crowd, wondering who would be the right person to approach, perhaps one of the Weasleys? They were dealing with their own daughter’s death and might not be willing to listen. Their old professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts was sitting near the Weasleys. Would he listen before hexing? Given he was a werewolf, did he hold any clout? He decided against Neville, he and Harry had been friends. Each person he recognized, he realized with a sinking sensation that he couldn’t approach them. Not if he wanted to live.
There were those from the Ministry, but he didn’t even try. The Dark Lord’s plans were already being put into place and he didn’t want to be discovered. He shivered with dread as the crow began cawing.
Minister Scrimgeour glanced over the assembled people. He noticed Dolores looked rather uncomfortable and wondered why until he saw the centaurs standing near the edge of the forest, waiting and watching. He swallowed. He remembered Dolores’ report from a couple years ago about the centaur attack on her. Were the centaurs biding their time before beginning a full-scale attack on the grieving people? His eyes slid to the lake to find the Merpeople waiting and watching. He frowned as he wondered why they would attend this funeral. He could understand the centaurs and the Merpeople attending Dumbledore’s funeral, given that he had been Headmaster, but why would they attend Mr. Potter’s?
He could hear a crow in the distance cawing harshly as he deliberately turned away from the lake. There were enough Aurors about that they wouldn’t attempt anything today. After all, Dolores had managed to defend herself against the centaurs and she wasn’t a very strong witch.
He glanced over the people again. He saw Mrs. Longbottom with her grandson who didn’t look pleased one bit. To one side sat Mr. Abbot and his daughter who looked rather peaked. When he noticed the Lovegoods, he forced himself to bite down a groan. The last thing he wanted was Mr. Potter’s funeral to end up in their trash rag. He was surprised to see Mr. Lupin sitting with the Weasleys as well as Ms. Tonks. He frowned at her, though she wasn’t looking. He found Dolores again and felt more than a little bit of satisfaction that Mr. Weasley sat there in support of the Ministry. If Mr. Weasley continued on his current track, great things would be in store for him.
Taking a deep breath, he began to speak.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter. When I first began writing this story, I was posting around 1,000 words per chapter and so posted in two chapters what should have been posted as one. I have subsequently added more details to both chapters.
Thank you very much for your constructive criticism!
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