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Chapter 2 : Professor McGonagall's Speech
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The three of them stood and Harry let Ron and Hermione out ahead of them. As Ginny went to follow he stopped her, grabbing her elbow. He pulled her round to face him, her eyes were red, as though she’d been crying for a very long time, a deep cut ran across her eyebrow and she had a cut lip which had not yet began to scab over. She wrapped her arms round Harry’s neck and kissed him gently on the lips, a soft lingering kiss that made Harry's stomach somersault, destroying the lethal joyous gremlin that had threatened to break free in Hermione's presence. Ginny pulled away just a little too quickly for him.
"I love you." Harry whispered gently.
"Back at you Potter, but I've got to say, you're still crap at kissing." She smiled playfully as she spun away and skipped out the room, Harry's face broke into a grin.
"Since when have you called me Potter?!" He shouted down the staircase to her.
"Since you told me you loved me!" She grinned up at him, her eyes dazzling, before she disappeared from view. He followed her.
They reached the Great Hall. A huge crowd had gathered and McGonagall was standing at the front. Harry and Ginny quickly spotted Hermione and Ron stood at the back of the Hall and walked over to them hand in hand when McGonagall burst into speech.
"Hello everybody, after the events of yesterday I have a few important announcements to make. First, all of our lost ones have been handed back to their families to be given proper funerals as they deserve and I'm sure every last one of you will hold them in your hearts forever. They all showed that the Sorting Hat lies, because their fight and bravery outshone all of the Gryffindors that have ever set foot in this castle, and the friendship and courage they all showed was something that I want every single one of you stood in this room now to value. Make sure you honour every one of them in every single thing you do in your life from now on and don't forget the pride they felt when they stood up for what they believed in, the pride that all of you felt as well. Second, I'd like to say thank you, thank you to all of you for putting up a fight yesterday against the Dark Lord and his followers, it's down to all of you that we managed to defeat them. Thirdly, and I'm extremely happy to say this, Hogwarts is, and always will be, here to welcome you home, for any of you standing here that need it. With some hard work I'm sure, with a little help, we can all fix this place up, but for now, I'd like you all to return home, bury your dead and grieve your losses. You've taught me much more than I could ever have taught you and for that I must thank you all dearly."
The room cheered as McGonagall left the stage. Molly Weasley pushed her way through the crowd to Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione. Her face was red and her eyes bloodshot from crying.
"Hello Harry dear, and Hermione of course, I haven't seen you two properly since yesterday evening. Anyway, we were going to go back to The Burrow tonight, Fred's funeral is next week and we need to get that sorted, and of course Remus and Tonks too, and I was thinking that, if you didn't mind Harry, we include Snape and Sirius? Ron was thinking that maybe we could put their two headstones next to your parents in Godric's Hollow?" She blinked at Harry, her eyes glazed over by tears; she'd had difficulty managing to get out her words, letting out sniffles at random intervals. Harry's throat tightened, he only just managed a whisper.
"Yes, yes, I think they would have liked that Mrs Weasley, I think they would have liked that a lot." He looked across at Ron, who nodded at him like he knew exactly what Harry wanted to say to him.
"Good, good, that's great Harry, just great. Well, if the four of you meet us in the Defence Against the Dark Arts room in an hour we can all leave from there by floo powder. Okay, well, I'll see you all later." She hugged them each in turn, holding Harry and Hermione like they were her own, before leaving the Great Hall and joining Arthur in the Entrance Hall. Arthur smiled at them, he looked a state, half his face was burnt and a deep cut ran from the corner of his left eye down to his chin and his face was grief stricken, but his smile and bright red hair still made him look like himself. He wrapped his arm round Molly's shoulder as she greeted him and the two of them ascended the stairs.
"So, Harry, Ginny, erm, Hermione and I were going to look about a bit, you know, around the castle, just for memory's sake and stuff? You’re welcome to join us, if you like?" Ron smiled tentatively.
"Yeah, Ron that's a great idea, course we'll join you." Ginny said. Harry nodded.
"Okay then! Let's go! Any preference to where we go first, dear." Ron joked, nudging Hermione with his shoulder and letting out a sharp laugh. Hermione laughed too.
"Well, I thought Muggle Studies was the best bet," She grinned as Ron grimaced, "I'm kidding, erm, well, I think it's only right to visit Potions first, Harry might want to have a look at some of Snape's things, it makes sense too, work our way from top to bottom?"
"Yeah, yeah, okay," Ron’s face looked a little more than relieved.
"Thanks Hermione, that's a great idea. After you two then?" Harry gestured for Ron and Hermione to take the lead. Hermione smiled at him and he blushed red, feeling the blood rush to the surface of his skin, he only hoped Ginny nor Ron had seen him, he wanted to put his feelings for Hermione in a safe and lock it before throwing away the key, but he knew it wasn't that simple, and the way he suddenly felt about Hermione made him question his relationship with Ginny.
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