Prologue

Harry Potter stood several feet back from the Weasley family, Hermione Granger stood by his side, wiping away her tears with a cotton handkerchief. Harry's eyes were dry, but there was a lump in his throat the size of a golf ball, and he felt as though he had been punched several times in the stomach. Mrs Weasley's sobs cut through the air like a knife through butter. The rest of the wizard world, it seemed, were having parties and celebrating the downfall of Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the one who had defeated Voldemort in the final duel in the Great Hall, was not celebrating. He was watching his friends coffin being lowered into the ground. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Harry could hear the reverend talking, but his voice seemed very far away.

'We ask that the Lord take care of Fred, and welcome him into his garden with open arms. Whilst we mourn his passing today, tomorrow he will be remembered as a brave and courageous man who greeted every day with a smile and a laugh.' Harry stood in solemn silence as Fred Weasley's coffin was lowered into the ground. It was a bright purple and orange casket, with carvings of fireworks, and Fanged Frisbees that popped, and chased each other around the surface of the wood. Harry supposed it reflected the playful personality of the man who lay inside it, but that was the thing, Fred was too young to be dead, to have been ripped from the world so callously. Despite what everyone kept telling him, Harry felt like Fred was in a box because of him.

It was self-centred and wrong, Harry knew that. The war against Voldemort had been much bigger than him; Fred, Remus, Tonks, Sirius, and so many others, had died for something much bigger than Harry, but still, Harry would give anything to trade places with any of them. Fred's was the latest in a long line of funerals that Harry had attended in the weeks following the Battle of Hogwarts. Thankfully, the Daily Prophet had finally learned to keep away from him. Following the battle, people couldn't wait to hear his side of the story; everyone wanted to hear how the Chosen One had brought an end to You-Know-Who, every reporter wanted an exclusive, every photographer wanted a photo. For weeks Harry had been followed, until finally, when he was leaving Remus's funeral a photographer snapped a picture of him, and Harry lost his temper. He hit the camera with a blasting curse that shattered it into a thousand pieces. He was very lucky not to have hurt the man behind the lens, but in that moment Harry didn't care. From that point onwards, he wasn't followed by cameras every single day, but Harry still heard the occasional click of a shutter, or saw someone sitting in the back row at church with a Quick Quotes Quill. Recent headlines included Why Won't Harry Potter Talk to the Wizarding World? What Are Potter's Future Plans? and The Chosen One Driven Mad by Grief?

Even now, Harry knew that four rows back from himself, there was a man in a set of black dress-robes who, whilst pretending to mourn, was trying to slyly take notes underneath his cloak. But this time he would not make a scene; even if Fred would have thought it entertaining, Mrs. Weasley would not. Today was their day to grieve. As the funeral ended, Hermione and Harry made their way to the front of the crowd and returned to the Weasley's who were giving thanks to everyone who had attended. Harry gave Mrs. Weasley a tight hug, and shook Mr. Weasley's hand. Ron had been crying, but now that Harry and Hermione were here he was trying to hide his emotions away. Ginny's eyes were still wet. Harry wanted to go over to her, to hold her, to make her feel better, but now wasn't the time. George, who had lost the other half of himself was completely out of it. Harry wasn't sure he had even heard the service, or whether or not he knew what was even happening around him. When everyone apparated to the Burrow, George had simply held on to Charlie's arm and allowed himself to be taken away, and when they arrived, he ignored the large tent full of people who showed up to celebrate Fred's life, and shut himself in his room, muttering absently that he wanted to be alone.

Harry too, wanted to be alone. The moment he stepped inside the tent he could feel that all eyes were on him. Out of respect for the occasion, nobody leapt forward to talk to him, but he knew that people had a hundred questions that they wanted answered. Harry poured himself a Firewhiskey, and then found a quiet corner to drink alone. Occasionally someone would walk over towards him, but he would simply give them a look that conveyed his desire to not be bothered. But, there was one person who wouldn't care for his stern looks, or grim demeanour. He was filled with a sort of sadness when she took a seat next to him. She looked so beautiful, even though she was frail and skinny, her eyes were red and puffy from crying, and it looked as though a stiff breeze might knock her over. "You're avoiding me," Ginny said as she sat opposite him.

"I'm not-" Harry began to protest, but he knew that he wasn't being entirely truthful to her. He had been avoiding her, not because he didn't want to see her, but because he didn't know what to say to her whenever he did.

"Walk with me." Ginny said, leaving her seat and leading him outside. They walked in silence for a long time, past the burrow, out of the garden, and way out into the cornfields, until finally, they came to the edge of a large pond. "We used to swim here in the summers," Ginny said absentmindedly.

"It's beautiful"

"What are you doing Harry?" Ginny asked him with a large sigh. She had taken both of his hands, and was staring at him determinedly, waiting for an answer. Harry tried to look anywhere else, the fields, the trees, the pond, but finally he relented.

"I don't know."

"You know, you're really predictable." Ginny said with a hint of venom. Harry took the sting, but listened to what she had to say. "I told Hermione you would spend a lot of time moping around, not looking ahead, not able to see past all of the funerals. I was right, wasn't I?" Harry nodded his agreement reluctantly. "Dad is heading back to work in two weeks, Charlie is heading back out to Romania, and Ron and Hermione are off to Australia to find her parents. You are the only one without some idea of your next move."

"I offered to help!" Harry cut in, but Ginny's face immediately told him that he had made the wrong choice.

"Yes, I know you did, but I think that's your problem. You're constantly trying to think of ways to help." Ginny grasped him more firmly, "You know fine well that Hermione will be able to fix her parents memory in a matter of hours, even if she keeps saying otherwise. This is a trip for her and Ron. They both need some time away from everything, and so do you. V-V-Voldemort is gone; your part is done Harry. It's time for you to take a break." Harry was taken aback by the fact that Ginny had said Voldemort's name. Even though he was dead, the fear of his name seemed to have increased further, as though saying too many times would bring him back.

"So, I'm supposed to just sit, and watch the world rebuild itself?" Harry felt his temper rising as he said the words, but they seemed to come tumbling out. "No-one seems to want me around. Hermione won't take me to Australia, Kingsley thinks I'm not ready to join the Auror's, where do I go?"

"I want you around," Ginny said through gritted teeth, "but guess who you're ignoring? You keep blaming yourself for everything without looking at what you've actually accomplished, and can you really think of nowhere that you can return to?"

"I can't go back there, I can't. It would be too painful. Besides, I'm too old, I won't be allowed to go back." Ginny sighed deeply, and pulled him into a hug. He could feel her rummaging around in her bag for something, and pulled back just as he got it free.

"I've had this for a few days," she said thrusting a letter into his hands, "it's the only place you've ever called home, and I want you to come back with me." Harry opened the letter and read.

Dear Mr Potter,

Thank you for your letter. It is encouraging to see you putting your education first, and Hogwarts will be happy to have you return to complete your final year. Please see enclosed your list of required books and materials. I look forward to seeing you on September 1st.

Kind Regards,

Professor M. McGonagall.

Headmistress.

"I wrote the letter, and sent it with Pigwidgeon. I wasn't sure that you would do it before term starts. I guess you can still withdraw, but I want you there. I need you to come with me, and I think you need it too."

"Hogwarts." Harry said staring at the letter, reading it several times over.

"Hogwarts." Ginny replied, and for the first time since the final battle, Harry felt as though things were looking up.


Authors Notes

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for reading the Prologue for Hogwarts Tales: The Great Prophecy! I do hope you've enjoyed it. Originally, this story was called After the Battle of Hogwarts, and is still available in its original form on fanfiction, and can be found on my profile. I really enjoyed writing it, and it was a fairly good success for me as a writer. However, I was a lot younger when I first started writing After the Battle of Hogwarts, and inevitably I made many mistakes, produced some very poor chapters, and wasn't very consistent with my plot. With my sequel story, The Tournament of Champions, being much more structured, and of a much higher quality, I decided it was high time to for the original to be brought up to the same standard. Rather than simply replacing the chapters, I decided to create a new story to take its place, so that fans of the original could see the differences, and new readers could have a much more enjoyable prequel to the Tournament of Champions.

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think,

IronManRidingaNimbus.