Waking Fred Weasley
A/N and Disclaimer – Welcome to another exciting episode of 'What Possibly Could Have Happened to Our Two Favorite Gryffindors after the Final Battle?'. All characters, settings, and recognizable devices of the Harry Potter Universe are the sole property of JKR and various corporate entities and no copyright infringement is intended or occurs. Along with not owning any portion of the Harry Potter universe, I also don't own the concept of the wake, Irish or otherwise, New Years, Hogmanay, or the two songs quoted in the text.
Chapter 1 – An Idea
Over the past three weeks, since the Battle of Hogwarts, the Gryffindor Common Room had become the unofficial meeting place each evening for those who gathered to try to shake off the sadness of the funerals and memorials that had been occurring with painful frequency. Each night, about sundown, regardless of house affiliation or age, witches and wizards who survived that night, or who mourned the lost, gathered for comfort and fellowship.
Looking around the room, Seamus surveyed his friends and companions. Over by the fireplace, Harry looked like one of the walking dead; as yet another funeral took its toll upon him. Shaking his head, he smiled as he saw that Hermione was sharing the old armchair with him, casually letting her hand toy with the collar of his dress robes as she nodded in response to whatever it was that Neville was saying to the two of them.
Today's funeral had been especially difficult, since Colin's family didn't realize the true magnitude of what had happened, or the cause their son and brother had given his life in. Dennis knew, and the pride he showed warred with his grief, but his parents only knew they were burying a child much too soon. Harry had tried to speak to the family, but when Dennis presented him with a portfolio of photos that Colin had taken of Harry over the years, Harry had been overcome by grief and his sense of guilt and Hermione had finished speaking to the family for him as he tried to compose himself.
Hermione was trying to gently jolly Harry out of his depression, what Seamus' grandmother would have called a black humor, without much success. Looking around, he could see Ron's father sitting to one side, chatting with the new Minister of Magic. Quietly walking over, he waited patiently until the older wizards acknowledged him.
"Seamus, it's been good to see you at these terrible events. I know that everyone appreciates what these past few days have cost all of us." Arthur Weasley smiled wearily at the younger wizard.
Kneeling down beside the chairs of the two older men, Seamus smiled. "With all due respect, Mr. Weasley, for most of us, the worst is yet to come. Tomorrow, Professor Lupin and Tonks, and the day after will be the funeral for your son Fred." Seeing the pain on his face, Seamus reached out a hand and gripped the older wizard's hand gently.
"Looking over at Harry, and from seeing George earlier, this is slowly killing both of them, and it's not doing the rest of us any good either."
"I can see you point, but no one can tell them not to grieve." Kingsley studied the dark-haired wizard who was sitting there, barely aware of anything in the room other than the witch sitting on the arm of the chair with him.
"The three of them have been to every funeral, every memorial, and it's wearing all of them thin. George has been just as active, and for the life of me, I can't see a way around it."
"You couldn't keep any of them away, especially the next couple of days." Looking around to see who was listening, Seamus smiled. "With all due respect, everyone here is too bloody English for their own good." Nodding at the surprised looks on their faces, he shrugged.
"The Irish have learned how to deal with grief, and one of the answers is that you can't wallow in it. We bury our dead, but we also celebrate their lives."
Frowning, Kingsley looked around at the bone weary faces he could see; the couples and small groups huddled together around the room. The grief in the room far outweighed any other reaction, and all of the survivors were beginning to show the stress and strain of the past three weeks, not to mention the war itself. Turning back to Seamus, he smiled wearily.
"I take it you have a sovereign, traditional Irish remedy for this?"
"With your permission Mr. Weasley, and your backing Mr. Minister, tomorrow night we're going to hold a wake for Fred and the rest of them." Seeing the look of reservation on Arthur's face, Seamus held up his hand to forestall any objections.
"It won't be a full-fledged wake; none of you are Irish enough for that. We'll gather together, celebrate the life of everyone we lost, tell stories, sing songs, and remember that they died so we could live our lives."
Kingsley slowly began to truly smile. "Arthur, your permission is key, but I think young Seamus here is on to a brilliant idea. If we don't do something, the strain of these last two days might break Harry and some of the others. You and Molly just lost one son, could she stand to lose a second, this soon?"
"Get George involved with the planning, and Ginny." Looking thoughtfully at the pair sitting in the chair, Arthur gladly had accepted the inevitable, and prayed that his daughter could do the same.
"George has got enough of those fireworks and other surprises hidden away that we might just violate the Secrecy Statute so thoroughly that the Americans will hear the party, and Ginny needs to think about something other than Fred and all of the changes that have occurred." Looking over at Harry and Hermione huddled together across the room, Arthur looked curiously at Seamus.
"Exactly how are you going to get Harry there? He's not going to be in any mood for anything social after burying the last of the Marauders in the morning."
"You've got the hard part, sir. You have to tell your wife we're having a wake tomorrow at the Burrow. If the Minister will impart upon me a bit of authority, I think I can guarantee Harry will be there." Looking at the pair by the fireplace, he smiled.
"I'll just leave the mechanics to Hermione. Dumbledore's Army will follow Harry to Hell and back with no questions, but for seven years she's been the one who can get him where he needs to be and when."
Standing up, Seamus jumped up on one of the tables in the room.
"All right, this is by the express order of the Minister of Magic." Looking around, Seamus waited until the conversations died down and everyone was looking at him.
"Tomorrow night at sundown, we're going to have a wake at the Burrow for Fred and all the others." Seeing the puzzled looks on the faces around him, he laughed. "For those of you not lucky enough to be Irish, this means we're going to gather together, tell stories, drink a bit, listen to some music and celebrate the lives of those we lost." Nodding at the looks of comprehension on their faces, he continued, "Some of the stories might even be true."
Standing, Kingsley held up his hand. "This is for everyone who was a friend or loved one of anyone we lost that night. Mr. Finnigan is my direct representative in this matter, and I'm leaving the organizing of this to him." Looking around the room, he smiled encouragingly.
"This is going to come under the heading of 'mandatory fun' in that I'll know who should be there, and if you're not there at the appointed starting time, I won't hesitate to send people after you." Graciously bowing to Seamus, he sat back down as the crowd laughed and applauded.
"All right, here's the plan. The planning committee for this will be myself, Ginny Weasley, and George Weasley." Looking over at Hermione, Seamus smiled. "Hermione, I need you to do two things for tomorrow night."
Running her hand through Harry's hair, Hermione nodded tiredly. "Seamus I'll do what I can. What do you need of me?"
With a sly grin, Seamus bowed slightly to her and winked cheekily.
"The first is easy. I need you to bring that magic bowl of Dumbledore's you were telling me about. If we're going to share memories of Fred and the rest, we might as well really share."
"It's called a pensieve, and I think that's a brilliant idea. I don't know if more than four or five at a time can use it, but we'll do the best we can." Tilting her head a bit, she asked, "And the other?"
Looking her straight in the eye, Seamus grinned. "I don't care what spell you use, or if you have to lead him in on a dog collar and leash, but you're responsible for making certain Harry's there." Seeing the rebellious look in Harry's eyes, Seamus shrugged.
"Sorry mate, but we both know that if she wants you there, you'll be there. Might as well go gracefully and with some dignity."
The room erupted into laughter, with the exception of Ginny Weasley who was looking far less than pleased. Nodding to her, Seamus called out, "I think that's everything for now. Miss Weasley, could I have the honor of your presence so we can make some plans?"
Jumping down, Seamus smiled as the fiery redhead homed in on him. Taking her arm before she could speak, Seamus led her over to the portrait hole and out into the corridor beyond. Once the door was closed behind them, he put a finger up to her lips, nodded at the Fat Lady who was watching them intently.
Shaking her head, Ginny grabbed his hand and towed him down the hallway. Once they were safely away from the entrance to Gryffindor, she turned on him and glared.
"It's not like I was going to say anything to them."
Smiling sadly at her, Seamus wrapped his arms around her and held her to him. Feeing her start to relax, he gently stroked her hair for a moment.
"Gin, I know this isn't how you envisioned things turning out. This past year, you were magnificent with Luna and Neville in keeping things together here. I know you started off expecting Harry to come back to you, but I think this is one of those things where too much has happened."
Sliding down to sit against the wall, Ginny growled in frustration, shaking her head as she looked up at Seamus.
"It just doesn't feel over. I know it is. Even if my feelings hadn't changed, I'm not blind. My idiot brother and Hermione lasted less than twenty-four hours together before it became apparent that if they stayed together much longer, one of them was going to be deceased and the other was going to be in Azkaban for the rest of her life." Looking up, she sighed.
"I think Ron's relieved, the three of them have been together since, and there's no obvious tension. But if she's left Harry's side for more than ten seconds since he woke up after the battle, I haven't seen it."
Sinking down beside her, Seamus stroked her hair tenderly. "Ginny, this was coming from the first day they met. Everything that's happened over the last seven years, and I'm including Voldemort in this, has just been a lead-in to those two getting together. You've been ready to let go of Harry for months now. Just let go and start fresh."
"Rumor has it I'm difficult, moody, self-centered and strong-willed." Staring at him, Ginny blinked slowly to get the tears that had started to form under control
"Sure enough, if I didn't know better, I'd say you were an Irish colleen. You've even got the hair and freckles for it. I'll have to ask your da if your family came to England from Ireland at some point."
Laughing, Ginny scooted until she was leaning against him. When he wrapped his arm around her, she sighed and snuggled into his embrace.
"I know things started out with us getting together just to be with someone, but I'm very content we did. We've talked more than I ever did with Harry, even if half the time it was about how angry I was with him." Smiling apologetically, she gently kissed his cheek.
"I don't know who I was more afraid of, Voldemort taking Hogwarts or Harry busting in on us. I still keep expecting him to start hexing me for us being together."
They both stiffened and broke apart when a definitely feminine chuckle intruded upon their moment. Looking up, they both tried to compose themselves under Hermione's watchful gaze as she leaned up against the corridor wall, smiling at them, a piece of parchment in her hand.
"If the two of you really wanted to keep this a secret, you're doing a very bad job of it. Though, for the life of me, I can't think of why Harry would want to hex anyone. Honestly, Seamus, you shared a dorm with him for six years, you think you'd know him a bit better than that."