Twisting the dial slowly to give the password - an easy one, this time, the name of someone alive - Ginny Weasley sat silently, alone in her room. A part of her wanted to go downstairs, join her mum and what was left of her family but she couldn't bring herself to move as a familiar voice laden with grief began to play.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the light, and welcome to Potterwatch. As I'm sure you all know, given your active contributions, we won. At the Battle of Hogwarts, our Lord and Saviour Harry Potter made Voldemort his bitch."
There was a slight intake of breath at the almost cavalier attitude toward the worst night of Ginny's life, but she couldn't be angry. Lee had lost people too. How he chchose to cope was up to him.
"There's not really any new updates on the political front yet. As far as I'm aware, Hermione Granger, our best and brightest, will be heading to the ministry at first light-"
Ginny prayed to fucking God she gave those bastards what was coming to them. Long gone was the first year afraid of authority - Hermione had become downright ruthless. And she was angry. They all were. The ministry refused to acknowledge the threat until it was too late, and then they fell when they were needed most, leaving a bunch of kids to sort out their problems. Leaving a bunch of kids to die.
"-but tonight is a time to grieve. Please, take a moment of silence to honour the sacrifice of the Fallen Fifty.
"Nigel Wolpert. Colin Creevey. Lavender Brown. Remus Lupin. Nymphadora Tonks."
The list went on for a little while, names of Hogwarts classmates Ginny vaguely knew, young ones who stayed to fight alongside older ones who were allowed. Why were they allowed. Then there were names of Hogsmeade residents, people Ginny didn't know but almost certainly had grievers of their own.
There was a slight pause and Ginny heard a scoff.
Right. Of course. Harry had come back insisting Snape had been a spy for the light, that he was protecting him. Ginny believed him, or at least she tried, but she would never, ever forgive the man. Harry may have, but Harry only knew him when Dumbledore was around. The past year... he allowed eleven year olds to be tortured with the cruciatus curse and called it practice.
More names, more recognisable ones this time, at least to Ginny. A Hogwarts professor. The Ravenclaw girl who Ginny tried desperately to keep out of detention when she accidentally bumped a Slytherin, because she was twelve, goddamn it. Why had a twelve year old been allowed on the battlefield? Why hadn't someone noticed? And now the girl was dead.
A longer pause, long enough for Ginny to know exactly who was coming. They had nearly reached the end of the Fifty anyway.
"Gred... Fred Weasley."
Ginny closed her eyes and allowed sorrow to overwhelm her. She wasn't sure if Lee had messed the name up deliberately - an homage to his fallen prankster - or if it was an honest mistake. She didn't care. It was like to be the last time she ever heard that name.
The sadness in his voice was unmistakable as he choked the name out. She didn't know Lee particularly well, but she knew what he meant to her brothers. Well, brother now. Ginny concentrated on the tremble in his voice, the tears sure to be in his eyes, because his grief, powerful as it was, was easier to deal with than hers.
They had lost Fred. Her brother, who was loud and obnoxious and drove them all up the wall, but would give up the world to help them. Her brother, who pretended not to care when she got her first boyfriend, even slipping her some contraceptive potions to be funny, but who she knew had gone to Dean and scared the shit out of him. Her brother, who laughed at her and joked at her expense, but gave up some of his minimal money when they were children, before his business success, so she could get some hair grips that everyone was talking about. Just... her brother. There was no other way to explain him.
George was hurting more, she knew. He had lost his twin, his other half. Selfishly, secretly, Ginny felt grief for him too. She had lost them both. George would never be the same without Fred - they'd already destroyed all the mirrors in the house. There were no ear jokes this time.
Reaching back out to the radio, Ginny tturned it off to stay in the silence. Maybe she was being weak. She knew Harry was going on as a 'Pal of Potter' and had to listen to the end. She knew all over the country people were staying tuned in until it was over - the last broadcast of the show that brought hope in the darkness. But she couldn't. Not with George's sobs echoing up the stairs. Not with the clock hand pointing to the... no. She just couldn't.
She sat there for a while, lacking the energy to move somewhere more comfortable than the floor. Footsteps grew closer and a red-faced Ron opened her door. He probably couldn't stand being near George too long, either. His grief was infectious. Instead, her brother came over next to her and draped his arm over her shoulders.
They sat like that until morning. Remembering those they'd lost, mourning the victims of the Longest Night.