Chapter 2 : Nightmares
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Early the next morning, the feeling of someone’s arm around her startled Mrs. Weasley and her eyes popped open. She looked to her left and saw that Mr. Weasley had returned home and that he was still in his day clothes. He kissed her softly on the cheek and wrapped her tighter in his arms. She began to cry softly, wishing she had more time to simply lie in bed with her husband. Hopefully work at the ministry would slow down after things in the wizarding world were brought under control.
“Arthur. The kids. They all have nightmares every night. Every time they close their eyes. I don’t know how to help them,” Molly told her husband.
“It’s going to be ok. These are difficult times. But it’s going to be ok. We’ve overcome the worst of it.”
“Ron wont leave his room. Poor Hermione has been crying her eyes out because he refuses to talk to her. I thought I should just barge in, but I don’t know what to say. The only remotely happy thing going on is that Harry and Ginny have been spending a lot of time together. I really think she understands Arthur, why he broke up with her. I think he’s ecstatic to be back. The two of them are good for each other.”
“That’s great news Molly, Harry deserves it. As for Ron…I’ll take a crack at talking to him later.”
“He’s not eating! When has he ever not eaten?” Molly cried.
“Shh. Molly, it’s going to be alright. You need some rest. The rest of the boys are here. This family is not going to fall apart. We won’t let it.”
The two fell into an uneasy sleep, both of them with thoughts of their children, Harry and Hermione included.
“Ginny?” Bill said softly. She was murmuring in her sleep and tossing quite a bit.
“Sweetheart? Wake up,” Charlie said, shaking her gently.
Ginny woke with a start and sat up. Seeing Bill, Charlie, and Percy around her made her do a double take. She rubbed her eyes and ran a hand through her hair. She was breathing quickly.
“When did you lot get here?” she asked, once her heart rate was under control.
“Just now. Dad’s gone to bed. We were going as well but wanted to check on how you’re doing. Any updates on Ron?” Bill asked.
“He hasn’t come out of his room, as far as I know,” Ginny said with a sigh. “Dad’s back? That’s good, Mum’s been incredibly worried about you lot.”
“What were you dreaming about?” Charlie asked, sitting at the foot of her bed.
“Oh. Well. The usual. This time Harry died. You-know-who came to the Burrow and killed him in front of me,” Ginny said, wincing. “I don’t know why I can’t stop having nightmares,” she told them. “I mean it’s over. Shouldn’t we be sleeping peacefully now?”
“It’s alright Ginny. It’s tough for everyone,” Percy said, sitting down on Hermione’s bed. “It will get better with time.”
“How are things at the school?”
“Getting better. Just about everyone has gone home now and they’ll start the repairs soon,” Charlie said, stifling a yawn.
“I guess I’ll have to do my final year…”
“Of course you will Ginny. Don’t worry there’s a whole summer before you have to go back. By then you’ll be sick of sitting in the house all day,” Bill said. He blinked his tired eyes a few times.
“Why don’t you guys sleep here? You lot look exhausted. I think I’ll have a shower.”
“Gin, it’s five in the morning. We shouldn’t have woke you, but we wanted to get you out of your nightmare,” Bill said as he stretched.
“Really, it’s fine. I’m up and I think I’ll go have some tea to clear my head. Come on. Look, Percy’s already asleep,” Ginny said with a laugh. Her brothers looked over at Hermione’s bed to see that Percy had indeed fallen asleep. No one mentioned it, but it was understood between the four siblings that no one was going to go on the twins’ room until George came around. It was too weird. Hermione had chosen to just stay with Ginny, and Harry was trying to stay out of the way by staying in the living room. Fleur was currently occupying Percy’s room.
“I think I’ll go see how Fleur is doing then,” Bill said, standing up. He left the room to see about his wife.
Ginny hugged Charlie and smiled when he fell asleep quickly once his head hit her pillow. She made her way to the bathroom and stepped into the shower. Her heart was light and she was happy to have her brother’s home. Hopefully George would join them soon.
She winced as the hot water hit her body. They had all been to see Madam Pomfrey before returning home, but she still had a few bruises that had yet to heal. She felt bad for Harry, Ron, and Hermione, knowing that they had probably been around Dark Magic quite often while searching for horcruxes. She guessed some of their scars would never leave. As she showered her thoughts wandered to Harry. He’d told his story to anyone who wanted to listen at the funeral ceremony in the days following the battle. She didn’t think she’d ever seen so many tears when he honored those who had fallen. It was such an emotional ordeal for everyone. He had said a special speech to pay tribute to Professor Snape, for no one really knew where he stood until Harry shed light on what happened just prior to Snape’s death. She couldn’t blame him for not understanding Ron’s unhappiness when he’d been loosing people all his life. To Harry, the defeat of Voldemort meant living in peace. It meant spending time with friends and rekindling relationships that he could finally afford to keep.
Ginny finished her shower and threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. She walked downstairs to the kitchen and started some tea. After she put the kettle on, she wandered into the living room. She stifled a laugh at Harry’s position, but then felt bad because she knew he’d probably attained that position from sleeping restlessly. His head looked very uncomfortable, probably because his pillow was on the floor and his head was half on the sofa and half off. Blankets were tangled between his legs and one of his arms was tucked awkwardly under his chest. He appeared to be sweating profusely and was tossing around a bit. Ginny walked quickly over to him and sat on the small part of the sofa that he was not occupying.
“Harry? Harry? Wake up!”
She rubbed his back gently. He gasped as his eyes flew open. He blinked a few times and then looked into Ginny’s eyes.
“Good morning. What time is it?”
“Just after 5:30. I would’ve let you sleep but you didn’t seem at all peaceful,” Ginny told him.
“No. I definitely wasn’t,” Harry said as he tried to stretch his body out. He pulled himself into the sitting position and leaned his head back along the sofa. “I feel exhausted. My neck hurts.”
“I would imagine so. You look like you had a rough night.”
“Yeah, you could say that. It’s alright though, it’s over now. How are you? How did you sleep?” Harry wanted to know.
“Slept about has good as you did. But I’m doing ok now.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t want you to have to go through this,” Harry said, taking her hand.
“They’re just dreams. It’s not like they mean anything,” Ginny said quietly.
“Maybe not, but still.”
The kettle began to whistle from the other room. Ginny stood up.
“I’ll just go see to that.”
“Alright if I take a shower?”
“Harry, you know you don’t have to ask. Go ahead,” Ginny replied.
Harry left for the shower and Ginny went to the kitchen to get her tea. As she sat, she began to think about the funeral ceremony. She remembered seeing Fred, Professor Lupin, and Tonks all being honored as Dumbledore was. She recalled Harry’s pale face and he told his story. She remembered wandering around the school late that night and recalled when she had found Harry being sick in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom.
Ginny rubbed Harry’s back as Myrtle looked on at the two of them.
“I’m sorry Gin, I didn’t think anyone would find me here,” Harry said.
“Augmenti,” he said, pointing his wand at a goblet he’d conjured up. Ginny placed a hand on his cheek after he’d finished his water. “I don’t know if I can do this,” Harry confessed.
“I know you can.”
“How? All those people…it’s a miracle I didn’t hurl during the ceremony. The entire thing is incredibly sickening. What kind of person does this to people?"
“Harry, it’s over. You ended it.”
“I just don’t know if I can live with the horrific memories. It’s too much.”
“You’re going to be ok Harry. This time, you have me. And I have you,” Ginny told him, her eyes glazed with tears. Ginny sat with Harry until he was ready to leave. It was the first time Ginny could ever remember Myrtle being quiet.
When Harry returned it was shortly after six. Ginny ‘s tea sat forgotten in front of her and she was looking out the window. Harry sat down next to her. He raised his head to look at her face and noticed she was crying.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Harry asked her.
She shook her head and pushed back from the table. Harry took her hand and massaged it with his thumb. With his other hand he lifted her chin so that her eyes met his. He kissed her on the cheek and pulled her to the standing position.
“Let’s take a walk,” Harry suggested. Ginny nodded and followed as he led the way. The sun was peeking out through the trees and there was a slight breeze. The two walked off hand in hand.
“Please. Please leave them alone,” Ron pleaded.
“Crucio!”Voldemort exclaimed, pointing his wand at Ginny.
“No. Leave her alone! Please!”
Ginny’s body arched into a strange position. She screamed, unable to withstand the pain. When Voldemort was finished with her, he turned his attention to Hermione. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she cried out in pain. Ron tried to move closer but found that he couldn’t. He fought against the manacles holding him in place.
“No.” As Ron spoke, he unconsciously squeezed the hand that had been resting on Hermione, clutching her hip in the process. The pressure of his grasp woke her.
“Ahh. Ron you’re hurting me. Ron?”
He clutched her harder. Hermione spun herself around so that she was facing him. She placed a hand on his cheek.
“No!” he said again.
She shook his shoulder until his eyes opened.
“Hermione?” he gasped. “What-er-what are you doing here?” His breathing was short and quick.
“We must’ve fallen asleep. You were having a nightmare,” she told him.
“Merlin. Bloody hell,” Ron said as he moved away from her. Events from the previous night came flooding back to him. Hermione had kissed him again. The two of them talked for hours about all sorts of things. But he hadn’t felt like he’d been sleeping long.
“How long were we asleep?” Ron asked her.
“Not long, maybe an hour or two. It’s still early. You were squeezing me, I had to wake you up,” Hermione said. She yawned and stretched. She brought a hand to her hair and tried to smooth it back. “I must look horrible. I’ll just go back to Ginny’s room-“
“No. You look fine. Stay here. You should rest. I’m sorry I woke you up.”
“It’s alright. Can’t say I was having pleasant dreams myself,” Hermione said.
“I-can’t even perfectly recall. But it’s always the same. Torture, pain, and fear. I know the whole thing is over, but it doesn’t feel that way. I still feel like there isn’t enough time. Like I’m going to loose everything,” Hermione said in a small voice.
“We’re all here though,” Ron said.
“Not all of us. I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s not over. I’ve been with you guys since I was eleven. This is the first time I’m unsure of what’s going to happen. Do we go back to school? Get jobs? Where will I live? I need to find my parents and having the future unknown is scary, especially if I don’t know where you guys will be. What if you and Harry become Aurors and have to train far away? Ginny still has to finish school, and I don’t know what I want to do. I’ll be alone,” Hermione said, her voice cracking.
“Whoa, slow down up there,” Ron told her, pressing a finger to her temple. Hermione stifled a small laugh.
“Sorry. I can’t help it sometimes,” she replied, shrugging her arms.
“Hermione, you’re never alone,” Ron began, putting his arm around her. “You said last night. We all have to be there for each other. None of us are going anywhere right now. We can figure it out later.”
Ron was trying to believe his own words. It was difficult to comfort Hermione when he was worried about all the same things. But he didn’t want to admit that to her. So he told her the one thing he could guarantee.
“I will never leave you,” He told her.
“Do you promise?”
Ron thought about it. She was all he would ever want, and he knew that would remain constant even though his times of anger and jealousy. Hermione meant everything to him, and he would get to the point where he could be there for her. It would just take more time. While he was supposed to have all the time in the world, he for some unidentifiable reason felt like it was limited. He pushed those feelings away and answered.
Harry and Ginny arrived back at the Burrow and decided to make breakfast for everyone. Ginny set Harry to work on toast while she prepared pancake mix and eggs.
“Can’t I just use magic?” Harry whined. “I am of age you know.”
“Harry, it’s toast. You don’t really need magic. And anyways, you don’t know how to cook. Therefore you would probably conjure us up a table to eat or something,” Ginny said with a laugh.
“You think so? A table?” Harry asked, picking up some flour.
“Yes Harry, a table.” Ginny poured the pancake mix into a skillet and began to make pancakes. She turned to start the eggs and instead got a face-full of flour. Ginny wiped her eyes and blinked. “Harry. James. Potter. You are going to seriously regret that,” she told him, reaching for an egg.
Harry tried to dodge it but was too slow. The egg broke as it hit his hair and oozed down onto his face. Ginny turned away and flipped the pancakes she was working on. Harry walked up behind her and grabbed an egg from the carton.
“Harry, please, I’m trying to make breakfast,” she said.
Harry ignored her and broke the egg over her head. Her mouth stood open in shock. He had a smirk on his face. Ginny turned around and threw flour at him, racing around the kitchen table. The two were giggling and screaming as they tried to avoid the others blows.
“Wait! Wait! The pancakes!” Ginny exclaimed, rushing over to them. She took them off the stove. They were a bit crispy, but she figured that’d be alright.
“You made me ruin my pancakes,” Ginny said with mock sadness.
Harry laughed and began to draw a smiley face on her cheek through the flour. Their eyes met and Harry leaned closer.
“Gin. You’re dirty.”
“What’s going on in here?” Mrs. Weasley asked, entering the room.
Harry and Ginny pulled away from each other and blushed. They laughed as they looked around the kitchen.
“Sorry Mum. We were trying to make breakfast. But then it got a little out of hand,” Ginny giggled. “I think the toast came out alright though,” Ginny continued. Mrs. Weasley smiled.
“Why don’t you two go clean up, then call everyone to breakfast. I’ll take over in here.”
“Ok Mum, sorry!” Ginny said, pulling Harry out of the kitchen.
Well, it’s nice to see someone happy these days, Mrs. Weasley thought. With a wave of her wand, the kitchen was clean, and she set to work on breakfast.
A bit later everyone was up and sitting around the table. They all dug into the pancakes, sausages, toast, eggs, and bacon Mrs. Weasley had prepared.
“Ginny, is that egg in your hair?” Bill asked halfway through the meal.
“No…” Harry stifled a laugh and reached up to pull it out.
“Ron, would you like more sausage?” Mrs. Weasley asked tentatively, happy to see her son at the table.
“Sure Mum, thanks,” he replied.
“Harry, everyone looks a bit bored, don’t you think?” Ginny whispered.
“Gin, I think you’re right.”
Ginny picked up a bit of her eggs and flung them across the table at her brother Charlie. Everyone stopped eating. Charlie gave her a questioning look before picking up a bit of pancake and flinging it back at her. Before long the entire family was engaged in a very serious food fight. Everyone was laughing and for the first time since the war, the mood was light and pleasant.
The side door of the kitchen opened slowly. Ron noticed first and stopped throwing his food. Slowly, everyone else stopped too and focused their attention on the door. Mrs. Weasley stepped forward and started to sob.
Everyone watched as George approached the table. They were quite a sight to look at. George stared at them all a moment before he started laughing.
“What in Merlin’s name possessed you all to have a food fight?” he asked.
Mrs. Weasley walked forward to embrace him.
“George we’ve been so worried! Are you doing ok? Sit down, I’ll bring you a plate.”
“No mum, I’m fine. I’ve already had breakfast. Doesn’t look like you guys did though, considering it’s all over your faces.”
Mr. Weasley stood up to hug his son as well.
“How are you son?”
“Ok. No one interrupt me, I have to get this all out. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I haven’t been talking to anyone. And I’ve been getting Mum’s letters about Ron doing the same thing. I don’t want that. Our family has always been there for each other, through everything. I feel that Fred would be angry knowing that I cut myself off from family. Things haven’t been going as well at the shop, what with me being grumpy all the time. I want to do better. I need to do better. This was our dream, and I have to make sure it continues to thrive,” George told them. He walked over to Ron. “I don’t want you to stay up in your room. I’m sorry none of us have been home to talk to you. We’re your brothers and we should have tried harder. We’re alive and we’ve got to make the most of it now, ok? Because Fred would have wanted us to,” George said, his voice soft.
Ron stood up and brushed flour from his face.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry he’s not here. It’s unfair, and I need him-“
George pulled Ron into his arms and hugged him tight. Mrs. Weasley continued to cry as she watched her boys come together. Bill’s eyes were glazed with tears. He stood up and walked over to his brothers, followed by Charlie and Percy. Ginny watched them all and started to cry. Her father took her hand and pulled her into a hug. Hermione and Harry watched a personal family moment unfold. It was an unspoken agreement between each of them. They would all try to spend more time together. They needed to spend more time together.
After a few moments everyone sat back down around the table. George sat on the other side of Ron. Fleur took Bills hand and gave it a squeeze.
“Hey, remember that time Fred and George tried to get Ron make an unbreakable vow?” Ginny asked.
Everyone laughed while Ron turned red. They all started to share stories and happy memories of Fred. Harry and Hermione joined in as well. Some stories made them cry, but most made them laugh. It wasn’t going to be easy, but together, they would get through the difficulty of loosing a brother, a son, a friend, and one of the greatest jokesters of time.
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