I'm not new to writing Fanfiction, but this is the first time I tried to do a Harry Potter one.
The reason I'm writing this is simple. I got the flu and had nothing better to do than the reread the whole series of books.
I got to the end and remembered how dissatisfied I was with the ending. Just boom it's over and a little clip of their lives ten years later.
I decided to check out some fanfiction and see if anyone had the same ideas as I did for how they wanted the rest of the story to be done.
Sadly I put in what I wanted to read with the marker of one-hundred thousand words or more and it came up blank.
I did find a few shorter stories that touch on some of my ideas(one of them seems to be a pretty common one), but didn't find one that didn't trounce all over the true characters.
So here I am writing for you all.
I'll be writing this story starting with Harry's final battle with Voldemort.
After that I'm not following the cannon much, if at all.
Unlike a lot of FF writers I will stay true to the original characters personalities as much as I can.
For those of you new to my writing I will tell you up front, I am a very long character driven and relationships type of story writer.
Don't expect tons of action like Harry hunting down Death Eaters in my works, because it's not likely to happen.
On the flip side I'm not going to have ten-thousand scenes of Harry unloading his kids from the car either.
(Honestly does anyone enjoy reading a story like that? ,Because there is way too many of them out there.)
A few places in the story might seem a little choppy so sorry about that in advance.
I had thirteen thousand words of the first chapter written and somehow my writing program turned it into a single R.
The auto recovery file was corrupt and I almost didn't bother trying to redo it and nearly gave up on the story.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Harry Potter or any of its right…If I did you'd probably already have book eight on your bookshelf. ( well maybe if you thought it was good enough to buy).
Mature Rating: This story is Rated Mature for graphic depiction of grotesque violence (only in this chapter), physiological trauma, sexually charged situations and possible crude humor.
Reader discretion is advised (please note: strong sexual content was not on the list for those of you looking for that.).
Without further a due.
The morning dawn was shining with an array of pink and orange through the bewitched ceiling in the Great Hall of Hogwarts.
None of the students dared move as Harry and Voldemort dueled in the center of the room to the death.
They had given them a wide birth to fight, fearful of their battle.
They launched their spells at one another and they screamed through the air colliding in a burst of colored spark.
Voldemort's own neon green killing curse rebounded off of Harry spell and hit him in the chest.
He crumpled to the floor as the Elder Wand flew in a high arch out of his hands. His lifeless eyes showed the surprise he saw an instant before his death.
Harry breathing heavily caught the wand with his free hand.
His fellow peers watched him with baited breath, none of them dared move as he labored.
They only hoped the Dark Lord was truly gone in the long moment that he spent catching his breath.
"It's over…" He said softly in the silent hall.
Harry's palms were sweaty and his trembling legs would no longer hold him. He collapsed to his knees in tired weariness.
"Harry!" Hermione screamed and rush to him. She flung her arms around him and embraced him.
He choked slightly when he breathed in some of her bushy hair before sweeping her hair out of his face.
The wands he was holding clattered to the ground and he embraced her back tightly.
He rested his head on her shoulder in tired weariness and said. "I'm free…at last…I'm finally… free…"
His eyes closed and his body went limp in her arms. The last thing he remembered was a woman's voice screaming for Madam Pomfrey.
Harry found himself in the mist of the battle of Hogwarts. Death Eaters were dueling two and three students at a time in the halls.
Curses and hexes of every color were flying everywhere and the bodies of those that had fallen littered the floor.
The walls shook from distant explosions as pieces of the ceiling started to crumble and fall down.
Harry heard another explosion, but this one was closer and more sickly sounding.
It was followed by a blood curdling scream followed by maniacal laughter that rang out over the sounds of battle.
Three Death Eaters barred the way to the Great Hall where the screaming and laughter came from.
The scream sounded very familiar to him and his pulse quickened with dread and worry.
Fearing not for his safety he charged right through the Death Eaters that were sending killing curses flying at everyone in sight.
One of them nearly grazed his ear before he made it to the archway of the Great Hall just before part of the ceiling came down behind him.
Dust shot out around him and he coughed as he staggered through the door to the Great Hall. What he saw inside shocked and stunned him to his core.
In the back left corner Hagrid was piling the students bodies against the wall oblivious to everything else that was going on with tears rolling down his somber face.
All the tables, save for one, were gone. The one that was left was pushed all the way up to the wall on the Slytherin side of the hall.
Breakfast had been set out on it like any other day.
Warm toast hung in neat rows in their cooling racks and a variety of fruits was scattered across the table joined by more bodies of his classmates.
Ginny was sitting at the table with her head resting in her over turned cereal bowl.
Her lifeless eyes stared blankly off towards the back of the room as the milk from her cereal dribbled onto the floor.
The sounds of growling and ripping flesh drew his attention to the other side of the room.
On the other side of the hall Greyback the werewolf had Luna pinned against the wall by her shoulders while he violently devoured the flesh from her arm.
Luna didn't scream, in fact she didn't seem to mind at all. She had her free hand digging in his ear.
"Mr. Wolfie if you don't hold still I can't get the Nargles out of your ears."
She said wispily just before he bared down and ripped her arm free from its socket spraying blood over himself as he greedily ate.
Harry stomach churned from seeing the grotesque sight and he forced himself to look away.
The hideous laughter filling the room almost drove him insane.
He looked to the source with a pained expression only to see Voldemort wearing Dumbledore's robe and standing at his golden owl podium laughing to the waning night's sky.
Harry's eyes went wide when he saw what was on the floor in front of Voldemort.
Ron was face down on the cold stone floor in a pool of his own blood. In his right hand was a severed female hand and out beside him it looked like someone's body had exploded.
Bloody body parts and glistening pink organs fell off the halls enchanted ceiling in a slow bloody squishy rain.
Harry eyes fell to a tangled mass of bushy bloodstained hair just to the left side of Voldemort and instantly realized it was what was left of Hermione.
His fear and anger rose as he went to scream and level his wand at Voldemort and pour all his rage into his next spell.
"Harry! HARRY! Wake up!" Ron said while shaking him by the shoulders. Slowly Harry opened his eyes to the stinging bright light in the room.
Ron was standing over him with a very worried look.
"You alright mate? Blimey I thought you were having a fit or something." He said in a worried voice. He looked pale and he hadn't shaved for what looked like a week.
Harry slowly leaned forward out of the sweat soaked blankets of the hospital cot he was laying in.
He reached up and winced out of habit when he touched the lightning bolt shaped scar of his for head.
To his surprise his finger tips only felt the slick sweat soaked skin of his head. His scar didn't hurt at all. He opened his eyes and looked around.
He looked like he was in an office of some kind.
There was a desk near him with neat stacks of paper work and just behind it there was what looked like a wine rack, but it held potions instead.
He recognized six bottles of Skele-Gro near the top of it, but he didn't have a clue what the rest of them held.
"You-Your scar isn't hurting again is it?" Ron asked fearfully.
"No, it's not. I'm just used to it hurting, that's all. It was just a bad dream." He admitted a bit disorientated.
"Ergh where am I?" He asked groggily while trying to clear his foggy head.
Ron looked around a bit fearfully and said. "We are in Madam Pomfrey's office. So keep your voice down.
She had you out in the hospital ward, but the press has been all over the place and she moved you in here for your own protection.
The only one's she's letting see you right now are me and Hermione. She wouldn't even let mum and dad come and have a look at you.
Mum nearly ended up in one of those hospital beds as well when she argued with Madam Pomfrey a bit too much.
Madam Pomfrey can be really scary when she wants to be."
Harry gave him a confused look and said. "Wait, you mean the same Madam Pomfrey that always patched us up after Quidditch practice?"
Ron's eyes darted around nervously for a moment and then he said. "Yeah, that's her alright. She laid down the law after you got here.
It's not surprising really; everyone's been worried sick about you the past couple of days."
Harry gave him a shocked look and said. "Days? How long have I been out?"
"Two days and it's been chaos here at Hogwarts. Everyone's been trying to come and thank you for what you did." He said seriously.
Harry grabbed his head and tried to sift through his cloudy mind before finally asking.
"What happened? I remember Voldemort collapsing, but it gets fuzzy after that."
Ron winced at hearing Voldemort's name and then in an unsure voice he said.
"Well mate, you said it was over and then Hermione ran to you and hugged you. You mumbled something and passed out.
Madam Pomfrey says it was from stress."
Harry gave him a relieved look and said. "Oh."
"That's not all Harry. I don't know who took the picture but…" Ron said carefully as he handed him yesterday's edition of the Daily Prophet.
The headline read 'HARRY POTTER VANQUISHES VOLDEMORT!'
There was a picture of Hermione with teary eyes running over to hug Harry on her knees that played over and over on the front page.
Harry quickly skimmed though the spotty details of the battle until he came to near the end of the article.
"…spell rebounded and Voldemort was killed by his own killing curse.
Harry collapsed to his knees shortly afterward and then his long time on again off again girlfriend Hermione Granger rushed into his arms.
Most of our more seasoned reader will remember that she has been trying to get her hands on Harry Potter for years.
Her first known attempt was back during the Tri-wizard tournament, but it is believed that she was unsuccessful at that time and had to settle for famous seeker Victor Krum.
It doesn't look she will be settling this time however. The two looked very much in love. I wouldn't be surprised if we hear of church bells in their near future.
God knows everyone could use some good news with all that has been going on."
Head Journalist of the Daily Prophet, Rita Skeeter.
Harry threw the paper aside in disgust. "What utter rubbish! With everything that happened she is still spouting that nonsense!"
Ron gave him a reserved look and said. "I thought you'd be mad."
Harry quickly said. "I thought you would too Ron."
"Well yeah, I was mad when I read it yesterday, but I've had a bit of time to cool off and all.
Kind of hard to stay mad over something petty like that when so many people are dead." He said honestly.
"What's happened while I was knocked out?" He asked worriedly.
"Well they made Mr. Kingsley temporary minister of magic for one. Dad thinks he's a shoe in to get approved for the job.
Everyone that was in the Order of the Phoenix is greatly respected now since we were on the front lines from the start." Ron said.
"Well at least it's one of our guys. He can't do a worst job then the last few ministers." Harry said with a slight hint of bitterness in his voice.
"There's something else you need to know-" He started to say before the door opened and Hermione and Madam Pomfrey entered the room.
"Harry!" Hermione went to hug him and then she stopped in mid stride and the smile fell from her face.
"I see you are awake Mr. Potter. You gave us all a right bit of a fright over the past few days." She said stiffly before she did a quick physical examination on him.
"I think you should get a bit more rest before you leave Mr. Potter. Believe me you will need it.
There is a whole hoard of reporters outside the doors of the medical ward waiting for you.
I've been having to kick them out when they try to sneak in for days.
I'll be thankful when you're up and about again and my medical ward becomes quiet once more." She said and then quietly left and closed the door behind her.
Now that Madam Pomfrey was gone Hermione clutched her fist and trembled in anger while looking at the floor.
Ron back away in fear and Harry would have if he didn't feel so exposed in his lime green hospital gown.
Ron feared she was going to beat them to death with her fist before she finally spoke.
"Did you read what the vile hag wrote about us Harry?"
"Umm yeah I did, it was-" He started to say before Hermione cut him short.
She plopped down on the corner of his cot forcefully and crossed her arms as she fumed.
"Rubbish, complete rubbish! I guess Voldemort's down fall just wasn't a good enough story for her! She just had to add a bit of flare to spice it up!
Honestly, does she have no shame?" She snapped.
A long tense and awkward silence hung in the air.
"Well on the bright side you're getting married soon." Ron nervously joked to lighten the mood and regretted it almost before he finished saying it.
She stared daggers at him."Ronald Weasley!" She looked like she was going to draw her wand and curse him but suddenly she looked down sadly.
Harry quickly asked trying to change the subject. "So, you where saying Ron?"
Ron nearly had his back pressed up against the wall and suddenly relaxed.
"Oh right. Well mum and dad decided that we would wait to bury Fred until you woke up.
They knew you'd want to be there to…ya know say goodbye and all." He said with a hint of sadness in his eyes.
"How is the rest of your family?" Harry said with concern.
Ron gave him a strained look and said. "Well mums been crying on and off about Fred. She's pretty tore up about, but George is taking it the hardest.
It's like he isn't himself any longer. He hasn't smiled or cracked a joke since it happened. He just sits there staring off into nothingness. "
Harry's concerned look only worsened as his eyes intensified on Ron.
"Ron!" She scolded him and he pulled away and looked at her, completely ignorant as to the reason she yelled at him.
Hermione turned to Harry with a reassuring kind look and said.
"Harry, Ginny's fine. She was one of the first ones that came to see you, but Madam Pomfrey wouldn't let her in even when me and Ron asked her to."
Harry let out the breath he had been holding. "That's a relief." He said as his body relaxed.
"Ron…The way you were talking made it sound like you were avoiding Ginny like she was hurt or something! Can't you be a little more sensitive to other people?"
She asked him sternly.
"Hey it wasn't like I was trying to avoid it or anything. I was just trying to tell him what was going on." He said weakly in his defense.
"Ergh!" She said and rolled her eyes at him in annoyance.
"Anything else? Luna, Neville, Professor McGonagall are they all alright?" He asked seemingly desperate for answers.
"Yes Harry they are all fine." She said and then suddenly she shifted nervously in her seat.
Harry looked at her intently as she looked at him worriedly.
"What? What is it Hermione? Did anyone else get killed in the fighting that I don't know about?" He asked her dreading the answer.
"No, no one else died here that you don't already know about Harry." She said in a strained voice.
"Then what is it Hermione? I can't tell you're holding something back." He said knowingly.
"I'm not sure I'm the one to tell you this Harry." She said quietly.
"Tell me? Tell me what?" He asked her curiously.
Hermione stomped her foot in frustration and sadly admitted.
"She didn't die here at Hogwarts. She died before the fighting started.
Death Eaters got Mrs. Tonks! She was killed just before they all headed here Harry. I'm so sorry…"
Harry gave her a confused look and said. "I already knew Tonks died-"
"Not Tonks Harry! Mrs. Tonks, her mother…" She said in a regretful tone before she shrank away.
Harry's mind whirled in thought for a long moment before he realized just what it all meant.
"Bu-But what's going to happen to Lupin and Tonks child? Hasn't he got anyone else to take care of him?" He asked worriedly.
She gave him a reserved understanding look and said. "You, as his Godfather, are the only family he has got left Harry."
Harry sunk back onto his sweaty cot from the gravity of her words.
She quickly walked up to his side and hurried to say. "Harry, no one expects for you to take care of him. Mrs. Weasley already offered to take him in.
She said the house has been getting rather lonely with only her there during school times. She said she'd love another addition to the family."
Harry swallowed hard and slowly said. "Right…" His distant thoughts drifted off to the far wall as he fell silent.
Madam Pomfrey opened the door holding a tray of soup. "You two, I'm sorry to tell you this, but it's time for Mr. Potter's breakfast." She said firmly.
Hermione looked over at Ron sternly then back to Harry kindly and said. "We will check up on you later Harry."
"Right mate we will see you later and we will let everyone else know you are alright." He said as he stole a glance at Hermione to make sure he hadn't incurred her anger again.
Harry forced himself to eat the tasteless glop he was served and then tried to go back to sleep.
Yet he couldn't sleep with his mind a whirl with thoughts.
He had finally given up on sleeping and sat up in the bed when again Madam Pomfrey entered the room to give him a letter.
He looked at it curiously before opening it. It was from Gringotts Bank.
It said in not so many words that his account had been seized to cover the damages he had caused when he flew out on one of their dragons to escape.
It also thanked him for defeating Voldemort and said they wouldn't be pressing charges or charging him for the dragon they had lost.
He fell back on the cot. "What a fine way to thank me." He said bitterly to himself as he crumpled the letter up and threw it into the rubbish bin.
Harry had just changed into his normal school robes when Ron and Hermione came back to check on him.
"Oh, I see you're dressed Harry. Did Madam Pomfrey see fit to release you?" Hermione asked.
He gave her a weak smile and said. "Yes she just released me."
Ron gave him a reserved look and asked. "Are you sure you're ready for this mate? It's completely knackered outside the ward.
Me and Hermione have been getting mobbed all day with questions about you.
We've been keeping quiet about you waking up and all to the press, but we tried to subtly let most of our friends know.
I think one of them might have spilled the beans though. They have whipped themselves up into a firestorm.
Even the two Aurors sent to protect us are having a hard time keeping them under control."
Harry sighed in exasperation and threw his arms up. "Oh well, let's go and get it over with."
"Are you sure Harry? Ron wasn't kidding. It's completely crazy out there." She said with a worried look.
Harry nodded his head and said. "I can't stay in here forever."
Harry thought he was ready when the doors to the medical wing opened…He wasn't.
It was complete chaos. The press was up front and they were all asking him question once.
His friends and members of DA were cheering him from behind the press as the two Aurors and various teachers tried to keep order.
He saw almost all of his closest friends save for George and Luna.
He even caught a glimpse of Ginny that made his heart lurch. He really wanted to go to her, but she was so far back in the crowd.
Everyone was shoving trying to get closer to them and the Aurors shielding charms were starting to break from the pressure.
Mrs. Weasley forced her way through the crowed and the press and wrapped her arms around him emotionally.
She kissed him several times on the face and cheek before say. "Harry, don't ever make us worry like that again! Don't ever go fighting dark wizards again!"
Harry didn't hear her as the noise was so loud. He more or less read her lips.
"Mum you know Harry's going to try to become an Auror though." Ron said but it was drowned out in the swarm of shouting.
Arthur made it up to his wife and helped shield them from the crowd.
It took awhile, but Mr. and Mrs. Weasley with the help of the Aurors managed to worm Harry out from the mob of people.
Once they made it out the front door of the school they set off at a brisk pace toward the main gate where they could Apparate out of the chaos.
It took only a few second for the press to burst out the door chasing them.
Much to Harry's dismay Rita Skeeter was easily in the lead shouting questions he could actually understand as she was nearly fifty feet in front of all the rest of the press.
"Harry, were you scared when you faced down the Dark Lord?" She yelled to him with her white quick quill writing furiously on a blue note pad that hovered over her left shoulder.
"Harry, what spell did you use on Voldemort to repel his killing curse?" She asked closing the distance between them as they neared the giant wroth iron gates.
Mr. Lovegood looked hollow and pale as he was leading his daughter to the train platform with his hands on her shoulders.
"Hi Harry…Bye Harry" She said to them in a wispy tone as they rushed past them.
Mr. Lovegood jumped with a start when he heard Harry's name and then looked away in shame.
"Harry you will of course be giving The Daily Prophet a exclusive won't you?" She called after him with the quill in her hand raised high.
Harry's face contorted in anger as he freed himself from Mr. Weasley's grip and turned around to face her just before reaching the main gates of the school.
"If I have anything to say to the press I'll say it to Mr. Lovegood! At least the Quibbler tried to help me!" He snapped at her in anger.
Ron's eyes darted back and forth and then he said. "Are you barking mad Harry? He tried to turn you over to the Death Eaters."
Harry nodded quickly in begrudging agreement. "Well I fancy it's a right sight nicer than what the Daily Prophet has been doing to me for years."
He stated bluntly and then Arthur seized his arm and turned him back around.
Rita suddenly had a sly smirk on her face and said.
"Oh Harry, are you so eager to go off and elope with Miss Granger. I'm sure everyone is dying to hear about you two's young lov-"
Before Harry even realized what he was doing he had snatched one of the wands out of his pocket.
"Stupefy!" A crimson light flew out of the end his knobby wand and slammed into Rita's chest.
She was thrown backwards as two other red spells crossed in front of her, but just barely missed her.
Ron and Hermione had their wands pointed at her as well once Harry realized he wasn't the only one that had tried to hex her.
She landed nearly twenty feet from them on the grass completely still.
"That was a very foolish thing to do you three. I thought by now you would know that Rita Skeeter can make a lot of trouble for those that cross her."
Arthur Weasley said sternly as he walked out of the gate with them.
"She's had it coming for years." Hermione said tartly with venom in her voice.
Ron laughed slightly and said. "Did you see how far she flew?"
Harry honestly didn't care. He just wanted to get back to The Burrow were he could be alone with his thoughts.
"Molly I'll clean up here, you go on ahead with the kids. I'll be along shortly with Ginny and George." He said and then kissed her on the cheek.
"Are you ready dears?" She said to them and then Apparated with a dull pop.
Ron followed suit and then Harry gave Hermione a vulnerable look as he grabbed on to her forearm.
She understood that he was too shaky to Apparate without fear that he might Splinch himself.
She placed her hand over his and disappeared in a blur of twisting images.
Harry had Apparated many times before and had never liked the queasy feeling of being pushed through a hole that was too small for him.
The feeling was doubly strong this time and when he hit the ground in the front yard of The Burrow his eyes rolled back into his head as he climbed up onto all fours.
He got violently sick and poured the contents of his stomach onto the grass.
Ron gave him a slightly revolted and concerned look before saying.
"Better out than in as Hagrid used to say, but look on the bright side: Now you have room for whatever feast mum makes you eat."
"Ronald!" Hermione scolded him.
"What?" He said innocently. "You know it's true. If Harry ate everything mum wanted him to he'd make his cousin Dudley look like a garden gnome."
Harry half choked and laughed as he got up on his shaky legs.
"Thanks Ron, I needed a laugh." He said as he wiped his mouth with his sleeve.
Hermione was still giving Ron a stern look as they walked inside the house.
Mrs. Weasley was in the kitchen waving her wand over a large pot. A thick white sauce was flowing out of the tip of her wand and into the pot like a gentle waterfall.
Within a few minutes she gave them each a bowl of creamy onion soup and some bread.
Ron sniffed longingly over the soup with a silly smile playing at his lips and rubbed his hands together in anticipation before saying.
"Oh mums cooking. I have been dreaming of this.
It almost makes all that hellish time out in the woods eating fungus and wild plants worth it to come home to this."
Ron ate like he had been starving for weeks oblivious to Hermione's angry glares telling him that he was being rude.
Harry didn't really feel like eating because he still felt a bit ill, but he didn't want to seem ungrateful to Mrs. Weasley.
Ron finished first and held out his bowl like he was going for more when he caught sight of Hermione giving such a severe look that he quickly set his bowl back down and looked away fearfully.
Harry managed to finish his off last and then excused himself with Hermione and Ron.
Mrs. Weasley kept making more food and didn't even respond when they left.
They went back up stairs to Ron's room.
His room was painted a tacky orange color and several posters of his favorite Quidditch team, The Chudley Cannons, adored the walls.
His small bed was covered with a comforter with the Quidditch's team symbol on it.
His broom and school trunk were crammed into the corner by his bright yellow dresser.
The moment Hermione closed the door behind her she yelled at Ron.
"Ronald Weasley How could you even think of being so insensitive to your mother? Couldn't you tell she was barely holding herself together down there?
You really must have all the emotional range of a blast-ended skrewt!"
Ron backed away from her and gave her a surprised, nearly offended, look.
"What's gotten into you? She looked just fine to me.
I didn't think asking for a second bowl of soup was too much to ask for after being gone for six months fighting to bring down one of the darkest wizards of all time."
He said sharply.
"You two please don't have a go at each other right now. It just isn't the time. Hermione please lay off of him. You've been biting his head all day."
Harry pleaded with them. Hermione continued to glare at Ron and then they heard Mrs. Weasley weeping down stairs in the kitchen.
Ron looked down ashamed of himself, suddenly he was very thankful Hermione had stopped him.
Harry sighed at Hermione and she went over to the corner of the room and buried her nose in a book that he knew she must have already read ten times.
Ron sat on his bed and looked out the window while Harry felt trapped in the tense atmosphere.
He couldn't leave to be alone with his thoughts because Mrs. Weasley was crying down stairs so he had to stay.
After a hour or so Ron and Harry decided to play a game of wizards chess.
The chess pieces were constantly yelling at them when they made obvious mistakes because neither one of them had their heart in the game.
They didn't even finish the first game before they put it away.
Neither one of them would dare say it out loud, but they both thought the chess pieces sounded just like Hermione as of late.
Frankly both of them had had enough of her harping on them lately, even if she was right most of the time.
Harry heard Mr. Weasley open the front door with Ginny and George.
He really wanted to go talk to her, but her and George went straight to their rooms and closed the door.
Mrs. Weasley came up to tell them it was time for dinner around five and then went back down stairs to set the table.
They headed down and just as they were passing Ginny's room she opened her door.
She looked surprised at first and then shot Hermione and Harry a scornful glare before storming down stairs.
Hermione shrank away from her as her eyes watered like she might cry but she was too stubborn to shed tears over something so petty.
"What's gotten into her? She couldn't really believe all that stuff the Daily Prophet wrote about you two could she?" Ron said as he looked to where she just was.
Seeing that Hermione was upset Ron led her down to dinner by her shoulders to comfort her.
Harry was rooted in place from Ginny's cold glare at him. He stood there stunned until a loud bang sounded from across the hall.
Smoke wafted out from under Fred and George's old bedroom door.
A moment later George opened the door and dark smoke poured out into the stairway with the smell of gunpowder.
He was doubled over coughing before he righted himself and noticing Harry.
Harry gave him a concerned look. "Are you inventing something again?" He asked not even sure if he wanted to know.
"Oh hi Harry, alright there?" He said while waving the smoke away from his face.
"Umm I'm fine George. What's all this?" He asked in a reserved manner pointing at all the smoke.
"This?" He said looking around the foggy stairways. He looked back at Harry. "You'll see it tomorrow."
He told him with a mischievous look in his eye and a smile that Harry could tell was a little bittersweet.
He headed down to the kitchen table taking the steps two at a time. Harry was lost in thought for a moment before he too headed down to join them.
Dinner time at the Weasley's was normally a loud and cheerful experience. This time however it seemed to be the quietest dinner Harry could ever remember.
The only sound in the room was knives and forks on plates.
No one seemed to have much of an appetite.
Even Ron hardly ate anything even though it was the best meal he had had in over six months.
Harry kept stealing glances a Ginny in hopes she was stealing them at him too. Ginny however didn't look at him or Hermione all throughout dinner.
She finished her food and politely excused herself from the table and went back to her bedroom.
Harry looked down at his mashed potatoes as his heart sunk a bit lower in his chest.
Hermione found her cream corn too interesting to look up and watch Ginny go.
He and Ron took their plates to the kitchen and went to head back up stair.
Just as they neared the steps Harry looked out the small front door window.
"What is it Harry?" Ron asked him curiously.
"It's nothing. I think I'm going to go and get a bit of fresh air." Harry said only wanting to be alone with his thoughts.
"All right mate… You know if you need anyone to talk to I'm always here." Ron said reassuringly.
"Thanks Ron." He replied and headed out the door and across the grassy yard toward a grove of trees near the edge of the Weasley's property.
Arthur walked up beside his son and watched Harry go.
"I know he's having a right time and all, but I thought he would at least tell his best friend if something was bothering him." Ron said as he looked out the open door.
Arthur had to reach up to put his hand on Ron's shoulder and told him.
"He's going through a lot right now and there is something troubling him that he didn't think would trouble him."
Ron shot him a confused look and asked. "What does that mean?"
Arthur patted his shoulder a few times and said. "It's something you wouldn't understand son and honestly I hope you never need to understand it."
Ron's look only became more confused.
"Instead of worrying about Harry, why don't you go check up on Ginny?" He said somberly.
"Wh-What would make you think that I'd need to go check in on Ginny? Do you think something's wrong with her?" Ron tried to sound casual but only sounded guilty.
"I know there is, for someone who has loved and idolized Harry for so long to not only not speak to him, but to refuse to even look at him.
There is enough hardship and strife right now. If we can help them we should. They need each other right now and something's come between them."
Arthur said and then went back into the kitchen with Mrs. Weasley and Hermione.
Ron muttered miserably. "Why is it always me?" He slogged up the few steps to get to Ginny's room.
He wrapped twice on the door and called out to her. "Ginny? Hey Ginny, can I come in."
"No, leave me alone." Ginny said sharply.
"Oh come on Ginny. I only want to have a talk with you." He pleaded with her.
"I said NO! Go away! If you don't leave me alone I'll open that door and hex you!" She nearly yelled.
Ron leaned his forehead on her door in exasperation.
He knew all too well how good Ginny was at throwing around spells when she needed to put him and his brothers in their place.
He drew his wand and casted a shielding charm on himself knowing full well that he was probably going to regret what he was about to do.
With a dreading look on his face he pointed his wand at her door and said.
"Alohomora." The doorknob turned magically and the door swung open.
The room was small and the ceiling slanted down towards the outer wall of the house.
Dirty laundry was stacked on top of the beat up wooden dresser that Ginny had neglected to do.
Next to it was a small desk covered in messy papers.
In the trash can next to her desk was a moving framed picture of Harry holding a caught snitch over his head on his broom while cheering.
Her bed was covered in a faded red blanket with a flower pattern on it that looked like an old woman's drapes.
The bed was pushed up to the night stand by the wall. She had a bookshelf that was crammed full of oddities, but no books.
A nail was sticking out of the top shelf of the book case and on a thick piece of twine she hung her broom.
Ron couldn't have cared less what his sister's room looked like.
The only thing he was concerned with was ducking the Bat-Bogey hex his infuriated sister sent flying at his head.
It sizzled over his head and hit the wall on the other side of the stairs.
"Expelliarmus!" Ron said from his crouched position and Ginny's wand went flying into the air.
It clattered to the floor in front of him and he picked it up and then closed her door before putting a silence charm on it.
"What do you think you're doing barging into my room? I could have been changing!" She yelled at him in outrage with her clutched fists at her sides.
Ron started walking over to the trash can near her desk before say.
"Well it wouldn't be the first time I saw your backside would it, or did you forget mum used to bath us together when we are kids."
"That's when we were kids you thick git! Now get out!" She screamed at him.
Ron reached down and picked up the picture of Harry and looked at it.
"What are you doing throwing your favorite picture of Harry in the rubbish bin?" He asked her critically.
Ron carefully hung the picture back in its place on the wall over her desk.
"It's mine, I can do what I want with it! Now leave!" She screamed at him and pointed rigidly at the door.
"No!" Ron said while more than a hint of anger in his voice. He walked around the bed to the other side where she was corned against the wall by the window.
She back away from him slightly as he flopped down on her bed and said.
"I'm not going anywhere and I seriously don't think you can make me without your wand. I'm not leaving until-"
Big mistake for Ron, Ginny didn't need a wand to be dangerous. She reared back her fist and hit in square in the face with a sickly crack sound.
Ron fell back on her bed clutching at his bleeding broken nose in pain that made his eyes water.
Ginny immediately jumped on top of him straddling him at the waist and started beating on him.
Ron hand his wand in his hand, but didn't want to curse his little sister or rather he couldn't think of a spell at that time that wouldn't get him locked up in Azkaban.
She restlessly rained down furious blows at him while screaming at him.
Ron could only use his free arm to try to block her punches as the other was holding his nose.
Bruises started appearing all over his forearms before he finally managed to pin her to the bed by her wrists.
"Are you really that thick to believe what the Daily Prophet wrote about Harry and Hermione?" He said and then tried to catch his breath.
Ginny was struggling trying to free herself until she heard him. Her body suddenly went limp as she gave in a confused and slightly offended look.
"The what?" She said and then pulled herself free from his grip.
Ron rolled off of her and sat up near the foot of the bed nursing his broken nose.
Ginny sat up and grabbed a handkerchief off of her nightstand and tossed it into his lap.
"Thanks…" He said unenthusiastically as he dabbed the blood coming out of his nose.
"You think I'd believe that drivel after everything they printed about us? It was rubbish." She said in offense.
"Then why are you giving Hermione and Harry the cold shoulder? It's not like we have be out on holiday all this time.
We have been ducking Death Eaters and snatchers for our lives for months." He said and then blew his nose painfully.
"It's not like it was a fun little picnic at Hogwarts either with them practically roaming the halls and teaching classes." She stated bluntly.
"That's not the point. He's just spent half a year on the run and finally defeats You-Know-Who only to come home and get the cold shoulder from the one person he wanted to see most."
Ron said sharply.
Ginny laughed bitterly and then said. "If only I was the one he wanted to see the most."
"What are out on about?" Ron said while wiping the tear of pain out of his eye.
She looked at him in shock and said. "Surely you must have noticed Ron."
"You think I'd come up here and let you use me as a punching bag if I already knew?" He said while trying to stop the bleeding.
"Something has happened between them! It's obvious! Just look at them." She said intently.
"Hmph, no it hasn't and if it did how would you know it?" He said with a confused look on his pained face.
She shot him a annoyed look and quickly said. "Woman's intuition."
Ron nodded his head a few times and sarcastically said.
"Well if your 'intuition' is that good then maybe we should have taken you along. It would have been load of help finding all those Horcruxes."
"I'm serious Ron…" She said in a warning tone.
"Are you going to tell me the truth about why you're acting like this or not?" He said shortly to her.
She gave him another annoyed look and threw he hands up. She crossed her arms as she stood up.
"You want to know why I'm mad, fine I'll tell you! I read what was in the Daily Prophet and didn't believe a word of it.
But seeing as how Harry been gone for a year I thought I'd check with Hermione as she was the only girl around him for so long to see if things had changed.
After all she did promise me when we were young that she would never touch Harry because she knew how I felt about him.
She told nothing happened between them-"
"You see even she said nothing happened." He said cutting her short.
Ginny gave him a flat look of anger and said. "She said nothing happened, but that guilty look on her face told me all I needed to know!"
"You're barking mad Ginny. I'd think I'd know if my two best friends were seeing each other and for the record Hermione's my girlfriend." He stated.
"Oh really, made it official have you? Well I certainly haven't seen you two snogging in the living room." She said smartly.
He gave her an angry offended look and said. "In case you haven't noticed this is hardly the time for something like that!
And for your information we had a nice wet snog three days ago while we were fighting for our lives at Hogwarts."
Ginny rolled her eyes at him disbelievingly and bitterly said. "Just because she snogged you that doesn't mean you're the only one she's snogged."
"You really are mad. If you want to sit in here and sulk being a royal prat then fine! I'll leave you to it."
He said clearly sick of even talking to her anymore before standing up and heading towards the door.
"Think I'm insane do you? Well let me let you in on a little secret.
After Harry asked Cho to the Yule ball and got turned down he didn't lick his wounds for long.
Within the hour he went straight to Hermione and asked her, but she already had a date too.
He thought she was politely refusing his advances, but she told me herself she was flattered that Harry asked her!" She said haughtily.
Ron sighed and shook his head. "Why do girls always try to see something that clearly isn't there?" He said more to himself than his sister.
"You're secrets aren't very good Ginny. Harry told me about that years ago. We even had a right laugh about it.
I'll be going now, but you really ought to get yourself sorted out soon. Harry is probably the most famous wizard in the world right now.
If you keep acting like this someone's going to steal him away from you."
"Hmph!" She turned around angrily as he started to leave. She suddenly clutched her teeth and glare out the window.
"I think someone already has. If I'm just imagining things you might want to imagine up a short leash for your 'girlfriend'."
She said and he turned around with a confused look. She pointed out the window and he walked over to her and scrunched in near her to see.
Hermione was walking across the lawn towards the trees Harry had headed to a few minutes ago.
The sun hung low in the western skies as the wind tickled the tree leaves in the orchard on the warm late afternoon day.
Harry had climbed up to a low hanging tree branch in a old oak tree where he stared out into nothingness with the only thing keeping him company was his trouble thoughts.
He remembered the spot well because it was the same place Ginny sat when he, Ron, Fred and George played Quidditch the first summer he had come over.
He pulled the elder wand out of his pocket and looked at it from several angles.
He didn't think about how bloody its past was or just how powerful the wand was.
Looking at its knobby surface only made him realize how much he missed Dumbledore.
"Harry." Someone called to him and he started. He shook his head to clear his mind and leaned over and looked behind him.
Hermione had her hand resting lazily on the base of the tree trunk and was looking up at him with a concerned look.
"Can I come up?" She asked apprehensively like she wasn't sure if she was intruding.
Harry scooted over to make room for her on the branch and then reached his arm out toward her to help her up as he was nearly ten feet up the tree.
"Umm sure." He called out to her and pocketed the wand.
Two pops sounded in rapid succession and she appeared on the other side of him.
He turned and looked over at her and slowly pulled his hand back a bit embarrassed that she didn't accept his gentlemanly offer to help her.
"Sorry, it's just I thought you'd climb the tree like I did." He said distantly.
"It's a nice day isn't it?" She said slight more cheerfully than she felt as she swung her crossed feet back and forth.
Harry knew she was speaking completely out of her normal character and he was expecting her to try to get him to talk about his problems which he wanted to avoid.
"I guess it is, but it's a bit warm for my liking." He said quietly as he stared off into the distance.
Hermione wanted to tell him if he needed to talk to someone she was there for him, but she already knew nearly everyone that had seen him probably said the same thing.
She bit her lips together and looked down sadly not knowing what to say.
The long moments of silence became too much for her. "Harry please, talk to me. It is driving me crazy to see you like this…"
She burst out and then suddenly fell silent in embarrassment that she had spoken her mind out loud when she was trying to be sensitive to Harry.
After a long awkward pause he said. "If it's bugging you that much, I'll tell you my troubles Hermione, but please don't harp on me for how I feel.
I'm still trying to come to grips with it myself."
Umm…alright Harry." She said shyly.
Harry took in a deep breath and slowly let it out.
"It-It's just that…" He struggled with his thoughts as he grabbed his head before letting it go and looking toward the setting sun.
"It's just that a few days ago I was just hoping to be the one that survived… Now that I am, things are very different then I imagined them to be.
I never expected that I would me a penniless wizard with a godchild to worry about.
I never thought that Ginny would give me such a hateful look when I returned and would refuse to speak to me.
I never expected to feel this way…" He said in frustration.
Hermione had no idea what he was going through, but tried to reassure him.
"Harry I know that it's hard when everyone's badgering you and they all keep telling you the same thing over and over again.
I understand you must be feeling pretty down, but it will get better."
Harry shook his head and then glanced over at her. "That's not the feeling that is troubling me the most."
"Then what is?" She asked him curiously.
"It's Voldemort. After it was over and he was dead at my feet I thought I'd feel happy or relieved or heroic maybe even feel a sense of accomplishment.
But no, it didn't feel that way at all…" He said and then shook his head at the ground.
Hermione didn't want to press him and waited for him to speak.
"Well…what did it feel like?" She asked almost regretting that she did.
"It wasn't like the way they put it in fairy tale books. You know when the main character conquers the bad guy and returns a hero.
It wasn't like that at all Hermione.
Honestly…It felt dirty and wrong… I mean, I know it was the right thing to do and all, but it just didn't feel right. I don't really understand it myself."
He admitted yet his eyes held confusion in them.
Hermione thought about it for a moment and then nodded in agreement.
"Harry, do you remember what professor Slughorn said about making Horcruxes?
You have to murder someone to make one. He said murder is an abomination against nature and it rips the soul.
Maybe killing someone, even someone as evil as Voldemort, is the same. Maybe that's why you're feeling this way."
She said with a strained expression like she didn't know if she was helping or making things worst.
"Maybe you're right. Maybe that is the reason I feel this way…" He said while watching the breeze rustle the leaves of the trees.
Hermione reached over and squeezed his hand as she looked at him with concern in her eyes.
"What are you going to tell the press? You know they aren't going to let this go. You're going to have to face them sooner or later."
She asked empathetically. Harry took in a deep breath and let it out slowly as he looked up to the waning dusk sky.
"Honestly I'm not sure. It all seems like a blur to me now when I try to think about it.
I'll defiantly try to put the word out there that it wasn't me alone that brought down Voldemort.
It really bothered me when I read that article; it was like they were giving me all the credit.
If anyone deserves that much credit it's Dumbledore. I mean he figured everything out." Harry said.
Hermione gave him a reserved look and said. "I think you give yourself too little credit Harry. You took down Voldemort in single combat in front of everyone."
He shook his head and said. "It wasn't like it was much of a duel Hermione. The Elder Wand was mine. He couldn't kill me with it."
"Harry you think everyone has it, but that's not true. To you it might have seemed like a can't lose battle, but anyone else would have been terrified to face him.
You stepped right up ready to battle him to the ends of the earth without batting an eye. You can't think anyone else could have done it!" She told him in exasperation.
Harry looked over at her and smiled slightly before saying. "I bet you could have done it, no I know you could have it."
Hermione blushed lightly and drew back. "I'm flattered you think so highly of me, but that isn't true Harry. I was trembling with fear just like everyone else.
It was like he had cast a spell on me; I couldn't move or help you and damn it I wanted to help you!
I would have given anything to have your unflinching courage during that moment so I could have stood by your side and fought him with you!"
She nearly yelled in frustration at her own weakness.
She looked down and quietly admitted. "I've always admired that about you…"
"And all these years you always berated me for having a hero complex." He said smartly with a slightly smile and a nudge from his shoulder to hers.
"Well, it's not a complex now is it? You really are a hero." Hermione told him intently.
"I already told you, I don't feel like a hero and when I talk to the press I'm not going to let them give me all the credit.
The way people talk about what I've done makes it seem like more than it is. I've been telling Ron that for years."
He said while watching the skies grow darker with each passing second.
A long silence passed before Hermione asked. "When do you think you'll want to talk to the press?"
"Soon." He said. "Fairly soon, Ron has already been quite the sport about Rita's article and I want to set the record straight before anything comes between us."
Hermione laughed before saying. "You should have seen him when he first read it. His was so mad his face turned red and the paper burned to ashes in his hands.
I think it's the first time he's done magic without a wand since our first year. He even said something to the effect of 'When Harry gets out of the hospital I'll kill'em!'"
She laughed again and nearly fell out of the tree. Harry covered his mouth to laugh with one hand and reached out and held on Hermione arm with the other to steady her.
"I can just see Ron saying that and then regretting it a few minutes later." Harry said while trying to stop laughing.
Hermione smiled back at him and said. "That's exactly what happened!"
Harry nodded his head and said. "Ron's a good guy though. He always comes around in the end. That's why I need to straighten this mess out as soon as possible."
"Oh!" Hermione was obviously pretending to be coy with a heavy voice. "Are you so ready to be rid of me as your girlfriend?" She said and then laughed again.
Harry wasn't laughing though. His had a strained and slightly worried look on his face as he said. "Hermione…"
She suddenly stopped laughing and looked at him very carefully, almost standoffish.
"No offence,… I mean I love you to death as a friend…" He stated and she was nearly glaring at him already.
"But I'd rather duel Voldemort again with normal wands before dating you."
Her jaw fell open in shock and offence. It took her several seconds to find her voice.
"Harry James Potter! That had to easily be the meanest thing anyone's ever said to me!"
She stated in disbelief that he had even said it and beat him on the shoulder with her fist.
"'I love you to death, but I'd rather face my death than take you out.' Really, honestly, what a thing to say to one of your closest friends?" She berated him in offence.
He covered his head with his arms to protect himself from her half hearted strikes and said.
"I only meant I don't think I could handle you…I mean…I don't…"
He trailed off deciding he'd better shut his mouth before he dug himself into a deeper hole.
She slugged him once more for good measure and then crossed her arms and her legs and fumed beside him for a long moment.
The longer the moment of silence lasted the more she shrank back and became self-conscious.
"Do…Do you really think I'm all that…bad?" She gave him worried and timid look.
He already knew he had touched a nerve and was walking on egg shells when he told her. "It's only…I don't know how to tell you this.
I don't want to hurt you, but it was like at lunch time when Ron went to asked for another bowl of food-"
"But his mother was almost crying!" She said in defense before Harry held up his hand to stop her.
"As I was staying, it was like when Ron asked for more food. I, personally, agreed with him.
I mean, he was mumbling in his sleep about his mother's cooking when we were out there.
After all we have been though it wasn't like he asked for a mountain of gold, but a second helping of food.
I didn't notice it either. Mrs. Weasley did seem a bit distant to me, but she didn't seem like she was about to break down and cry.
After we went back to his bedroom and you had a go at him….Ergh! I hate arguing with you, even hypothetically…I always lose…so does Ron.
That is my point. You always see everything so clearly that you think everyone else sees things the same way.
It's a very difficult thing for anyone to accept that they are never going to win a disagreement with their girlfriend Hermione."
Hermione teared up emotional and said. "So you're telling me I'm too smart for my own good? Is that it."
He struggled again with his thoughts before saying.
"I'm only trying to say that I wish you wouldn't jump on Ron so much.
I know sometimes he needs it, but sometimes you go a bit over board and you won't stop until you get your way."
Hermione fell silent as she looked down with a pained expression on her face.
He took one look at her and felt terrible. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her into a sideways hug.
She leaned her head on his shoulder as he said.
"I'm sorry…I shouldn't have said anything, especially when you came out here because you were worried about me.
I guess I'm a pretty lousy friend after all." Hermione sniffed and then wiped both her eyes quickly.
"At least you told me to my face. I know I nag him too much. I can't help it, if I didn't he would have never done his homework and passed.
I think he'd still be a first year without me." She said shakily.
Harry smiled and said. "You might be right there Hermione."
The minutes slipped by and the only sound was the rustling of leaves as night fell.
The stars came out of hiding where they twinkled in the heaves and the bright full moon hung low in the skies casting its pale light across the darkened landscape.
"Harry." Hermione said suddenly breaking the still silence as she picked her head up off his shoulder and sat up straight.
"We really should get back to the house. They will worry about us otherwise." She said.
Harry shook his head and said. "No. I can't go back just yet. There is something else I need to take care of first."
She gave him a mildly curious look and said. "What would you need to take care of that can't wait until morning?"
"I want to go talk to Mr. Lovegood. I figure if anyone can give me some advice on how to handle the press it would be him.
It shouldn't take long. His house isn't far away. I could be back in an hour or so." He said as he looked out at the moon.
She wore a apprehensive expression on her face before saying.
"Harry the Lovegood's house is farther away than Ron made it sound.
It isn't just over the hill. It would take a few hours to walk there by yourself."
He gave her a weak smile and said. "Why don't you come along then? This involves you to. I wouldn't mind your take on things as well."
She sighed and them looked over at him and smiled as she put her hand on his arm.
"I thought you said I nagged too much already." She said and then Apparated them.
Harry landed on his rear and slid a few feet back on the wet grass of the sloping hill before stopping himself.
"Ouch!" He said and then got to his few before dusting himself off.
"Sorry Harry." She said apologetically in a strained voice.
"It's alright I just wasn't expecting you to Apparate us so suddenly." He said as he walked back over to her.
The house on top of the hill looked like a giant chess rook with lit windows all over it.
The walkway leading up to the house zigzagged back and forth for seemingly no reason.
A flowerbed was planted around the house with a leafy green shrub with orange fruit that looked like balloons floating by their vines.
A light was hung over the door that illuminated the front yard.
They made their way on their way up to the white front door and Harry knocked twice.
There was the sound of movement and then Mr. Lovegood opened the top half of the sectioned door.
He looked paler and thinner then they remembered him.
He wore a odd looking green velvet robe that seemed out of place to be wearing on a warm summer night.
His eyes went wide when he saw Harry and then he looked away and down in shame and grief.
"Ahh if you will hold on a moment I'll go fetch Luna for you." He said like he desperately wanted to get away as he turned around and started heading back into the house.
"Mr. Lovegood!" Harry called to him. Slowly and reluctantly he turned around to face him.
"Actually we came to see you. I've got a few questions that I think you might be able to answer." Harry said like he was unsure if they had come too late in the evening.
He ran his hand though his long blond hair and thought about it for a moment before he said. "Come in then. I'll get you some tea."
He opened the bottom half of the door and went into the cluttered kitchen.
They followed him inside and saw him gesturing for them to head up to the second floor living room as he put a kettle on the stove.
They went up the curving staircase and went through a labyrinth of oddities piled on the floor to get to a old green couch near the center of the circular living room.
His printing press was silently sitting on one of the walls and there was a crackling fire going in the fireplace.
Mr. Lovegood came up a few minutes later holding a tray with cups of tea on it. He handed them each a glass and sat down on a nearby wingback chair.
Harry went to speak but Mr. Lovegood held up his thin hand to stop him.
"Please let me say something first. I wanted to apologize for what I did to you all. I wasn't in my right mind. Also I can't thank you enough for rescuing Luna.
If there is anything I can help you with please don't hesitate to ask." He said honestly even though he still wore a look of shame on his face for what he had done.
"It's alright Mr. Lovegood we understand." Hermione said kindly.
"Right, it's forgotten. Luna is safe that's all that matters." Harry said.
Xenophilius nodded somberly at the floor while holding his steaming tea before looking at Harry and asking.
"So what is it that you needed of me?"
"I've been mobbed by the press recently and I'd like some advice on how to handle it." He said quietly.
"That is to be expected after what you have done Harry. I'm afraid I have no easy answer on how to get them to leave you alone, if that is what you are after."
He said empathetically like he knew what Harry was already going to ask.
"Umm well you see the Daily Prophet has been printing some things about me that aren't true.
I don't want people thinking that I'm trying to take all the credit for Voldemort's down fall.
I don't want them over shadowing everyone else that helped.
I was hoping I could tell you my side of the story and that you could print it and maybe things would die down." He said hopefully.
Mr. Lovegood was stunned for a moment before looking away in shamed thought.
He felt that he didn't have the right to get a interview with Harry after what he had done to him.
He knew every journalist would give their first born to have this once in a life time opportunity.
"But why me? I tried to hand you in." He said in sad confusion.
"Because you tried to help Harry until they took Luna. That's a lot more than any of the others did. At least you tried to print the truth." Hermione said.
He thought about it for a long time as he stared at the floor. He sighed and then looked back at him before saying.
"Alright Harry. I did tell you I'd help however I could after all.
I can take your statement right now if you wish, but it will not get them to go away from just this.
They will want more. Your best option is to hold a open questioning." He said in a tired tone.
Harry gave him a confused look and said. "A what?"
"Harry, he means a press conference!" Hermione hissed in his ear.
Harry took a minute to think with a troubled look on his face.
"I don't want the Daily Prophet there, not after all they have done to me and my friends." He said firmly.
"I've made no effort to hide my dislike for the Daily Prophet over the years, but it is sadly still the most widely read wizard newspaper.
They will need to be included if you want things to go back to normal as quickly as possible." He said understandingly.
"Then at least I don't want Rita Skeeter there. I wouldn't want to give her the satisfaction." Harry stated.
"I agree. I don't think I'd be able to hold myself back from cursing that vile harpy!" Hermione said angrily.
Harry turned and looked at Hermione in blank surprise.
She shrank back shyly when she realized her outburst.
"What?" She said uncomfortably.
"I can try to use some of my contacts to try to get them to send someone else, but I can't make a guarantee Harry." He said kindly.
"There is something else Mr. Lovegood. I was wondering if instead of an open questioning if it could be more like a public interview?
I mean… I'd feel a bit better if I had some control over the questions getting thrown at me…" He said hopefully.
Mr. Lovegood rubbed his chin in thought and then said. "That might work…What did you have in mind?"
"I-I thought that if I could be there with everyone and you could ask the questions that we could all give our different takes and answers for them." He said.
Xenophilius gave him a slightly troubled look and said. "That would be a bit of a problem Harry.
A single question would take hours to answer. The press isn't going to wait for days to get all the answers they want, even for you.
You can't have hundreds of people at an interview. It just wouldn't be practical. You should shorten the list of people there to twelve or less: Eight would be ideal.
I'm humbled that you want me to be the one to interview you all. Is there certain questions you do not wish to be asked?"
Harry struggled with his thoughts as Hermione watched him nervously.
"It's not so much questions I don't want asked, I mean sure there are some of those, it's more of questions I do want to be asked.
I want to straighten out all that mess with what the Daily Prophet printed. I don't want them driving a wedge between me and my closest friends.
I need to tell everyone that Hermione and I aren't together, romantically speaking that is." He said.
Mr. Lovegood nearly started he was so surprised by what Harry told him as his eyes darted back and forth between them several times.
Hermione looked at him in surprise as well before saying. "I thought you didn't read the Daily Prophet."
"I-I don't. It's just… I thought you two were a couple.
I mean the way you showed up here alone with each other and the way you two are sitting so close to each other…Forgive me. I only assumed."
He said while watching them critically.
Hermione and Harry suddenly became very aware of just how close they were sitting to each other.
The old couch that they were sitting on was quite large.
It could comfortably fit four people on it and yet they were sitting so close to each other that their thighs were touching.
Harry moved over as Hermione stated. "We are sitting close to each other because we trust one another, nothing more."
She was still blushing slightly yet she was too stubborn to move.
"I'm only saying I was mistaken, but if I was mistaken then others might be as well.
You two should be more aware of how you look together with the press watching your every turn." He said.
Harry said. "I think he's right Hermione. Besides we need to think of how to squash these rumors, not make them worst."
Harry gave Mr. Lovegood a short statement and then they talked about some of the questions he should be prepared to answer.
They went to leave and meet Luna at the front door.
She was wearing a pair of overalls that where three sizes too big for her and she was carrying a net with what looked like bloated catfish.
The fish, whatever they were, smelled like burnt motor oil and rotted cabbage.
"Oh, hi Harry and Hermione. Fancy staying for dinner? I've caught some extra river eels." She said wistfully.
Harry covered his nose from the foul stench thinking that the fish didn't look like any kind of eels he'd ever seen.
Hermione gave her a strained expression before saying.
"No thank you Luna, we just ate. Well we will be going now before Mrs. Weasley starts to worry about us."
She grabbed Harry's hand and pushed her way outside into the fresh air.
"Ok, you can come over for dinner any time though." She called out to them as the hurried across the dark lawn.
Once they were completely in the dark they let out the breath they were holding in and took in their breaths in sharp gasps for a long moment.
"That had to be one of the foulest things I've ever smelled before in my life!" Harry said breathing with his hands propped up on his knees.
Hermione gave him a queasy look and said. "Let go…I can still smell a bit of it from here." She grabbed his arm desperately and disappeared with a pop sound.
They reappeared near the front door and quickly went inside. The house seemed empty and to quiet.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had apparently already gone to bed. Hermione and Harry slow went up the stairs.
Harry stopped cold in his tracks outside Ginny's room when he heard her softly weeping through the door.
His heart clutched and he wanted to go comfort her, but he remembered her icy glare at him earlier that day and found himself only ably to look down sadly.
Hermione gave him a pained understanding look and pulled him farther up stairs.
Harry had a bitter depressed look as Hermione opened the door to Ron's room.
"Ron was laying on his back on his bed cross ways with his arm covering his eyes. He tried not to let Ginny's words bother him, but he couldn't help it.
He had lied when he had said that he knew Harry had asked Hermione to the Yule ball during their fourth year.
He kept telling himself that he was just over reacting and that Hermione only went to talk to him because of all that Harry was going through.
He'd have been lying to himself if he thought he didn't doubt his feelings in some way. But all that seemed a small part of his worries now.
The death of his brother was starting to catch up to him and his eyes grew suddenly wet.
The door to his room slowly opened and Harry and Hermione came inside.
Ron heard them and sniffed as he quickly wiped his eyes with the sleeve covering his eyes before sitting up on the bed.
He looked very sad sitting up on the edge of his bed with his shoulders slumped in misery.
Hermione instantly knew what was going on and crossed the room before wrapping her arms around him.
"Ron…" She said tenderly.
He sniffed again loudly while trying to blink back his tears.
"I-It's just I've been trying to be strong for the rest of the family and all. But it's really starting to hit me that Fred is really gone…"
He turned and embraced her tightly as the tears flowed down his face.
"It's alright Ron. You can let it all out." She said softly.
Harry was suddenly very jealous of Ron and Hermione, not because they were together, but because they could comfort the person that matters most to them.
He knew Ron wouldn't want him to see him in such a state and slowly backed out of the door.
He carefully closed the door and leaned his back against it as he sighed.
He wanted to be alone with his thoughts again and this time he really wanted to be alone.
As he walked down the stairs he took out his invisibility cloak and dawned it as he went out of the house.
He tried to think of something else besides Ginny's weeping that was ringing in his ears making his heart sink.
Back outside he headed for the highest hill on the western pasture of the property.
He wiped the cold dew off of the grass and sat down looking up at the starry night's sky.
He stayed there trying to find the answers to his problems, but even when dawn broke the eastern horizon he was still no closer to solving any of them.
He sighed deeply as the array of pink and orange colors grew brighter with each passing minute.
It seemed like only ten minutes had passed yet the entire night had slipped by him.
Harry didn't mean to be out all night, but had somehow lost track of time.
The sounds of distant voices drew his attention toward the house.
Normally he wouldn't have been able to hear such hushed voiced at all from such a distance, but being in the quiet for so long had sharpened his sense of hearing.
The shadows of two people, one tall and one short, were searching around the yard.
Harry lamented his forgetfulness and pulled the cloak off. Immediately the taller shadow pointed to the hill he was on as he stood up and started walking towards them.
Ron, with a worried look, and Hermione, with a scolding look, jogged up to him.
"Harry where have you been all night?" She hissed loudly at him.
"I was out here…thinking." He said distantly.
"We need to get you back inside before they notice you've been go all night." Ron said as his eyes darted around.
Harry gave him a puzzled look and said. "Ron we aren't kids anymore. We are adults now and we don't need to sneak around."
"Adults or not that will not stop Mr. and Mrs. Weasley from worrying about you!" She whispered sternly as they started heading back to the house.
"Besides how would it look if they saw me sleeping on the floor of Ron's bedroom if you weren't in there to?"
Harry's face became confused and he said. "Why were you…"
He trailed off sadly realizing that Ginny wasn't on good terms with Hermione and that she probably had to stay in Ron's room.
"Oh…I see your point." He mumbled.
Just as they were nearing the door Harry quietly asked. "Hermione did you tell Ron about the interview?"
Hermione didn't have a chance to answer him as the front door opened.
Arthur was standing there to get the morning paper and seemed surprised at meeting them there.
"Morning you three, getting an early start I suppose?" He said slightly sleepy.
"Umm yeah dad. Just went to get a bit of air." Ron said nervously.
"Alright, don't be too noisy. Your mother is still in bed."
He reached down and picked up the morning newspaper and turned around to go back inside when he spoke in a sad serious voice.
"Don't for get to set out your dress robe…" He walked over to the kitchen table and opened the paper.
They stole careful glances at each other and then headed for the Ron's room.
On the way up Harry noticed a set of dirty foot prints that led from the front door to Fred and George's old room, but he paid them no mind.
It certainly wasn't the strangest thing he had ever seen at the Weasley house.
Once they were back in Ron's room safely he asked. "Hermione did you tell you him?"
Ron gave him a concerned look and said. "Yeah, she told me all about your visit to Luna's father last night. I already send a message with Pig to Neville.
Hermione figured he was going to be one of the twelve you wanted there for sure."
Harry smiled proudly at Hermione.
"Yes, he was the first one I was going to ask to come. I wanted Mr. and Mrs. Weasley there along with Mr. Kingsley.
I'd like George to come too if he's up for it." He said hopefully.
"That leaves four more Harry. I think you should ask professor McGonagall, she is the new headmaster of Hogwarts after all." Hermione said.
Ron flashed his brows and said. "Yeah, we probably should include the headmaster. Bill and Fleur are trying to stay out of the lime light for obvious reasons.
Charles needs to leave soon to get back to his job. Bloody goblins are slave drivers I tell you."
Harry's eyes became distant as he thought. Hermione touched his arm with a concerned look and said.
"Harry, are you alright?"
He nodded his head quickly and said. "Yes, I was only thinking that I'd like Ginny to be there, but she's not talking to us." He looked away both sadly and bitterly.
"I wish I knew what she was on about…"
Ron gave them a forced laugh and said. "Well you're not gonna believe this so go ahead and get ready to have a good laugh."
They both suddenly watched in intently. "What is it Ron?" Harry said with a hint of desperation in his eyes.
"Well you see, the thing is…she thinks something happened between you and Hermione while we were gone."
Harry gave him a confused look, but Ron's strained expression went blank with surprise when he saw Hermione's eyes looking down at the floor with a guilty expression on her face.
"So-So it's true! Something did happen after all?" Ron said while looking at Hermione in shock before turning his angry eyes on Harry.
"You told me she only cried and talked about me!" He nearly yelled.
Harry had his hands up as he backed away. "Hold on a second Ron, that's all that did happen."
Then Hermione picked up her blushing face gave Harry a stunned look of offense.
Harry back up in defense until he hit the wall as his eyes darted back and forth nervously between them.
"Could one of you two let me in on what's going on because I haven't got a clue?" He said honestly.
"Harry…you forgot? You really forgot?" Hermione said on offense.
"Christmas Eve…" She hinted with a bit of venom behind her words.
Ron's worried eyes darted from Hermione to Harry.
Harry looked around trying to remember for a long moment. Suddenly his eyes lit up.
"Oh that!...I don't think Ron would care about it Hermione." He said as she rolled her eyes in anger that it took so long for him to remember.
"What! What is it?" Ron said with a very worried look on his face as he shook Harry by the front of his robes. "She's not pregnant is she?"
Hermione's face changed from offense at Harry to downright outrage at Ron.
Harry gave him a perplexed look and he said slowly in thought. "No, not that I know of, at least I'm not the father if she is.
We just danced to the weird sisters playing on the radio Christmas Eve…and I remember her crying a bit later about you leaving…And…"
His face suddenly went wide as he remembered exactly why Hermione had such a guilt look on her face.
Hermione too had seen that he finally remembered as Harry looked down nervously.
All three of them were stealing glances back and forth at each other trying to find their voices.
Ron kept slowly backing away as his thoughts went wild until his back ran into his bedroom door.
"Come on one of you…spit it out." He squeaked fearful of the answer like they were going to burst into a pack of spiders at any moment.
Both of them seemed to be trying to think of an easy way to break it to him.
"I kissed her."
"I kissed him."
They both said at the same time and then looked at each other with a moment of surprise and then confusion.
"Wait I kissed you." Harry said in unsure thought as he slightly pointed at her.
"The way I remember it I kissed you Harry…" She said with the same befuddled expression.
Ron was breathing fast with worry and fear showing clearly on his face like a kiss was far worse than her being pregnant.
"Wait…why didn't you tell me?" He looked a Hermione with a wide eyed hurt look.
"Why didn't you tell me?" He asked Harry more forcefully.
"Hold on Ron. It wasn't like that…" He started to say before Ron with his wild eyes quickly asked. "So…it was just a peck on the cheek right?"
Hermione shook her head at him. "Then it was just a peck on the lips?" He said hopefully.
Harry looked at the floor in embarrassment and sighed before looking back and him. "No, it was a full blown snog." He admitted hesitantly.
"But then why didn't you say anything." He asked hurtfully.
"Ergh! I told you it wasn't like it was something to write home about.
We kissed and then she burst into tears while sobbing your name. With everything that was going on I kind of forgot about it." He admitted trying to make him understand.
Ron's worried expression faded and his breathing started to calm. He turned around and grabbed the door handle.
"I just need a bit of time to calm down…" He said and then quickly left the room.
Hermione let out her breath while looking at the floor. She raised and gave Harry a glare.
Harry shook his head in exasperation and threw his hands up.
"Alright what is it now? Just let me have it and get it over with." He said in a tired tone like he just didn't care anymore.
Her look went from a glare to an angry stare. "Harry, that wasn't what I was talking about.
Ron and me weren't together officially back then, frankly who ever I snogged or got snogged by is none of his business!"
"I give up…then why did you remind me of Christmas Eve?"
He said as he shook his head at the floor and then turned to look at her as he slouched against the back wall.
She looked away angrily and blushed slightly. "I was referring to what we talked about shortly after breakfast. I can't believe you forgot something like-"
"'Maybe we really should have stayed in the Forest of Dean and grown old together', I didn't forget that Hermione.
You just never meant it. We were desperate, lonely, scared and tired from running." He told her with an empathetic look.
Her stare softened and she asked him honestly.
"I was serious in that moment Harry. If you didn't have that destiny and we were just a wizard and witch on the run would you have still ignored my suggestion?"
She asked him vulnerably.
Harry clearly didn't like thinking about it as it was in the past.
"I know I would regret it later if I didn't go fight for Hogwarts in the end…It wasn't lost on me that you asked twice Hermione.
It was a nice little fantasy when we were all alone and it felt like the whole world was against us. I wanted to say yes both times…" He admitted to his own shame.
Hermione let out a laugh of relief before saying. "I'm glad I wasn't the only one that was thinking it. I almost wish you had told me… almost that is."
Harry gave her a knowing expression and said. "I guess I see what was really bothering you now.
A kiss isn't that big of a deal compared to nearly proposing to someone else…twice for that matter-" Harry suddenly gave a very worried look at the door and then Hermione smiled.
"You didn't think I'd remind you of that if I didn't put up the silence charm on the room after he left did you?" She smiled as Harry's anxiety faded away.
"Thankfully you seem to think of everything. Things are already a mess right now without it becoming worse.
Ergh! First Ginny and now Ron! What are we going to do about them?" He said in frustration.
Hermione exchanged a glance with him. "Well the Forest of Dean is still out there." She said clearly joking to lighten the mood.
Harry rolled his eyes both sarcastically and in exasperation before saying.
"As tempting as it might be just to get away from it all. I think I'll hold out for Ginny a bit longer."
Hermione laughed at him.
Ron closed the door to his room as his mind swam. He didn't feel hurt, jealous or angry at all.
He was trying to calm his heavy breathing from being shocked. He reached into his pocket and pulled out what most would think was a small silver lighter.
He eyed it carefully before closing his hand around it and closing his eyes. He tried to remember something and it came to him.
He remembered the time he heard Hermione calling his name from the Deluminator. She sounded like she was crying.
Ron's arm suddenly went limp as he realized it must have been that time that he had heard her voice calling his name.
He swiped his messy hair with his hand and then turned to go back into his room when he noticed something under his foot.
He stepped back off it and picked it up. It was a magic ear on a broken string.
Ron's cheeks burned with anger as he tried to be quiet and he headed down to George's room.
He was just about to bang on his brothers room and tell him off for ease dropping when something further down stairs caught his eyes stopping him in mid knock.
George could be heard loudly snoring on the other side of his door as Ron curiously looked at a long broken string leading down the steps.
He sneaked after it silently. The trail didn't end at his brother's room at all.
What was left of the Extendible Ear was tossed just outside Ginny's bedroom where she could be heard crying.
Ron thought about going to tell her the truth about the kiss as he was sure she ran off the moment she had heard about it, but he decided not to.
He stroked his smooth nose that Hermione had to fix for him the last time he had spoken to Ginny.
She had been being a foul prat lately and he felt she deserved it for ease dropping on them among other things.
He carefully went back up stairs and went into his bedroom.
Hermione was trying to alter Ron's dusty dress robes from the eighteenth century, but only made it sprout yellow chicken feathers.
Harry had his arm digging in Hermione's bottomless travel bag searching for something and busted up laughing when he saw what Hermione had done by mistake.
"Oh hush! Transfiguring robes this old is harder than I thought." She said slightly annoyed and then caught sight of Ron and her look turned to concern.
"Ron…Are you alright? We figured you'd be gone for hours." She said worriedly and shyly.
He smiled at her slightly and said. "I'm fine. It was nothing to get my feathers ruffled…over. What the blood hell are you doing to my dress robes?"
Hermione wore a very strained expression and then the robes lurched under her grip. "Bukook!" The robes sounded like a chicken and tried to flap its arms and fly away.
Harry only laughed harder as Hermione said while fighting the robes. "I was only trying Transfigure it into something wearable. Ergh! Stupefy!"
She yelled stunning the flapping robes with a huff. Ron gave her a look of horror as he eyed the feathery robes up and down.
"I can't wear that!" He nearly yelled with his voice cracking.
Harry continued digging in Hermione's bag and pulled out a pair of holey bed slippers that he tossed onto a nearby pile of clothes.
"Well, look at it this way Ron. At least you have dress robes. I don't have any at all." Harry said.
Ron looked at his dress robes in worried offence. "Well at least yours aren't clucking like a chicken!"
"Ron…I'll fix it. Don't worry." She reassured him.
"I think Fred would have loved to have you see him off in that." George said with an amused grin on his face from behind him.
Ron turned around sharply as his robes gave a slurred groan and laid an egg that cracked when it hit the floor.
Ron went pink with embarrassment as George crossed the room and took the robes from Hermione.
He smiled at them as he held them out to get a better look at them. "You've out done yourself Hermione."
"Ergh! I just messed up! Now give them back so I can fix them!" She said as she tried to snatch them back, but George turned and she missed.
"Fix them? Oh come now. They are just great now." He said hardly taking his eyes off of them.
"They're ghastly!" Hermione snapped.
"Only you would like something like that George." Ron said in a tired tone.
"You don't like them? I'll tell you what then I'll give you ten galleons for them. Fair deal?" He said.
"TeTen-galleons for that?" Ron said in shock.
"Oh you are a shrewd business man. Well then fifteen and I'll even throw in both sets of my old dress robes, but that's my final offer."
Ron swallowed hard and quickly said. "Deal!"
"Let me go get them out of storage. I didn't even bother taking them with me when I moved out. Oh word of the wise, don't put your hands in the pockets."
He said with a grin as he tucked the clucking robe under his arm and headed out the door.
Ron went to curiously ask what would happen if he did, but suddenly realized he really didn't want to know.
George came back with two sets of old dress robes. One was from his second year and the other was from his sixth year in school.
Even the smaller robe swallowed Harry and Hermione had to use a shrinking charm on it.
It still fit a bit tight around his shoulders, but Harry couldn't complain.
Hermione only had to patch a small burn hole in the other one to make them presentable for Ron to wear.
"You really shouldn't have taken the money he offered you for those robes." Hermione said in embarrassment as she looked away.
Ron said. "What are you on about? It's not like I set the price. He's the one that offered that much for them. Besides you know he likes stuff like that."
Hermione only refused to speak to him and straightened her robes in the corner.
Harry was uncomfortably tugging at his collar that was too tight as Ron was pulling the robes over his head.
The door opened and Ginny's eyes went wide in shock seeing them all get dressed together.
"Ron! What are you doing getting undressed in front of Hermione? And Hermione what are you doing in here while they are getting dress?" She scolded them.
Ron shrugged. "What's the big deal? Did you forget we spent half a year living in a large one room tent?" He said clearly not seeing a problem.
"We already set up ground rules. You see, me and Harry are facing this side of the room and Hermione keeps her eyes facing the other side of the room.
This is how we have been getting dressed ever since we left. It's not like it a big deal Ginny.
Besides if either one of us tried to turn around while she was changing she'd curse us like crazy." Ron said knowingly.
"It-It's still indecent!" Ginny said while looking away while blushing.
Hermione rolled her eyes and said. "It doesn't really matter how we get dress, we are all adults here."
Harry was cringing in his corner while knowing how bad things looked and he refused to turn around even though they were all covered.
Ginny clammed up in offence for a moment unsure what to say. "We will be starting soon. Dad sent me to come tell you that."
She said quickly with a hint of anger in her embarrassed voice and left even quicker closing the door slightly more forceful than she meant to.
Harry shook his head and sighed. "Why does it only seem to be getting worse…" He mumbled to himself.
They made their way down stairs and found Charles and Bill talking near the door way in formal attire.
Mrs. Weasley was dressed in black robes and Mr. Weasley was dressed in a black muggle suit while carrying a small leather bound book near the kitchen table looking glum.
Harry looked for any opportunity to talk to Ginny, but she was nowhere to be seen.
He kept looking around hoping to spot her, but he only grew more depressed with each passing glance.
Not long afterwards Mr. Kingsley and Percy showed up in spotless formal black robes.
After a few greetings Mr. Weasley announced it was time.
Everyone headed out the back door of the house to just past the garden with somber looks on their faces into the bright afternoon sunshine.
George was waiting dressed in a bulky black robe by a rectangular hole dug into the earth.
Fred's closed wooden coffin rested peacefully at the bottom.
George seemed to be talking to his brother until he noticed the others arriving and fell silent as he looked down.
He tried to put on a strong front, but there was a deep loneliness in his eyes.
Several Aurors could be seen patrolling in the distant because Mr. Kingsley was there among other things.
The Weasley's, Harry, Hermione, the Lovegood's and various friends and officials slowly gathered around the grave as Mr. Weasley took up his place beside the grave.
He tucked the book he was holding under his crossed hands with the only sound being the shuffling of feet on short grass around him.
Harry finally caught a glimpse of Ginny wearing all black on the other side of the grave standing next to Percy and Mr. Kingsley, but she seemed too upset to look over at him.
Even in the dreary atmosphere Harry still thought she was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen.
She was already teary eyed and leaning on her brother Percy; he put his arm around her and rubbed her back to comfort her while she looked at the grave.
Almost every seemed to wearing a look of sadness.
Hermione took a step closer to Ron and interlocked her hand with his as she leaned her head over on his arm with tears glistening at the rims of her eyes.
Even Percy with his official attitude towards everything was wiping his eyes with a cloth in his free hand.
Luna was standing next to her father that seemed too pale, thin and worried. Unlike most everyone else she didn't seem somber.
She had a slight smile on her face as she lazily looked up at the sky like she was watching something fly around that only she could see.
He looked around to make sure everyone was settled.
Mr. Weasley cleared this throat and then began telling everyone about Fred's life.
He told them of how he and his twin brother were inseparable and how they finished each other words even when they could barely speak a single sentence between them.
He spoke of how he always seemed to get into trouble, but explained that was because he was so full of life he couldn't contain himself.
Mr. Weasley told them of how Fred always knew how to make others laugh and that he was very proud of him and George's with their joke shop.
"Even though Fred is gone he will live on in his inventions that is still bringing smiles to people's faces to this day and in our hearts.
A fine member of the Order of the Phoenix that gave his life fighting for what he believed in. Never forget what he was fighting for."
He concluded the service with a short prayer as it seemed it was all he could do to hold himself together for that long.
Mr. Weasley then bowed his head in a moment of silence that wasn't so silent with several members of the funeral still weeping; Mrs. Weasley was the loudest among them.
People slowly lined up to say their last goodbye's before the grave filled in. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley went first.
Then George came up and kneeled down at the grave. He was smiling just like he was through the whole service yet tears threatened to roll down his face at any moment.
Where others would have sent their final thoughts to him silently George did not.
"Well this is it Fred. I always thought we would end up dying together in some crazy adventure…or in one of our experiments gone horribly wrong."
He said and others started gathering closer to hear him send his twin brother off. Many of the ones that held back there tears so far found themselves unable to any longer.
"Remember when our ear growing potion went out of control and our ears grew so big that we nearly suffocated under them?
I thought that might be a cool way for us to go out, well at least until mom found us and grounded us for the summer…"
He said and a few of them even managed a slight smile through their sadness.
A tear rolled out of his left eye and he swallowed hard, but never stopped smiling.
"You had to be the best twin brother anyone's ever had Fred, but it's time to send you off just like we promised each other all that time ago."
He said and stood up and drew his wand.
Harry suddenly remembered the explosion coming from George's room yesterday and his words that Harry would see what he was planning today.
He grabbed Ron and Hermione's arms and started pulling them back franticly.
George raised his wand in a circle and then flicked it, the result was instantaneous.
Multi-colored fireworks shout up through crowd, lighting several of their robes on fire sending them scampering away in fear.
The open grave lurched like an open mouth and regurgitated every silly wacky and strange item imaginable out over the crowd.
Fanged Frisbee's rocketed out cutting into people's dress robes as they tried to flee and shredding Mrs. Weasley's garden into clumps of cut vegetation in mere seconds.
Ton-Tongue Toffee, Puking Pastilles and Nosebleed Nougat followed as they took to the air. They were poorly enchanted to fly into people's mouth, but several still hit their marks.
Xenophilius was unlucky enough to get caught by a Ton-Tongue Toffee and tripped over his four foot long tongue.
Fake wands exploded out of the ground from near the grave causing havoc for those that were trying to put out fires or stopped the enchanted pastries if they dropped their wands.
More than a few had pulled out their wands only for them to change into rubber chickens.
Every invention they had ever made and every silly thing George could get his hands on erupted around them.
Harry had to pull Ron and Hermione away against their will at first, but they bolted with him when they saw what was happening.
They found a safe distance away near Luna, Bill and Percy.
Bill was laughing at everything going on in front of him while Percy shot him a disapproving look.
Once they were clear of the blast zone of random holes exploding and tossing all sorts of oddities out all over the place they caught sight of George.
His bulky black robe was chasing an Auror that managed to get near the danger zone.
Mrs. Weasley was chasing after Mr. Kingsley trying to put out his flaming hat while shouting obscenities at George.
He was wearing the hideous transfigured yellow feathered chicken robes that he bought from Ron that clucked loudly even over all the noise.
He hadn't move from his spot in front of his brother's grave and continued to smile with tears rolling freely down his face.
"You know he really is brave." Luna said as she watched another burst of fireworks shoot out from a dangerously close place in front of George
It soared into the air and exploded into a likeness of Fred's face.
Around the likeness was the words, 'Fred Weasley Second Best Looking Weasley Ever!'.
"He's an inconsiderate git for doing this at a funeral. I never thought he'd sink this low." Percy said in anger.
Ron's temper was starting to get the better of him and he coldly said.
"Shut up Percy! No one knew Fred better than George."
Luna started skipping forward happily and Harry tried to go after her, but a firework exploded nearly in his face and he had to fall back.
She headed into the disaster area of enchanted objects flying and fireworks exploding around her like she was skipping though a field of flowers.
She had many close calls that didn't even come close to getting her to stop before she stood right next to George.
His robes clucked loudly and an egg fell out from under his robes onto the charred grass.
Luna was smiling carefree as she watched the sparkling colors burst into the sky with George.
She took his hand slowly and said. "It's hard to say goodbye to the ones we love. It's even harder to do it with a smile…
I don't agree with your brother Percy at all. I think Fred would have really liked this. It's kind of like one big last prank to remember him by.
I know he always like those kinds of things…" She smiled a little brighter at him and George squeezed her tiny hand as his smile grew slightly bigger.
He was comforted that at least one other person understood what it all meant. He refused to wipe his tears away and said.
"Yes, it's utter chaos. I know he would have been proud…"
Two people stood at the center of all the mayhem without any fear watching his last prank with a smile.
Hope you all enjoyed the first chapter.
Please review to tell me what you thought or to post if I still have grammar mistakes.
Thank you for reading.