Chapter Twenty: A New Dawn
Author's Note: This chapter includes lines directly taken from Deathly Hallows Chapter Thirty-Six: The Flaw in the Plan. This text has been highlighted in bold text. I have decided to end this story parallel with the point it ends in Deathly Hallows. Anyone who wants to read the reunion of Harry and Ginny – please read my story Observations (Chapter Six: Harry Potter and the Nervous Reunion).
Disclaimer: 'Any people, objects, places and so on that you recognise belong to JK Rowling. I'm just having fun playing in her sandbox for a while.
The first trickle of survivors headed out at Voldemort's words, lead by Professor McGonagall. Pain was coursing through every part of her body and penetrating her heart and Ginny found herself reaching for her wand. It was so hard to move, to follow, when all she wanted to do was sink into the ground. She was struggling to breathe right now, struggling to survive.
She was not going to live in a world without Harry; she would not join Voldemort and become a Death Eater as his cry demanded.
She did not just want to spend her life surviving day to day; surely life was worth more than basic survival.
She would rather die instead, at least she would be able to party it up in the clouds with Fred and still lie next to Harry.
There were so many things they had not had a chance to do. They had had a few days down by the lake and they were not nearly enough. They had not got in enough kisses, or spent enough time laughing. Not enough time had been spent just having fun without the responsibility of the world on their shoulders. All they had had was pain and enforced separation. She had not even had a chance to tell him that she thought she was falling in love with him.
No, Harry just could not be dead.
She couldn't let herself believe it.
George caught her arm and he must have worked out what she was thinking. His grief-stricken face was sober and deadly serious.
"Ginny, no." His words, despite being said at a whisper, were strong and powerful. "I'm not going to lose you too."
She just nodded as she joined those who headed out, both George and Bill right beside her.
The Death Eaters were walking forward, out of the forest. They came to a halt and spread out in a line facing the castle as if on command. Right in the centre was Voldemort stroking Nagini's head. Next to Voldemort was Hagrid.
Throughout everything that had happened that year, she had never heard McGonagall lose it like that. The scream was terrible and made even worse by Bellatrix Lestrange's laugh.
Ginny felt as if her world had finally been ripped apart as the proof was finally there for everyone to see. Deep inside, some small part of her could not believe it; some small part of her hung onto that little bit of hope. She fought against all reason, she needed to hope, to believe. Harry could not be dead, but here was her proof.
The hold tightened on her shoulders, holding her back from an act of stupidity but also stopping her from collapsing.
"No!"Ron's voice bellowed into the sky.
"No!"Hermione repeated her brother's cry just as hopelessly.
"Harry!"The tears sounded in her voice as she panted out her own strangled cry."HARRY!"
This was worse, much worse than any of her nightmares. No amount of long, deep, calming breaths was going to make this any better. She was not going to realise that this was only a very bad dream. Tears flooded down her hot face, stinging her cuts and battle wounds and she made no attempt to stop them, nor did she care who saw.
Her world, everything she lived for and had fought for, had quite simply come to an end.
How could she live after everything that had happened tonight?
Her cry along with Ron's and Hermione's were echoed by the others that surrounded her. The other fighters took up the trigger, hurling a torrent of abuse at the Death Eaters. They were not going to back down. They were not going to join them. But just as the comments were getting more crude and colourful, their words were stopped, drying against their will in their mouths.
"SILENCE!" cried Voldemort, and there was a bang and a flash of bright light, and silence was forced upon them all. "It is over! Set him down, Hagrid, at my feet, where he belongs!"
She watched as Hagrid lowered Harry onto the grass right in front of Voldemort's feet. She wanted to run over to him, as Harry had just a year ago with Dumbledore's body. She wanted—no, needed to hold him one last time, she was not nearly ready to let go yet.
And how could Harry be at Voldemort's feet of all people. He was worth so much more than Voldemort.
Tears fogged her vision again and her mouth dried, stopping any speech and even several more anguished cries. She was being ripped apart with every breath she took, breaths that Harry would no longer be able to take.
"You see?"Voldemort strolled back and forward both marshalling his Death Eaters and inspecting the defenders of Hogwarts."Harry Potter is dead! Do you understand now, deluded ones? He was nothing, ever, but a boy who relied on others to sacrifice themselves for him!"
"He beat you!" yelled Ron.
The dry, restricting anguish lessened in her throat slightly and she joined in the screaming and the shouting of abuse with the rest of the fighters around her although her cries were far from the retorts with colourful language that she had given the Death Eaters for so long with their witty undertones and more raw emotion.
"He was killed while trying to sneak out of the castle grounds," said Voldemort, and there was a relish in his voice for the lie. "Killed while trying to save himself—"
The injustice of those words hit her even more. Harry would never run away. He would never put others in danger. He was no coward and far too noble for all that. He was a right noble prat at times and that was partly the reason that he was lying there and her heart was breaking. He did this to stop others getting hurt, not that it looked like it was going to help now.
Damn it, Harry. There must have been something else you could have done to give them a chance of a future.
There was a flash of light and Neville burst from the crowd of Hogwarts defenders. She felt the hold on her shoulders tighten even more as Voldemort disarmed Neville with a mere flick of his wand and threw Neville to the ground nowhere near his fallen wand.
Oh God. Not Neville too.
She couldn't lose him too.
Not after Fred and Harry.
"And who is this?" he said in his soft snake's hiss. "Who has volunteered to demonstrate what happens to those who continue to fight when the battle is lost?"
Bellatrix Lestrange was laughing, a cruel, wicked and delighted laugh. Surely that bitch had caused Neville as well as many others enough pain. Someone really needed to take her down.
The hold tightened again and for the first time she looked upwards breaking away from the scene on the school grounds to see that it was Bill holding onto her. Bill, who knew the details about Gryffindor's sword thanks to the Gringotts goblins and had had Luna living with him. She caught a look of worry in his eyes before she looked back at Neville. Bill knew that she would be more than willing to run out there herself and was using his strong grip to stop her.
She was once again powerless to help her friends when they had needed her, not able to help when it truly mattered the most, just as with the D.A. this term, with Luna at Christmas and with Harry.
Despite everything else that was happening around her, even Neville on the floor, her eyes and tears swam back to Harry. He remained still, lying there. Still gone.
Just as with Fred he was not moving, not getting up.
Harry wasn't coming back.
She tried to take several deep, controlled breaths and slow down the pounding of her heart but it wasn't working. The pain still jolted through her with every beat. If anything her pain was hurting her even more with each passing second.
"It is Neville Longbottom, my Lord!" Bellatrix Lestrange's words broke her thoughts. "The boy who has been giving the Carrows so much trouble! The son of the Aurors, remember?"
"Ah, yes, I remember," Neville made his way up to his feet even as Voldemort spoke. Despite the fact that he was unarmed and unprotected and completely alone in the middle of no-man's-land, he did not look like he cared and Ginny could not help but admire him more than she had ever done before."But you are a pureblood, aren't you, my brave boy?"
Neville was now standing, facing Voldemort, his hands had curled into fists as if he was going to use Muggle duelling since his wand was so far away.
"So what if I am?" said Neville loudly.
"You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom."
"I'll join you when hell freezes over," said Neville. "Dumbledore's Army!"
Neville's cry was echoed by the crowd, both calling the words and cheering Neville's actions, giving him any form of encouragement that they could.
"Very well," Voldemort spoke in dangerously low silky tones. "If that is your choice, Longbottom, we revert to the original plan. On your head," he said quietly, "be it."
Ginny watched, stunned into stillness, as Voldemort waved his wand. Surely this was it for Neville as well. She didn't want to stand and watch, doing nothing, but couldn't move. Maybe if she was luckily, she'd be next. She could die a hero as Harry, Lupin, Tonks and most likely Neville had done.
Out of the castle windows and through the already broken glass came a flying object that kind of looked like a misshaped bird. It flew straight into Voldemort's hand and he shook out the Sorting Hat.
Surely even Voldemort had to know better than to give a Gryffindor the Sorting Hat as a way to defend himself. Hadn't he learnt that lesson five years ago in the Chamber of Secrets?
"There will be no more Sorting at Hogwarts School," said Voldemort. "There will be no more Houses. The emblem, shield and colours of my noble ancestor, Salazar Slytherin, will suffice everyone. Won't they, Neville Longbottom?"
Voldemort pointed his wand at Neville and the D.A. leader froze as still and rigid as anyone did under the Petrificus Totalus curse did and the hat was forced on Neville's head. For the first time Bill dropped his grip on her shoulder. However, this time it was not the support of one of her brothers that was holding her back, but the wands of the Death Eaters that were now pointed at them.
If she made a stupid movement, she was not going to be the only one to suffer. They would go after every member of her family. Voldemort had already claimed that would be the case for the fighters, when he had have given the invitation to this act of stupidity.'Anyone who continues to resist, man, woman or child, will be slaughtered, as will every member of their family.' She could not let them suffer because of her.
Instead she forced herself to look on hopelessly.
"Neville here is now going to demonstrate what happens to anyone foolish enough to continue to oppose me," said Voldemort.
Voldemort flicked his wand making the Sorting Hat light with fire. Neville's screams filled the air and she had never heard him scream like that even after spending hours standing helplessly as he was hit with the Cruciatus Curse in detentions. His screams split the dawn and Neville was engulfed in fire, this time physically burning as well as mentally.
That was it. They would not start a new day like this. Voldemort was not going to win and Neville was not going to suffer like this.
It did not matter what it took.
A battle came from the boundaries to the school and they heard Grawp cry out. They were running at the Death Eaters from all sides as people from the entrance came to give their support. Adding to the chaos, Voldemort's giants tried to take down Grawp just as the Centaurs finally picked a side and came out the forest firing arrows at Voldemort's Death Eaters.
Neville broke free of his curse and pulled the sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat. Ginny had barely a second to look at the long glittering silver sword with the rubied handle which had been the focus of so much of her year before Neville swung it back.
Voldemort screamed at such a high pitch it could have broken glass as Neville sliced off Nagini's head.
Cries echoed from all sides but it was Hagrid's call that caught her attention.
"HARRY!" Hagrid shouted. "HARRY — WHERE'S HARRY?"
It was absolute mayhem.
Ginny was barely given time to focus on Hagrid's words or the fact that Harry was missing.
The Death Eaters' line had broken as the centaurs charged at them. Their own line also broke as they tried to avoid the giants and their massive feet. They were all being forced nearer and near the castle as the Thestrals and the hippogriff that used to live at Grimmauld Place attacked the giants. At the same time Grawp was attacked the giants, punching as many as he could making the movements of Voldemort's gigantic followers even more manic and thus dangerous.
Instinct took over as Ginny headed back to the castle, herself. She wasn't even given time to think about the fact that she had just seen Thestrals for the first time. Nor did she focus on the sounds that showed hope was near as the noise from the reinforcements grew louder. Instead she found herself back in the Great Hall, firing hexes with her every movement.
She barely had time to take in all the people who were now arriving. It hardly registered that Charlie, Professor Slughorn and many other witches and wizards including several of the Slytherin students had arrived. Nor did she have time to give a second thought to the fact the centaurs and house-elves had come out to fight amongst them.
Instead her eyes fell on the insane Death Eater who, despite the chaos, was laughing manically.
"Oh look at the ickle fighters, still fighting for their dead leader." She laughed again. It was that cold cruel laugh that echoed around the grounds. "Pity to waste such time on a weak coward of a boy."
Without thought or any sense of reason, she glared at Bellatrix Lestrange before starting into a sprint. She fired a few hexes, not focusing on anyone or thinking about the fact that the Death Eaters were falling, being conquered.
Fury was building inside her and for once she was very eager to give in to the Weasley temper she had been forced to keep under control for so long. Her hair flew in front of her even as she ran, and she even ended up spitting the ends of it out her mouth as well as catching strands in her eyes like the fire that was building in her. Red mist had overcome her.
No one would talk about Harry like that.
"Shut your mouth!" She panted each word at Bellatrix as she threw the hexes she knew at one of Voldemort's most loyal, powerful and insane followers.
No sooner had she thrown her first curse and caught Bellatrix's attention did she realise how truly unprepared she was for this fight. She was ducking and diving, barely avoiding Bellatrix's hexes as she struggled to survive whereas the Death Eater was easily repelling her curses with simple flicks as her wand.
"You ready to join your boyfriend, you blood-traitor runt?" Bellatrix squealed with laughter with each word.
"Better a blood-traitor than a murdering deluded cow."
Luckily her words must have drawn the attention of others because within an instant Luna and Hermione were at her side and the three of them took to battling the female Death Eater. Curses and jets of lights were flying in all directions and they barely held their own against Bellatrix.
Maybe she would be partying it up in the clouds with Fred soon.
No sooner had she thought this when a green flash of light flew by her so closely that she could feel the power of it rushing past her neck and missing her by barely an inch.
The Killing Curse.
If she had dived just a fraction of a second later she would be dead.
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"
Her mother knocked Ginny back to the floor, throwing off her cloak as she ran at the would-be murderer of her daughter. She had never seen her mother like this, the protective lioness who would do anything to protect her tribe. It was Bellatrix's laughter that unnerved her more.
She had only heard that tone in laughter once before and that was when Sirius was killed at the Department of Mysteries.
Oh, dear God; not Mum too.
She struggled back to her feet, ignoring the throbbing pain in her leg or the fact that it was sheer agony to stand. She was used to injuries this year. She would not lose her mum. Together with Hermione and Luna she aimed her wand at Bellatrix.
"OUT OF MY WAY!" shouted Mrs. Weasley.
With a simple swipe of her wand, a similar swipe to what she would use on the dishes at home, her mother began to duel Bellatrix. She struggled to watch but was unable to stop herself, mesmerised by every twist, slash and jab of her mother's wand. Her mother could out shout anyone and it took a very stupid person to get on the wrong side of her temper but surely her mother didn't stand a chance here.
This was Bellatrix Lestrange and so few stood a chance against her.
Ginny froze to the spot, unable to move, not wanting to keep watching but not daring to turn away.
She was going to watch her mum die as well.
Bellatrix Lestrange's smile had gone and it was replaced with a snarl, a snarl that sent shivers down Ginny's spine. Snakes rarely were stopped when squeezing the life out of their prey when they set their desire on it.
The air was lit with colour as jets of red and green were fired out of their wands. The floor was cracked, with barely missed spells. Bellatrix was fighting to kill.
And so was her mother.
"No!" Mrs. Weasley cried as a few students ran forward, trying to come to her aid. "Get back! Get back! She is mine!"
Now everyone left was watching either her mother's fight with Bellatrix or Voldemort's duel with Professor McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Professor Slughorn. For Ginny however, there was no contest over which battle to watch, she did not even give the evil dictator a second glance.
Breath caught in her mouth so often in the next few minutes that it left her gasping for air. Her eyes followed her mother's every movement with both amazement and fear. She had underestimated her mum so much, just as many others had done with her. She had always known there was much more to her mother than being a housewife, but seeing it was a revelation.
However, just as her admiration grew with every shot from Bellatrix's wand so did her fear. With one mistimed movement it would all be over and her mum would join Fred in the history books as a statistic of people who had died at the Battle of Hogwarts.
Life was far too fragile.
"What will happen to your children when I've killed you?" taunted Bellatrix, as mad as her master, capering as Molly's curses danced around her. "When Mummy's gone the same way as Freddie?"
Pain hit Ginny's heart again and she could not even imagine how her mum felt at those words. Fred's death was too raw to even speak of at the moment, let alone use for mockery.
This was going to end soon.
Ginny looked at her mum and could see the anger and emotion etched onto her face. Her mum would not take that and Bellatrix was going to reach her end by the power of a mother's love to cause it or her mum was going to make a fatal mistake based on those emotions.
"You — will — never — touch — our — children — again!" screamed Mrs. Weasley.
Bellatrix let out that wicked exhilarated laugh again, for one final time as she was hit directly in the heart.
Ginny was sure that everything took place in the following minutes but to her they had slowed and time had frozen just has Bellatrix's smile had done. The Death Eater fell to the floor to a series of cheers, cheers that only made Voldemort aware that his favourite and best disciple had fallen.
The high pitched scream pierced the room as Voldemort slammed Professors McGonagall and Slughorn and Kingsley Shacklebolt back through the air. They flailed through the air, writhing in pain. Voldemort was engulfed in absolute fury and the power knocked everyone backwards as if an explosion had just taken place.
Ginny's mouth dried and her whole body froze, paralysed.
Any fear that she had felt before was nothing compared to now.
Voldemort's wand was pointed directly at her mother.
"Protego!"a voice roared.
Ginny spun around disbelievingly and her heart soared. She knew every tone of that voice and would have recognised it anywhere.
Her eyes searched the crowd. The beating of her heart restarted at an alarming rate reaching fever pitch as she saw him finally, it felt like it was beating for both of them. And maybe that was right. He was there, alive, holding onto his Invisibility Cloak in one hand and a wand in the other.
Their cries of joy were short lived as they fell silent almost as quickly. This time it was not just Ginny feeling scared, the whole crowd was afraid and the tension was palpable in the air, rooting people to the spot.
She couldn't lose him again.
Voldemort and Harry looked at each other and the stare was intense before the teenage hero and the snake-like inhuman lord started to circle each other. The contrast between them was amazing, not just in their looks but also in qualities and abilities. They were opposites and they were finally being forced together for that final confrontation.
This confrontation would not just determine if the man she loved was going to die, but was one everyone's life depended on. After everything that had happened in this hall, if Voldemort was victorious he was not going to let any of them live.
Ginny gulped. At least either way she was going to be with Harry.
"I don't want anyone else to help," Harry said loudly, and in the total silence his voice carried like a trumpet call. "It's got to be like this. It's got to be me."
"Potter doesn't mean that," he said, his red eyes wide. "This isn't how he works, is it? Who are you going to use as a shield today, Potter?"
"Nobody," said Harry simply. "There are no more Horcruxes. It's just you and me. Neither can live while the other survives, and one of us is about to leave for good...."
Ginny was lost at the words that followed barely making any sense out of the talk of Horcruxes, accidents and sacrifices as Harry and Voldemort maintained the perfect circle as they talked. She got lost even more at Harry's talk of love and what Dumbledore had planned but at least Harry believed that he could win, that they stood a chance and they might not be buried by Death Eaters in shallow graves.
"Severus Snape wasn't yours," said Harry. "Snape was Dumbledore's. Dumbledore's from the moment you starting hunting down my mother. And you never realized it, because of the thing you can't understand. You never saw Snape cast a Patronus, did you, Riddle?"
Shock reverberated in every fibre. Amazingly, after everything Snape had put them through this year, he had been on their side.
Would they even be standing now if he hadn't been?
Voldemort seemed stunned into silence and didn't answer as Harry continued to talk about Snape, Malfoy and wand lore. She was really going to have to get him to explain all this when they finally got a chance to sit down. Not that the confusion would matter one jot until Harry had fired his own curse at Voldemort.
Finally Harry's hand twitched and he slightly moved his wand. This was it. Whatever had happened and whatever was going to happen, it was all going to come down to the next few moments and everyone knew it. If possible the crowd stilled even further.
"So it all comes down to this, doesn't it?" whispered Harry. "Does the wand in your hand know its last master was Disarmed? Because if it does... I am the true master of the Elder Wand."
A red-glow burst suddenly across the enchanted sky above them as an edge of dazzling sun appeared over the sill of the nearest window. The light hit both of their faces at the same time, so that Voldemort's was suddenly a flamingblur.
Harry pointed the wand.
A bang echoed round the hall and the noise was deafening. The hall was basked in light as golden flames erupted in the space between Harry and Voldemort where the spells from the two wands had met. The green jet shot from Voldemort's wand and spun, hitting Voldemort squarely before Harry caught the wand.
A mixture of feeling which spread from shock to joy to just plain relief flooded through Ginny. She could not stop a grin from lighting up her own face as Voldemort fell backwards.
Voldemort was dead.
A deafening silence filled the hall for nearly a whole minute as the sense of shock overtook joy and sheer happiness at first but it was soon broken. Screams, cheers and roars that despite the size of the grounds would put to shame any noise to mark the end of a Quidditch match in front of thousands of people. Everyone had to release the tension in some way, to let Harry know he was their hero, to thank him, and the pure noise of celebration seemed the right way to do that.
Even the very elements of the ground seemed to be celebrating as the sun from a new dawn, a new day, lit up the windows. It was almost as if some higher power than they wanted to share in the fact that the side of light had won. There was no room for rain or clouds today.
Despite her injured and throbbing leg, Ginny broke into a run as adrenaline kicked in and took over. She just had to get to Harry. After so long, she would not be parted any longer.
Ginny reached Harry mere seconds after Ron and Hermione had done. Her arms wrapped around him at the same time that Luna's and Neville's did. She was soon joined by the rest of her family, Hagrid, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Professors McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout before hundreds of others moved in.
She was shifted out of the way by people who just wanted to touch Harry, by people who did not know him but just wanted to touch their hero.
"Harry," she breathed, but her voice was lost in a tumult of noise and cries.
Reluctantly she fell back; she knew she would have to wait. She scoffed a laugh, at least she had been taught a bit of patience this year. She turned to look at the scene around her and found that she was still standing beside Neville and Luna.
"Hey," she said softly, "it's over, huh?"
"Yeah," Neville agreed, "how do you feel?"
"I'm fine," she said with a laugh that was echoed by the other two. "How about you?"
"Fine," both Neville and Luna spoke at the same time.
Ginny grinned as she glanced at her friends before briefly looking over at Harry. After claiming to be fine for so long and using the word as a defensive mechanism that could hold her together, things really were fine now, or at least they were going to be after the pain had died anyway and the rain had washed up the spilt blood. Things may hurt when the joy was gone but at least they had a chance now.
They could live their lives doing more than just surviving.
"I am positive that Harry is fine as well," Luna reassured her, "and will be over as soon as time allows."
"Yeah," she agreed.
"Ginny," Luna's voice was as serious as it had ever been, "after they have mated, Crumple-Horned Snorkacks are never parted for long and the pair of you have already been parted for too long."
She was barely given time to be anywhere close to Harry let alone talk to him, as the new day rose with the sun. Harry was needed for everyone else. As their hero, he was needed to share both in the celebrations and the grief. She watched from one side, reasonably patiently, as Harry spoke to those who had lost loved ones, and accepted the thanks of others.
He was the hero of the wizarding world and still had a part to play whether he wanted to or not and she accepted the fact that while she was in the same room and the mess was over, she was still waiting.
The survivors stayed in the hall. People were clinging to each other, hugging and kissing each other. Ginny's own hugs with her family lasted full minutes. Tears were shed but as long as they were still together it was okay.
After a small group of people had removed the bodies of the fallen Death Eaters to a chamber off the hall, including that of Lord Voldemort, far away from the ones of their side, no one else moved from the Great Hall. There would be time for everything else that needed doing later. Right now anything outside the hall could wait.
Of course, little bits of news broke through the protective hold that kept the survivors together. News that Imperiused people all over the country had come back to their senses after the spells had been lifted; that the fleeing Death Eaters were being captured and the innocent in Azkaban had been released drifted into the school. Kingsley Shacklebolt was even called out of the hall returning barely thirty minutes later with the news that he was now the temporary Minister of Magic.
However anything else, especially the interviews, could wait with the reporters at the school gates. Now was a time just for them, the people who had seen the real end to the war and fought for it. They shared a kind of bond and anything that would pull at that and yank them from each other was not welcome in the slightest.
They had to digest what had happened first, before they even thought of sharing that. They knew they were celebrating but they also knew what it had cost them.
Fred was gone and not coming back.
So was Tonks, Lupin, Demelza and so many of her friends and classmates.
At some point in the morning, and Ginny was never sure how quickly this had happened after the final blow of the battle, Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout and Slughorn met in the centre of the hall and after quick discussion they restored the house tables. Not that they were house tables anymore.
Ginny glanced round the hall even as her mother came back over. No one was sitting at the house tables anymore. The teachers sat with the students, likewise ghosts and parents, centaurs and house-elves. They were all equal now. Being Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin did not matter now, they were united. The Malfoys, Harpers and Theodore Nott were mixed in with the others.
She saw Neville was with the sword of Gryffindor, Ron and Hermione were together and finally Harry with Luna.
Standing still she watched Harry. He looked completely exhausted.
"Ginny," her mother's words broke through her thoughts.
"He will have time later," her mum explained softly as she led Ginny to sit down.
Having no desire to keep standing both through exhaustion and pain, she let herself fall into place next to her mother.
Maybe being mollycoddled would not be too bad today. Her mum probably needed it, especially after Fred, and it would be nice to feel sixteen and not yet an adult for a while. It would feel wonderful to have the responsibility that had been hanging there for too long lifted from her shoulders.
They sat in silence for a long time, just absorbing, being there for each other. They had time for noise later, just as she would have time to talk to Harry later, thanks to her mum.
"Mum?" She finally broke the stillness.
"I didn't think you had it in you."
Molly looked at her daughter's face, knowing instantly what she was referring to. "She had just tried to kill you. Of course I had it in me."
Ginny smiled, lightening the mood as her mum smiled back instantly, "I actually meant the language; you would have grounded me for that."
"And I still will." Her mum laughed briefly. "Besides, you are already grounded for leaving the Room of Requirement."
"Mum," the protest sprang to her mouth without thought, just as it had done so many times before.
"Ginny," her mother overruled, but she was sure there was still a hint of a smile there.
This felt good. Arguing or even the playful Weasley banter was back and the fact that even after everything her mum could still smile did wonders, even if the smile would disappear after the true reality of life emerged. At the moment things felt good.
Ginny paused for a moment, thinking of the right answer, the one that would get her out of trouble and she changed her expression. She shot her mother her sweetest, most innocent smile as she pondered the uses of different words.
She was not given time to reply, however.
Luna cried,"Oooh, look, a Blibbering Humdinger!" and pointed out the window.
Half the Hall looked around and even despite known she wouldn't see anything, she found herself looking round as well. The one thing she did notice was that Harry was gone, no doubt back under his Invisibility Cloak. It probably had one more job to do but at least if Luna knew about it, it could not be that bad and he would be back.
"Ginny," her mum had looked round with her.
"Looking for Harry?" she questioned shrewdly.
She found herself nodding, "He's under the Cloak somewhere."
"Give him time. He's been through a lot, we all have." Molly wrapped her hand around her daughter. "He will be just fine and you can go up after him later. No doubt he will want to see you soon enough. You just have to trust him."
And she did trust him. She would have to have serious words over some of his actions over the last few hours, namely playing dead, and siding with her mother over staying in the Room of Requirement, but she really actually did understand a lot of his motives even if she didn't agree with them.
Things would work out. Now all the uncertainty was gone they had the time to sort out the smaller things. They could relax, heal and then slowly sort out the rest. There were no price tags over heads and no one wanted them dead.
She rested her head on her mother's shoulder and let herself just be.
This has been by far the longest fiction that I have written, both in terms of word count and time taken. Therefore, I hope you will allow me a few lines.
The story Hogwarts Rebellion formed in my mind as soon as I had finished Deathly Hallows and people started to downplay Ginny's role in the book. I saw it that there were enough hints to suggest that she played a large part in the book, that was only restricted by the fact that she was underage throughout the book. This led to me getting even more annoyed each time her role was downplayed and her character was dismissed as just Harry's love interest. Therefore, I wanted to write a piece that showed this and I hope I have. I actually put the fiction off for over a year as I thought I knew how much work it would take, I can only say to this fact I was wrong. I thought it would be a lot of work, energy and time, it was over double what I had ever imaged, add to that, moving countries from one side of the world to the other, major computer issues and changes in my beta's life and the undertaking of this became epic. I think this makes my thanks all the more heartfelt, or at least I hope it does.
Naturally I would like to thank anyone has reviewed, recced or talked through this story with me. Your words are greatly valued and mean everything. Thank you so much.
The true thanks and "thank you" does not even feel like it does justice, must of course go to my beta, Gerry. I hope that she will not mind me still using the word beta, as more often or not I would use the word friend. It just goes to show what this fandom can do, how two people from very different backgrounds, places and age ranges can become so close over the three years that we have been working together. In terms of the writing of Hogwarts Rebellion, she has been exactly what anyone would want in a beta, she does the grammar work (which is a hell of a lot on my pieces) as well as offering ideas and support; I wouldn't trust many people as much as I trust her and because of that, this story is twice the story it would be without her. As a friend, I am not going to dwell on words just instead saying that she is second to none. Thank you, Gerry.