Progress Notes: July 09: I'm waiting for a trusted beta of the site to upload the story since I have no idea when submissions are open. My beta ditched me for some reason, so I'm kinda stuck. I'm really sorry and I'll find a beta really soon, promise!
“No greater grief than to remember days of gladness when sorrow is at hand” ~ Friedrich von Schiller
Harry found it incredibly hard to wake up. Not only was he supremely comfortable, but his body felt heavy and his eyelids refused to open.
It’s not like it never happened before, but today, unlike any other day, he was allowed to sleep in. He believed he deserved it. So did everyone else.
Everyone, that is, except his best friend.
So, just like any other day in which Harry refused to wake up, he threw a pillow at him. Hard.
“OUCH!” yelped Harry groggily.
“Wake up already! It’s almost noon and I want to go home!” said Ron. “Mum’s been waiting for you for hours.”
“Really?” said Harry sleepily “She shouldn’t have waited, why didn’t she just go?”
Ron rolled his eyes, “Why do you think?” he asked sarcastically.
Harry groaned and got out of bed with extreme difficulty. “I feel like I’m going to keel over and die any minute,” he said.
“Yeah, well, let’s just hope it doesn’t happen,” said Ron with a weird tone.
Harry looked at him and suddenly remembered.
“I’m sorry mate,” he said sadly, bowing his head.
Ron turned his head. “It’s ok,” he said croakily. “It’s war, right? There has to be casualties…”
“Still,” said Harry, not quite knowing how to console his friend. He got up and squeezed Ron’s shoulder.
Ron took a deep breath and smiled a little “Let’s just…not think about it for a while, ok?”
Even though Harry agreed, once they reached the Great Hall--which was set up for lunch--it was impossible not to think about it.
The Hall was filled with hundreds of wizards and witches, all wearing black robes, most of them looking grim. Harry guessed they were parents, taking their kids back home until everything was sorted out.
Many of them looked like they have been crying. Some of the people were huddled in groups, some talked in twosomes or threesomes, comforting each other.
Above the teachers’ table, where normally the banners of the four houses were hung, hung a big banner with the Hogwarts coat of arms. However, instead of the usually white background, the background was black. Probably to set tribute to the fallen, thought Harry.
As soon as Ginny saw Harry enter the hall, she jumped out of her chair and closed the distance between them, engulfing him with a bone-crushing hug.
Harry held her until she loosened her grip and heard her sniff. She didn’t let him go, though, so Harry couldn’t look at her face. He rubbed her back slowly and soothingly. Ron, who looked tad uncomfortable, moved to sit next to his mother.
“Ginny,” said Harry quietly. “Let’s go sit down.”
Ginny mumbled something that sounded like a ‘no’. Yet Harry ignored it and moved slowly towards the table, practically dragging Ginny over there. He sat down and lifted her legs up so she was sitting on his lap, hanging on him with her head in the crook of his neck.
Molly smiled a teary smile at him. “How did you sleep?” she whispered, not trusting her voice to hold on to a bigger volume.
“Good, thank you Mrs. Weasley. How are you?” asked Harry worriedly, knowing she was grieving.
Molly smiled again and only patted his hand with tears in her eyes.
“Where is he?” asked Ron hoarsely.
“Outside,” said Charlie quietly. “They set up a large marquis on the grounds and put all the coffins in there,” he said, his voice breaking as he muttered the word ‘coffins’.
These words elicited another set of heavy sobs from Ginny, who tightened her grip on Harry. He rubbed her back in return.
“When are we going home Mum?” asked Ron as soon as Ginny’s sobs subsided.
“I don’t know,” said Mrs. Weasley, “I’m waiting for your father to finish all his arrangements here.”
Ron nodded and Ginny released Harry in order to look at her mother. She sniffed and wiped the tears from her face. “Where is George?” she asked roughly.
“I don’t know,” said Molly sadly. “I think he’s in the marquis, too.”
“He was there an hour ago, but he left when I got there,” said Charlie. “If I would have to guess, I’d say he’s home.”
Ginny nodded and moved from Harry’s lap to the bench. Harry rubbed her thigh and they all sat in silence for a few minutes.
“I’m starving,” said Ron, earning a snort from Charlie and Ginny. “What? I’m really hungry!”
“You ate two hours ago, Ron,” said Mrs. Weasley “Aren’t you ever full?”
Ron made a face and reached for the loaf of country bread. Harry, who was quite hungry himself, ate two full plates of bangers and mash, with a thick onion gravy, and for desert he consumed four large pieces of treacle tart and gulped down three glasses of pumpkin juice before declaring himself full.
“About time, too,” grumbled Ginny. “Where are you putting all this?” she asked.
“In my earlobes?” said Harry jokingly, and immediately felt awful – here he was, making jokes while they were grieving Fred. To his surprise, all four Weasleys laughed, making him smile too.
“No wonder they’re so fat and dangly,” said Ginny laughingly.
Harry huffed. “My earlobes are not fat or dangly!” he said indignantly, clutching his ears, making Ron laugh harder.
“Do you mind keeping it down a little?” asked a plump old witch from the Ravenclaw table, who turned to reprimand them, only to find out she was looking straight at Harry Potter. She gasped and clutched her chest. Tears brimmed in her eyes and she took his hand in hers.
“Thank you,” she said chokingly. “Thank you for putting an end to all of this. I’m Donna MacDougle, my…daughter…Morag…she was in your year,” and here Mrs. MacDougle burst into tears, and as her husband patted her on the back, she turned back to the table.
Harry looked dumbstruck, and the Mrs. Weasley took the opportunity to rush them all out of the Great Hall and into the grounds.
It didn’t take long for Harry to spot the marquis. The large tent stood about sixty feet from the entrance doors and looked distantly like a very clean greenhouse. Above the white fabric, which was the entrance to the tent, a large, bronze symbol of Hogwarts gleamed in the sun.
The four flags on corner of the entrance also bore a symbol – this one had a sword, eerily similar to Gryffindor’s, in the middle, a lightning bolt behind it, and surrounding it all – a big red and gold phoenix.
“It’s the symbol of the war,” said a voice behind Harry. “Do you like it?”
Harry turned and saw Kingsley Shacklebolt with his hands tucked inside his robes, looking up to the flag.
“It’s brilliant,” said Ron, gazing up to it. “Who came up with it in such a short time?”
Kingsley looked at Ron. “Actually, it was your brother, Percy. He reckoned we’d need a symbol of this, something we can draw strength from. The sword is the Sword of Gryffindor, the one that Neville used to kill Voldemort’s snake, the lightning bolt…well…” trailed Kinsley.
“Me,” said Harry simply.
“Yes,” continued Kinsley. “And the phoenix is a symbol of –“
“Dumbledore?” guessed Ginny.
“No actually,” said Kinsley and wrinkled his brow. “It’s a symbol of rebirth. Starting over.”
“It’s beautiful,” said Mrs. Weasley. “I’m so proud of Percy!”
Suddenly, Mr. Weasley’s head peeked behind the white fabric. “Molly, here you are…I knew I heard Ron. We’re ready to move him.”
Mr. Weasley did not look so good. He looked tired and old; there were grey streaks on his hair that Harry was sure had not been there last year, but now stood out and made it painfully obvious what a stressful year it had been.
“Hello, Harry,” said Mr. Weasley with a small smile. “Come on in.”
Harry entered the marquis, and was amazed by the sheer size of it. If the tent Mr. Weasley brought to the World Cup was big, this one was enormous. However, this tent was nothing like the other one. It had a high, white ceiling and majestic bronze posts.
The room was relatively empty so Harry could see the two very straight lines of caskets on both sides of the tent. The caskets weren’t big, but they were made of the finest wood and shone in the white light inside the tent. On the end of each casket, lay a plaque also made of bronze with golden text.
Mr. Weasley led them to the far corner of the tent, where Harry spotted the familiar redhead group.
“Is this how they’re going to bury him?” mumbled Harry as he was walking, so only Ron could hear.
Ron shook his head. “It’s only for the families to know which casket belongs to whom; afterwards we take it home and…bury…him wherever we want.”
Harry looked at Ron and squeezed his shoulder again in support. “I’m here for you, mate,” he said. Ron nodded curtly, not knowing what to say. After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, a thought occurred to Harry, and he wrinkled his brow in confusion. “Hey, where’s Hermione? I haven’t seen her all day.”
Ron grimaced. “That’s because she wasn’t here all day.”
“Where is she?” said Harry, the wrinkle in his brow growing deeper.
“She’s in room eleven,” said Ron.
Harry became slightly agitated at the slow pace of the conversation. “Room eleven? Isn’t that the Room where Firenze taught us in fifth year? What is she doing there?” asked Harry, deeply confused.
“She’s…talking to reporters,” said Ron.
Harry’s brows rose above his hairline in surprise. “Talking to- what- why is she talking to reporters? Now?!”
Harry saw that his inquiry was starting to annoy Ron. “She did it for you, she knows how much you hate the press-“
“I don’t hate the press-“ interrupted Harry
“-and decided she’s just going to answer some questions for you.” Ron narrowed his eyes. “You really should be nothing but grateful to her, you know.”
Harry grimaced but kept his mouth shut. They had just reached Fred’s coffin and he did not want to begin an argument when they were still in the tent with fifty coffins and a very fragile looking Weasley family.
Mrs. Weasley rushed over to the side of what seemed to be Fred’s casket; George was already there, staring at the casket, looking pale and miserable. Bill was clutching George’s shoulder yet Harry wasn’t exactly sure if he was supporting George or if George supported him.
April 1st, 1978 - May 2nd, 1998
Mrs. Weasley looked up, her face blotched with tears, and searched the crowed in front of her. “Wh-Wh-Where is Percy?” she said, pleadingly searching their faces for answers.
“He’ll be here in a minute,” said Mr. Weasley heavily He stood behind his wife, rubbing her shoulders.
Harry lowered his head. He felt as if he was intruding something deeply personal for the family. He turned to go, as if to give the family some time alone, when he felt Ginny’s hand slip into him. He looked at her uneasily, but she returned him a steady, yet teary stare, as if she knew he was just about to turn on his heels and leave. Don’t go, she silently communed with him. Stay.
So Harry stayed. It seemed like they been waiting for Percy a million years, yet it was only a few minutes until Percy entered the tent and rushed to the side of his family, Hermione in tow.
Percy looked horrible. Having being the last person to see Fred alive, to talk to him, seemed almost ironic after his reconciliation with his family. Cruel irony.
Hermione looked harassed and worried as she took Ron’s hand and gave it a slight squeeze.
“Everyone here?” asked Mr. Weasley. “Ok then,” he said after a few seconds of absolute silence. “Kingsley arranged us a Portkey to the Burrow, but I need everyone to hold on to the casket, ok?”
The slight hum of agreement seemed to satisfy Mr. Weasley, as he pulled a large cane from beneath the coffin. “Hold on,” he said.
Harry grasped the cane on one hand and the coffin on the other and closed his eyes. He was finding it hard to ignore the thought that this is the last he was going to see of Hogwarts in a very long time, possibly forever, and suddenly wished he was outside, gazing at the colossal castle.
He felt a pull behind his navel and a second after he was struggling to hold up the weight of the casket as well as himself. Luckily for him, eight other people held the casket, so both he and the coffin remained standing.
Harry looked up and expelled a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.