It didn't take long for Neville and Dean to quickly make their way back to where Luna was sitting with the two Aurors and bring them back into the Chamber. The bodies of Seamus Finnegan and the other Aurors or Members of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement were located and taken back into the Chamber as well. Hagrid silently knelt down and picked up Seamus into his arms. When the Aurors and the captured Death Eaters were all gathered together then it was only a matter of finding the other door into the Chamber of Secrets.
It turned out that the other door was only a short walk down the far side of the Chamber, through the pond water and out a door that was hidden in the gloom. The tunnel from there led out into the Forbidden Forest. From there Hagrid, who knew the Forbidden Forest better than anyone, took over the lead and walked them out of the Forest and into the grounds of Hogwarts.
The entire way Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were all walking together. They were quiet as they walked, each using the last remains of whatever strength they possessed to get through the forest.
When they came to the Hogwarts grounds, Hagrid walked them out and bid them all a tearful farewell. Hagrid lay Seamus down and the other dead were quietly laid down next to him. Many were shedding tears, including Cassie, Harry, Hermione, and all of the Weasley's.
The next place they would all go would be St. Mungo's Hospital for treatment before going home.
"Potter," Kingsley said quietly.
"I think you and Weasley need to take the rest of the week off. You've earned it." Kingsley said quietly.
"Yes, sir." Harry and Ron said together.
"Oh, and Potter?"
"Yes, sir?" Harry asked.
"Well done. To all of you, well done!" Kingsley said.
The trip to the Hospital was a short one. Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione were all admitted, as were Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, George, and Angelina. Neville and Dean were able to be healed after a few moments and were sent home. Dean would be going to a waiting Luna who took him in her arms and held him tightly, already consoling Dean about the loss of his friend.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were assigned their own room. George, Harry, and Ron were assigned one room, and Ginny, Cassie, Hermione were assigned another. They had taken the brunt of the damage and were admitted for treatment and observation.
It was late that first night and Harry was almost asleep when he felt someone crawling into his bed with him. It was Ginny.
"Hi," Harry whispered quietly.
"Hi," Ginny whispered back, equally as quiet.
"Are you okay?" Harry wondered.
"No, are you?"
"No, not really."
Ginny wrapped her arms around Harry as best she could, and he returned the favor. He saw the light from the moon reflecting in the tears that were now running down her cheeks. He knew it would be a long time before things were ever going to be alright again.
Then a thought occurred to Harry. Something that had been bothering him ever since he and Ron had gone back to Grimmauld Place.
"Ginny, can I ask you something?" Harry asked.
"Anything, you know that."
"Why did you leave the rings and necklace behind? I knew as soon as I found it what it was, but why did you do it?"
"Really, I didn't want it to get broken or damaged. The necklace belonged to your mother. The promise ring and engagement ring were gifts from you. Those things mean more to me than anything else. Hermione seemed to sense that we weren't going to escape from them, and when I started taking off the rings and necklace she suggested we hide it where you and Ron could find it."
"Oh, I wondered..."
"You thought I was giving it back to you?"
"No, not really, I just wondered why you would do that."
"Did you notice the ring? The promise ring?"
"Yes," Harry sighed, "I guess I'll have to take it back to Avarice where I got it. It seems the charm it has on it is bad."
"No it's not." Ginny said with a hint of a smile gracing her features, "Hermione did that. She charmed the ring so that it would still work as long as I was alive, so that you would know that I was okay."
"But my ring already does that,"
"Yes, it does. But only while I'm wearing mine. The Charm Hermione put on my ring works even if I'm not wearing it."
"That Hermione, she's brilliant." Harry observed.
"Yes, she is."
Not long later, the funerals for those killed in the Chamber Battle, as it would later be called, was held. Harry spoke at the funeral for Seamus Finnegan. The Minister spoke as well, but it was Luna and Hermione who gave the most eloquent speeches. They paid tribute to Seamus' sense of humor, fun, and honor. They spoke about how when the chips were down, Seamus was always there to help pick them up and carry on. There were many tears shed and the dead were lay to rest in their eternal sleep.
Harry and Ron had a conversation with the Minister of Magic one day not long after the funerals.
"Has there been any trace of Rowle? Or the Carrows?" Ron had asked.
"None that has been reported. We didn't see Rowle anywhere in the chamber with that wyrm thing trying to eat us."
"After he woke me up in the Chamber, he seemed to disappear. And I don't know where the Carrows got to..."
"Well, I wouldn't worry about them. Something tells me that they've gone to ground. I think it would take a miracle to hear from them any time soon. It would be just too big a chance for them to take." Kingsley said happily.
"And if they do come around, we'll be able to handle it when it does." Ron added.
Kingsley smiled at the two young men before him; "Indeed."
Four months later, summer time, August 1st. It had been a mild summer, not too hot or cold. About perfect in Harry's book. Harry's position at the Ministry of Magic as an Auror was solid. Ginny had tried out for, and been accepted to the Hollyhead Harpies as a starting Chaser. Hermione had applied for, and been accepted to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She was in training and reported happily to Ron, who was an Auror as Harry was, every day just how well that training was going.
However the four of them, along with George, Angelina, Mr. Weasley, Kingsley Shacklebolt and many others had the day off. It was a special day.
"Are you ready?" Ron asked Harry.
"As ready as I'll ever be," Harry replied.
They were inside a white tent, garbed in elegant dress robes of deepest Emerald for Harry, and a nice Sapphire blue for Ron. The sides of the tent billowed in the gentle breeze from outside.
Then someone poked his head inside the tent, it was George.
"Are you boys ready? It's nearly time."
"Yeah, we're ready." Ron said nervously.
"You'll do fine, relax." George said with a smile.
"That's easy for you to say, you're already married!" Ron quipped.
"So you know I'm right, then. I did it. I got married and I'm still here."
Harry sighed and smiled. When the sun set tonight, he and Ginny would be married. It was an exhillerating thing to think about. He let his mind wander as Ron and George took a spare moment to finish their conversation. Then the music began.
At the proper cue, the billowing cloth entry to the tent where Harry and Ron were waiting opened. The two of them walked together to stand in front of the Minister of Magic who was also dressed in his finest robes. Mr. Weasley stood next to the two young men who stood side by side.
"Alright Harry?" Ron asked.
"Never better, you?"
"Never better." Ron answered.
The music changed and the wedding march began. It was played softly and elegantly by a small little trio of witches from the Ministry that had volunteered for the job.
Looking out over the guests gathered there on the grounds of Hogwarts, Harry could see many faces he knew. Elphias Doge, Avarice Garrow, Auntie Muriel, Neville Longbottom, Cassie, Dean and Luna who were holding hands, an engagement ring shining brightly on Luna's finger; There were Aurors from work, and other people from the Ministry of Magic. From Hogwarts were gathered: Hagrid, Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, Sinestra, Binns, and Slughorn. The castle ghosts, save for Peeves, were a slight shimmer in the brightness of the day. Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Fleur, George, Angelina, and Andromeda Tonks were all seated near the front.
Then movement from down between the seats and behind another tent caught Harry's attention. Walking next to each other, the trains to their gowns carried by castle house elves, were Ginny and Hermione.
To Harry's eyes neither of them had ever looked more beautiful. Their eyes were shining, their white gowns flowing and moving with them as they walked slowly to meet the men they were to marry. The dresses were as elegant as the day was special. White with subtle patterns of shimmering beads. Soft muted pastel glow lights winked on and off from under their hair which had been left down to flow over their shoulders and down their backs.
Harry felt his stomach tighten and travel up into his throat as Ginny took the final steps to stand next to Harry. Mr. Weasley, in a tradition as old as time, put Ginny's small, soft, gentle hand into Harry's. Then the Minister spoke and the wedding was performed.
When the final vows were taken, when the sealing kiss had been given, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Potter and Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Weasley turned to face the crowd. They stood and applauded the two couples. They led the way to a dancing area that had been set up. Their eyes were only for each other as they celebrated the night away.
This is the end of this story.