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Chapter 2 : Funeral Blues
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A little, white marquee had been erected in the large empty space at the back of the graveyard. Rows of chairs stood under its protection, all facing a small platform on which two coffins rested. Harry stopped walking and looked away. The grass was covered in daisies and shamrocks that bobbed their little heads in the light summer breeze. He watched the plants, and observed how they too had their heads bowed, in marks of respect for the dead. Harry couldn’t move. He couldn’t go any further. He just did not have the strength to go through another funeral.
A warm hand clasped his and forced him forward. It was Ginny. She brought him towards the little marquee. A small congregation had gathered. None of them were seated. Despite the warmth of the day, everyone stood huddled together like a flock of shivering ducks trying to stay out of the rain.
Harry felt his heart pang with grief, guilt and anger. Remus and Tonks deserved just as grand a funeral as Dumbledore had received, but instead only a few souls had come to pay their respects. Andromeda stood at the foot of the platform with a small pram beside her. She was hunched over, as the weight of death pressed down upon her. Several of her friends were standing around her, offering comfort and support. The surviving members of the Order of the Phoenix stood together, heads bowed: Elphias, Dedalus, Mrs Figg, Aberforth, Sturgis, Mundungus and Hestia. A very subdued Kingsley Shacklebolt stood beside them and a delegation of wizards from the Ministry watched him from a little way off. They were there for Kingsley’s protection, as he was now temporary Minister for Magic, not to pay their respects to Remus and Tonks. This angered Harry. He felt himself grow hot with fury when he thought of the way the Ministry had treated werewolves and placed more burdens on Remus’s shoulders than he should have had to bear.
As the Weasley family entered the marquee and approached Andromeda, Harry’s eyes met those of Professor McGonagall. She had been Remus’s head of house when he was a school, and his colleague while he was a teacher. She looked pale, and tired and old. Strange, Harry had never associated any of these words with her before. Death, it seems, changes everything.
Beside her was an immaculately-clean and puffy-eyed Professor Sprout, who had been head of Tonks’s house. Her head was bowed and her lip trembling. To her right were Madam Hooch and Madam Promfrey, as well as Professors Slughorn, Flitwick, Trawlaney and Sinistra. All of them had taught or worked alongside Remus and Tonks in their time at Hogwarts. None of them were talking.
Harry looked behind him, determined to look anywhere but at the platform. His heart suddenly lifted when, in the distance, he saw a crowd of people enter the graveyard, a pale, battle-worn Neville and a quiet, distant Luna at its head. The group contained students and their families, all of whom had considered Remus to be the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher they had ever had. Seamus Finnegan, Dean Thomas, Ernie Macmillan and Cho Chang stood out amongst the other faces Harry only really knew to see. He recognised all the members of his old Quidditch team: Oliver Wood, Katie Bell, Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet. Teachers played an important role in one’s life, Harry thought, so it was only natural that they would want to say goodbye to Remus and his wife.
A small group of witches and wizards entered the graveyard after them. Some wore official Auror robes, and Harry knew instantly that these were Tonks’s friends and colleagues. Some were teary-eyed, others still and downcast. Death affects everyone in different ways.
“Alright Harry? Ginny?” croaked a voice from behind. Harry turned and saw Hagrid smiling weakly at them, his tear-stained face surrounded by a mane of wild hair.
“Fine,” Harry lied through his teeth, as Ginny nodded feebly.
Hagrid seemed to understand the words Harry was not speaking aloud, the words that were swirling around inside his head, like leaves in autumn: I didn’t want them to die, it was my fault, I never wanted Teddy to have to grow up the way I did.
Hagrid smiled and clapped Harry on the back, which knocked the breath out of him and nearly cracked several of his ribs.
Ginny brought Harry over to Andromeda, to give her their sympathies. She was the focal point of this funeral, as there was no member of Remus’s family left, save Teddy. Andromeda was hardly recognisable. Her hair was untidy, her eyes dominated by dark trenches, and her expression blank and empty. Ginny spoke to her, but Harry did not know what she said. Andromeda’s eyes fell on him. They were full of pain and were almost pleading with him to make it end. Then Harry saw the pram behind her, standing silent and still.
“I’ll – I’ll mind Teddy,” he croaked.
Andromeda looked relieved. She had one less thing to worry about today. “Thank you Harry,” she said, her voice nothing more than a hoarse whisper.
Harry took the pram and pushed it over to where the Weasley’s stood. Teddy was dosing inside. His hair was a dull-black colour. Harry wondered why it wasn’t turquoise. Maybe Teddy’s hair, like his mother’s, reverted back to its original colour when he was sad. Harry’s heart ached for a moment, ached with the thought of this tiny baby feeling sad.
Others too were now finding their seats. Harry still thought that Remus and Tonks deserved more than this small mass of mourners. But he took comfort in the fact that, despite its small size, every person at this funeral felt genuine grief at the thought that Remus and Tonks had left the world. Well, everyone except the Ministry entourage that were seated calmly at the back of the congregation.
A wizard in black robes stood up on the platform. Harry still could not bring himself to look. His gaze again found the shamrocks and daisies on the grass under his seat. The sun shone bright over head. It was not right. It should never be sunny on the day of a funeral. Sunshine meant happiness and right now Harry was feeling anything but happy.
He noticed a late-comer joining the back of the gathering. Her head was bowed and her footsteps tentative, as though afraid of attack. She had the hood of her cloak up, concealing her face. It seemed she wanted to be there, but at the same time feared she was not welcome. Nevertheless, Harry knew who she was. There was no mistaking the blonde hair, expensive robes and silver jewellery. So, Narcissa Malfoy had a heart after all.
The wizard at the platform began to speak. Many words were said, but Harry did not find them helpful. He just let the utterances wash over him. They were useless and stupid, empty and hallow, as all words were at times like this. Words failed, for all important things words just failed.
Teddy stirred in the pram beside him. His face was scrunched up, he started to cry. Some heads turned in Harry’s direction, one or two about glare at him, but then, as soon as they realised who it was, their expression softened. Harry glared straight back at them. If had been anyone else he would have been at the receiving end of annoyed looks for being unable to control a screaming baby. But they way Harry say it, this was Teddy’s parents’ funeral. He could cry if he wanted to.
“You should pick him up,” Ginny said gently.
Harry picked him up, slowly and carefully. Teddy instantly stopped crying. Harry held his Godson to his chest, gently rocking him. Teddy was warm, so very warm, and all Harry felt was cold, a horrible, bitter cold.
And still the wizard in the black robes talked. And still Harry was determinately not looking in his direction. Some people were crying now. Harry could hear Hagrid blowing his nose on his spotted handkerchief, as the tears rolled thick and fast down his face. Tears stained Hermione’s cheeks, Ron’s eyes were staring without seeing and Ginny was wringing her hands. All Harry felt was numbness. There was nothing inside him anymore, nothing left to scream, no heart to break, no soul to soothe. He was empty, void of all feeling, lost in a sea of grieving faces and hollow utterances.
Teddy’s tiny fingers enclosed the neck of Harry’s robes. He was agitated, as though he somehow knew the sadness of this occasion. Or perhaps, Harry’s grieving heart was transferring some of his pain into his Godson.
Memories, visions and fragments bombarded Harry’s brain. Suddenly, Tonks tripped over the old troll-leg umbrella stand in Grimmauld Place. She was impressed that he owned a fire-bolt. She was changing the appearance of her nose for Hermione’s and Ginny’s amusement. Harry saw her sitting on top of the washing machine in Privet Drive, smiling broadly as she showed him her wedding ring. Now, she was astride a broom, screaming at Mad-Eye, refuting his mad order to make them double-back, through cloud, in case they were followed. She was fixing his broken nose, and bringing him up to school from Hogsmeade Station. She was stumbling into Remus’s arms as she landed in the Burrow’s garden. Now she was laying on the floor in the Great Hall, looking as though she were asleep, Remus by her side.
Death had taken them both.
Harry felt his eyes burn and his heart hammer. Teddy gripped his robes tighter, as though he too were seeing what Harry was.
Remus was banishing the dementor on the Hogwarts Express. Harry saw him encourage Neville to fight the Boggart. He was at Kings-Cross warning the Dursleys what would happen if they mistreated Harry. He and Harry were drinking Butterbeer, toasting to Gryffindor’s soon-to-be-victory over Ravenclaw. He was laughing about his ‘furry little problem’ with Harry in the Burrow. Harry was having tea in Remus’s office and being shown a Grindylow in the tank behind. He was in the kitchen of Number-four, bringing Harry away to Headquarters. He was holding Harry back, preventing him from jumping through the veil after Sirius. He was congratulating Harry on his Patronus. His head was in Umbridge’s fire, reassuring Harry about his father. He was in a photo on the wall in Sirius’s room, young, and happy to be included as one of the Marauders. He hugging Harry after Teddy was born, making him the boy’s Godfather. Then, he was showing Harry Teddy’s picture in the Room of Requirement, a picture than was still in his pocket the moment he died.
Suddenly, Teddy started to cry again, seizing the material of Harry’s robes and kicking his little feet. And with a jerk, Harry was brought back from the world of memory. Now he was holding Remus’s and Tonks’s son in his arms, holding their son at their funeral. A son that was crying out for them and Harry would never be able to help him find them.
Harry couldn’t take it anymore. He didn’t want to feel anything anymore. He wanted to be someone else, anyone else, anyone but Harry Potter.
The truth hit him, hit him so hard he felt like he was going to collapse. He was drowning inside his own head, drowning in the terrible, irreversible truth. Remus was dead, Remus and Tonks were dead, just like Fred, Mad-Eye and Colin. Dead like Sirius, Dumbledore and his parents. Harry had lost all the father-figures he had ever had. He had been robbed of anyone he could rely on to protect him, to tell him about his parents, to reassure him when he was scared or upset.
Next, it was reality’s turn to strike him. It was at that moment that Harry knew that let his longing for a parent-like figure go. He had to let that longing go, because he himself was a father-figure now, a father figure for the little baby crying in his arms. It was now Harry’s responsibility, along with Andromeda, to look after Teddy, to help him in whatever way he could, to tell him stories about his parents, to show him photographs, to play with him, and most importantly, to make sure he was happy and wanted and loved. He would give Teddy all the things he, Harry, had been deprived of, had longed for, had wished for.
Harry, rocked his Godson gently again, as Ginny hushed him kindly, stroking his baby-soft, silky hair. Teddy gradually stopped crying.
Harry stared at the ground, shaking. His eyes were burning with the tears he could not allow to break through. Ginny put her arm around him, just to let him know that she was there, that he was not trapped alone with his dark thoughts.
The black-robed wizard stopped speaking and the silence that followed held all present under its spell.
Then a bell started to toll in the distance. It was a long, dull sound, which punctuated the chilly stillness. There was silence, silence and bell dongs. There was nothing more. Everyone stood up. The coffins were levitated down off the platform and floated serenely towards their final resting place, drifting slowly and gently in the air. Andromeda, supported by her friend, placed her hand on Tonks’s coffin. Tonks’s friends followed suit, walking beside Tonks’s body like sentinels. No one stood up to hold onto Remus.
Without his volition, Harry found himself moving forward, Teddy still in his arms. Kingsley had appeared out of nowhere, placing his large hand on the wooden box that enclosed Remus’s body. Harry stood behind him, walking beside the coffin that enclosed the body of the last of marauder, of his last father-figure. Professor McGonagall joined them, her head bowed, her expression sad as she rested her hand on the wooden box. Harry wanted to place his hand there too, but he couldn’t, for fear that he might drop Teddy if he did so. Instead he touched the coffin with the side of his hip. Harry doubted Remus would have minded. Remus would have just been glad that Harry and Teddy were so close to him at this moment.
It was then, when Harry had took up his position behind Kingsley, that Teddy started screaming, screaming more loudly and terribly than before. Teddy knew his parents were close and he knew that this would be the last journey they would ever make together.
Harry held Teddy’s little head to his chest, trying to soothe him. But Harry didn’t want to stop his Godson’s tears. Teddy had the right to mourn the death of his parents anyway he could and Harry wasn’t going to interfere with that, regardless of the dirty looks he knew some people would like to give him if he was anyone other than the famous Harry Potter.
Everyone started to move slowly behind the coffins, drudging forward inch by inch, dragging their feet with bowed heads. Still the bell tolled. And still Teddy cried out, the sound of his tears sending a chill through them all.
The little procession approached the grave. A huge mound of soil was piled to one side, hidden under a green sheet, a pathetic attempt to conceal the earth that would cover the grave forevermore. Harry couldn’t stand it. The grave was like a scar, gouged into the earth. It was big and dark and seemed to go on forever. It was dug neatly, with immense precision. Harry didn’t like it. It was too neat, too perfect, and too obviously done quickly and painlessly by magic. Harry didn’t want Remus and Tonks going in that hole.
Slowly, very slowly, the coffins began to lower themselves into the grave. They rested side-by-side on the damp earth, just as Remus’s and Tonks’s bodies had been laid alongside each other under the dark, enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall. Harry stepped back, not able to take in any more of the scene in front of him. Teddy continued to cry and Harry continued to rub his Godson’s back, trying to comfort him.
Harry started trembling. Everything inside him was screaming again, just like his little Godson was screaming. A wave rose in Harry’s chest and crashed down upon him. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t see. Water blurred his vision. Remus and Tonks were going into that dark hole and neither Teddy nor Harry would ever see them again.
The congregation started to queue silently. One-by-one, they stood at the edge of the grave for a moment. Some nodded, others whispered words that were inaudible, while the rest simply waved their wands, causing a small shower of flowers to descend onto the coffins.
Finally, Harry stood at the edge of the grave, holding a screaming Teddy, as Ginny put her arm around Harry’s waist. There was so much he wanted to say, hundreds of words were swirling in his head, but there were too many to comprehend. A large knot pressed down on Harry’s voice-box, silencing anything he wanted to utter. He just nodded, and held onto Teddy tightly, holding onto the last thing that remained of the pair that would soon be sleeping forevermore under a soft blanket of earth.
Then the green sheet was magically pulled back, and the mound of earth moved and began to pour down upon the coffins, hitting them with a sound like the soft pitter-patter of rain-drops. Something terrible overwhelmed Harry. He panicked. He wanted to say something, say something now, before it was too late, before the earth covered Teddy’s parents forever.
Then, the last words Remus ever spoke to him in the forest, replayed themselves over and over inside Harry’s head: I’m sorry too, sorry I will never know him. *1
A second tear leaked out of Harry’s eye, boiling hot, and trickled down his cheek, being robbed of its warmth as it did so.
But he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life. *2
And still, Harry held onto Teddy, gently pressing the baby’s head against his chest, as a third tear broke loose and fell down into his Godson’s hair.
I’ll look after him Remus, I promise.
The earth continued to cascade down on the graves, hiding Remus and Tonks eternally from view.
*1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pg 561 (UK edition)
*2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pg 561 (UK edition)
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