A/N: "Sacrifice still exists everywhere, and everywhere the elect of each generation suffers for the salvation of the rest." - Henri Frederic Amiel
Thank you, Drusilla. J
Disclaimer in Ch 3.
I got the meaning of zinnias from: http://www.iflorist.com/en/act/meaning/.
Now onto the story!
"Will you stay still, you bloody bird?" Hermione whispered ferociously. Ginny silently laughed as she watched from where she was sitting at the bottom of the stairs. Pig continued to struggle and jump about as Hermione tried to attach a letter to his leg. "Don't make me hex you," she threatened the bouncy little owl.
"Hermione Granger, founder of S.P.E.W., threatening an innocent creature? Who would've thought it," Ginny remarked.
Hermione whirled around. "How long have you been there?" she asked accusingly.
"Long enough to get a good laugh. Here, let me help." Ginny got up and strode over to where Hermione was struggling with the uncooperative Pig. Reaching out a steady hand, she allowed Pig to sniff it before reaching over to stroke him gently. Pig calmed down underneath Ginny's touch and allowed Hermione to attach the letter.
"I'll never understand how you do that," Hermione sighed, shaking her head.
Ginny bit her lip, trying to hold back her laughter.
Hermione did not to seem to notice the look of mirth on Ginny's face, but instead turned to the flighty bird.
"This is for the Minister," Hermione told him. "Please try to behave while you're with him." Pig gave her a solemn look, understanding that this was an important task. "Off you go then," she said, waving her hands towards the window. Ginny removed her hand and the little ball of energy returned, though slightly subdued, and flew out the window.
"It's about your parents, right?" Ginny questioned. Hermione nodded. "Don't worry, they'll find them."
"You sound like Harry."
"Well, he's right."
"Did somebody say my name?" Harry was trudging down the stairs with Ron. Ginny rushed up to him and gave him a big hug. Harry winced in pain, causing Hermione to frown, but he hugged Ginny back and gave her a peck on the lips.
"Hey, love," Ron greeted Hermione before kissing her on the cheek. "What's the matter?" he asked when he noticed the frown on her face.
"Nothing. I was just worrying about how long it's going to take Pig to deliver my letter about my parents to Kingsley." Harry looked at her, arching one eyebrow to indicate his incredulity about that statement. Pig may be overly enthusiastic but he was a speedy owl, and Harry knew it. She pointed at his chest and then Ginny. He shook his head. You better, she mouthed. He turned away. Luckily, neither Ron nor Ginny had noticed their exchange, but instead were digging through the kitchen.
"Let's make breakfast for Mum," Ginny suggested. "She deserves a break."
Thus, four teenagers with little cooking experience ended up making breakfast. After one explosion, three singed eyebrows, and seven burnt fingers later, they gave up on making anything fancy. Instead, they had a grand feast of porridge and toast with marmalade. Two sets of footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs. In a flurry of action, Hermione cast a hurried Scourgify! on the kitchen and joined the rest of her friends in front of the table, blocking the food from sight.
"Surprise!" they shouted as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley walked in. The two were in their dress robes, both a tad threadbare.
"What is all of this?" Molly asked confusedly.
"We made you breakfast," Ginny explained as the four moved away from the table to reveal the porridge and toast.
"Why, thank you, dears," Molly said before surveying the scene before her. The kitchen was clean except for a spot or two where she could see unidentifiable specks of goo, no doubt left over after a hasty Scourgify! She turned toward the children and clucked her tongue when she saw their "kitchen wounds." Without hesitating, she withdrew her wand and Healed their various injuries, and only when she had finished that did she take her seat at the table, closely followed by her husband and the quartet.
Soon, all six of them had finished eating. 'It was no surprise that four adolescents would quickly finish breakfast, but why were two adults eating as quickly as they could?' Hermione thought.
"Why are you wearing your dress robes?" Ron asked.
The two exchanged a glance.
"Oh, we must've forgotten to tell them yesterday," fretted Molly.
"Tell us what?" Ron responded.
Harry shook his head and a jaded look came onto his face. "Whose funeral is today?"
Arthur looked him straight in the eye. "Remus and Tonks's." The happy atmosphere in the room vanished and was replaced with solemnity.
"I guess we should get changed then…" Harry sighed before abruptly leaving the room. The trio followed and shortly returned in their smartest robes. Molly looked nervously at them and tugged at a loose thread or two on their robes.
"Ready?" Arthur asked, taking a rusty nail out of his pocket.
"As ready as we'll ever be," Ron answered sarcastically, for which he received a sharp elbow in the side from Hermione and a look from his mother.
Everyone grabbed hold of the nail as it turned blue, and felt the usual jerking sensation near their belly buttons.
'What beautiful flowers,' Ginny thought to herself. Tonks would have loved them. There were zinnias of all different colours strewed everywhere. What was it Professor Sprout had said about zinnias in her second year? She struggled to remember.
It was two o'clock on a Thursday, and like every Thursday at two o'clock, she was sitting in Herbology next to a bouncy Colin Creevey. The week had passed by quite uneventfully, except for waking up screaming on Tuesday night. She had had a particularly bad nightmare about her experience in the Chamber the year before. It was a good thing she had remembered to cast the Silencing Charm Hermione had taught her, or she would have woken up her whole dorm again as she had the previous week and would've had to endure her roommates' looks of pity again. Nevertheless, other than that, her week had been fine.
At the beginning of the class, Professor Sprout had announced that the class would be learning the meanings of various flowers, some magical and others of Muggle origin, so that they could get a "better sense" of how they were used in various potions.
"Now, this particular beauty," Professor Sprout remarked, holding up a yellow flower with a large pinkish tinge around the centre, "is a zinnia. Muggles usually plant them in warmer climates than England because they need a lot of warmth and sunlight. It represents thoughts of absent friends. We occasionally use them in Remembrance Potions."
Ginny, like the rest of her classmates, dutifully and quickly took notes on the zinnia like they had for all the flowers Professor Sprout had mentioned, before she moved on to the next one.
'This is how I want to remember her', Ginny thought, 'full of life and energy, not cold and lifeless next to Remus in the Great Hall.' A couple of tears fell from her eyes. She sighed and leaned her head against Harry's chest. Automatically, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. In the chairs next to them were Ron and Hermione in a position similar to Ginny and Harry. The rest of the Weasley clan sat behind them. Most of the Order sat on the other side of the aisle. Andromeda and Teddy were a row ahead of them.
Standing at the podium was Kingsley Shacklebolt. It made sense for him to be the one giving the eulogy. After all, he knew Tonks from working with her as an Auror and he had worked with the both of them in the Order. It was a wonderful eulogy, of course. It spoke of Remus's suffering from lycanthropy; Tonks's falling in love with him and her subsequent rejection by him, and their eventual courtship, marriage, and the birth of their only child. However, the ending was what made the speech.
"They shared many differences. Remus was a reserved, quiet, and careful man. Tonks was carefree, energetic, and outgoing, but they shared many similarities. They were both incredibly stubborn, caring, and determined to stop Voldemort so that future generations, including their son, Teddy, could grow up without fear of being different. They willingly participated in the Battle of Hogwarts together and gave their lives for the cause. May we always remember the sacrifice they made and that they succeeded in destroying the last enemy: death."
They all stood up and started to intermingle with each other, telling stories of the good times they remembered of Remus and Tonks. As Ron was talking to his father, he heard a hiss from behind him.
"What are you doing here?"
He turned around. With Teddy perched on her hip, Andromeda was hissing at someone whom she obviously resembled. The woman had blonde hair instead of brown, a more upturned nose and tighter-lipped mouth, but there was no mistaking the Black in her. It was Narcissa Malfoy.
"You have a lot of nerve showing up here!" Andromeda said in a loud whisper that caused everyone to stop what they were doing and turn to see what was the matter.
"Andi," Narcissa pleaded.
"Don't call me that!" she shouted. "What are you doing here?"
Ron wondered whether he should intervene before things got out of hand, and looked to his father for guidance. Mr. Weasley just shook his head as if to say, "Let them work it out for themselves."
"I wanted to…" Narcissa hesitated, "express my condolences."
"I want to see you as much as I want to see Bella!" Andromeda snapped. "Not at all! You probably would've done the same thing, wouldn't you? You would've killed your own flesh and blood without a second thought, without any remorse. "
Narcissa looked desperate. "No, Andi, I never would have done that. Andi, please…" she begged.
Teddy's hair turned a shade of bright pink, reminiscent of his mother's favourite shade, and he started to cry.
"It's all right, Teddy," Andromeda cooed, rocking him back and forth as she waited for his tears to subside. After a couple of minutes, he stopped crying and instead, just sniffled. Andromeda turned back to Narcissa. "You know what? This isn't what today was supposed to be about. It's supposed to be about remembering my daughter and son-in-law, who were loved by all of those gathered here today. Not about arguing with someone I no longer love." And with that, she walked away, leaving Narcissa with her mouth wide open and eyes filled with unshed tears.
As much as Harry hated all the bad deeds Narcissa and her family had committed during the war, he couldn't help but feel sorry for her. After all, she did change her mind before the war ended, and had saved his life. He extricated himself from Ginny's grip.
"I'll be right back," he assured her and walked over to the speechless Narcissa.
"I'd like to thank you," he began, "ror saving my life in the forest, even if it was only so you could find Draco."
She nodded, acknowledging his gratitude.
"And as for Mrs. Tonks, I mean, Andi… give her some time. She lost her husband, her daughter, and her son-in-law within months of each other."
Once again, she nodded and then turned and left.
"What was that about?" Ron asked, walking up to him. Harry watched her vanish with a small Crack!