Early in the morning though Harry was awakened again by the sound of a multitude of footsteps all headed down the stairs. He looked around and was surprised to see that Ron was also up and out of bed. Wondering what was happening, Harry pulled on his glasses, dressed quickly and headed down the stairs.
“Oh good morning Harry,” Mrs. Weasley greeted him much more cheerfully than he’d ever expected.
“Morning Mrs. Weasley. What’s going on?”
“Oh well, the funeral is today, so we have to hurry to be ready,” she said vaguely.
Harry looked around. All the Weasley men were their in work clothes and all seemed to be eating in a hurry, as though anxious to be off some where. Harry glanced out the window. There was a faint light in the sky, glowing on the horizon but it wasn’t really even daybreak yet.
“I thought the funeral wasn’t until noon,” Harry said in confusion as he sat down beside Ron.
Ron looked at him with that incredulous expression. Harry had grown used to this and knew it was the one he got when something they’d come across in the wizarding world that was obvious to Ron wasn’t to him.
“We have to dig the grave first,” Ron told him.
Harry stared at him. “Today?”
“Well yeah, before the funeral see, as we bury him afterwards,” Ron explained.
“That’s right,” Mr. Weasley said. “We need to get to the cemetery before dawn. It’s easier to cast the obliterate charms then if you catch it early enough.”
“Obliviate charms?” Harry asked in confusion as he helped himself to eggs and a bit of toast. “Why would you need them for a funeral?”
“Well the muggles you see,” Mr. Weasley explained. “The cemetery is in town and it wouldn’t do for the muggles to see what we’re doing. They rather tend to object if they do.”
“Why would they?” Harry asked still utterly confused. “Muggles have funerals too. They bury people. I’ve seen them at it when my Aunt’s friend died. “
“Well yes dear but they have some odd idea that people they don’t know shouldn’t be digging in a grave yard.”
At this Harry turned to stare questioningly at Hermione who shrugged. Not wanting to upset the red headed family, they decided not to explain about grave diggers and the other designated workers who generally did such things in muggle cemeteries. They simply ate their breakfast in silence, content to follow along with whatever the family did.
After breakfast the family gathered out behind the shed again. The tent was gone and the Weasley brothers along with Lee Jordon who was in the garden when they emerged, arranged themselves around Fred’s coffin. Together they lifted him and carried him through the garden to the front gate. Mr. Weasley stood ready, holding it open for them.
“Here dear, can you carry these?” Mrs. Weasley handed Harry a half-dozen shovels and spades.
“Sure Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said, and they followed the pall bearers through the gate and out onto the lane.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley fell in behind the coffin with Ginny walking between them, their arms wrapped consolingly around their daughter as they walked. Hermione took some of the shovels, paused while Harry stopped to close the gate, then the two friends took up the rear position in the little funerary procession.
It was nearly dawn when they party arrived in the cemetery. Set near the middle of town in a yard surrounding a small brown church, it was remarkably similar to the one Harry and Hermione had visited at Godric’s Hollow in many ways. Fred’s coffin was set down in a spot that would be in the shade once the sun came over the horizon, then the men set about casting the charms over the portion of the cemetery where they planned to work, using the same charms Harry, Hermione, and Ron had used all that past year to hide the places where they’d camped. Muggles would see what they expected to see instead of what was actually there. With that done, the Weasley men set to work, six at a time, working in turns so that all of them, including Lee Jordon had the opportunity to be involved. Harry offered to help, but after a few spades full felt as if he were intruding and turned his shovel over to Ron. As he stood there watching he thought he understood. It had been like that for him with Dobby, the physical work eased the grief and the sense that there was absolutely nothing one could do. Digging a grave by hand was one of the few things a person could do for a dead loved one. Harry had done it instinctively at Shell Cottage when they’d buried the elf, but apparently doing it the muggle way was thoroughly a part of the wizarding world.
It was mid morning when they finished, moving Fred’s coffin so that it hung over the hole on its thick layer of mist. Harry collected their spades and they all headed home to change for the services and to prepare food for the wake afterwards that would be held a bit later that day.
The groupings of family members were more informal now as they walked back to the Burrow and Harry decided to ask the question that had been pressing on his mind as he’d watched all of this. He drew up along side Mrs. Weasley who was walking along a bit by herself.
“Mrs. Weasley, is it alright, I mean I don’t want to intrude, but can I ask a question?”
“Of course you can Harry,” she said.
“What happens for witches or wizards when they die if they don’t have anyone left? Family I mean,” Harry asked.
“Well then, their friends bury them. I expect we will be burying a lot of our friends over the coming weeks. We’re going to bury Remus and Tonks tomorrow,” she said sadly.
“Who exactly is going to do it?’ Harry asked thinking of Andromeda and little Teddy.
“The men from the Order will. Arthur’s going to Godric’s Hollow first thing in the morning.”
Though they were nearly at the gate to the Burrow, Harry froze, stopping in his tracks, his mouth suddenly going dry as Ron ran into him.
“Watch where you’re stopping mate,” Ron scolded, but Harry ignored him.
“To Godric’s Hollow?” he croaked, his mouth suddenly dry.
“Why yes. Didn’t you know, Remus lived there.”
Harry shook his head as he started to walk again, suddenly feeling very angry at his father’s old friend as he followed Mrs. Weasley into the kitchen. “No I didn’t Mrs. Weasley,” and he turned to storm up the stairs muttering under his breath as he went. “Nobody tells me anything.”
“What’s wrong with him?” Mr. Weasley asked in bewilderment.
“His parents are in Godric’s Hollow Mr. Weasley,” Hermione told them.
“Oh blimey. I’d forgot about that.” Mr. Weasley exhaled loudly drawing a hand through his hair. “I wonder if he’ll want to come.”
“I think he will Dad,” Ron said looking towards where Harry had just disappeared up the stairs. “Harry’s happier with activity generally.”
“Well we’ll certainly have plenty of that over the next few days,” Mrs. Weasley said.
A couple of hours later the family had all changed into their wizarding best, had a quick bite to eat and were headed back to town. Harry had said nothing for the rest of the morning. Hermione had managed to shrink the formal wizarding robes Harry had worn as Barny Weasley during Bill and Fleur’s wedding so that they fitted him, but other than that nobody had talked to him. In reality they were all so absorbed by their own grief that none of them tried very hard to check on Harry, and he was rather glad of that. When they were all ready Harry took Ginny’s hand and they walked with her family back into town. Friends and more distant family were already gathered at the cemetery there when they arrived. They stood to greet them, then stepped respectfully back as the grieving family all stood together beside Fred’s casket. Mrs. Weasley had started to cry again. Harry heard soft sobs escape from Ginny, so he kept his arm around her trying to offer her what comfort he could. Ron didn’t even try to steam the tears and they flowed readily, dripping steadily from the tip of his nose until Hermione took his arm and offered him a tissue. George’s face however was the exception. His was completely dry and pale as the palest ghost. He seemed to be in shock and Harry silently wondered if he was going to collapse. Bill apparently thought the same thing and insisted his brother come sit beside himself and Fleur in the seats that had been provided for guests who might need them.
Harry waited and eventually a little tufty haired wizard got up to speak. Every one listened attentively, while Harry stared at the little wizard. He looked to be the same one that had spoken at Dumbledore’s funeral and also performed Bill and Fleur’s wedding, and Harry wondered if this sort of thing was ever done by anyone else. A few other people got up to speak, some of them friends that related stories of some of Fred and of course George’s finer moments as the troublemakers at school. The story of the swamp they’d created up on the fifth floor of the Hogwarts castle and Umbrige and Filch’s attempt to get rid of it drew chuckles from more than a few people.
At the end of the service, the little wizard waived his wand again, and the mist supporting Fred’s coffin began to dissipate, allowing it to slowly lower itself down to the bottom of the grave.
“And now we commend you Fred Weasley to the care of our Father and Mother, and to the welcoming arms of the ground,” the wizard said.
At this Mrs. Weasley sobbed harder, Mr. Weasley waved his wand as the rest of the family stood aside. The mound of dirt they’d piled up that morning rose smoothly in the air, and settled gently over Fred, smoothing itself to become level with the ground. Mr. Weasley gave another flick of his wand and grass grew green and thriving where the fresh patch of dirt had been. A gravestone too seemed to grow up from the very ground. Harry looked around. Except for the exceptional greenness of the grass, this grave looked just like all the others around them. Any muggle happening by would never guess that it hadn’t always been here.
Mrs. Weasley spent a few minutes more weeping before she dried her eyes and left the grave yard to begin the procession home.
The wake that followed was a normal wake in every respect. Friends and distant family all came back to the burrow and Mrs. Weasley bustled about trying to feed them. It was probably good for her Harry though, to be busy and to keep her mind off of Fred and to a lesser extent George. George still hadn’t spoken much and still looked very, very pale. Angelina Johnson had come for the wake and sat near George talking to him quietly. Harry watched them, but mostly he, Ron, Hermione and Ginny just tried to stay out of the way.
The next morning Harry awoke as early as he had the day before. Funerals he reflected were a good way to hide the fact he hadn’t been sleeping, or at least hadn’t been sleeping well. He pulled on his most torn and worn out clothes and headed down to the kitchen. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Ginny were already there.
“Where are you going?” Ginny demanded seeing that he looked ready to leave.
“Not even a ‘good morning?”” Harry asked pretending to be hurt, but then he grinned. “There’s more funerals today Gin. I’m going to Godric’s Hollow.”
“After breakfast of course,” Mrs. Weasley admonished.
“Of course,” Harry agreed and he sat down to a plate of toast and bacon. He looked up when he heard more footsteps coming down the stairs. It was Hermione and she was dressed similarly to him.
“You’re not going are you?” she asked stopping directly across the table from him.
“Of course I am,” Harry told her.
“But Harry, it might not be safe. I mean there are wizards in Godric’s Hollow,” she said and Harry knew that she was remembering their disastrous visit there the last time.
“I won’t be alone, besides I’ve got to do it,” Harry insisted.
“Why?” Hermione demanded and to Harry’s surprise she and Ginny had said it together.
“Because,” he said rounding on the two girls, “he was the last of my dad’s best friends. Sirius is gone, Dad is gone, Wormtail doesn’t deserve it even if he wasn’t. I’m the only bit of that he has left. And I’ve been thinking about this Hermione. I’m pretty sure he must have been the one who buried my dad…and my mum. And it wasn’t exactly a safe thing to be doing then either, but he did it.”
“Why do you think that Harry?” Mrs. Weasley asked knowing they were talking about Remus Lupin.
“Because Mrs. Weasley, you said that if a wizard has no family left, friends will bury them. Well, Wormtail had escaped, Sirius had been chucked in Azkaban, Dumbledore and Hagrid were busy dealing with me,” Harry was standing now, his breakfast forgotten, nearly shouting at them all. “Remus was the only one left. And I know him, he would have done it.”
“You are probably right,” Mr. Weasley said steadily trying to calm him. “He did tell me once that he had known you all of your life.”
“That’s right he did,” Harry said trying to quiet his voice, but his hands were clinched in fists at his sides. “He was one of my dad’s best mates. They were friends from the time they started school, and they, he and Sirius, were friends to both my parents after that. They were in the Order together, and they’d come round the house all the time. He was a part of that. The last bit… Now he's go ..gone,” Harry’s voice broke on the last word.
Abandoning his breakfast he abruptly got up from the table and headed out the back door towards the garden. “Call me when you’re ready to leave,” he told them over his shoulder allowing the screen door to slam after him as he went.
“Blimey, what’s he so fussed about?” Ron asked as he entered the kitchen from the other direction.
“Oh Ron, you can be so insensitive!” Hermione exclaimed and she ran out the screen door after Harry.
“What did I say?” Ron asked the room at large.
“Remus and Tonk’s funeral is today,” Ginny said looking up at her brother scathingly. “And if I hadn’t already lost a brother I’d be ready to kill you for that,” she said angrily and followed the other two out the door.
“Well, it looks like breakfast is over Molly,” Arthur told his wife abandoning his own tea. “We’ll be home by lunch I expect.” He kissed his wife on the cheek and followed the young people out the door.
“Where are they going?” Ron asked his mother.
“The Order is doing the funeral,” Mrs. Weasley explained. “Mrs. Tonks is busy with the baby and as Harry said they don’t have any other family.”
“Should I go too?” Ron asked.
“You weren’t in the Order dear,” Mrs. Weasley said.
“Neither was Harry,” Ron exclaimed.
“No but you heard him. Remus was like family. I don’t think I’d ever fully appreciated that,” Mrs. Weasley said wistfully as she looked out her own back door.