Chapter 4 : Safe.
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Lovely CI by the even lovelier bepo @TDA.
This chapter is written in Ginny's point of view.
Ginny glared up at the beautiful may sky. The sun was radiating through her black robes, yet she felt none of its heat against her cold body. This weather is an insult to grief and despair, she thought. Although I suppose Fred would have hated to be buried under the rain... She felt the corners of her mouth lift up ever so slightly, remembering a sopping wet, nine-year old Fred, grumbling that in any case rain sucked, and that he never wanted to go outside again if the weather was this crappy. Three Weasley brothers had been sent to their room that afternoon: George because he had locked his brother (wearing only underwear and socks) outside for several hours, Fred because of his language, and Charlie because he was the one responsible for teaching Fred "such ghastly language, absolutely inappropriate at his age!", as their mother had put it. Six-year old Ginny had watched the whole scene with interest, and had since then been extremely keen in learning all about "ghastly language", something Fred had been good at teaching.
Fred had taught her many things, other than swearing in a way that had even made Bill shocked: he had gotten her on a broom for the first time (therefore it was also him who had to explain to Mrs Weasley why exactly there was a lump the size of a dragon's egg on the back of her precious daughter's head), had shown her how to climb up trees, how to make cushions explode (and how to patch them up afterwards), and had explained in detail where all the Weasley boys were ticklish – except for himself, but she discovered that on her own.
She felt the tears stream out of her eyes - so much for holding them back - and gripped Bill's hand even harder. He was standing on her right, just left from a sobbing Mrs Weasley. Mr Weasley was on the latter's right, a hand on her shoulder. Next to him stood Ron, his blue eyes boring a hole into the pale spruce coffin, then Percy. Charlie was on Ginny's left, and standing a little further aside, was George. Harry and Hermione had refused to be there, wanting to give the family some time alone. Fleur had asked Bill if he wanted her to be there, and had quietly accepted the negative response. She had followed the same logic as the other two absentees, and Ginny knew that if not being here harmed her feelings, it was only because she could not shoulder Bill when it was this hard for him.
The most difficult decision had been choosing how to let Fred go. It had also been a family decision, as Fred seemed to have left no indications on his preferences, and had resulted in a considerable amount of tears being shed around the kitchen table. Eventually, they had chosen spruce wood for the casket, the same wood as his wand, but Fred was to be incinerated, the casket being only for the ceremony. This was George's decision: "He wouldn't want to rot. Remember how he always says how beautiful he is? Well, he wouldn't want that to go to waste." Half-smiles had appeared on everybody's faces.
I still can't believe this, Ginny stared back again at the box holding her brother's body, why can't this be another joke of his? The kind where he would pop out laughing and saying he fooled us all? Realising Bill was pulling on her arm, she looked up at him.
"It's time." His voice was barely a whisper, and Ginny glanced at the small wizard that had just arrived. Of course. None of us were going to cast the spell that will make Fred leave forever. It was only then that she realised nothing had been said: they had all been entirely silent for an hour, simply staring at the coffin, crying.
"Wait!" The cry escaped her lips as the wizard lifted his wand, and before she knew it she had run up to the coffin. Falling to her knees, she let her hand trail on the wood that had been warmed by the sun. For a few moments she stayed without moving, sensing her family's gazes on her. Soon enough, she felt a rough hand drop on her shoulder. Through her tears, she saw George kneel down next to her, then hand her a single red rose.
"You do it." His devastated face must have been a mirror of her own. "Give it to him." His voice was strained, and Ginny threw her arms around his neck. He hugged her back, awkwardly, but hugged her nonetheless. A few seconds later, Ginny felt more arms wrap themselves around her back. In a blink, all Weasley siblings were together, holding each other close as if their lives depended on it, trying to comfort and be comforted, all cruelly missing the boy that was not there with them. When they finally let go, Ginny stood up, resolution firmly written in her still crying eyes. I'm going to be happy again, smile, laugh, and live again. For you. I promise. She placed the rose carefully where she imagined Fred's hands to be, then bent down towards the coffin.
"I'm going to miss you... Watch over me from where you are?"
At that very moment, the wind blew lightly, pushing her hair away from her face. She smiled through her tears. Of course it was just a coincidence, but still... Finally moving away, she joined the rest of her family, all of whom were waiting for her to come back towards them. Her father gave a brief nod to the black-robed wizard that was still standing on the side, waiting for the goodbyes to be finished.
With a single flick of his wand, the coffin erupted into flames. And despite her promise to Fred, Ginny felt her heart shatter as her view was obscured by tears.
The next hours had been a blur. She vaguely remembered Side-Apparating with Charlie back to the Burrow. She remembered the look on Harry's face as he had pulled her into his arms, and knew she had somehow made it to her room, where she had tumbled on her bed and screamed into the pillows for a very long time, while Harry sat next to her, stroking her head. At one point, Fleur had entered carrying a tray with tea, which she had left on the nightstand. Not long after that, Ginny had fallen asleep, and when she had woken up Harry was gone. What time is it? I could definitely do with something to drink. And with a shower. The tray with tea had been carried out, she could not shower here, so, very unwillingly, she got out of bed.
She stayed under the hot water for a very long time, letting it mix with her tears and willing for it to wash all her memories away. When the water started to get cold, she got out, changed into a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt – that belonged to Fred, she realised with a stab in the heart – and dragged herself to the kitchen.
Much to her surprise, Harry was there, pouring hot milk into two mugs. Seeing her come in, he smiled slightly.
"What're you doing here?" Her voice was sore.
"Heard you wake up. I wasn't asleep." He handed her a cup, and motioned towards the living room. Ginny immediately sat on the sofa, curling her legs up. She was exhausted, both emotionally and physically, and was grateful that Harry did not try and make small talk. Once they were done with their warm milk, Ginny leaned in towards Harry and placed her head in the crook of his neck, a spot that seemed to have been made exclusively for her. For a while they just lay there, listening to each other breathing. Suddenly, Ginny let out a gasp. Her eye had caught the clock that stood on the mantelpiece. The hand that bore the name Fred Weasley now indicated a single word.
A/N: Sorry I took so long to edit - this chapter was difficult to write and it took me some time to get it out like I wanted it to be. It's also a bit shorter than usual, but I figured it was about time you got another chapter.
Also. Spruce wood. According to J.K. Rowling, "The spruce wand requires a firm hand, because it often appears to have its own ideas about what magic it ought to be called upon to produce. However, when a spruce wand meets its match - which, in my experience, is a bold spell-caster with a good sense of humour - it becomes a superb helper, intensely loyal to their owners and capable of producing particularly flamboyant and dramatic effects."
Disclaimer: THIS COMES FROM POTTERMORE. It seemed perfect for Fred.
So. Thoughts? Favourite quotes? Please leave a review, they really make me happy - speaking of which, I'd like to thank Emmanuel, one of my only reviewers so far, who is one of my motivation sources because he left a review on almost every chapter! Do the same (at least for this chapter), it only takes a minute. Thanks :)
PS: I've also started a new story, called Willows and Wood. As soon as this chapter is accepted, the first chapter of W&W will be sent to the queue.
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