Chapter 1 : Return
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The sun was slowly rising, as if reluctant to show the remains of the battle. A shadowy silhouette of the castle was cast upon the grounds seemingly trying to hide some of the devastation. The aftermath of the battle could clearly be seen with windows missing, and walls reduced to nothing but rubble. Most of the younger students had been evacuated through Hogsmead at the start of the battle and sent home by floo or portkey. The castle seemed to stand empty even though the survivors of the battle remained, staying within the relatively undisturbed common rooms. The only movement seen was that of a figure making its way very deliberately in the direction of the black lake.
Harry Potter made his way through the rubble of the castle, his mind set on one thing, returning the elder wand to where it had come from. He had yet to change out of the ripped and grubby clothes he had worn since the battle. After returning to the dormitory he had immediately fallen into bed regardless of the fact that he was still wearing them. He supposed that they had just let him sleep as he had slept the entire day and night without being disturbed. When he had at last woke up he had noticed Ron and Hermione asleep on the bed next to him. A vacant chair was by his bed which showed that someone had been watching him sleep. He had known from the moment he woke what he had to do and he wanted to do it alone.
He could see the sparkling white marble tomb from where he was as the first rays of sun touched it. He hadn’t been near it since the funeral last year. His stomach jolted slightly unsure of what he would find there, what Voldemort might have done. He approached slowly and saw that the tomb had been split open from head to foot. Inside Albus Dumbledore lay peacefully, unaware that he had been disturbed, his half-moon spectacle glasses still upon his nose just like Harry remembered. He pulled the Elder wand out of his pocket and cautiously replaced it in Dumbledore’s hands.
“He looks peaceful, as if he knew that everything would work out in the end,” a voice said from behind him. Harry spun round to see Ginny standing there.
“How did you …?” he asked.
“I saw you leave the common room and I didn’t want you to be on your own. I followed you out but you had so much on your mind that your didn’t even notice.” He could see that she hadn’t slept much and that she had recently been crying as her eyes were red and puffy. It didn’t seem right seeing Ginny crying, she was strong but Harry knew that she had every right.
“Ginny you should be resting, you need to be close to your family right now, not worrying about me,” Harry said looking into her beautiful bright brown eyes feeling deep sympathy for her. Ginny looked away from him, back to the ruined castle and then back to him. There were tears in her eyes and she brushed them away with her hand.
“But I do worry about you. When I saw Hagrid carrying you and Voldemort said that you were dead, it was the worst moment of my life;”
“But what about…” Harry started but Ginny interrupted him.
“Fred knew what he was getting himself into; we all knew that this would be dangerous and that people we loved and cared about could get seriously injured or die. But when I saw you just lying there beneath Voldemort my whole chest tightened and I couldn’t breathe. I felt like screaming but I couldn’t, I couldn’t even move. I was frozen where I was, my whole life crumbling away in front of me. All I could see was this big black empty space where you had been, knowing that it could never be filled. When I took on Bellatrix I wanted to die, but I wanted to go down fighting. She killed Serius, your godfather and I thought that If I took her down it would avenge his death and mean something. ” She was looking across the black lake, new tears forming as she carried on. “And then the next thing I knew was that you were alive and Voldemort was dead, it was all over.” She took in a deep breath before continuing. “This is the first chance I’ve had to talk to you since and I need to tell you something that I should have told you last year, before anything else happens, I need to tell you that I love you.” Now the tears were really streaming from her eyes as she looked at Harry. “That’s the reason I followed you, because I love you and I was afraid that you might leave me again. I’ve been sitting next to you ever since you went to sleep, and the one moment I go out of the room you decide to wake up and when I got back you were gone.”
Harry stood there dumbstruck, trying to take in all that she had just said. Everything was a blur as he took in everything Ginny had just said. He could see her standing there in front of him, waiting for him to answer her, to say something. Standing there she looked beautiful, her long red hair moving with the breeze, her face lowered to the ground hiding the newly formed tears. She had just said the words that he had been longing to hear, the words he had never had said to him. He cared about Ginny, he had been looking for her on the marauders map all year, just so that he could see her name, to pretend that she could hear him and he could hear her. He knew he loved her, in fact he had always loved her but in fear had never admitted it due to the lack of a future he thought he had. His heart felt complete when he looked at her, she was the one that had helped to make the decision to come back from kings cross and knew that when she had said that she was afraid for him, he had felt the same way for her. He had tried to protect her by breaking up last year and then when the battle was happening he had told her to stay in the room of requirement for fear of her being hurt. He didn’t want to lose her. He couldn’t lose her. She was his strength. Dumbledore had always said that love was the most powerful magic there was and Harry knew that to be true.
“Ginny,” he said taking a step towards her. He placed his hand under her chin and meeting no resistance softly tilted her head up making their eyes meet. “You are the best thing that has happened to me. You have made me happier than I ever thought I could be. Around you I can be myself, I’m not the chosen one or the boy who lived, I’m just Harry. Do you know what I smelt when Slughorn showed us Amortentia, I smelt treacle tart but I also smelt a flowery smell that I didn’t recognize at that point, but I know now that I smelt you. I love you Ginny Weasley like I’ve never loved anyone and this past year has been the hardest. To be away from you when all I wanted was to hold you and keep you safe. I will never leave you because to do that would be the death of me.”
Ginny’s heart soared as she heard him say what she had hoped to hear all her life but instead of smiling she collapsed into his arms sobbing away uncontrollably. Harry held her there, letting her take comfort in his presence. A year ago he would of be awkward and uncertain of what to do, like when Cho was crying he just didn’t know what he was doing. But with Ginny it felt natural and that protective instinct to look after her kicked in. He didn’t know how long they stood there for but finally Ginny had cried all she could.
“You alright?” Harry asked Ginny gently.
“I don’t know what came over me. I think that all my emotions were clashing together and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.” She replied shakily. She looked up at Harry, her eyes now even more puffy from where she had been crying but now with her usual sparkle that Harry loved so much. Standing on tiptoes she brushed her lips against his. “Thank you.”
“What for?” Harry asked bewildered, as far as he knew he hadn’t done anything.
“For letting me cry. For telling me you love me.” She looked over to Dumbledore’s tomb and her eyes widened. “Did Voldemort do that?” she said in a shaky voice. Harry looking at the cracked marble of Dumbledore’s tomb.
“Yeah, when he stole the Elder wand from him I guess he got a bit carried away. I came down here to return it to it’s rightful owner. I don’t need a powerful wand like this, I’m quite happy with the one that I’ve got. When I die the power of the wand will be broken.” He pulled out the Holly and Phoenix wand that had served him throughout his time at hogwarts out of his pocket and pointed at the tomb. The sheets wrapped themselves back around the body of the former headmaster preserving him. Then the crack in the marble sealed itself back together the finish flawless as if nothing had happened to it.
“It looks just like it did when he was first put to rest,” Ginny said putting her head on Harrys shoulder. “You know we broke up here and now were getting back together at the same place, I think he would have liked it.” Harry smiled at her before looking back at the tomb. He couldn’t help but think that something was missing. As he turned to say something to Ginny he heard phoenix song coming from above and looked up to see Fawkes. As if it was planned Harry knew what he had to do, as Fawkes landed on the tomb Harry pointed his wand and a golden flame came out of it landing directly on Fawkes as he finished singing the last note. There was a brilliant white flash of light that covered the entire of Dumbledore’s tomb until, when it sub ceded the tomb was as it was before but with the addition of a majestic stone phoenix at the head as a protector. He felt Ginny put her arm around him and with one last look at the tomb they made their way back up to the castle.