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Slightly Scandalous by Poetic_Ruby
Chapter 4 : The Death of Molly Weasley
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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[Thanks to Ande from TDA for the awesome image!!]


The Death of Molly Weasley


Arthur Weasley appeared quiet at first glance and his looks garnered him the qualities of a striking man. At a staggering height of five-foot-eleven, he stood one inch short of six-feet but carried himself as though he was the tallest man on earth. His shoulders were broad and his neck was long, giving him a distinguished, cocksure look. His daily attire of choice - which was a three piece suit inclusive of a tie and worn under an opened Wizarding robe - aided in exuding his confidence and showcasing his success to the world - success which he had earned from years of hard work and a strong determination to surmount all others and make himself known.

And he was.

As the patriarch of the most influential and powerful family in the Wizarding world, Arthur had his hand in everything: from minor magical politics and a high status in the Wizengamot, to partial control of Azkaban and even Gringott’s Wizarding Bank. His power and prestige was the reason his family was wealthy beyond measure, envied among the wizarding community and currently targeted by the second family in rank: the Potters. Their family was wealthy, as well, but solely through James Potter’s succession of his father in the status of Minister of Magic consultant as opposed to any true hard work. They did not posses the same level of power that the Weasley’s had and Arthur strongly believed that the Potters’ many attacks on his family were purely out of envy.

As always, thoughts of the Potter family brought a scowl to Arthur’s face. Seated in his study, he shut the folder that lay in front of him and pushed it aside, grinding his teeth. Numbers and account formalities did little to hold his interest when incidents of war were on the forefront of his mind. Earlier this morning, he had received intelligence of an attack on one of the Potters. Normally, he wouldn’t worry concern himself of such things but what disturbed was who had done the attacking. Fenrir Greyback.

Arthur shuddered at the thought, his mind reeling back to that one mistake he had made years ago. He had enlisted Greyback’s help in the search for one of his targets, seeing as how he needed someone to infiltrate the London underground. And who better to do that than someone who knew the place and understand the ranks. But the werewolf had proven difficult to control, going on rampages and killing sprees whenever answers were not received. Arthur had quickly let the man go and washed his hands of all dealings with the madman. But now, he feared that his past faux pas would come back to haunt him. James had known about the whole ordeal and would, therefore, try to link Arthur to the current events, even though the man had no clue of what had happened.

His thoughts were breached when his office door creaked open and his son, Percival Weasley, entered. His third son and child, Percival – better known as Percy – was also the most loyal. Out of all of his children, Percy seemed most interested in following his father’s footsteps. He never hesitated to take on a job and was very outspoken during decision making processes. He was just as determined and ambitious as Arthur had been at his age. Because of this, Arthur had no objections in Percy gaining control one day.

“Father,” his son said, with a small nod. “The Wizengamot has decided to make the amendments to the International Statute of Secrecy law. The clause on performing magic in front of Muggles only under extreme circumstances has been extended to include underage wizards as well, as you requested.”

Arthur nodded and smiled. He had been pushing for the emendation for almost two months now and was glad that his efforts finally paid off.

“Thank you for the update, Percy,” he said. “Can you do me a favour, son,” he added, when Percy made to leave. “Call your brothers. There are other matters to be discussed."

Percy nodded and disappeared, closing the oak double doors of Arthur’s luxurious office behind him. The space was pretty expansive to be called just an ‘office’. There were five bookshelves lining the walls, stacked tightly with huge volumes and other files. A long redwood conference table was settled in the middle of the floor, fourteen chairs surrounding it – six on either side and one at each head. In another section of the room was where Arthur’s redwood work space was located. A large desk, rolling chair and filing cabinets adorned this part with a few pictures hanging from the walls and perched on the desk.

Within two minutes, Percy returned, followed closely behind by his five brothers: Bill, Charlie, Fred and George (who were identical twins) and Ronald. Each silently took their seats at the conference table, an arrangement that placed them in descending order of birth. Arthur stood up from behind his desk and jammed his hands into his pockets. He surveyed his sons as he made his way towards the table. It was moments like these that made him really aware of the Weasley traits. Red hair adorned the top of all six boys’ heads. The only difference was in the lengths and cut. There were also freckles lining their skin, brown dots that, instead of blemishing their looks, did more to enhance them. If it wasn’t for the one missing person, this moment would have been a perfect family gathering.

Pushing back the depressing thought of his estranged daughter, Arthur finally spoke. “I have received word that last night, the son of James and Lily Potter was attacked.” He studied the solid expression on each of his sons’ faces. “He managed to escape the grips of Fenrir Greyback and another wizard. But it is the fact that he was even attacked that worries me. See,” he continued, sitting down to the head of the table, “I have had dealings with Greyback in the past – a grave but I no longer consult with him. So, what I don’t understand is how an attack occurred on our enemies when I did not order said attack. Do any of you have any idea how this could have happened?”

“No, sir,” Charlie answered.

“We all just heard about this earlier this morning ourselves,” Percy continued for him.

“But we figured since it was an attack on a Potter -”

“That it was not of our concern.”

“But it is our concern now.” Arthur turned to face his twin sons. Even from they were little children they had finished each other sentence, just as they had a moment ago. The twins arched their eyebrows and Arthur sighed, explaining, “You see, now that a Potter has been attacked - by a werewolf who had once been in allegiance with me - I know that James is going to try and blame us, which means he may make a retaliation attempt. I refuse to be met unprepared.”

He dipped his head and stared pointedly at each one in turn. All six of them nodded immediately, accurately interpreting their father’s words.

“We’ll gather reinforcements as soon as possible,” Bill started, already rising from his seat.

“Now,” Arthur demanded. “You will gather reinforcements now.

His sons nodded once again before they all stood up in unison then began filing out one by one. Percy, Fred and George departed to their private Owlery, making a quick list of who they needed to consult. Bill and Charlie headed in the other direction, mentally formulating strategies so that they could record them and teach the reinforcements should a battle prove imminent.

Ron, however, lingered behind for a moment, watching as his father rose from his seat and returned to his desk. The man’s gaze was not as harsh as it had been during his speech. Instead, it had dropped slightly as he slid his chair forward. Without moving his eyes from his father, Ron dug his hands into the pocket of his robes and removed a slightly faded piece of newspaper.

“Father,” he said, walking towards his father’s desk, the clipping held firmly in his grasp.

“Yes, Ronald?” Arthur looked up at his son and folded his arms, leaning back slightly.

“I just thought you might find this interesting.” Ron placed a recent copy of The Daily Prophet in front of his father. “I meant to give it to you three days ago when the article actually came out but I just never got the chance to.”

Arthur gazed down at the newspaper; the headline read 'Pompey Art and Photography Studio Artist, Ginerva Weasley, Celebrates another Million Galleon Sale'. He nodded, grateful for Ron’s consideration. “Have you heard from her, Ron?”

Ron, who had already began making his way towards the exit, turned back to his father, recognizing the concern in his father's voice. “No, I haven't.” He waited for his father's nod and then exited the office, closing the door behind him with a silent thud.

Arthur gazed down at the newspaper for a few moments before picking it up. Most of the page was taken up by a large photograph, the words of the article structured around it. It read:

‘Pompey Art Studio Artist, Ginerva Weasley, Celebrates Another Million Galleon Sale’


Ginerva Molly Weasley - daughter of the famously influential Arthur Weasley - has just made another mark in the art world of both the Muggle and the Wizarding community. Yesterday evening, Mrs. Weasley’s painting of the Lake District of England was sold for a Million Galleons to the Abbot family – collectors of all types of art work from paintings and mosaics to sculptures. “Ginerva’s talent,” Mrs. Abbot says, “is simply divine. She manages to capture the true essence of her subjects into her work and it makes you feel as though you are reliving some experience or apprehension.”

Mrs. Weasley has been enjoying great success because of this talent. Although a pureblood witch, she chooses to work in the Muggle world and therefore paints in their style as well. But that does not deter her success from reaching the Wizarding world, as well. “Muggle art or not,” one fan says, “this woman’s work is art at is finest. Who wouldn’t want to get their hands on one of her pieces? They’ll be worth billions in a few short years.”

This sale was actually her forth piece for the night, but it was the biggest one of them all. Two of her abstract pieces went to a Mrs. Habel Forist for 50,000 galleons each and another of London landscape pieces sold for a whopping 300,000 galleons. With success like this, Mrs. Weasley is truly make a name for herself.


“That she is,” Arthur mused aloud, a proud smile forming on his lips.

He moved his gaze to study the photograph. Ginny was shown beaming up at him, one of her hands draped over the frame of the Lake District painting she had sold. He couldn't help but broaden his smile as he watched her embrace the woman beside her - Mrs. Abbot by his guess –before turning back. When it came to Ginny, he was no longer a cut-throat business man. Instead, his façade quickly faded, turning him into the concerned father who did nothing but worry about his only daughter. That worry was only made worse by the fact that he had no idea how she was or where she was. She had separated herself from them all because she despised what they stood for. The articles and interviews in The Daily Prophet about her success in the Art world were the only way he knew she was still alive. It also didn't help much that she looked so much like her mother.

Arthur placed the newspaper clipping down and switched his eyes to a photograph that was perched in the corner of his desk. His wife, Molly Weasley, was standing beside a younger Ginny, the two of them laughing and waving. Arthur picked up the frame and stared down at it, feeling a sense of nostalgia rise in the pit of his stomach. Two of the most precious people in the world to him were no longer in his life. His wife had been claimed by this treacherous war twenty years ago and his daughter had refused to remain a part of it. His lifestyle had practically broken his family’s strength. The only satisfaction he got out of it now was the fact that he could seek revenge for the death of his wife and the estrangement of his daughter. He prayed that James did retaliate. Then, he would destroy the man once and for all.



“Damnit to Merlin, Ginny! Can you please keep your arse still?”

Hermione grabbed on to a wriggling Ginny’s arm, trying completely in vain to hold her down. The girl was strong, despite her tiny frame and was frantically pulling in an attempt to get off the couch and make a run for it. Hermione sighed in frustration as Ginny tried to yank away again, almost knocking the wand out of her hand in the process. She wasn’t about to let go, though, and gripped both Ginny’s arm and her wand tighter. The cut on her best friend’s face from where Greyback had scraped her was bleeding profusely and Hermione did not like the look of it. It was a good thing that lycanthropy could only be passed during the full moon and only from a bite or else she would be more worried. Right now, she just wanted to heal the cut but, as with everything else, Ginny was being highly difficult.

“The shit stings,” Ginny replied, leaning away. “At least let me ice it down first so that I can stop the burning.”

“I'm going to heal it,” Hermione said slowly, as if she was speaking to a five-year-old. “Why do you need to ice it first if it’s just going to disappear in a few seconds?”

“Because,” Ginny whined, truly acting like she was indeed a toddler, “like I said, the fucking shit burns!” Her mouth was like that of a sailor, though.

“Oh, don’t be such a big baby!” Hermione rolled her eyes and finally managed to make Ginny keep still by sitting on top of her stomach. She grunted and lifted up her wand. “Episkey!” The cut on the side of Ginny’s face slowly began to heal before it disappeared dully. A quick cleaning spell and the blood disappeared from her cheek and her blouse, too. “There! Now, was that so bad?”

Hermione stood up, not waiting for an answer and turned just in time to see Harry walk into the living room, a plate with a piece of treacle tart in one hand and a cup of what looked like butterbeer in the other.

“You know,” he started, taking a seat on the opposite couch, “for someone who claimed to be so tough last night, you sure didn’t handle that very well.” Harry jerked his fork at Ginny and then used it to garner a piece of treacle tart.

“Oh, shut it,” Ginny scowled, rubbing her forearm where Hermione had gripped her. “You try getting scraped by some psycho’s sharp talons and see how well you like it.”

Harry shrugged and swallowed. “I’m sure I wouldn’t whine like a little kid.”

Ginny stuck out her tongue, causing Harry to laugh and raise his eyebrows as if to say, ‘Point proven’. This only made the red-head roll her eyes and slump back into the couch with her arms folded. Harry laughed again and forked up another piece of his pastry.

“What kind of host are you?” Hermione interject, putting her hands on her hips.

“Sorry?” Harry mumbled with his mouth full of food.

Hermione gestured to the plate. “Aren't you going to offer us any?”

Harry raised an eyebrow pointed with his fork. “The kitchen is right through there,” he said, swallowing what was in his mouth. “Feel free to help yourself, madam.” He smiled cheekily.

Hermione rolled her eyes. “You want anything?” she asked, tilting her head at Ginny. When her friend shook her head in negation, she turned and exited the living room.

Ginny watched as Hermione retreated before turning back to Harry. “So where’s this friend of yours?”

After the trio had left the confines of the forest, they had discussed what they should do, unsure of how exactly to approach the idea of discovering the truth. They had argued for a few moments torn between waiting a few more days before acting and setting to work immediately. Finally, after what seemed like forever, Harry had told them that he was waiting on his friend, Neville, to return with some information. So, they had all decided to wait for him and, after sifting through whatever information he brought, act accordingly. They were still currently in the process of waiting.

“To work,” Harry replied, eating another piece of treacle tart. “I told you he works at the ministry so he won’t be here until later this evening, around six or so.”

Ginny nodded and stood up from the couch. They had about another three hours to kill so she thought it best to get better acquainted with her surroundings as well as her newly formed partner. She took in the setting slowly, studying the figurines and the entertainment center. Then she moved to stare at the few pictures that were perched on the wall. There were various photographs of Harry himself and a few of another dark-haired person who Ginny presumed to be this Neville character. There were also some pictures of older people. But two in particular were recurring – a man and a woman. At first glance, the man looked to be an older version of Harry but on closer inspection, Ginny saw that the person’s eyes were hazel, not emerald. The woman, instead, was the one who had the emerald eyes and a head full of silky red hair that reached just above her waist.

Her eyes still focused on one of the pictures, Ginny asked, “Are these your parents?”

“Yeah, they are.”

Ginny moved to the next one. The man and woman – Harry’s parents – were locked in a tight embrace. Harry’s father spun Harry’s mother around before they both turned towards the camera and smiled. She turned around and nearly jumped back when she realized that Harry was standing directly behind her, closely behind her. She hadn’t even heard him get up. He shifted to raise his hand towards the picture and Ginny got a whiff of his cologne mixed with the sweet smell of the treacle tart he had been eating. Her eyelids dipped slightly from the pleasant scent and she found herself battling with the idea to lean towards his neck and inhale more of the aroma. When she realized where her thoughts were heading, she shook her head.

Harry, however, did not notice. Instead, he tapped the edge of the frame. “This one was taken about two years ago,” he said, “Right before my mom was paralyzed.”

Ginny blanched and stared up at him. “Your mom’s paralyzed.” He nodded. “That’s awful.”

Harry nodded again and rubbed the back of his neck. “It was during a duel, one that had been orchestrated by your father.” Ginny grimaced at the thought as Harry continued to explain. “A few of your father’s men had entered my parent’s house and just started taking anyone down within reach. They had killed two of the house elves before my mother stepped in. Unfortunately, she had gotten cursed her from every angle. The healers at St. Mungo’s had managed to save her life but the damage of one of the curses was irreversible. It left her paralyzed.”

Ginny shook her head, more so at the thought that her father had been the cause of it. “I'm so sorry to hear that,” she whispered.

Harry shrugged and the old hatred he had felt that day resurfaced. When he had found his mother, he thought her to be dead and wanted nothing more than to go after Arthur Weasley and make him pay. But his desire had halted when his mother had released a ragged breath, claiming his attention. He had been the one to rush her to St. Mungo’s and contact his father, who had been with the Minister for Magic in Bulgaria at the time. For months afterwards during his mother’s recuperation, he had shared in his father’s abhorrence and now it felt like he was back in that time, despising Arthur Weasley and his entire family.

“What do you care?” he spat, his mind in the time frame of two years ago. “It benefitted your father, didn’t it.”

Ginny, who had been about to rest her hand on Harry’s shoulder halted in her actions. “Excuse me?”

Harry looked down at her. “Your father did nothing but make our lives miserable. He was always out to get us so I’m sure he was pretty satisfied by his ability to make things worse for us.”

“Oh, right, and my family’s life hasn’t been destroyed by this stupid war, either?” Ginny shouted at him.

“Why should it?” he shouted back. “Your father was the one who started everything.”

“That doesn’t mean-”

“Your family probably gained everything from it,” Harry interjected, not even caring that he did. “My parents, on the other hand, lost a whole lot. They spent hundreds of galleons trying to help my mother survive but everything that the healers tried failed. My mom was hospitalized for months after that attack and she can’t even feel her legs anymore. She can’t walk anymore. She can’t -”

“At least your mother’s still alive!” Ginny bellowed, cutting off Harry’s tirade.

He fell silent and his anger slowly dwindled, returning him to the present. He watched as Ginny turned away from him with her arms folded and her head hung and he felt guilt wash over him, hitting him like a vengeful tidal wave. He remembered the day he had heard about Molly Weasley’s death because it was the same day David had disappeared. He had never really considered it, though. Sure he understood what handling death was like but he didn’t realize just how much of a toll losing one’s mother was. His mother was paralyzed yes but, like Ginny had said, at least she was still alive.

“At least you still have your mother, Harry,” she continued with her back facing him and her voice trembling. “She’s still here where you can talk to her, share stories with her, tell her you love her.” Her voice dropped to a whisper on the last statement and sob escaped her.

“Merlin, Ginny, I…” Harry sighed and walked over to her. “I didn’t mean it.” He tried to touch her shoulder but she tugged away from him and turned to look at him, her gaze icy.

“Of course you didn’t,” she mumbled sardonically. “It wasn’t like you didn’t just tell me how much you blame my father for everything.”

Harry shrugged and conceded. “For what happened to my mother, yes. I guess I just never wanted to accept that it was affecting your family just as much.”

“Well, it does.” Then, she didn’t say anything else.

After a few quiet moments, Harry questioned, “What happened that day your mother died?”

Ginny folded her arms and turned her head sideways, away from his scrutiny. She gnawed at her lip and her eyes ticked back and forth, mirroring her inner thoughts of whether or not to say anything. She had just met this man, in one of the must unconventional ways, and he expected her to divulge something like that to him? Then again, she was in allegiance with him now. They were partners, allies and with that came trust. Telling him might help their cause, anyway.

“Never mind,” Harry said softly. “You don't have to if you don't want to.”

“No, no, I…i-it's ok.” Ginny paused before continuing. “I was five-years-old when it happened. My mom and I had been outside, testing out my very first broom. It wasn’t much; it could only fly twenty feet into the air and couldn’t move very fast but I was excited about it nonetheless.” A ghost of a smile appeared on her lips; then it turned into a frown. “We were just about to head back inside when we started hearing screams. Then, my brother Bill came running outside."

-----

Bill rushed towards his mother and little sister. Panic was evident on his features as he moved closer.

“Quickly, we have to get you two out of here.” He grabbed Ginny roughly and hoisted her up, balancing her on his hip.

“What's going on, Bill?”

Molly Weasley stared at her son but Bill tried to avoid her eyes and didn’t say anything. She knew something was wrong; the screams and shouts were getting louder as time ticked on. After a few tension-filled moments, Molly gave in and tried desperately to rush past her son. But he stopped her by speaking.

“Dad told me to get you and Ginny out of here.” He grabbed his mother’s hand and began to pull her into the opposite direction. “We need to get moving, now!”

Holding tightly onto Ginny, Bill began heading towards a dense patch of land that was located on the very outskirts of the property.

“Can't we just apparate?” Molly cried, running to keep up with Bill. She was near tears, her voice shaking and her hands trembling. She scared for her life and the life of her beloved family.

Bill shook his head. "They placed a spell on the house. We can't apparate anywhere unless we get off the grounds."

Just then a blast erupted from behind them. It was so strong that the ground beneath them shook and the three Weasleys fell, putting their hands over themselves as best they could. Bill cradled Ginny underneath him and kept one of his arms flung over Molly. Just as the looked up, a body flew threw the air, landing directly next to Molly. It was Libby, their main house elf. She had burn marks all over her body and her dark, lifeless eyes stared back at them, bearing the warnings of the battle raging inside.

"Libby!" Ginny cried, wriggling free of Bill’s grip and crawling towards the house elf. Tears streamed from her eyes as she reached to touch the elf’s shoulder. She adored Libby and loved her more than any of the other house elves so it was hard for her to witness such a companion die

"RON, GET OUT THE WAY!" a voice shouted from somewhere in the midst of the chaos.

Molly Weasley spun around to sound of the voice. She quickly scrambled to her feet, releasing her wand from inside her robs. She whispered her son’s name, frightened by the fact that her family was in danger. Her heart was pounding inside her chest as she broke into a run back towards the house.

"Mom! No!" Bill tried to get up to run after her but debris flew into the air just as another huge blast burst forth. His vision was obscured; he could not see where he was going and so did not have time to dive out of the way of an oncoming brick. It knocked him square in the head, rendering him unconscious.

Ginny jumped to her feet when her brother landed on the ground. She bent down and shook him, frantically calling his name. Blood began to drip from the wound on his forehead, causing her to cry. She saw that he was still alive because his chest rose and fell but she was still scared. The sounds of blasts and the screams of the people inside greatly frightened her. Desperate to get away she crawled over Bill and fled in the same direction as her mother. Making it to the house, she ran through the door and slid behind a desk just as a spell aimed in her direction collided with the wall.

Molly, seeing that her daughter had almost been harmed, yelled at her to go back outside. She aimed her wand at a cloaked figure heading in her direction and shouted,
"Expelliarmus!" His wand went flying. "Stupefy!" A jet of red light hit him square in the face and he fell backwards.

Meanwhile, Ginny took a gander around. Her brothers, Fred and George, were standing in front of Ron, trying their best to shield him from another cloaked figure that was sending spells towards them. Percy and Charlie were battling alongside their father, taking on two more men. Ginny looked back at her mother and raced towards her.

"Mommy!" she cried, grabbing on to her legs.

"Ginny!" Molly kneeled down to her daughter’s eye level. "I need you to go back outside sweetheart and run. Run as far away from here as you can."

"But mommy, I'm scared."

"I know sweetie. Mommy is too. But you have to get out of here before you get hurt." Molly kissed her daughter's forehead. Ginny nodded and Molly pulled her into a tight hug. "I love you."

"Oh, so quaint!"

Molly spun to see a cloaked figure standing a few feet away from them. But, before she had a chance to compose herself, he aimed his wand upwards and yelled, "
Reducto!” The chain that was holding a chandelier hovering above their heads broke free, forcing the large fixture downwards. Molly pushed Ginny away, causing her to slide along the ground and away from the danger. Unfortunately, before she had a chance to move herself, the chandelier landed on top of her with an explosion of lights and glass, killing her on impact. Ginny remained mortified on the ground, staring at the crushed figure of her mother.
"Avada Kedavra!"

Arthur Weasley grabbed hold of his daughter and managed to yell,
"Protego!" just in time, causing the killing curse aimed at Ginny to bounce off and hit the wall opposite them.

The person behind the cloak snarled at the intrusion. He let out an indistinguishable shout and the other figures halted in their actions, maneuvering their way towards the ring leader. They all looked down at Molly Weasley and smiled before grabbing hold of her body.

Ron, suddenly frantic, tried to run towards where the group of men. One of the cloaked figures saw him and swished his wand, sending Ron flying backwards. Percy managed to dive just in time to catch his brother before he hit the wall with a force that would have killed him instantly. The cloak figures, without any hesitance, looked back at Arthur and Ginny and then apparated.

"MOMMY!" Ginny screamed, when she realized that they had taken Molly Weasley's body with them.

-----

“We found her body two days later, still damaged from the impact of the chandelier.” Ginny wiped at her eyes, suddenly realizing that the tears that had been threatening to fall ever since the argument about her and Harry’s mother had started had been released while she was talking.

“Merlin…” was all Harry managed to breathe out.

“They had left a message burned into her skin.”

Harry’s mouth gaped at Ginny’s words, sickened by such an act. “Burned into her skin?” Ginny nodded. “My goodness. Wh-what did it say?"

“Beware. This is only the beginning.”

“Ginny, I…I had no idea.” Harry without even thinking twice about, draped his arm over her shoulders and pulled her closer to him, rubbing her arm soothingly.

“I was so angry at my father because I knew he had brought it upon our family somehow but I was even angrier with myself because I distracted her. If I had just left like she told me, to…”

“Ginny, look at me.” Harry placed an arm on either shoulder and leaned towards her. “It wasn't your fault. Your mother was only trying to protect you.”

Ginny looked at Harry. The sympathy and concern his eyes hit her hard and she felt the little resolve she had left slowly waning. The tears started again, flowing freely and far more heavily this time. Then, without even truly realizing what she was doing, Ginny buried her face into Harry’s chest, wrapping her arms around his back and gripping him tightly. Slightly shocked, Harry said nothing. Instead, he just wrapped his arms around her as she sobbed into his shirt. Once again, he felt guilty. He had only wanted to know what had happened; he didn't mean to drive her to tears.

At that moment, Hermione walked into the room. In her hand was her own cup of butterbeer but she quickly put it down onto the coffee table when she saw Harry and Ginny locked in a tight embrace. She saw that Ginny’s shoulders were shaking and that Harry was rubbing her back, almost as if trying to sooth her. Confusion settled in as she walked over to the pair. Did something bad happen? Did Ginny get some kind of bad news?

“What’s going on?” she inquired slowly, placing her own hand on Ginny’s back.

Harry was the one who answered. “She just told me what happened that day her mom was killed.”

Hermione quickly looked at Ginny as she slowly pulled away from Harry’s embrace. Her eyes were red and puffy and tears were still leaking out of the corners of them. Hermione had already been told what had happened that day and Ginny had acted the same way that time, too. Her mother’s death was one of the memories of her childhood that truly hurt her. Unlike most children who live their lives without a mother, Ginny had not just lost her but had watched her die, something that haunted her to this day.

“Oh, hunni.” Hermione pulled Ginny into a hug. “Are you ok?”

Ginny nodded and straightened up, wiping her face as she tried to calm down. “Yes, I’m fine.” She sniffed and gave an evasive shrug. “Anyway, my mother’s death was one of the reasons I to leave my family behind. I wanted nothing more to do with them and I didn’t want to watch the same thing happen to my father or my brothers.”

“But, walking away isn’t necessarily going to stop anything from happening.”

“It was the only thing I could think of. You have no idea how stubborn my father is.”

Harry nodded. “My father’s the same way. Far more prideful than a damn hippogriff.” Ginny chuckled and the sound caused Harry to smile. Hermione raised her eyebrow at his reaction but said nothing. Harry cleared his throat and said, “The only way to prevent those things is to put a stop to it.”

Ginny nodded and walked over to the couch. “I know. Just give me a minute to calm down.”

Harry nodded and turned to look at the picture that had sparked the entire conversation, his gaze lingering on his mother. He tried to imagine how it would have been if she had not survived the attack that had paralyzed him and found it very hard to fathom. His mother meant the world to him and he could jus not imagine surviving without her. He looked back at Ginny and found himself developing a high level of admiration for her. She had managed to live a life – and a successful one at that - without her mother and make something out of herself outside of her family’s reputation and money. It took a great deal of strength to do that – strength that Harry was sure he possessed but had never once challenged. He always stayed close to his parents, mostly because they were all he had and he was all they had. Turning back to the picture, he tightened his fist and made a silent promise. He was going to protect them; he was going to make this world safe for them again, if it was the last thing he did.


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