I was one of the last to arrive in the Burrow. By that time, the kids had all been gathered already. Although I wondered if that would have been such a hard task; after all, they all knew what was going on. They wouldn’t have been too difficult. I was nearly knocked off my feet as James and Lily rushed towards Harry; Lily had, by the looks of it, been crying again, but it seemed that James hadn’t been able to find any more tears to cry. Harry gently pushed them outside. A few seconds later, I heard a strangled “No!” from James and a loud cry from Lily. Somewhere deep down, I was glad that Harry flat out told them, instead of postponing the bad news for as long as possible.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. Ron. I turned towards him and he tried to smile, tried to silently tell me that everything would be okay. He didn’t even believe that himself, I could see it clearly, so how did he expect to convince me?
The backdoor opened again. “I’ll be right back,” Harry said hurriedly, “I have to bring James and Lily home now.” I wanted to tell him that he’d better stay with them; after all, they might suddenly need him for something. But they had left already.
“Where’s Harry?” Bill asked, entering the kitchen. “We thought we’d wait for him before we told the kids…”
“He’s taking Lily and James home,” Ron answered his eldest brother. “He said he’d be back soon.”
Bill nodded gravely. “I still can’t believe this, our little sister… It’s so weird.” He shook his head, as if to indicate how surreal it felt.
“Tell me about it,” George commented, walking into the kitchen as well. “Those Ministry bastards, taking her away from us, not even giving us the chance to say something…” He trailed off, and I was about to tell him that that was the standard procedure, when Harry came in again. He smiled sadly and his eyes flickered towards the living room. We all understood the message and walked in. Only this time, Ron and I stayed in the front of the room, to support Harry, facing the family.
“Well,” he started hesitantly, “I’m sure you’ll all have an idea of what happened already.” He briefly looked up to meet the kids’ eyes, but not even Hugo or Fred dared to make a sound. “She was convicted.” Although there had not been much hope that Ginny would be released, there were still gasps filling the room. Harry turned to us and said in a low voice, “If you guys don’t mind; Lily didn’t want to be home alone and I doubt James feels any different.”
Ron nodded as I said, “Go home, Harry, we’ll manage here.” There wasn’t much to manage anyway. Everybody was distraught and after a while, we all started going to our respective homes, though not before Molly had assured us that she and Arthur would be fine.
When we got home, Hugo ran up to his room and Rose let herself fall down on the couch. Ron and I held a silent battle as to who had to check on whom, and in the end, I found myself following Hugo up the stairs, hoping that Ron wouldn’t make Rose feel even worse. Alright, I sound like a terrible wife, but Ron doesn’t have very much tact. Which isn’t a good thing in situations like this one.
I knocked on Hugo’s door and opened it quietly. He was sitting on his bed, staring out of the window. He didn’t even look up as I entered. “Hey, mum,” he just said. I sat down next to him and carefully put my hand on his shoulder. He didn’t shrug it off for once, but moved closer to me until he was holding on to me as if his life depended on it. “Mum?” he suddenly said, and I realised only then that he was crying. “Please tell me this is all a big nightmare?” I had to keep myself from crying now; how I wished that that was true. He seemed so small now, even smaller than I usually held him to be.
“Hugo…” I couldn’t go on, I couldn’t tell him that it wasn’t just a bad dream he had, but when he looked up at me, I knew he would be able to read that off my face. So we sat there, mother and son, crying about our losses. I didn’t know how long it was before the door opened and Rose came running in, joining in with our crying, Ron hesitantly following behind.
Two days later, we still couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening. It was a couple of days before the new school year, and I hoped that Rose wouldn’t drown herself in the library. Of course, I had done that, but Ron and Harry always made sure that I would surface from there once in a while. That’s what Al had done in Rose’s case. I also hoped that Hugo might be able to cheer her up; though not just Rose, Lily, to whom Hugo was about as close as Rose had been to Al, as well. Merlin knew she could use a laugh now.
It was also the day of Al’s funeral. Everybody in the house was down and everything we usually did, was done in silence now. Al’s death had been all over the Daily Prophet (they had taken the opportunity to dedicate an entire issue to everything that had to do with Harry; like he wanted that now, or ever, actually) and reporters were stalking us day and night. We had spent the previous day almost entirely at the Potters’, helping to prepare the funeral. The amount of mail from people who wanted to express their support and respect was huge.
I had stuffed my handbag with tissues, fearing that I would never have enough, especially since everyone would need them. All the commotion around these events formed a sharp contrast to small group of people that was invited to the funeral. Only us, the family, and some family friends and students from Hogwarts – Al’s friends and their parents, but also one of James’ friends. Harry hadn’t even invited his colleagues, since they hadn’t known Al at all.
The ceremony itself was small but very emotional; everyone had gotten the opportunity to say something if they would want, and many had taken it as a last chance to speak to the fourteen year old who would never fully grow up now. Every single person who spoke, carefully avoided talking about Ginny, whose forced and most likely very involuntary absence was weighing heavy on us. I had been right about the tissues: they were quite popular.
Ultimately, everyone, one by one, walked up towards the coffin, to bid Al a final goodbye. After we had all been there, Harry stood up, along with James and Lily, and while some guests were already filing out, they stood in front of the coffin for a long time. Two children who seemed younger now than they had seemed to me in ages, and their father. A broken family, and one I knew very well. It broke my heart to see them like this, but I knew that there was nothing I could do for them at this moment.
Rose didn’t want to go back to Hogwarts this year. She told me so September 1st, two hours before the Hogwarts Express would leave. With combined efforts of Ron, Hugo and me, we managed to convince her to go nonetheless, our most important argument being that Al would not have wanted this for her; he would not have wanted her to give up her own life because for some reason, he had been forced to give up his. First, she became very angry when we told her this, then she broke down in tears again, but finally, she agreed that it was probably true.
When we arrived at the Platform, I could feel Ron tense next to me. I followed his gaze and frowned slightly. Why was Harry talking to, of all people, Draco Malfoy? He had never really acknowledged us here before. When we reached them, both men looked up. Malfoy nodded politely and then turned his attention back to Harry, shook his hand and greeted him. Then, he was gone.
“Harry? What did he want?” I asked uncertainly.
“He came to offer his condolences,” Harry answered. “He knew what had happened, of course, and he apologised for not making it to the burial. He supposed that not everybody would appreciate that very much.”
“The burial?” Ron asked sharply. “You invited him to the burial?”
“Not necessarily him,” Harry said, “but Scorpius was a good friend of – of Al’s.” His voice was strained again and I looked pointedly at Ron so he wouldn’t question it any further. Ron, however, didn’t notice.
“He was? They were friends?” He started looking around, for Rose most likely, to ask her about her allegiances with Draco Malfoy’s son.
“Yes, they were,” Harry said wearily. At that moment, Lily came running back to her father. They spoke a few words, and then Lily hugged him so tightly I thought she wasn’t going to let go of him ever again. James, too, walked towards us, though in a much slower pace. The eyes of many people on the platform followed him and kept staring our way.
James, too, talked to his father about something for some time, and then he gently disentangled Lily from him and took her towards the train, both waving. I couldn’t remember James ever acting like this when he’d be going to Hogwarts, so I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, it had to be hard for them too; leaving their father behind to be on his own for the next few months. I had to admit that I hadn’t even thought about that until that moment.
When the train had left, we invited Harry to come over for a bit, but he declined, saying that he’d better get used to being all alone as soon as possible. I didn’t like the sound of that at all, but he was gone before we could stop him.
I had to go to work again the day after that, not really feeling like it. My colleagues, after all, had only recently convicted one of my best friends. As I entered my office, it was quiet. Of course, I didn’t have to share it with anyone else, but I hadn’t seen anyone in the hallway either.
During the lunch period, there were some other people. They nodded at me as I sat down, and I noticed that the conversation had completely stopped. Great.
“How is your family doing?” Doug asked cautiously.
“Not very well,” I answered curtly. “And we still don’t believe that she did it.”
“Well,” Doug said, seeming a little taken aback, “that’s nothing we can do something about now, right?”
“You can’t exactly prove that she didn’t do it, can you?” one of my other colleagues, Wendy Split, said. “It’s not as if you can go back in time and see it for yourself.”
Her comment made me think. Of course it was possible to go back in time. Obviously, Wendy wasn’t aware of this. Hadn’t Ginny said that I could get her out? I suddenly gasped, stood up from the table and ran for it. Of course. That was what I had to do. I could find a way to travel back in time and save Ginny and Al. It was against the law, I was very aware of that. If I’d get caught, I would, most likely, be shipped off to Azkaban as well. But I had to do this, for the Potters, and for the entire family.
I made my way to the Department of Mysteries, where I knew that all the devices lay with which one could travel through time. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there, but nobody was stopping me, so I walked on. It seemed like everyone was taking a lunch break at that exact moment.
As I walked through the Ministry, I tried to come up with some plans. Where exactly should I go to stop this from happening? Of course, the morning, right before they would go to Diagon Alley. I briefly pondered what would have happened if someone else had accompanied them, either from the beginning or only after they had their ice cream.
I didn’t really see the point in warning them earlier; they might just forget about the whole thing. Then, another thought hit me. What if I could just stop Ginny from going school shopping that day? It would also help me a lot if I knew who was responsible for this, and what their motive was. Whether it was Al or Ginny they wanted to get rid off.
Having arrived in the Department of Mysteries, I was confronted with a familiar sight. All those doors… I prayed that it wouldn’t take me too long before I would find the right room.
It seemed that I was lucky today, though; the fifth room I entered, was some sort of lab. A time-turner lab. Don’t ask me, I don’t work there. Apart from all the microscopes and vials, there was also a glass cupboard. I peered inside, and saw that there were at least five different kinds of time-turners. Now how to choose? I couldn’t exactly take all of them.
Just when I had reached my decision and was carefully putting away the most advanced-looking time-turner in the pocket of my cloak (it surprised me that apparently, no alarm went off when I vanished the glass), the door opened again and two men came in. Of course, that was also the only door. There was no way I could slip away unseen now.
“I thought they said that the coffee would be here already?” one of them commented, sounding slightly annoyed. He crossed the room, almost to where I was hiding underneath a table. “But I don’t see it anywhere.”
“I’ll go and get you some coffee, then, sir,” the other voice replied. I figured that the first man had to be the boss. That, or the other man was just very intimidated by him. Either way, by then, there was only one other person in the room. Deciding that it was now or never, I grabbed my wand and shot a quick Stunning Spell at the feet that were standing so close to where I was.
Before I even knew if it had worked, I had already crawled out from under the table and was out of the room. By now, many people had arrived back from their lunch breaks. I hastily ran outside, ignoring Doug’s calls (what he was doing down there, I will never know).
It might be safer to use the time-turner outside; if they had, by now, found out that a time-turner was missing, it would be rather stupid to use it inside the Ministry itself. Thus, I walked through London for a bit, and finally settled for (how ironic) an alley close to Diagon Alley. This time-turner had to be a prototype, because I had never seen it before (not even in pictures), nor did I have any idea whether or not it worked like a normal time-turner would. So I just turned it a couple of times to see what would happen.
A/N: What do you think of this chapter? I know that it's not the most coherent chapter around, but it consists of (parts of) four chapters I had written (rather short ones), so I just made one longer chapter out of it. Hopefully it wasn't confusing or anything :) Also, I know that all the time-turners were destroyed in OotP, but it's not unlikely that they made new ones, right? Please review!