This has been a tough year for my family, losing the last remaining grandparents, both of my grandfathers Duke and Earl. We also lost a few friends of the family that were more family than anything. So, in all of my morbid thinking, this one is for them, and my own way of dealing with loss.
I agree with Rowling when she stated that the hardest part is rebuilding. Well, I can attest to that now, and hope that this helps anyone that is struggling right now with grief.
James Sirius Potter walked silently through his parent's home, trying hard not to wake anyone. The house was filled with family, which added to the feeling of wrongness that was seeping into James' bones. Normally, when the family was together, it meant that the house was loud, and it was difficult, near impossible, to find a place quiet enough to hear yourself think. Tonight, however, no one wanted to be the one to break the silence.
He had tried sleeping, but knew that it was not going to happen. Therefore he made his way to the kitchen and began making a pot of tea. When he sat down, he noticed that he had set out three cups and made plenty of tea. He shrugged, having long since come to the conclusion that there was a reason for everything he did. He just didn't always understand it.
He had just sat down when Al walked in and accepted the second one with a nod of thanks, drinking deep. Their wives were likely asleep, and neither wanted to wake them up. Neither were surprised when Lily walked in, as well, in her dressing gown. She took the last cup that James handed her, and sipped it slowly.
"Tonight went alright, I thought," she said quietly.
Al glowered into his cup. "I'm not sure that's such a high praise, considering."
James sighed as he looked at his siblings. Though they all had grown children, Lily even having her first grandchild, he still tried to look out for them. Al had not agreed with their parents about the party tonight. He was a bit more of a traditionalist than their father, who seemed to be gleeful at breaking social norms and watching people squirm.
"It'll make our job easier," James said gently. He hadn't been pleased about it either, but he had been there, like the good first born, and had helped out as much as he could.
Lily nodded. "It was nice to see Aunt Hermione again." They weren't technically related to her anymore. Their Uncle Ron had been killed during an Auror raid about thirty years after they'd been married. Although they stayed in touch with her, she had ended up moving to Bulgaria after ten years of being alone and married her former flame, Viktor Krum. When she had heard about Harry, she had taken the first portkey back that she could.
Al nodded. "That's true. We haven't seen her since we went up there to visit a few years ago. Have you heard from Rolf lately?" he asked. He was pretty close with that family ever since they ended their globetrotting.
Lily sighed sadly. "He said that Luna isn't doing so well. The healers give her another few months, at most. He said he felt bad that they didn't come tonight, but her memory isn't what it used to be. He didn't want her to get upset."
James spoke up next. "Everything's arranged for tomorrow, right?" he double-checked. He was always the one worried about the details. This, in particular, was taking a lot of attention to detail to get everything figured out.
Al kept his gaze on the inside of the cup, as though trying to read his future there. "Yeah, Teddy's still the head of the Department of Mysteries, so he dealt with all the legalities. I just can't believe he's going along with it! Dad's his godfather, for crying out loud, so…"
"So he wants to help make this as easy for your father as he can," a soft voice from the doorway interrupted.
The three adults, all in their seventies, blushed as their mother, Ginny, walked towards them. James stood up and helped her into the seat. She sighed, her knees not being what they had been and accepted the tea that Lily handed her. "Thank you, dear." She turned to Al. "I know this isn't easy on all of you. It's not easy for me, either. But this is what your father wants, and after everything he's done for this family, I don't think it's all that much to ask for."
They all stayed quiet for a while, listening to the sounds of the house around them and the wind blowing through the open windows. It was late spring, and the weather was beautiful, seeming to mock them with it's beauty. "When did he tell you this was what he wanted?" Lily asked quietly, fixing herself another cup.
Ginny sighed as she took a sip of her own drink. She wished that she could spike it with some Firewhiskey, but she wasn't young enough for that anymore. "After the first war, and right after we got married, we went together to Gringotts to make our wills. Your father was in the Auror program, and knew the dangers of what he was getting into. So, he put a clause into the will." She got somewhat teary eyed at that, and looked at James. "He had many father figures over the years, but there were only two men that he could have called father."
"James and Sirius," the eldest said quietly, keeping his own tears back. He'd spoken with his father a lot about both of his namesakes, and learned quite a bit about both them, and about Harry as well.
Ginny just nodded at him. "Exactly. James was his biological father, and though Harry never knew him, he still loved him. And Sirius was the closest connection he had there, aside from Uncle Remus. So, when he was filling out his will, he stated that there were only two ways that he would die. Either he would go out in battle, like James, or…"
"Or through the veil, like Sirius," Al finished in a whisper, a single tear burning its way down his cheek.
There was no answer from their mother, but one wasn't needed. They sat in silence for some time, none wanting to be the ones to break it. Ginny, of course, was the first to speak. "I know that tomorrow is going to be difficult for all of you; it will be for me, too. I just want you to know that I don't want this to change much. I still expect you all to come around here for dinner once a week with your families; I better see some of my grandkids here to help me move things that are too heavy." She looked at her children, who were smiling weakly, and reached out her hands. Lily and James each took one, and Al laid his hand on her forearm. "We'll get through this, you understand? We just have to stick together."
They made an odd sight the next day. Ginny led her family through the halls of the Ministry. Behind her was Harry in his chair which was being levitated by both James and Albus. Lily walked next to him, holding his hand tightly. Their spouses, children and their spouses, and the single great-grandchild followed up behind.
Harry hadn't been able to walk for a few years now. He'd been an Auror for so long, and had been healed so much that the magic no longer held. The last few years of his service, he was forced to handle Muggle medicine to fix him up after his missions. When his body could no longer handle the strain, he finally retired, after the longest time served in their history: seventy years. Finally, after a long and filled life, his body was too tired. The healers had told him that he only had a few more weeks. That was when he had begun planning everything.
Teddy met them at the elevator, with his wife by his side, both fighting the tears. Harry had practically raised him, and he needed to be here for this. He took the lead, taking them through the halls, and into the room that he'd heard so much about through the years, causing him to find a job after graduating Hogwarts.
Harry filled with emotion at the sight of the room that he hadn't stepped foot in since he had been fifteen, and where he'd lost the closest thing he'd ever had to a father. He reached a frail hand up to wipe the tears away, and turned to his wonderful wife. She, too, had never come back here since that night.
He watched as his wonderful, loving family filed into the room and surrounded him. He knew that few of them had appreciated the night before, but he didn't regret a minute of it. A going away party was exactly what he had needed. By the end of that night, he had given away everything that was in his will, with his lawyer there to insure the technicalities. He said goodbye to every person that he cared about, which was quite a few people. They were able to say goodbye to him as well. That gave them the closure that, he knew from experience, they would need.
Lily kissed him on the cheek, just as she had done for many years, whispering assurances of her love. Her husband gripped his shoulder firmly, and vowed to take care of Lily's family. Their children came up next, and Minerva, the youngest, carried her four month old Frank Harold Longbottom. Harry recalled the naming ceremony, and he had cried like a child, himself, when they had told him the name. He kissed the precious child, silently wishing him all the luck in the Potter line that he would find happiness, wherever it might come.
James and his family was next. His firstborn didn't bother hiding his tears, and kissed him on the forehead. No words were needed for the two of them, as they had spoken quite a lot over the past few months as they prepared all the arrangements. "I love you, dad," were the only words that were breathed.
Albus surprised him by giving him a tight hug, though being careful with his frailty. He knew that Al was going to be alright, but he truly hoped that everyone would be there for each other in the coming days, especially Al. He had the least family, with only one child, who had died a few years before from a Muggle disease that was apparently common on Al's wife's side. He held his son as tightly as his body would allow, and smiled when Al pulled back first.
Teddy was the last. 'The first shall be last,' was the quote that came to mind as he hugged his godfather tightly. Knowing the story of this room as well as he did, he now knew what it was to lose his godfather to the veil between worlds. He was bound by oath not to reveal anything about the veil to another living soul, so he kept shut about it and held him tightly. He stepped back to allow his wife, Victoire a chance to say goodbye.
Ginny stood by his side as he forced his tired legs to stand. He was going to do this, and nothing was going to stop him. His wife, who had been with him through everything over the years, and probably put up with more than she should have, stood by his side, helping him make the few, shaky steps to the fluttering veil that was in the middle of the room.
After several decades of marriage, there was no need for words in that moment. He knew that she would handle this as she had everything in life, and there were plenty of people that would take care of her for him, until she joined him. He knew that, despite all of the uncertainties of the world, that he would see her again.
She turned to sear his face into her memory, every wrinkle and scar that was precious to her. Leaning up slightly, she pressed her lips to his, as she had done for years. She could hear the watery chuckles of their audience, and smiled as she pulled back.
"Ready for the next adventure?" she asked softly.
Harry smiled at her as he nodded, cupping her cheek with his hand. "I will see you soon, my love," he told her, voice strong, and eyes clearer than they had been for a while. "I love you."
She sniffled and nodded. "And I, you. "
He forced his weary body to turn and looked at his family, all of them. They were looking at him with the love that, even years later, he felt lucky enough to have earned. "Take care of each other," he told them, and they all nodded. He knew that they would listen to him in that. He turned back to Ginny and smiled at her one last time.
At long last, he allowed his legs to give way, falling gracefully into the veil, as he had seen in his dreams since he was a teenager. He knew, in his heart, that all would be well.
This was just a oneshot, I'm not going to make it into a longer story. Harry wanted to handle death in his own way, and he wanted to be the one to write that chapter. He ended it the way he wanted to.