Chapter 2 : Tea
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Disclaimer: Nope- Harry Potter doesn't belong to me. I wish, but no.
A/N: To let you know...all the flashbacks, dreams, daydreaming, memories, etc. in this story will be in italics. I hope you like this chapter!
It was two weeks after Harry had destroyed Voldemort and we were sitting in the funeral parlor for Ginny’s wake ceremony. I kept thinking to myself that we were all supposed to be happy...Voldemort was dead! We should be having a celebration of the downfall of the dark lord. But how could we be happy? Ginny was dead and not even the strongest magic could bring her back. For a moment I understood Voldemort’s desire to defeat death itself, thought his reasons had been solely selfish.
I looked to the other side of the room at Harry. He appeared to be working up the courage to walk toward Ginny's casket. I looked up at her casket myself, feeling a shiver go through my spine. One of my closest friends was in that oak box up there. I stood and walked over to Harry, the sound of my heels echoing on the wooden floor. I put my hand in his and walked toward the casket. His hand was clammy and cold and I had the sudden urge to grab him and hug him until he began to feel warmth in his life again. I had underestimated how hard it would be for me to see Ginny and not be able to talk to her; to laugh with her. I saw Harry wipe his face with the sleeve of his jacket and I averted my eyes quickly for fear that I would start crying if I saw actual tears leaving Harry’s green eyes. I had done my fair share of crying during the war and after Ginny’s death. I definitely had, and I didn’t want to start up again.
As we approached the casket I let go of Harry’s hand and looked over the oak wall surrounding her. There was our Ginny. She looked so pleasant, something I couldn’t understand for she had died suffering...that bastard had made her suffer. Harry looked down at Ginny and immediately let out a loud sob and looked away. My hands began to tremble as I looked from Harry's grief stricken face to Ginny's still, stiff body.
I hugged him and whispered in his ear "It will be ok Harry, I know it will." He looked me in my eyes, for the first time since he had brought home Ginny's body after the final battle. That's when I saw it in his eyes and I began to cry too. That's when I saw the last bit of emotion in his red eyes telling me that it wouldn't be okay for him and that he had lost all hope. He looked away and shut me out for good with just one turn of his head.
"Let me do this alone, Hermione," he muttered.
"Of course" and I walked back to my seat by Ron. Ron was the only one who hadn’t cried since Ginny died, he just sat there and didn't talk much. I came to the conclusion that he must not have been able to cry even if he wanted to. I had been begging him just to let it all out; but he wouldn’t… couldn't.
"Oh Ron, I'm so sorry," I whispered to him placing my hand on his knee. He looked from my hand to my face and it was then that I saw the sadness lingering in the blue pools of his eyes. While Harry’s eyes had very little emotion, looked almost dead, Ron’s eyes held too much and I averted my gaze. It was as if in one day I had been given the power to understand emotions through the eyes, or so that's how it felt. I looked back at his freckly, handsome face and the bags under his eyes and I realized he looked like he hadn’t slept in days. It made my heart ache and I decided that from then on I would put my emotions aside when it came to Ron, I would concentrate on him and only worry about him. He was mine and I wouldn’t let him ever feel unhappiness again.
"She didn’t deserve to die," he said hoarsely. "Why couldn't he have killed me instead?" He stood up and looked around desperately for a moment, looking for an answer to a question that couldn't be answered. He kicked the chair that sat in front of him before turning quickly and exiting the funeral parlor, me following closely behind.
I shook my head, as if to rid my mind of that image of Ron. The image of him being so messed up. I turned my attention back to the article I was writing. I had been day dreaming once again. I don’t know why but I always think of that day at Ginny’s wake six years ago. The sadness seemed to surround me that day; pressing in on me at all sides. I had felt like I couldn’t breath; everyone was so hurt. Why hadn’t Ron just let me talk to him! Why couldn’t I see Harry was so close to the breaking point? I blamed so much of these things on myself, but I was right to. I was too caught up in everything and I'd failed to notice Ron going crazy even though I’d vowed to devote myself to his happiness and I hadn’t observed Harry becoming so depressed that he no longer wanted to live. It seemed so crazy that I hadn't seen Ron in three years. He had left the Burrow five years ago to 'find himself' and I had only seen him once since then in Diagon Alley at Gringotts.
"Ms. Granger I don’t hear that typewriter. Now stop day dreaming about who knows what and get back to work!" That was Jerry, my boss, and now the owner of The Daily Prophet.
For a moment I considered yelling at him for calling one of my best friends death, another’s probable insanity, and another’s depression as 'who knows what'. But that would have taken too much energy. I signed before I resumed typing my article of 'Are Death Eaters still at Large?’, and all my thoughts of Ron drifted away.
Finally it was 6 o’clock. I felt my muscles relax and my heart rate slow as my brain alerted my body that I could finally go home to my apartment and be alone. I began to walk home, needing the fresh air. I could have just apparated, but it was rare that I ever got outside much and my body probably needed the exercise. The trees and flowers around me, that had once been able to captivate my attention, I now barely noticed. I walked into my apartment complex and making sure there was no one around took out my wand and muttered 'alohorama'. My door unlocked with a click and I entered my small apartment. It was nothing special and it got lonely, but it was home. I was exhausted and took off my long parka, tossing it over one of the chairs at my four person dining room table, before collapsing on the couch, not even bothering to take off my black work shoes. Crookshanks came trotting out of my room to greet me with a purr.
"Hello Crookshanks. Did you miss me?" He was all I had really. After my mum had died two years ago my dad and I only spent time together at Easter and Christmas because it had become too difficult. We reminded each other of mum too much and although deep down we knew it was ridiculous, we thought that it was better to spend as little of time as we could together because of it. At that moment though, I wanted nothing more than to be in my father’s warm embrace.
I had had my friends; but two of them were no longer living and Ron left with out so much as a good-bye. My eyes watered slightly thinking of what screwed up lives my friends and I had. Merlin, Hogwarts was had been just so….right. We had been so much happier. The only thing to fight about was if Ron called me a bookworm or caught me writing a letter to Viktor. The only thing to be scared about was what predicament Harry would find himself in each year. And the only shyness shown was from Ginny when Harry was around. But that had of course all changed our sixth year when Ginny and Harry began to date. Ron and I never really dated but we both knew we liked each other, and there wasn't ever a time in our seventh year when we would miss a chance to touch each other's hand or sit next to each other...and maybe even occasionally give each other a quick kiss. My eyes began watering again thinking of all we had gone through. I blinked the tears away and stood up quickly frightening Crookshanks in the process.
"Ready for some dinner darling?" I asked my ginger cat before pouring him some dry cat food and flicking my wand toward the stove to turn it on to make some tea to go with what ever I was going to make for dinner. I hadn’t realized until now how hungry I was. I had missed lunch to interview Kingsley about what he thought about the death eaters, and if they were still at large. Personally, I thought it was a bizarre topic for my editor to assign me. After all, the death eaters were desperate to get power, they would do just about anything to be protected by the power they crave, but even they had to realize there was no hope for them after Harry defeated Voldemort.
I sighed before walking back out of my kitchen and laying back down on my fluffy couch to wait for my tea to boil. My eyelids felt so heavy as I tried to remain awake but finally sleep began to overtake me, and I let it.
I was at the Order's head quarters sitting in a large wooden chair, my finger nails grinding into the arms of my chair leaving half moon arcs in the wood. Harry was in battle with Voldemort at this very minute. We all knew it. Voldemort had told Harry to come and fight him to get back Ginny. She had been kidnapped by Bellatrix Lestrange the day before. Harry had said he wanted to go alone, and Dumbledore permitted him because there was no one who could possibly help Harry. The prophecy had said there would indeed be a battle between them and only one of them would live. He knew it was time. I thought it was crazy, that he should just go get Ginny and wait until he was more prepared to battle Voldemort, but Harry would hear nothing of it.
Each day that past felt like a long and miserable year and it was almost four days later when Harry appeared back at the headquarters. Lupin, Dumbledore, Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, Kingsley, Ron and I were the only one's at Grimmauld Place when he arrived and we all rushed out to the entrance hall of the house when we heard the door open and slam. We were greeted with the sight of Harry standing in the front hallway entrance, Ginny in his arms. But she wasn’t moving. It was so quiet I could hear my own heart pounding. Not even the portraits on the walls were making a sound for they were filled with sudden interest as to what was going on. I heard Lupin gasp and Mrs. Weasley let out a sob as Harry dropped to his knees and began screaming incoherently. Somehow, through the ringing in my ears, I was able to make out one thing he said though. "HE KILLED HER!" I grabbed Ron, whose face was as white as a ghost's, and sunk my head into his chest as I began to cry loudly. How could this happen! Mrs. Weasley made to rush toward Harry and her lifeless daughter but Mr. Weasley held her back, shock written clearly across his ageing face. Dumbledore and Kingsley remained silent though there was anger and sadness etched in the lines of their experienced and knowledgeable faces. The look on all the Weasley's faces was something I never wanted to see again. I lifted my head from Ron's chest and looked back at Harry. He was acting mad; he somehow managed to stand up and grab hold of a chair and throw it across the room, never letting go of Ginny.
"Is he dead, Harry?" Dumbledore was the first one to speak.
"YES he’s dead, but so is she! Cant you see professor...ALL I have ever had...they are all dead. All because of this man...EVERYTHING is gone!" he rambled on and on but I couldn’t stand it and I covered my ears not wanting to hear any more; not wanting to hear Mrs.Weasley screaming and pointing at her baby Ginny. Pointing at Ginny whose hair was frail and all tangled around her body. Even though I was nearly in shock my brain still processed that detail and told me that she had been tortured.
Mrs. Weasley screamed and screamed...
I woke up with a start to hear my teakettle steaming loudly to let me know the water was boiling. God, I had had that same dream about Harry coming back from the battle two nights in a row now, and I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me. I had been thinking so much about the war lately. Maybe it was all the researching I had been doing on death eaters for my story that I have been working on? Or maybe it was the way the Kingsley had looked at me in such a pitying way through the entire interview today that upset me? I would simply just have to tell Jerry I didn't want to write this story anymore and to give it to someone else. Yeah right, and then lose my job…
I sighed, wiping the cold sweat off my forehead that had accumulated during my dream. I stood slowly, my muscles oddly stiff, and prepared my tea. I opened my fridge slowly and noticed that it was nearly bare. I grabbed some left over meatloaf before sitting down to eat, not even bothering to warm up my meal.
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