Disclaimer: I am not a communist, but it's an awfully funny subject. I don't own Harry Potter.
Harry Potter and the Red Star
Morning was breaking on a battle-struck Hogwarts. The survivors were in a state of shock. Voldemort had been vanquished, but the cost had been great. Many valiant fighters had been lost. The remaining either were resting or helping dispose of the dead foes. All were exhausted but the work was enough to keep their minds occupied from the terrible loss they had sustained.
Light streamed in from the windows, as Harry Potter awoke. The first thing he heard was a gentle sob from the bed next to him. He arose, dressed quickly, and gingerly pulled back the curtains on the adjacent four-poster bed. There sat Ron, red hair disheveled, eyes puffy, and looking utterly horrible. Harry sat down beside Ron, and put his arm around him. Ron, slightly embarrassed, looked up at him. "I... just thought he would always be there. You know, teasing me about snogging, and how I had no tact. That's why he got me this," said Ron miserably.
Ron then held up his copy of Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches. He let out a nervous laugh. Harry didn't know how to respond, so he held his tongue, figuratively.
After several minutes of uncomfortable silence, Harry stood and said,
"You know Ron, when Sirius died, I felt like I wanted to be alone the rest of my life, but talking to Luna made all the difference. It's really nice to have someone to confide in."
There was a silence in which Ron sniffed loudly.
"I'm heading down to the Great Hall for some breakfast; you can come if you want."
Ron stood silently, but made no motion to leave. Harry then half-heartedly rose and walked out of dormitory down the marble staircase. He could hear the quiet footsteps behind him. As the circular common room came into view, Harry saw Hermione and Ginny, still in their grungy robes, resting peacefully on the couches. Ron came up behind Harry and whispered,
"Reckon we should wake them?"
"It's up to you," replied Harry, not wanting to offend Ron in any way.
Ron walked over to Hermione, and gently shook her. Groggily, Hermione sat up and shot Ron a loving look, which Harry was wont to ignore.
"Oi!" Ron said loudly. "Wake up Ginny!"
Harry laughed inwardly at the difference in treatment the girls had received. Ginny stirred and muttered a greeting to Harry. Without further talk, the four descended the moving staircases to the Great Hall.
Only a fraction of the normal Hogwarts students and staff remained in the spacious chamber. There was only one long table situated in the middle of the room. The hall had the air of a mortuary. Students were hugging and sobbing on each other. Harry felt a tap near his waist.
"Would Master and his friends like something to eat?" said a creaky voice
"That would be fine, Kreacher," said Harry. "You were amazing in the battle."
"Kreacher, are all the house-elves okay?" interrupted Ron, glancing hopefully at Hermione.
Both Harry and Hermione smiled ruefully at each other, trying to suppress a chuckle.
"The Dark Lord's magic could never hit us," boasted Kreacher, as he bade them farewell and scurried off to the kitchens.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny found a bench away from the others. They sat down glumly and absorbed themselves in their own thoughts. It was hard for Harry to believe he would never have to face Voldemort again. He knew he should feel happy, but he felt as if it was all blotted out by the tremendous losses they had sustained. Hermione broke the silence, "It's so horrible that Fred died."
"Yeah," said Ron glumly.
"It's sad about all the others also," added Hermione. "I heard Colin Creevey's parents came for his body last night. It was a dreadful sight. And then, Remus and Tonks's deaths were tragic, especially since Remus seemed to be happy for the first time since your dad died, Harry."
"What about poor little Teddy?" asked Ginny, "no parents to raise him."
They all sat silently for a moment, lost in their own grief.
"OH NO!" exclaimed Harry, "I completely forgot!"
"What?" asked Ron.
"I'm the godfather," said Harry. "That makes me the legal guardian."
"Well, what are you going to do?" inquired Ginny.
"Well, hopefully, Andromeda will watch after him while he's little, I'd have no idea what to do."
"We'll help you, mate," added Ron, trying to be supportive.
At that moment, Kreacher appeared with their meals and set them down on the oak table. Harry murmured his thanks and started eating, though he was only doing so mechanically. Even Ron seemed to eat without vigor. They sat in quiet conversation, until they heard a loud voice ringing above all others.
"Students, the time has come to return home with your families," said McGonagall's voice amplified to many time's its actual volume.
A slow procession of students, reminiscent of a funeral march, trickled out of the Great Hall and out the front doors. Harry and the others stood and followed. The thestral-pulled carriages were waiting for them. Harry heard several surprised shrieks. More students could see the thestrals than ever before.
"So that's what they look like," commented Ron, "Strange little beasts."
The others followed Harry when he got into the carriage. "I guess the rest of your family left?" Hermione asked Ron.
"They went home last night, even Percy," replied Ron.
"I'll come home with you," said Harry "Hermione?" he asked.
"I was eager to go to Australia and find my parents, but I suppose one day more won't hurt them."
As soon as they left the grounds, Harry grabbed Ginny's hand and they all disapparated. After the feeling of being squeezed through a rubber tube, they all appeared at the Burrow. It looked as homely as ever, although the atmosphere was blanketed by sorrow.
As they entered, Mrs. Weasley fell upon them in a tight bear hug.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, "It's so good to see you all!"
As she said this, Harry spotted a tear running down her care-worn face. She looked more flustered than usual. She led them into the dining room, where every remaining Weasley was seated around the table. A mist of soberness filled the air. It seemed as though nobody wanted to talk about Fred. Mr. Weasley, looking balder than ever, welcomed the newcomers.
"Hullo, Harry, have you heard the uproar about the Ministry?" Mr. Weasley asked.
"No, I haven't," said Harry.
"Well, the common wizarding people are outraged about how easily the Ministry was overthrown, and the oppression of house-elves and centaurs. To be honest, most people didn't know about the centaur's plight until very recently. People are calling for a much weaker and toothless government. I wouldn't be surprised if these protesters tried to set up their own government," explained Mr. Weasley in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Well that's great isn't it?" said Hermione, "oppressed people finally get a voice, and now I can take S.P.E.W. somewhere."
Ron looked like he wanted to roll his eyes, but thought better of it.
"It can't be any worse than the previous leadership at the Ministry," acknowledged Harry, "it's already failed me twice."
"Ron dear, I think you should go unpack," said Mrs. Weasley. "Will you be staying with us Harry?"
"I don't know, I think I should go to Grimmauld Place and look after Kreacher," replied Harry.
"You're always more than welcome here," chimed in Mr. Weasley.
"Thanks," said Harry, following Ron up the stairs.
Harry found Ron unpacking the few possessions he had carried over the course of the past year.
"Hey, it's all over now, we'll never have to worry about horcruxes again," breathed Ron gratefully.
Hermione then entered the room and said, "I can't wait any longer, I'm going to Australia to restore my parent's memories."
"Well…," said Ron, taking a deep breath. Harry tactfully exited the room. Thoughts were swirling in his head, like memories in a pensieve. What was he to do with his new found freedom? Would he ever have to worry about anything ever again? Where would he go now? He thought Ginny's room was a good place to start. No sooner than he had made up his mind, the door to Ron's room opened and Hermione and Ron emerged, looking giddy.
"Goodbye, Harry," said Hermione, giving him a quick hug. Ron didn't look jealous at all. She then disapperated.
"I should get going too," added Harry, "see you in a while."