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Harry Potter and the Forgotten Enemy. by Marauding hippogriff
Chapter 12 : Chapter 12: Final Farewells
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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 Chapter 12: Final Farewells

The next few days of Harry’s life seemed to blaze past. He and Ron duelled regularly, in order to keep sharp in preparation for their new careers. The four played quidditch in the orchard, occasionally accompanied by George or Charlie, and occasionally both of them.

However, the funerals of Fred, Remus and Tonks were set for the weekend, Fred’s on the Saturday and Remus and Tonks’ joint funeral the next day. Harry, consumed by guilt, began to fall into a deepening pit of misery. He hid it from the others, of course, but he couldn’t help think that the deaths of those three people, one a close friend, another an older brother, and a mentor, a father figure and the last of the Marauders, were all his, Harry’s fault, as well as so many others. .

He began to remove himself from the rest of the family, even Ginny. He spent a lot of time leaning against the old oak tree by the Weasley’s pond, thinking. His guilt began to further consume him, but again, he kept it from the others. His old nightmares began to come back, having faded into the back of his mind during the brief happy period since the battle. The night before Fred’s funeral, yet another dream struck him.

“It’s your fault…” said the high, cold voice. “They died…for you, Harry Potter. They hate you. All of them.” It whispered in his ear.

“No…” Harry moaned, trying to escape the voice, but he couldn’t move.

“She loves me. Don’t you remember? She confided everything in me…what has she told you?” the voice asked, and laughed in a high pitched voice as Harry thrashed furiously. “She is with you…because you are like me. You will never be rid of me, Harry Potter. You will lose.” It said, laughing even more. Images of Fred, Remus and Tonks flashed by, along with Ginny lying in the chamber, clutching the diary, with Tom Riddle laughing as he stood over her, the flash of green as his mother collapsed…

Harry awoke with a start. He was sweating profusely once again, and to his surprise and horror, his scar was prickling once again. He looked around the violently orange room. As ever, Ron was fast asleep, snoring, his dreams untroubled, his sleep uninterrupted. The sun was just rising above the horizon-rays of light were drifting lazily through the curtains. The pain in his scar had already subsided-had he imagined it? Harry pulled on his glasses and picked up his watch, which lay beside his bed. It was half seven in the morning. Fred’s funeral was still hours away. He picked himself up, threw on his jeans and t shirt and headed downstairs, thinking he’d go sit by the tree some more until everyone was up. He was walking through the kitchen when he heard a small voice behind him.

“Harry?” it squeaked. It was a female voice, and it was upset. He turned slowly, expecting to see Ginny. But it was Hermione was sat at the table. A cup of tea was stood by her, shaking slightly in her grip. She’d conjured up a flock of birds. She always seemed to do that when she was sad. James and Lily were fast asleep in their frame. Wordlessly, Harry stepped around the table as she stood, and they embraced, Harry pulling his adoptive sister close to him. “You’ve had a nightmare again, haven’t you?” she whispered.

“How do you know everything?” Harry asked grumpily. Hermione gave a strange, strangled laugh.

“Harry, you’ve been my best friend since we were eleven years old.” She said, swaying slightly in his arms. “I know that look.” She said simply. “So have you?” she asked.

“You know I have,” said Harry heavily. “It’s my fault Hermione…so many died to save me.” He said miserably. She pulled back, looking stern.

“How many times are people going to have to tell you Harry?” she said, her voice mixed with anger and sadness. “They didn’t die for you, or because of you. They died fighting with you, for our world and our future!” she said, tears forming in her eyes. “Nobody lost as much as you Harry, you lost your parents, your godfather, and god knows how many others. You even sacrificed yourself Harry! Nobody blames you, so stop blaming yourself before I set my birds on you,” she said, giving him a watery smile. Harry pulled her close again, stroking her hair affectionately.

“I love you Hermione.” He whispered. “Like a sister.”

“I know Harry. You’re my silly little brother.” She said affectionately, kissing him on the cheek. They broke apart, and Harry made her another cup of tea.

“So why the tears?” he asked her, his back to her. He heard her sniff, and he turned to her, charming her cup of tea to hover over to her. “Hermione?” she looked at him, her tortured face glazed with tears. He put his hand on hers.

feel so guilty.” She whispered. “How many times did I tell Fred and George off for their pranks? How many times did I yell at him?” she said hoarsely. Harry shook his head at her.

“Fred always liked you Hermione. Even if you did tell him off. Sirius told me once, there’s no point in pulling a prank if there’s no risk involve. You made it fun for him.” He said reassuringly. She smiled at him and hiccoughed. “If I have nothing to feel guilty about, you defiantly don’t.” he added with a quick smile. She laughed a little.

“Oh! Ron!” she suddenly shrieked, leaping up from the table and throwing herself around Ron, who had just come downstairs and looked utterly confused.

“Whassthematter!” he murmured sleepily, his eyes barely open. She kissed him, and Harry quickly averted his eyes.A few moments later, both Hermione and a very sleepy Ron were sat at the table. “I heard voices.” He mumbled, yawning and stretching his long, gangly limbs. Harry raised his eyebrow. They needed something to keep the sadness of their minds, at least for a little while longer.

“We were talking.” He said, a smile playing on his lips. Ron grinned back.

“I worked that out myself, surprisingly.” He said sarcastically.

“Coming from you, that is surprising.” Harry shot back playfully. Ron chuckled.

“Just because you’re the Chosen One doesn’t mean you can bully me Harry!” he said warningly, waving a teaspoon threateningly. “I’m still bigger than you!” Harry chuckled.

“You’re taller than me, but I’m pretty sure that’s it.” He said cheekily. Ron took it in his stride.

“Taller and better looking. Remember that.” He said, laughing and leaning back in his chair. Hermione joined in.

“I dunno Ron…” she said slowly, “I mean, Harry’s got scars, he’s dark and broody, all mysterious. He’s very attractive if you ask me.” She said in a seductive voice.

“Why thank you Hermione.” Harry said cheerfully, turning the teaspoon Ron threw at him into a buttercup with a flick of his wand. “It’s okay Ron, we can always swap.” Harry said, causing Hermione to have a giggle fit.

“Your girlfriend happens to be my sister!” said Ron in mock outrage.

“You could always go back to Lav-Lav?” suggested Hermione in a thoughtful voice.

“I’d rather date Moaning Myrtle.” Ron said darkly, causing Hermione to beam at him.

“I don’t think Myrtle would have you Ron.” Said Harry seriously. “You seem to consistently offend her every time you go near her.” Ron chuckled.

“True, but offending Myrtle is like convincing Luna Lovegood that something utterly random and made up is real. It’s incredibly easy and you quite often don’t mean to do it.” He pointed out.

“Harry never seems to do it.” Hermione pointed out, a sly smile on her face. “I think she has quite the fancy for you Harry.” She said, smirking at him. Ron roared with laughter as Harry turned beetroot.

“You are popular with the ladies aren’t you Harry?” yawned James sleepily. “I was having a lovely dream…” he grumbled. Harry ignored him.

“Don’t remind me. I still have nightmares about her watching me in the bath with the egg.” He mumbled, causing Ron to laugh even more. Hermione joined in, giggling furiously.

WHO watched you in the bath with what egg?” came a sharp voice from the stairs. Harry spun around, and saw Ginny at the top of the stairs. She was once again wearing his T-shirt (he had no idea where she’d got it from) and another pair of pyjama shorts, which were rather revealing. Ron gave her a disapproving glance, but Hermione gave him a sharp elbow before he could say anything. He gave a resigned sigh and leant back in his chair. Ginny didn’t appear to notice the brief exchange. “You haven’t answered me Potter!” she said thunderously. Harry swallowed. He knew he was in trouble when she used his second name.

“You’re buggered now Harry,” said James seriously. “When these red hairs say Potter, you may as well hex yourself,”

“Shut up James,” growled Lily, and James fell silent under his wife’s stare.

“We weren’t together at the time?” Harry said weakly, deciding to have a little fun before he told her. Ron snorted loudly behind him, but disguised it as a sneeze. Hermione was biting her lip tightly, forcing herself not to laugh. Ginny’s eyes blazed angrily.

“Was it Cho!” she snapped. “Did you get all nice and cosy in a bath with Chang?” she demanded angrily.

“Another one?” exclaimed James, wisely trying to stop the impending explosion. Hermione gave out a squeak of laughter, and Ginny shot her a murderous stare.

“Hot tea…” Hermione mumbled incoherently, fanning her tea for extra effect. Ginny’s eyes narrowed, and she returned her burning gaze to Harry.

“Well?” she demanded once more. Harry gave up- the laughter was threatening to burst out and she’d probably hex him if he didn’t explain first, under age or not.

“Actually Gin, her name was Myrtle.” He said sheepishly. The name didn’t seem to register immediately.

“My-Myrtle! As in moaning Myrtle?” she said, her anger suddenly evaporating. “Bloody hell you three!” she snapped playfully. “I was worried there!” she said, giving Harry a friendly but quite hard punch on the shoulder, causing him to spill his tea.

“Tergeo!” Harry said hastily, and the tea was siphoned off by his wand although it still scalded his leg. Ginny leapt onto his lap, giving him a quick kiss. “I dunno if you noticed Gin, but I was never much cop with girls before you,” Harry confessed with a grin. Ginny looked at him, a wry smile dancing on her lips.

“Doesn’t sound like it,” muttered James sarcastically.

“You still aren’t” Ginny said, amused. “Remember what you said on your last birthday when I made you come in my room?” she asked. Harry blushed and didn’t answer. “No? Let me remind you then.” Ginny continued after a small pause. She was thoroughly enjoying this. “You said ‘Nice view.’ That’s it. Your ex-girlfriend who everyone knows you’re still in love with brings you into her bedroom, and you say ‘Nice view.’” She said, laughing as Ron almost fell off his seat, tears streaming down his face as he howled with laughter.

“A line from the Wormtail school of dating there Harry,” said Lily, laughing. “That really is awful,”

“I’m ashamed,” admitted James.

“Thanks Dad. I meant you, Ginny,” said Harry innocently over Ron’s laughter.

“Bollocks did you.” She giggled, stroking his face. “I forgive you though. At least you’re not a sore loser, and you don’t help me through the portrait hole at school. I could’ve killed Dean that last time…” she said, trailing off. Harry turned bright pink.

“Actually,” he mumbled. “That wasn’t Dean. That was me. Under the cloak.” He said, giving her an abashed grin. She looked at him, stunned.

“You?” she said, her mouth hanging open. “What? “Why?” she said, amused rather than angry. Harry laughed.

“Felix Felicis.” He said, with a grin. “I took it to get Slughorn’s memory about the Horcrux. I bumped into you accidently on the way out and…well, you know the rest.” She gave him a have exasperated, half amused look.

“I don’t know Harry. You’re impossible, you know that?” she said, giving him a kiss again.

“Brilliant,” said James simply as Lily roared with laughter.

“Says you?” Harry said grumpily. “You fancy me for all those years and then when finally I fancy you back you’re going out with bloody Dean!” he said, tickling her. She giggled and fidgeted before answering.

“Blame Hermione,” she said, giving her a wink. Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Before you took my advice you couldn’t even speak in front of him Ginny.” She said cuttingly, a smirk on her face. Ginny turned scarlet.

“James used to be like that around me,” said Lily fondly. “But he added in the hair ruffle, thinking it made him cool,” she added, smirking.

“And it did, didn’t it?” retorted James.

“No!” replied Ginny, Hermione and Lily in unison.

“We just think boys are prats when they do that,” explained Ginny. James shrugged.

“Worked out alright for me didn’t it?” he said offhandedly, unconsciously ruffling his hair. Harry snorted into his tea. James looked utterly confused as the others laughed at him. “What?” he demanded furiously.

“James Potter, how I fell in love with you I will never know,” said Lily affectionately.

“I don’t know either Lily,” said Ginny. “They just have a way, these Potter men,” she said, winking at Harry.  The subject gradually changed the subject to quidditch, chiefly the fact that Ginny’s team, the Holyhead Harpies, had beaten Ron’s favourite (although nobody knew why) team, the Chudley Cannons, once again.

“Four hundred and twenty points to twenty Ron!” Ginny laughed. Ron shrugged it off.

“We’ve lost that many times I’m starting to become immune to your teasing.” He said grumpily.

“Wish you hadn’t dragged me into supporting them,” said Harry with a laugh. “I still say we were the only people in the school who did.” He added thoughtfully. Ron shrugged again.

“I needed somebody to share the misery with.” Ron said. “Seamus supported the Kestrels, Neville was a Puddlemere United fan and Dean liked…what was it, West Bacon?” he said thoughtfully.

“West Ham,” Harry corrected, laughing. “They’re a football team.” He explained.

“I never got the point of that.” Ron said. “They don’t even fly.” He pointed out, as though a sport shouldn’t be allowed if the players don’t fly.

“Most muggle sports don’t involve flying Ron.” Said Hermione, who was now putting in some toast, obviously bored with the Quidditch talk. “Everything they use to fly is quite big you see.” She explained, fondly stroking his hair as she passed.

“It’s not that bad actually,” said Harry fairly. “Dudley used to watch it, never played it of course. I was allowed to watch if I was quiet.” He explained.

“Did Dudley support West Ham as well?” Ron asked as Hermione gave them all toast.

“No, they were rubbish. He supported Manchester United.” Harry replied.

“I’m going to pretend I know what you’re on about,” said Ron round a mouthful of toast, causing Hermione to roll her eyes in disgust once again.

“You roll your eyes much more Granger, and they’ll never stop.” Came a cheeky voice from the stairs, as Charlie Weasley sauntered into the kitchen, still in his boxers and vest top. His thick, muscular arms seemed to be enjoying the break from dragons, as they were no longer covered in burn marks and welts. Hermione shot him an incredibly McGonagall-like stare, and he grinned at her. “Only joking Hermione. Any chance of some toast?” he asked innocently, receiving another deathly glare from her. “Ron, train your woman!” he ordered, ducking as Hermione threw a teacup at him.

“Make your own toast for that, dragon boy.” Hermione growled, plonking herself down next to Ron. Charlie grinned at her and flicked his wand, setting away his toast. “Reparo.” She muttered, waving her wand at the shattered teacup.

“Is George not coming down Charlie?” asked Ginny quietly. Charlie’s good mood evaporated. The cheerful mood everyone had been creating to keep their minds off things disappeared, and the room acquired a solemn atmosphere.

“No.” said Charlie heavily. “He’s up in his room, on his own. I checked up on him before I came down but he said he wanted to be left alone.” Charlie sighed. “It’s hardest on him.” He admitted. The others nodded sadly and returned to their breakfasts, eating silently. Harry suddenly lost his appetite; his stomach felt knotted with pain and guilt.

The rest of the Weasley family, including George, wandered through the kitchen and had their breakfast in the next ten minutes. Nobody said much, and Molly looked close to tears as she busied herself, obviously trying hard not to think about what was coming. Eventually Arthur came along, patted her gently on the shoulder and took her upstairs. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny took that to mean it was time to get ready, so they returned to their rooms to change into their black dress robes. Harry got dressed in silence, pulling on his clothes as quickly as possible. He turned to see Ron looking trance-like out the window, his eyes shining with tears.

“Come on mate,” said Harry quietly, gently tapping him on the shoulder. “We should go down.” Ron swallowed and nodded. Harry pulled him into a brotherly embrace, patting him awkwardly on the back. “I’m sorry.” He mumbled. Ron sniffed loudly.

“Not your fault Harry.” He muttered. They broke apart, and saw Hermione and Ginny at the doorway, both crying, seemingly quite touched by what they saw. They took each other’s hands silently, and went downstairs as a four. Fred was to be buried in the Weasleys garden, next to a tree he and George had once managed to trap Percy in for three hours.

 Harry had been extremely honoured and humbled when the Weasleys had asked him to be the sixth pallbearer alongside the other five Weasley brothers, and had agreed when Molly said that ‘It’s what he would have wanted.’ Harry stood in the kitchen, waiting with the others. The rest of the family had joined the guests outside. Harry swallowed the lump in his throat. It was almost time. To his surprise, George looked nowhere near tears-his face was stony, emotionless, and he looked strangely determined. Even Lily and James seemed unable to think of anything to say, consumed by grief. Suddenly, Bill spoke.

“It’s time.” He said simply. As one, the five Weasley brothers and Harry rose, and walked out into the sunshine. The sky was clear and bright blue, as though the elements themselves were celebrating Fred’s life. Harry felt a strange lump in his chest as he saw the coffin-the coffin that contained all that remained of Fred Weasley, the joker, the Hogwarts legend, the war hero.

 Each of the six took their places, and the coffin levitated magically to their shoulders. As they walked down the aisle, Harry saw many familiar faces, including his entire former quidditch team, from Oliver Wood to Katie Bell and Angelina Johnson, who was weeping shamelessly. He also recognised Verity, Fred and George’s secretary from their shop. Many of the Hogwarts professors were there, including McGonagall, Hagrid and Flitwick. Lee Jordan sat with the old quidditch team, looking extremely miserable. Much of the DA were also scattered around, including Neville and Luna, who were sat next to each other, Luna’s pale eyes looking even sadder than usual.

 Most of the Order had also turned up, including Kingsley, Sturgis, Aberforth, Hestia and Dedalus, along with a host of former Hogwarts students that Harry didn’t recognise. Surprisingly, Peeves the Poltergeist had turned up, on his best behaviour, dressed in black rather than his usual blur of red, yellow and purple.

Harry recognised the tune they were playing with a painful, saddening-it was the same tune that Fred and George had sung the Hogwarts song too back on his very first day. He remembered the absurdity of Dumbledore directing them as they sang alone, finishing way after everyone else. He was gripped with a bizarre temptation to laugh, like he had at Dumbledore’s funeral.

 Finally, they reached the top, where the grave was dug, and Harry noticed the same tufty haired wizard who’d done the service for both Dumbledore’s funeral and Bill and Fleur’s wedding. The pallbearers set the coffin down, and walked to their seats. Harry set next to Ginny, who clamped her hand tightly around his, resting her head on his shoulder.

“I can’t believe he’s gone…still.” She whispered. Harry shook his head.

“The ones we love, never truly leave us behind.”* He murmured to her. “We can always find them. In here.” He said, tapping his heart. She gave him a watery smile.

“That sounds like something Dumbledore would say.” She replied.

“It was Sirius actually.” Harry said with a small smile. “He was brighter than he seemed, that’s for sure,” he added quietly. The tufty haired wizard was talking about Fred, saying the last rites. Harry barely listened. It meant nothing, the man had never known Fred…this would be too serious for Fred.

“And now, Fred’s twin George would like to say a few words,” said the wizard, bowing slightly and stepping aside as George walked to the podium. He had no notes-either he’d learnt his speech off by heart, or he was improvising. Knowing George, he was probably improvising.

“What can I say about Fred?” he said, a hint of his old cheerfulness in his voice. “I don’t know where to begin…so many memories… I think the time in our first year when we let off a dungbomb in Filch’s office was particularly brilliant.” He said, to the amusement of the crowd. “Sorry professor McGonagall.” he added, giving his former head of house a cheeky wink, which returned with a smile. “Then there was our…modest exit in our seventh year. Rumour has it that old toad face still cannot stand to be near fireworks.” He said with a grin, once again the audience laughed. Harry smiled-this was more like it.

“But my most prominent memory of Fred-“ said George, suddenly serious. “Was the time we thought an aging potion would fool Dumbledore’s age line around the goblet of fire. Naturally my younger brother Ron’s lovely girlfriend Hermione told us it wouldn’t work, and on reflection we probably should have listened, as it gave us rather spectacular beards.” He said, smiling at the memory. Hermione gave a choked giggle, and returned George’s smile to her.  “My only regret-“ George continued. “Is that it was the only time I saw Fred as an old man. We should have grown old together, brother, and I’ll never forget you Freddie, in fact I still look over my shoulder to share the joke with you, only to find you’re not there. I’ll never forget you, my brother, my twin, my best friend.” He said, his voice breaking as he finished, and bowed off, to tumultuous applause and many tears. Mrs Weasley was openly howling in the front row, and George and Arthur hurried forward to comfort her, Arthur crying silently himself, but George remained steady, and though his face was now lined with sadness, no tears fell.

“That was amazing…” Harry commented thickly, wiping away his own tears. Ginny nodded, and then,

“Promise you’ll never leave me again Harry?” she whispered. “I couldn’t do it if I lost you after all we’ve been through.” Harry shook his head.

“I’m yours, Gin. Always,” he whispered, kissing her forehead. She smiled briefly, then watched as Fred’s coffin was lowered slowly into the earth. As it did, a large set of Weasley’s wizard wheezes fireworks burst from the sides, roaring up into the air and recreating the Weasley’s epic Hogwarts exit in colourful sparks. Many of the guests applauded, and when the sparks cleared, Fred’s coffin was gone, a mound of fresh earth covered the area, and a large, white marble gravestone stood there inscribed;

‘Here Lies Fred Weasley
1st April 1978-2nd May 1998
A loved Brother, Twin, Son and Friend and prankster.
Gave the world some light when it was consumed by darkness.

Harry looked around. Many people looked tearful, but there were laughs scattered about, as people reminisced about their experiences of Fred Weasley.

“He’d have wanted it like this.” Ginny said, her voice quivering with emotion. “He wouldn’t want us all to mope and be miserable.” Harry smiled at her.

“No, I don’t think he would.” He said softly, putting his arm around her waist. He noticed Ron and Hermione had stood and were wandering off towards the orchard, holding each other tightly. “Do you want to go back?” he asked. She nodded, and they turned back to the house, where there was an enormous, midnight blue marque with pale, floating lights inside.

With the help of the Hogwarts house elves, Mrs Weasley had laid on a magnificent, typical Weasley spread of food, but neither Harry nor Ginny had any appetite at all. Many people who weren’t as close to the Weasley family had already left, but quite a number still remained. Charlie was walking around, handing everyone a glass of fire whiskey, the glasses he was conjuring up and the ever refilling bottle of firewhiskey levitating alongside him.

“A toast," Charlie called. “A toast to my little brother! To Fred!” he said, and it was echoed around the room as everyone present drained their glasses. Harry felt it burn its way down his throat, and seemingly burn away some of the pain. Charlie’s levitating glass hovered around, and Harry refilled his and Ginny’s glasses.

For some reason, much of the rest of the day was rather blurry in Harry’s mind, save for George flying through the tent on his broom and setting off yet another collection of brilliant Weasley fireworks. Ron and Hermione returned from the orchard fairly soon, both looking slightly downcast. Harry couldn't help but feel miserable- and the next day promised to be even more painful.

“Fred would have loved today.” Ginny said as she stroked Harry’s hair, his head in her lap. It was late, and everyone bar the two of them had gone to bed. They sat quietly on the sofa, unwilling to leave each other.

“I know,” said Harry sadly. “I don’t think tomorrow will be any easier.” He added miserably. “You know Andromeda wants me to say a few words, for Remus? Since he’s got nobody else,” he added sadly. Ginny shook her head.

“I didn’t but you knew Remus as well as anyone.” She said reassuringly. “You’ll do fine,” she said, kissing the lightning bolt scar on his forehead.

“Mum and Dad helped me with the general idea,” he replied. Ginny nodded, and snuggled into his chest.

“Can we stay down here tonight?” she whispered, stroking his cheek.

“I thought you’d never ask.” Harry replied, his eyes shining mischievously. She giggled.

“Well I imagine Ron’s sleeping with Hermione, so you wouldn’t want to be in there anyways.” She pointed out fairly. Harry nodded.

“He is, though he warned me not to sleep in your room or he’d hex me. Didn’t say anything about the sofa though,” he said, satisfied, stretching out. “Can we sleep now?” he asked with a yawn. “I’m exhausted.” She smiled at him and nodded, and they curled up to each other on the sofa.

“Harry…one question?” said Ginny quietly. Harry opened one eye to see her blurred outline looking directly at him.

“Shoot.” He replied, closing his eye again and snuggling closer to her.

“Why’ve you been distancing yourself from everyone?” she asked. She sounded slightly frightened. Harry’s eyes snapped open. He fumbled for his glasses for a moment, before turning to look at her. She looked concerned, but unafraid-in fact her eyes were fixed on him, boring through him. He sighed.

“Guilt, I suppose. I felt terrible every time I saw one of you, especially your Mum or George.” He mumbled, trying to avoid her gaze. He failed, as she glared furiously at him.

“Do you ever think, Potter?” she said in a low, dangerous voice. “Why do you have to do everything yourself?” she snapped. “You have such a bloody hero complex Harry.” She said, turning away from him huffily. Harry sat silent for a moment, then:

“I was alone for ten years Gin. I had to do everything myself.” He said shortly. She didn’t respond for a while, and they lay in silence for a while. Then, she slipped an arm around his neck, pulled him close and whispered into his ear.

“You’re not alone now. You can come to me with anything, you silly sod.” She whispered affectionately. “I love you Harry.” She added, kissing him on the cheek.

“I love you too,” he replied, kissing her back, and once again, they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

“Ron?” Hermione whispered into the darkness.

“Yeah?” Ron mumbled back sleepily.

“Sorry, did I wake you?” Hermione whispered back, concerned.

“Naa, I was just nodding off.” He replied, as she turned to face him. “What’s up?” he asked, propping himself up on his elbow.

“I wanted to-oh wait, this darkness is stupid. Lumos.” She murmured. Her wand tip ignited, and their faces were illuminated in a pale glow. “I was wondering if you were okay?” she asked gently, ruffling his hair. He sighed.

“Not really Hermione.” He said, avoiding her gaze. “I didn’t think any of us would die… I heard it happen to other families, but I never thought it’d happen to us, you know?” he admitted. She nodded understandingly.

“Do you want to talk about it at all?” she said, stroking his cheek in the wand light. He considered it for a moment, then shook his head.

“It’s enough that you’re here.” He replied simply, kissing her. “I love you Hermione.” He whispered. Even in the dim light, he could see she was blushing.

“I love you too.” She whispered back, and Ron felt himself blush. He didn’t know how long he’d waited to hear her say that, but it was too long. He snuggled her tightly. “I’m always here you know? Even if you think it’s pointless, I’ll listen.” She said, entwining her hands around his. He smiled at her.

“Thanks Hermione.” He whispered, before closing his eyes and falling asleep once more. Hermione smiled at this-it was so typical of Ron. She’d never known anyone fall asleep faster. Still, she’d better get used to it. She closed her own eyes, snuggled up next to Ron’s long, lanky frame and fell asleep not long after he did.

Draco Malfoy paced his old room nervously. From the sound of the rest of the house, everyone else was asleep. And of course they were, it was bloody early morning, he thought to himself. He flung himself on the bed with a groan. Why did he, Draco, have to get caught up in this? His Azkaban sentence wasn’t exactly long, he’d have been out by Christmas, thanks to his mother and father’s testimonies.

And now he was once again caught up with all the wrong people. He cursed his luck silently. Why couldn’t he just have a normal life for once? If he was honest, he didn’t think Potter needed to die. In fact, he felt slightly grateful to him, for freeing him from the Dark Lord. Even if he did still hate him, the stuck up mudblood lover he was.

Draco lay back on his bed, twiddling his wand absently in his fingers. If only there was a way out of this. He sighed. There wasn’t. He was stuck with this life, the life his parents had chosen for him. He supposed he’d just have to make the best of it.

Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys arrived in Appleby around noon the next day for Remus and Tonks’ funeral. Harry felt sick-he hadn’t eaten since the previous day’s breakfast, yet he still didn’t feel at all hungry. Once again, Harry was a pallbearer, this time for Remus, alongside members of the Order including Aberforth, Sturgis, Bill Weasley, Kingsley and the newly inducted Neville Longbottom. Tonks’ coffin was being carried by Gawain, Ben Williamson, Luke Proudfoot, Hestia Jones, Dedalus Diggle and Wilfred Savage, the entire Auror department excluding Dawlish.

Harry’s heart gave a lurch at the sight of Teddy Lupin, his normally blue hair today jet black, with a small streak of bubble-gum pink in the fringe. He couldn’t help but feel like Teddy had so many similarities with himself-son of a marauder, both parents taken away so young…yet he had hope. Teddy would grow up in a free world, rid of Voldemort, with a family that cared for him, rather than being stuck under the stairs for ten years. The portrait of Harry’s parents was propped up at the front-James and Lily had insisted they be there to say goodbye to the last Marauder.

Once again, the tufty haired wizard was performing the ceremony. Harry was beginning to think he was the only priest in the entire wizarding world. And then, it was time for Harry’s speech. He hadn’t wrote it down, but he had ideas.

“I didn’t know Remus for anything like as long as I liked.” He began, taking deep breaths. He’d never done a speech before. “I know when I was little, before everything went so wrong, he’d often visit me and my parents, but I don’t remember those times. I remember Remus being as good a friend to me as he was to my father, and my godfather.” He swallowed. The emotion was creeping up on him. “Remus was a father figure to me when I had none left. He taught me how to fight Dementors in my third year-without his patience, his faith in me, I’d have died on the shores of the black lake at thirteen.”

His voice almost broke here, and he paused. To his surprise, the crowd was staring at him, utterly hooked on his every word. “But there was so much more to Remus. He was, truly a great friend, and frankly, although not so many of you know this, a brilliant prankster.” He said with a slight smile. “In his school days, Remus was part of a gang known as The Marauders.” He raised his wand. “They were Moony-“a large, bounding shadow leapt out of his wand; the shadow of a werewolf. “Wormtail-“another, this one in the shape of a rat. “Padfoot-“ a third, this time an enormous, bristling dog “and Prongs. Expecto Patronum!” he muttered the spell, and the shining, silver stag leapt out to join the three shadows.

“Remus’s friends felt so bad that one of their number had, as my Dad called it, a ‘furry little problem’ that they each became animagi so that they could accompany him once a month.” He said, smiling. Many of the crowd looked utterly thunderstruck at this. “Remus Lupin meant so much to these people-to Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter, that they did everything to make his life a little more bearable. Remus was a fantastic person, a great wizard, a brilliant teacher, and given the chance, I have no doubt he’d have made an excellent father to Teddy, my godson. I’ll never forget what he did, what he sacrificed for a world that so often shunned him, and neither should anyone.” He concluded, waving his wand and watching the three shadows bound off into the distance, led by the shining silver stag.

There was a moment’s silence, and then a huge round of applause broke out. Harry stepped down, quickly wiping the tears from his eyes, before returning to his seat between Ron and Ginny, who had a very sombre looking Teddy Lupin on her knee.

“That was bloody brilliant mate,” said Ron, patting him on the shoulder.

“Fantastic,” agreed Hermione, leaning over Ron to kiss him on the cheek.

“Couldn’t have done it better myself,” James said, choked. Lily was crying silently into her husband’s shoulder.

“Amazing,” finished Ginny, taking his hand and kissing him on the lips. Meanwhile, Gawain and Andromeda were making a speech about Tonks. Gawain was betraying the only emotion Harry had really seen him display other than anger-he was crying as he described her, and it suddenly struck Harry how close they must have been, having worked together for so long with the Aurors.

“Dora was my only child.” Andromeda began, her voice already shaking. “She was my pride and joy, my…everything. The Death Eaters took that away from me, and they took my husband with her. But I shall never forget either of them.” She said, tears rolling down her face. The outpouring of emotion made Andromeda look suddenly so different from Bellatrix, the sister who’d taken her daughter. “I shall make sure, too, that Teddy knows what his parents and his grandfather died for. They deserve that much,” she concluded, her voice suddenly stronger. Gawain nodded at her, before beginning his own speech.

“Nymphadora Tonks-though she’d have my head for calling her that-was a fantastic Auror. She may have been brilliantly clumsy, but her heart was in it more than anyone I have ever seen.” He said, speaking slowly, as though he found it difficult to express himself. “Tonks trained under Alastor Moody and I, and I don’t hesitate to say that she was my favourite pupil. She was also my friend, and it breaks my heart to see her put into the ground.” He said gruffly, wiping his eyes on his robes, before stepping down from the podium with Andromeda.

Finally, the speeches were finished, and the two coffins were lowered slowly into the graves. But there was no phoenix to mask the process, no huge burst of fireworks. The guests watched as the two coffins disappeared from view, taking with them the last remains of Remus and Tonks.

“Goodbye Moony,” whispered James. “I’ll see you soon.” Hot tears spilled onto Harry’s lap, as a single gravestone for the pair of them sprung up from the ground. It read:

Here Lies Remus John Lupin
10th March 1960-2nd May 1998
Father, Teacher, Husband, and Marauder.
Mischief Managed.

And his wife, Nymphadora ‘Tonks’ Lupin
23rd August 1973-2nd May 1998
Mother, Auror, Wife, Daughter.
Her determination brought a little more love into the world.

Harry had insisted on the final line of Remus’s side- he wouldn’t say why, but those who understood felt it very fitting. The era of the Marauders had finally passed. Three dying like heroes, one as a coward. Harry scooped up Teddy Lupin.

“The last thing your Daddy ever said to me,” He whispered in the baby’s ear “was “Others will tell him what his mother and father died for.” I never had that, Ted. But you will. I’ll tell you so many stories, because we can never forget those who fell.” He whispered, kissing him on the forehead. Teddy looked at him curiously, before placing his chubby hands around Harrys neck and gurgling softly. Harry looked around sadly. “Never forget…”

*From Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban Film.

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