"Oww, my arms hurt!"
"Mine too! I wish all this work could be finished quickly so we can just go home and relax for once!"
"I know what you mean! This is so exhausting! I wish lunch would hurry up."
"Oh now you're sounding like Ron!"
It was the third day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley were sitting on the edge of the black lake watching the giant squid thrash around in the water. The perfect sunset and the warm breeze was making both of them feel at ease with the world. But deep down, they couldn't help feeling sad. The funerals would be held any day now: a final goodbye to all those who had died in the war.
It was a warm day. The sky was a clear blue, without any signs of grey and birds could be heard tittering all around them. Harry was gazing at the lake, sunlight was reflecting off it's smooth surface. Ginny was looking off into the distance with her head resting upon her knees. They sat in silence until suddenly she let out a strangled sob.
"What is it Ginny?" asked Harry, clearly alarmed. He looked back at her out of concerned emerald green eyes, worry was written all over his face. He hated seeing Ginny sad. He always felt like he was hurting somewhere when he saw her sad.
Ginny looked back at him and he saw that her brown eyes were brimming with unshed tears. Her fiery red hair was tumbling down her shoulders and some strands were blowing in front of her face. She slowly breathed in before beginning. "Harry, I can't go to the funeral! I can't say goodbye to__to__F_Fred. I just can't! It's too hard. I know i'll lose control at the funeral and that will make mum lose control and__and I just can't go!!"
Her voice was rushed and shaky. Harry could barely understand what she had said. But he managed to make out most of the words. Her lower lip was trembling and she was biting on the inside of her cheek. Ginny hardly ever cried. Harry knew that for a fact. She had to be one of the toughest girls he knew. He reckoned living with six brothers had made her stronger. But when she did cry and break down, it was torture for him. He couldn't blame her for crying either. She had after all lost a brother. He knew hoe close she had always been to the twins.
"It'll be okay, Gin," he said softly. "I know it seems hard but trust me it'll get better. I promise it will." He squeezed her hand gently and she looked at him, her eyes locked with his. she took in a shaky breath and he continued. "If you don't go, I just know you'll regret it for the rest of your life."
He paused and she looked back at the lake, her eyes scanning it's serene surface. The giant squid was still moving about in the distance.
"It's just hard, you know?" she asked. "He was.... I was closer to him than I am to anybody else. Except George. But now, he's gone and... He always made me laugh. When I was little and mum never game me Honeydukes sweets because I got a bad sugar rush, he user to sneak them into my room with George."
"That's exactly something Free would do, isn't it?" Harry chuckled softly and she smiled sadly.
"Yeah," she said. "Once when I was nine, I really wanted to ride a broom. I had a toy broomstick, but that thing hardly stayed two feet above the ground. I remember going to mum and asking if I could use the twins' brooms and she said I couldn't. I was so sad. I think I threw a tantrum over it too," she paused.
"You threw a tantrum?" Harry asked with a small laugh. She smiled.
"Yeah, but then at nigh... Wait, I think it was three in the morning actually... Free knocked on my door and said he'd take me for a ride above the meadow."
Harry was silent for a minute. He had always know the twins cared about their little sister a lot. The fact that Fred was gone had been a blow to him too.
He turned a little so he was facing her. Her face had golden sunlight reflected upon it and her red hair was backlit in gold. "That's why you need to go the funeral, Gin," he said. "T's away of saying goodbye, isn't it? He really loved you."
Ginny sighed. "I know," she said. "It's just that... I don't know if I can stand there and...say things with everyone there. There's so much I'd like to say..."
"You'll have me there," Harry told her.
"And me!" said a voice.
"And me!" said another.
"And me as well."
They turned to see Ron, Hermione, Luna and Newile behind them. Harry's mouth dropped open. That been hiding behind a clump of trees. Had they been listening to everything?
"Oh, you guys are such__" Ginny started
"Amazing people?" asked Ron.
" Understanding friends?" offered Hermione
"Dogs?" asked Luna randomly. Harry blinked. It seemed like Luna would always be Luna. But right now, dogs seemed like an accurate word.
"You know? I'll agree with Luna on this one!" Ginny laughed.
At this, the others started fake crying into each other's shoulders. Harry was laughing to himself. After the war, they really did meed something to laugh about. If it came from trivial things like fake tears, then so be it. At least they were laughing.
"Fine, fine you guys are the best friends a girl could dream of having." Ginny said with a smile on her face. Harry saw that the tears that had been in her eyes a few minutes ago were now no longer there. Her eyes still looked full of grief, but at least she was smiling now.
Perhaps it was the randomness of the situation or the fact that they could finally lead a normal life again or the cruel irony of it all but they burst out laughing and made there way arm in arm towards the castle for lunch.
The smell of roasted chicken and mashed potatoes greeted them as soon as they entered the Great Hall. The Gryffindor table was almost full and everyone was busy talking to one another and eating.
When lunch had ended, Professor McGonagall got to her feet and started, "Now as some of you probably know; the repairs of the castle are almost done. By the end of this week, Hogwarts will be back to the way it was before the war. I would like to thank all of you who helped out with the repairs." Her eyes were twinkling behind her glasses.
"We shall also be holding the Funerals tomorrow when all those who were unable to join us today have arrived." At this, there was a soft murmur that spread throughout the room. Everyone knew that the funerals were tomorrow.
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