Four figures moved amidst the graves, talking in low, reverent voices, until one of them gave a start, and the group walked with purpose towards a certain grave. They stopped level with Robert Leighton , and also Mary, wife of the above . Their eyes fixed on the nearby patch of earth and flickered over the letters above it. The bushy-haired young woman reached out and took the hand of the green-eyed man beside her, so that all four of them stood linked, still and silent, staring at the grave.
Harry Potter disengaged himself from Hermione Weasley's grip before relinquishing his wife's hand. Ginny Potter squeezed her husband's arm and smiled up at him, while her brother Ron shifted uncomfortably and let his gaze fall to his feet.
Harry hesitated. Hermione peered up at his face, trying to read his expression.
"We can go if you want, Harry," she said in a quiet voice.
"He's all right, Hermione," Ron said swiftly. "Aren't you, mate?"
Harry nodded and moved forward. Ron slipped his hand around his wife's swollen waist, and she, in turn, rested her hand on Ginny's shoulder, as they watched him kneel at his parents' grave.
It had been Mrs Weasley who had suggested the trip. Thinking about it, Harry realised he should have wondered where his parents were buried before, but it had never occurred to him. Yet, as soon as he'd heard of the graveyard, he'd known he must come here, although he wasn't sure why. He had asked Remus to go with him, but his former professor and now friend had been reluctant to do so.
"It is better to go alone," Remus had said.
Harry hadn't wanted to go on his own, though, and Ginny, Ron and Hermione had all volunteered to accompany him. He'd tried to persuade Hermione, at least, to stay at home, owing to her condition, but she had been adamant. He glanced back at them, and they all smiled their encouragement. He was so lucky. He had been denied his parents, but he had ended up with a loving and supportive family. He only wished that his mother, father and Sirius were part of it, as well. His eyes fell on the plaque next to the headstone, and a saddened smile crossed his face. Yes, Sirius had been ' Ever Loyal' , both to him and his parents.
"Thank you," he said softly. All three of them had loved him unconditionally; all three had given their lives for them.
"You didn't die in vain," he said, digging his fingernails into the earth. "He's gone; we did it."
He hadn't believed there was a life for him after Voldemort's defeat, and yet there was, and he had been overwhelmed by how much love and happiness it contained.
"I'm married," he told the stone. "I've got a family, with the Weasleys, and Remus, and Ginny, Ron and Hermione." And Ron and Hermione's child, whenever it arrived.
'Late, like his father,' Hermione had remarked
Harry lowered his voice. "Ginny's going to have a baby; we've just found out. I promise I'll tell him or her about you." His child would be missing out on a set of grandparents, but Harry resolved to make sure it didn't want for any of the love owed to a child.
He got up and turned to rejoin the others. Hermione was leaning into Ron, who had his hands on her stomach. When they saw that Harry had finished, they made their way towards the gates. Harry strolled behind with Ginny.
"Are you okay?" she asked. He nodded, feeling subdued, but happy. They watched Ron help Hermione get comfortable in the front seat of the car. Apparition when pregnant was not advisable.
"Will you still love me when I look like that?" Ginny asked, and Harry laughed and kissed her until Ron honked the horn to make them stop. As they left the little village, Harry stroked Ginny's silky red hair and thought of their new family, and then of his parents, who must have sat like this, in ecstatic hope for the burgeoning life they had created. And then he thought of the inscription on their gravestone.
Let this be our memorial, that we touched your lives.