Disclaimer: I am only borrowing from the world of J.K. Rowling. Story Title Credit to Blue Scholars with their song of the same name.
Chapter Four: No Rest for the Weary
Harry stuttered. “I can’t go.” He came to a complete stop. “George will kill me.”
“George will kill you if you don’t go.” Ron said. “As will plenty of other Weasleys.”
Hermione took out her wand and transfigured Harry’s robes. “If you stick out too much the press will go crazy.” She added but Harry was thankful. It wouldn’t do to be at a man who was like his brother’s funeral wearing jeans.
They started in and Ron entered the Burrow.
“Harry!” Mrs. Weasley embraced him. “Where did you go off too?”
Harry stared around the table, just about everyone was ashen face, but forcing smiles. “I just had to take care of a few things at Grimmauld Place. Didn’t realize that it had been a week.”
“Well, I’m very happy that Ron and Hermione got the message to you.” Mrs. Weasley said and tightened her grip around him and then let go.
Mrs. Weasley turned around muttering to herself, and wiping at her eyes. There were several moments of silence and then Mr. Weasley walked through the door. “It’s time.” He didn’t even see Harry for which Harry was grateful. The entire kitchen stood up and Ron whispered in Harry’s ear.
“You will be seated directly behind us. There will be some Weasleys on the sides of you, but you are family.” Harry nodded and walked stride beside Hermione who was going to sit next to him. As they took their seats, Lee Jordan, Angelina Johnson, and Katie Bell joined George. The tent started to fill up, and Harry was sure that he caught sight of Oliver Wood. There were countless others from school and before he knew it, the Kingsley was up there. Harry was glad that an old friend was conducting the funeral and knew that Fred would be a have preferred it to the old man that was there doing Dumbledore’s. At the thought of Dumbledore, Harry looked into his hands. Why did it all have to be me? Kingsley started the ceremony, reading some things and sharing memories. There was some magic that was involved, something that the old man had done at Dumbledore’s, but Harry wasn’t completely sure what it was.
“And now, we would like to ask George Weasley to the front, Fred’s twin and greatest friend.”
George stood up and rubbed the tears out of his eyes. He went to the podium and Harry saw that he tried to force a smile.
“Fred and I weren’t the best sons. We would drive our mum bonkers. We weren’t the best brothers. We were sure that we would be cut off by our siblings at sometime. We weren’t the most forgiving. We were together, and to us, that’s what mattered. Several people helped us achieve our dreams. We were lucky by having some of the best people making dreams come true to us even in a time of darkness. Yet, now, Fred isn’t here. He isn’t going to finish my sentences, and not see our first niece or nephew.” George stroke several tears from his face. “Fred did what he thought was right, and had it claim his life. There is no one to blame, and I can only thank fate that he is my only brother gone. I am overjoyed that what Fred fought for is over, but a part of me will be gone, and nobody can change that.” George stepped down and walked over to his seat and the crowd burst in applause. Harry wiped his cheeks and saw that Hermione was doing the same, in fact, he was sure that just about everyone that was there that was wiping their eyes. Even the most stoic warrior, or the coldest friend, they could not help but cry over the loss of Fred.
Several other speakers came up, and then Kingsley returned and had a plaque with him. “For fighting in the downfall of Hogwarts, we would like to present, posthumously, Order of Merlin Second Class to Mr. Fred Weasley.” Everyone applauded and some people stood up. Soon the entire marquee was up and clapping. Somebody pushed George forward and he collected it and then returned to his seat. With that, the funeral was over, and the mass left while the close friends and family stayed.
As Harry wandered around the Burrow, he had become very good at staying in the shadows. Few people looked at him, and those that did, barely knew who he was, and he did his best to avoid everyone all together. At one point, he found himself wandering up and down the stairs, and into Ron’s room.
He was grateful that he was wearing dress robes. Less people to think he was hiding something under long sleeves in the middle of summer. He stared out the window, several workers were taking down the marque. He could just spot Ron and Hermione walking around the pond, as George sat staring at the coffin. Several other Weasleys were scattered about, and a few were leaving. He could just see the Lovegood’s blonde hair as Luna started to make her way to the garden. No doubt to try and get bitten by a gnome again.
“You didn’t know, did you?”
Harry swung his head around and saw that Ginny was standing in the doorway, her eyes red-rimmed. “What?” he asked.
“Hermione and Ron. They didn’t tell you anything about the funeral did they?”
“No.” Harry said honestly, knowing that Ginny would see right through him.
“Why did you come?” Harry clutched his arm and looked straight into Ginny’s eyes.
“Teddy.” He said simply. Ginny raised an eyebrow, and Harry continued, “Siruis went to Azkaban trying to protect me. He gave his life, pretty much, and I. What have I done for Teddy? Absolutely nothing.”
Ginny wrapped an arm around him, and said, “Harry. You have done so much more for Teddy than you can ever imagine. You allowed him to live in safety and not have to worry about Voldemort, You-”
Harry cut into her, “But it’s my fault that his parent’s are dead!”
“Harry.” Ginny leaned her head onto his shoulder. “It’s not. You are not the cause of this. You did everything that you could, and you need to stop blaming yourself.”
Harry sighed and then spoke again, “And how am I supposed to do that?” he asked. “How am I supposed to ignore what I did.”
“You put down Voldemort for Merlin’s fucking sake. You did more than any of us could have done, and it had to be then, it had to be after all those deaths, and you can’t change that.”
Harry knew that there was no part in arguing. Women always won, they were always more stubborn, and even The Chosen One couldn’t change that for what it was.
“Ginny. So I did that, so those people died. But we can’t go back as we were. Your family doesn’t know what to think of me, and I don’t even want to try and go out in public. And don’t tell me you haven’t noticed the circles under my eyes.” Even the best potions were no match for exhaustion, and if Hermione had tried to do some beauty charm, he wasn’t going to be here.
“I know Harry, I know.” As she and Harry embraced. “But we need to make steps. Sure Fred’s place will always be empty, but there will be others that will help fill it. And if George ever does have kids there will be a Fred Jr. coming around.”
Harry gripped onto her, wishing that he could never let go, and just grow old as his pain was washed away from her soothing presence. Ginny slowly loosened her grip and then looked deep into Harry’s eyes. He was never good at Occlumency but he was sure that even without magic she could read right into him.
“You’ve never have you.” Ginny said a slight frown crossing her face.
“Never what?” Harry said taken aback.
“Been held like that before.” Ginny said. Harry broke the gaze and looked back out the window. He had hugged people before, Ginny mostly, but he had never been hugged so deeply as if someone was comforting him. Not in the connection like that.
“I don’t, I don’t think so.” Harry stuttered out.
Ginny started to rub his back. “I don’t know how you survived your childhood. Every time something bad happened Mum would swoop us into one her hugs. She would make us hot chocolate, and before we knew it, whatever it was that was hurting us was gone, and we were talking about our dreams. That’s why she hugs so hard.” Ginny said fondly, “But, your mum was an aunt that wished she never laid eyes on you. You were never comforted, you just had to suck it up yourself which is why I think that you bottle it all up and then explode.”
“I didn’t know you were my therapist Gin.” Harry said refusing to make eye contact with her.
“Don’t be ashamed of it Harry.” Ginny said, “We are working everything out one step at a time, and anything in the past we can’t change.”
“Except if we have a time-turner.” Harry smirked.
“But no one has one, so we can’t do anything about it.” Ginny said matter-of-factly. “Well, we should go down now, or my brothers will think we’re up to something.”
Harry immediately agreed, he had a bad feeling about where this conversation was going, and the last thing he wanted to think about was the Dursleys at Fred’s funeral. Except maybe the Ton-Tongue Toffee.
The two exited it out they joined the others in the kitchen, as a few talked and everyone sat in silence watching them, their eyes slightly teared up.
“And I remember,” Lee Jordan said, in a tone that was perfect for the occasion, making Harry remember that he had started working at Wizard Wireless Network. “When he and George decided to leave Hogwarts, best prank ever.” Lee said and nudged George who was next to him and had decided to come inside.
“I think I’m going to leave now.” Harry said knowing he couldn’t stand constant re-tellings of Fred. He just really needed to get away.
Ginny nodded. “I knew I couldn’t keep you around here forever. But promise me that you’ll come back tomorrow.”
One look into her brown eyes and Harry couldn’t resist. “I promise.”
“Good.” And she kissed him on the forehead, and Harry slightly in shock walked out the door. He looked around and saw that no one was in sight, and then made his way over to Fred’s casket.
“Oh Fred, please forgive me. I know I could have acted sooner, I could have saved you, and you wouldn’t be stuck in the ground. I know I could have. But, I made a mistake, and there’s no way I can change that. I’m just so sorry.” Harry started to cry. “I just want you to know.” Harry said after a minute or so after he regained his composure. “That I think I might marry your sister one day. I’m not sure yet, but hell, she’s one girl that is just,” Harry looked up making sure that Ron and Hermione were still out of sight. “Amazing, and I know that you can’t tell me whether you approve or disapprove, but I figure you should be the first to know.”
Harry stood up and wiped the tears out of his eyes. One last look at the box and he walked away from the Burrow. With another look back, Harry readjusted his glasses and glanced around. Hermione would understand, Ginny understood. Ron would be flustered and probably try to convince them to go get him. But Harry would try to keep his promise. Tomorrow, he hoped, he’d be here. With one step out of the apparation boundary. He felt several hands converge on him, and then he was sucked into the tube that was Side-Along Apparation.