Author's Note: Originally written in November 2006 and beta'd by Lyndsie Fenele. This one is meant to be vague, and I understand it can be confusing. Whoops. :P
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters, settings, and terminology belong to J.K. Rowling.
Whispers floated around the hall in soft exhalations, murmurs of acknowledgement of the battle that had taken place a century ago. However, the story being repeated all across the celebration hall, while not of a war hero's great deeds, was by far the most fascinating to many of the people in attendance.
"Did you hear that one tale…?"
"They say it's a myth."
"My daughter loves to hear that story every night."
Over the years and the many retellings, The Story had changed and reformed. It now had exactly thirty-seven different endings, a jealous lover, and murder in the name of a young girl's innocence. Whether any of these elements were in the original story one hundred years ago remains to be seen. Speculation was always a fun game to play, and certainly more fun than Truth.
"It begins at Hogwarts, of course, the scene of the Final Battle between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. A terrible rainy night it was—"
"Actually, it was a fairly sunny day at Godric's Hollow."
"How would you know? You couldn't have been born yet!"
"I was there. And mind you speak to your elders with respect."
The truth had been distorted, but with the proper storyteller, The Story could bask in the complete glow of an accurate telling. Even so, others could not help but to chip in parts of the versions they had heard growing up.
"They say she loved that Malfoy boy, had kept her love a secret since her fourth year."
"Did he love her?"
"I don't know."
"She had and he did."
The truth had been abused. The Story had had to wait for The Teller to arrive, to release it from the confines of fancy and myth. The Teller held the story in her heart, a painful reminder of the dear friend she had lost to the devastation of the war. To anyone else, The Story would have been a burden. To her, it was a chance to give a wrongly condemned man justice, to let his love for her friend be free. The Story had also given her hope and inspiration for her own life.
"That poor woman… Her only daughter!"
"I can't imagine how they took it."
"And the rest of the family survived?"
It wasn't just the family affected by what happened. The whole of the wizarding world seemed to take The Story in whatever form it was in and extract beauty and romance from it. While The Teller may have occasionally agreed with the degree of romance involved, she knew from personal experience that it was a tragic tale.
"But I thought the Malfoys and the Weasleys hated each other?"
"Poor Virginia Weasley."
"Her name was Ginevra, actually."
Time had altered the facts, had ripped up the reality. The wizarding world had been at peace for a hundred years. Only the few remaining people that had experienced the effects of the war really knew what fear, courage, and sacrifice were. Time had even taken the fear out of pronouncing the Dark Lord's name.
Oh, how he would have raged so long ago at that.
"She was in love with a Death Eater, the enemy of her friends, family, and comrades. Harry Potter was in love with her."
"He had given her up in his sixth year for her own safety, but as soon as Voldemort fell, he searched for her. He wanted her back."
"Weren't they already engaged, though?"
For now, The Teller didn't mind letting the large crowd of people tell The Story. As the mistakes were made, she called them out, but for the most part, she was intrigued to hear how everyone else had heard it.
"He wanted her back? Surely, she took him? The savior of wizarding Britain!"
"No, no. She turned him down; she asked for Draco."
"The Malfoy boy?"
This time they were spot on. The Teller's silence told them to continue. They had reached the most tragic part of all.
"He didn't know why she wanted him, but he told her that he was dead by his own hand."
"No! Why? Why did he kill him?"
"Because he was a Death Eater, his enemy, and the reason Albus Dumbledore was dead."
As the few people who had not heard The Story soaked in these facts, the others smiled in satisfaction at their shock. For The Teller, memories of Ginevra Weasley invaded her mind mercilessly, followed by what would happen next. Tragedy had not yet finished her song.
"What did she do?"
"The way I heard it, she and the Malfoy boy had eloped to the Americas before the battle and were never seen again."
Here they came to an impasse, for how The Story ended the way it did had never been told, causing people to make up their own dénouement. All eyes were on The Teller, but she, at 120 years old, could not fear the importance of her role now.
"They did not elope," said she quite calmly and in a quiet voice that captivated her eager audience. "Ginny Weasley was so devastated by Harry's news… she didn't believe him. Now that the war was over, she thought Malfoy could come out and declare his true allegiance: to her."
No one said a word as she spoke, and The Teller was in her element. She had never disliked imparting what she could of her knowledge onto others.
"She didn't care who knew of their love, but when his death was confirmed and his body recovered, a good piece of her died."
"I heard she died from that heartbreak."
"I heard she was insensible forever after."
"The way I was told, she died heroically in that battle!"
Everyone turned to The Teller once again.
"No," she said simply. "She poisoned herself, preferring death with Draco Malfoy to the new world of peace she had helped to create, without him. Her death hurt so many… including Harry."
With The Story complete, The Teller could relax and watch as her audience murmured amongst themselves. A few snippets of conversation drifted her way and she allowed herself to listen.
"Harry Potter, so heartbroken, then killed himself in turn."
"No, he left the country and now wanders the Andes in South America in search of his lost love in the heavens."
Sometimes one person or other would look back at The Teller as if she could continue The Story. But her duty had been to guard the truth of Ginevra Molly Weasley's demise. The Story about her was the only one The Teller could recount.
Harry Potter's story was now floating through the hall in soft exhalations of breath, taking flight in fancy, waiting for its Teller to come and release its truth.