The spring rains had
softened the ground, so Harry, Ron, and Hermione had no trouble digging
the grave. Hermione used her wand to displace a block of the soft dirt
five and a half feet long, two and a half feet wide, and six feet deep,
then dropped the pile on the soft grass next to the trench. Her hands
shook as she worked.
Next, Hermione raised her wand to set the body in the grave, but Harry
stopped her by gently grabbing her forearm. “Not yet, Hermione, please,”
he said, his voice cracking. “Let her have one more sunset. Ginny loved
sunsets.” Hermione nodded, and stepped aside, blinking furiously to hold
back her tears.
Harry knelt on the ground next to Ginny’s body. She looked peaceful in
repose; more so than she ever had in life, a flurry of vitality and activity.
Her hands were clasped on her stomach, much in the same way that she used
to nervously clutch her hands together when she had something important
to tell him. “Do you have something to tell me, Gin?” he whispered, hoping
that Hermione and Ron hadn’t noticed.
Ginny’s skin was paler than before, so her hair seemed even more red,
fiery… alive, almost; the hair of the woman he’d loved for seven years
– not the hair of the woman who had defeated Voldemort, saved his life,
and given her own. Her skin was so insipid that the golden locket around
her neck seemed almost too bright in comparison.
And then, as though he were caught up in a Pensieve, his memories began
Fifth Year. Harry hurried through the corridors of Hogwarts, rushing back
to the common room. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t.
Ron met him at the portrait hole. “Harry, did you hear?” he asked excitedly.
“There’s going to be another Yule Ball this year!”
Harry flopped down on a couch. “I heard,” he said shortly. “I don’t see
why you’re so excited, Ron.”
Ron flopped down next to him. “Well… reckon I can ask Hermione, right?
I mean, you don’t think she’d say no, do you?”
his head, Harry replied, "She’s over there in the corner
studying, why don't you get it over with?”
“Sounds good,” Ron agreed. “Anyway, mate, you’ve got to find yourself
a nice girl to go with. Is there anyone who you’d like to take?”
Harry considered telling the truth briefly, then lied. “No, Ron. There
isn’t.” He hoped he wasn’t too obvious.
Ron gave him an odd look, then shrugged and said “Well… I’ll tell you
how it went!” And with that, he rushed off to ask Hermione.
There was, in
fact, someone Harry wanted to take to the ball. His eyes strayed to look
at her – he loved looking at her, and not only because she was pretty,
even though she was that too. It was more because she was so active… always
in motion, gesturing with her hands, tossing her shiny red hair, adjusting
the locket around her graceful neck, and doing perfect imitations of the
professors for her friends.
now, though, she was curled up next to the fire in an armchair, reading
a large and thick book. She looked so warm and comfortable… Harry had
a strong urge to go over and speak to her, and he saw no reason not to
“Hello, Ginny,” he said, taking a seat next to her. “How are you on this
freezing cold evening?”
“Absolutely wretched,” she answered, rolling her eyes. “November’s never
been this cold before, and I have to read all of Le Mort d’Arthur for
my Muggle Studies class – we’re
doing a unit on Muggle poetry, and I’m only up to Tristan and Isolde.
Now you’re here, and I should probably finish my work but I’d much rather
talk to you. So, how are you, Harry?”
He chuckled. “Gin, why’d we wait so long to become friends? You always
make me laugh.”
“Probably because I was a little fool and
didn’t realize that despite being the famous Harry Potter, you were actually
a terrible person beneath,” she said with a perfectly straight face. He
gaped at her, and she burst out laughing. “Harry, you don’t actually think
I’m serious, do you?”
Harry grinned mischievously.
going to have to get you back for that,” he told her, and grabbed her
beneath her ribs and started to tickle her. Ginny squealed with mirth
and indignation. “Harry, stop!”
“You owe me,” he whispered in her ear.
“Please, anything else!” she gasped, tears of laughter running down her
He released her immediately. Ginny straightened up and tried to maintain
some semblance of dignity. “So, Harry, about that debt…”
Harry leapt aside, so that their bodies weren’t touching at all. What
had he just done? He and Ginny weren’t that good friends, and here he
was, practically feeling her up in the common room. She was probably terribly
Ginny must have noticed the look of horror upon his face,
because she started laughing. “Relax, Harry!” she exclaimed. “I guess
I’ve wanted you to do that for a long time now.”
Harry’s eyes widened. Ginny sighed and said to him, “Well,
while I’m feeling brave, is there any chance that you’ll go to the Yule
Ball with me, Harry?”
“Yes!” he blurted out, then kissed her quickly on the cheek
and ran away so that he couldn’t embarrass himself anymore, leaving Ginny
sitting in the chair with a bemused and blissful expression on her face.
That had been his first mistake,
he supposed. Being with him had put her in danger. But Ginny had always
scoffed at danger. Ever since her close brush with death in her first
year, she had considered herself charmed. “There’s a reason for everything,
Harry,” she had told him. “It was my fate to be rescued in the Chamber
of Secrets so I could do something important. I just know it.”
Well, she had done something important. Something truly spectacular. His
mind wandered back to earlier that day…
Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron were having a picnic in a grassy meadow.
After a long week of Auror training, all of them needed a break. So they
decided to spend their afternoon in the most relaxing ways they could.
It had been Ginny’s idea to have a little picnic in a secluded meadow
where nobody would know to look for them unless alerted. Just for safety,
Hermione put a special ward on the area so that a siren would go off at
the presence of an intruder.
was reading a thick book called Atlas Shrugged about Muggle philosophy,
Ron was drawing a beautiful and realistic picture of Ginny and Harry,
lying in each other’s arms. Harry was idly fiddling with the locket
around Ginny’s neck, and they smiled at each other with so much tenderness
they didn’t need speech, only gentle gazes and hands and soft laughter.
But soon they’d had nothing to laugh about. Sirens went off and Death
Eaters Apparated into the meadow, wands aimed at the four friends’ chests.
There were far too many to handle, so Ginny had offered her hands to a
Death Eater to bind, then done something very brave and strong – lifted
her knee up and hit him where it would hurt the most. Harry, Ron, and
Hermione took the opportunity to immobilize as many as possible.
there was one cloaked figure that could not be harmed by any of their
spells. He just paced around the meadow, watching his comrades die or
be hurt. Eventually he was the only one left. The friends’ Auror training
had served them very well.
the man lifted back his hood, all four gasped in recognition. Lord Voldemort.
must thank you, Harry Potter, for killing off all of my most useless Death
Eaters,” he croaked. “I would have killed them anyway, but it felt better
to have you do my dirty work for me. Expelliarmus!”
four wands lifted out of their hands, into Voldemort’s outstretched palm.
“Our wand connection cannot save you this time, Harry Potter,” he growled.
“ I will enjoy watching you die – the same way your parents did. Avada
Kedavra!” Harry waited for the blast of green light to hit him.
Ginny worked with surprising speed. She grasped up a wand from one of
the dead Death Eater’s hands, flung herself in the line of fire, and activated
a special shielding spell she had invented long before. The spell rebounded
a curse upon its caster. Voldemort fell to the ground, completely dead,
his eyes wide open in shock.
though, Ginny had never had a chance to test the shield with a spell as
strong as the Killing Curse. She fell to the ground, twitching slightly.
Harry ran over to her. She was pale, and her pupils were dilated. He grabbed
her hand and whispered her name.
she gasped. “Harry… love… you…” then her hand fell limp in his own.
she had died saving his life. Died so that he could go on and help the
wizarding world recover. But he didn’t know how he could do it without
her – she was his strength. How many times had the resistance movement
been so close to giving up, when Ginny would stand up in front of
the ever-dwindling number of wizards and make a dramatic, stirring
speech that convinced everyone to stay? How many times had he been so
close to wavering and she had put him back on track? How could he be Harry
Potter without her here?
Harry was sitting in the Great Hall of Hogwarts with some of his very
best friends. Ron. Hermione. Ginny, his best friend and fiancée. Neville, Seamus and Dean. Angelina, Alicia, Katie,
Parvati, Lavender and Cho. The twins, along with the rest of the Weasleys.
Dumbledore, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and Minerva McGonagall. Several
others. He stared at them, open-mouthed, in disbelief. “You can’t really
Professor McGonagall shook her head. “I’m sorry, Potter. But we just can’t
keep trying to breathe life into a corpse. People have been leaving our
resistance in hordes for months now. If we don’t surrender, we’ll be captured.”
Harry choked. “We can’t surrender. You know that. You all know what Voldemort
does with people who surrender. We’d have to all go into hiding.”
Dumbledore nodded severely. “If that’s what it takes. Hogwarts is already
unplottable; I can make it fully invisible to outsiders. We can start
our own wizard community here. Perhaps, in time, we’ll have enough people
to fight again.”
Harry’s supporters had found their voices by now. “Professor, you know
that just isn’t an option,” said Hermione rationally. “By then Voldemort’s
Ministry puppets will be so firmly entrenched we won’t have a hope.” She
said this with no apparent passion, just a sad sense of defeat.
Harry leaned forward too, warmed by Hermione’s support. “It’s like that
battle in the Muggle American Revolution. They needed to win a battle
so that the French would come over and help them. That’s all we need to
do – win a battle like that.”
“That’s all?” Cho parried. She rarely ever spoke, but when she did, people
tended to listen. “My parents died in the last attempt to score a major
victory. My seven-year-old brother died too. It’s not so easy, Harry.
Voldemort has all of the old wizarding families on his side – the Malfoys,
the MacNairs, the Bones, even the Figgs. We’d never thought that the Bones
or the Figgs would have gone over, but once they realized that our situation
was hopeless, they defected. Other families may yet do the same thing.
Don’t you see? We have no chance left."
Harry stood up abruptly. “You all want to surrender! You want to join
him! I can’t believe this!” He turned and stormed out of the room.
Hermione and Ron immediately stood up to go after them, but Ginny placed
one small hand on her brother’s shoulder. “I’ll go, Ron. You two need
to keep on fighting with the Professors.” And
with that, she walked swiftly out of the Great Hall.
Harry was standing under an old willow tree near the lake. Ginny stood
behind him, then gently brushed her hand against his cheek. “Harry?”
He was shaking his head. “I can’t give up, Ginny. I was born to defeat
Voldemort. I can’t just surrender, and I can’t hide.” His words were said
firmly, but belied by the tears in his eyes.
Ginny nodded. “Sit down.” She sat cross-legged beside him, and, in
her low voice, began to speak. “Harry, the reason you hurt so much right
now and the reason you won’t give up is because you think it’s all your
fault. Don’t even try to argue with me, Mr. Potter,” she said, her voice
raising a notch. “I know. I felt it too! Remember my first year? With
the Chamber of Secrets? So many people- Hermione, who is my best friend
ever, Colin Creevey, Penelope, who’s now my sister-in-law, and I felt
like it was all my fault.” Her voice dropped again. “Harry, you need to
tell me if there’s a reason you think you’re to blame.”
Harry got up and started to pace, then leaned his forehead against the
bark of the tree. In a muffled voice, he told her, “There was a time,
last year, when I confronted Voldemort and he was at a disadvantage. And
I almost beat him. He was down on the ground and I was holding my wand
out, and I knew that this could all end with a single Killing Curse. But
I couldn’t do it. Why couldn’t I do it, Ginny? If I had, this would all
be over now!”
Ginny leaned against his back and wrapped her arms around his waist. “I
keep on forgetting,” she murmured, “how young we really are.”
turned around, arms still around her. “I’ve grown up quickly,” he said
somberly. And it was true. Last year he was a small, thin boy with messy
black hair and bright green eyes. Now he had grown to be relatively tall,
lean but not skinny, and his hair didn’t look perpetually windswept. But
his eyes were still the same. And now they were grinning at her with bright
“You’re not the same girl you were before either, Gin,” he said with a
smile. “For a start, you’re speaking to me, not to mention the fact that
“Stop!” she squealed, turning red and trying to struggle out of his enclosing
“For another, I may have grown, but I think you shrunk!” he teased. Ginny
put her hands on her hips and tried to glare at him, but the corners of
her mouth turned up. She didn’t mind, after all, that she was only five
feet tall in a family of giants. And she rather liked it when Harry teased
Ginny rolled her eyes, and then shook her head, causing her locket to
hit her in the chin. “Are you ever going to tell me what’s inside there?”
Harry asked with a faint smile.
But come on, Harry. Let’s go back in.”
He nodded and then firmly tucked her arm
under his own. “May I escort you in, Miss?” he asked formally.
She curtsied. “Yes, you may.” So he gripped her hand firmly with his own
and led her back to the Great Hall.
almost thought that he was going insane. The feel of her hand in his…
the sound of her laughter… the characteristic glint in her eye when she
was going to do something mischievous. She couldn’t be dead. No, he would
wake up out of his bed screaming any moment now, and she would be curled
up against him, and he’d snuggle into her warmth and think to himself
how glad he was that it was just a nightmare. Not real… but this was very
real. There was a thin sheen of sweat left over from the fight on his
face, his glasses were askew, and there were a few tears in his clothes.
No, this was real, and suddenly he had a burning desire to bury her so
that she would be out of his life for good. He looked up at Ron and Hermione.
were locked in each other’s embrace, Hermione’s head resting on Ron’s
chest because he was a full head taller than she. He was rocking her back
and forth gently as she sobbed, but Harry saw tears running down his face
too. Suddenly another memory came back to him – stronger than the others
Ginny sprinted down the hall
into the Charms classroom, her hair flying behind her and the locket around
her neck flipping back and forth as she ran. Harry was hard-pressed to
catch up with her, but he was the stronger runner, so he was right behind
her by the time they reached the door. She stopped suddenly, and his reflexes
didn’t serve him well – he crashed right into her back, but twisted so
that he landed flat on his back and she landed on his stomach.
appear to be in a compromising position, Mr. Potter,” she said. “What
are you going to do with me now?”
planned this!” he exclaimed.
she teased. “Upset?”
in the least,” he replied, kissing her deeply, and then searching out
the hollow of her neck with his mouth. She moaned softly, and continued
to kiss with such passion that it would have marred his good intentions
had he had any.
Ginny pulled away, and sighed deeply, saying, “I’m sorry we had to sneak
out of Gryffindor Tower. But it’s been so hard trying to have some time
alone without Ron finding out.”
you weren’t careful enough,” came a disembodied voice from the corner.
Harry and Ginny, caught in the act, froze in fear, recognizing the voice
of their best friend and brother. A hand lifted off the Invisibility Cloak.
“Ginny,” Ron said steadily, “I think you’d better go now. I need to talk
to Harry alone.”
nodded quickly, whispered something in Ron’s ear that Harry couldn’t hear,
and walked out of the classroom. Ron and Harry stood there, regarding
each other, neither saying a word. Harry’s hand wavered over his wand
hilt, but he didn’t go for it. Finally, discomfited by the silence, he
said, “Well, I’m not going to keep any secrets from you anymore, Ron.”
broke the ice – but not in a good way. Instead, Ron snarled, “Oh, and
it was all right before I caught you sneaking around? You must think I’m
pretty thick, don’t you.”
corners of Harry’s mouth twitched, since he and Ginny had been discussing
how daft Ron could be earlier that very afternoon, but he kept a straight
face. “Ron, I’m sorry. But what Ginny said this afternoon was slightly
misleading. I mean, it’s not as though we’ve had sex or anything…”
you really think it matters?” Ron demanded gruffly, and then he reached
out his long arms and pinned Harry against the wall. Harry could have
got away, but he chose to be held there. “Did you ever have
a thought for her safety, Harry? No, you probably didn’t. You probably
thought that just because you were the good and great Harry Potter you
could protect her. Well, sod it, Harry; you’re not that good. You’ve been
saved from the Killing Curse once as a baby and once with Priori Incantatem,
but you’ve not been able to protect anyone else. How could you?”
mouth dropped open. “What are you talking about?”
never even thought about it?” Ron asked disbelievingly. “Harry, if You-Know-Who
finds out about you and Ginny, he might try and kill her to get to you.
You never thought of that?”
let go of his vice-like grip on Harry’s shoulders. Harry, no longer having
anything to support him, flopped to the ground, burying his head in between
his knees. Why hadn’t he ever thought about that? Ginny was in danger
because she was close to him… he couldn’t let anything happen to her.
Ron was right. It would be the worst possible blow. Finally he looked
up at Ron, who was now looking down on him with a strange mixture of anger
and pity warring on his face. Harry found his voice.
right, Ron, but somehow I don’t think that Ginny will be too perturbed
sat down next to him. “No, of course not. Ginny would go through hell
and high water for you; I’ve known that for a long time. And if I demanded
that you two stop seeing each other, well, there might be a few rare species
of giant spider more frightening than her in a bad temper, but personally
I’d rather go into Aragog’s nest again. So let’s put it this way, mate,”
he said, clapping Harry’s arm. “Take good care of her. As a matter of
fact, I’m rather glad about the two of you. But keep this in mind – if
she ever gets hurt because of you, I will personally punch you so hard
you see stars for days. And that’s a promise.”
anything happens to her because of me, you won’t need to,” Harry swore.
“But you can anyway, if it makes you feel better.”
two shared a comradely grin before heading back to Gryffindor Tower.
Harry stood up so he was face to face with Ron. Ron turned to look at
him. “What is it, Harry?” he asked, looking as though he thought Harry
might be out of his mind.
are you waiting for, Ron? Punch me!”
looked at him as though he had begun to speak in Parseltongue. “What the
hell are you talking about, Harry?” he asked, releasing Hermione from
told me once that if anything ever happened to Ginny because of me, you’d
punch me so hard I’d see stars for days. Remember that?”
course I do,” Ron said slowly. “I didn’t actually mean it, though. Come
on, mate, it’s not your fault.”
is my fault!” Harry yelled. “It was my fault he came back in the first
place, and it was my idea to have the picnic here today, and I let her
sacrifice herself to save me. Her being my fiancée practically painted
a target on her back! I mean, not only was she a Weasley, and knew more
about Tom Riddle than anyone, but then there was her connection with me.
If it weren’t for me, she’d be alive now!”
stop it!” Ron screamed with exasperation, taking him by the shoulders
and shaking Harry’s whole body. “D’you really think you could have stopped
her ever? Ginny was the most stubborn girl ever, and if you had forbidden
her to do anything, she would have told you it wasn’t your choice to make
and gone on doing it anyway. Harry, being with you was the best thing
that ever happened to her, and you and I both know it. Why are you beating
yourself up? It was her choice to make, not yours, and I assure you she
thought this situation out well in advance!”
it weren’t for me, your sister would be alive right now,” Harry whispered
pulled his arm back and brought it up hard against Harry’s nose. Blood
spurted everywhere, and Harry fell backward onto the grass, looking stunned.
“Ron!” Hermione gasped, and she ran forward and performed a quick healing
spell on Harry’s broken nose. “Is that better?” she asked anxiously. Then,
“Ron, what the hell did you think you were doing?”
mildly embarrassed, Ron shrugged and said, “Well, he was being a complete
egotistical prat. I figured it might shut him up.”
Hermione could make a stinging rejoinder, Harry put in, “You’re right,
I was being a bit selfish. Thanks, anyway.”
hitting you in the face?”
that too,” Harry grinned. “But more for making me see that you don’t think
it’s my fault.”
snorted. “With good reason. It isn’t your fault in the least, Harry.”
grinned lopsidedly. “Yeah, I know.”
the three friends came together into a tight hug, giving comfort, receiving
it, and supporting each other. Finally, they drew back, and Hermione asked,
“Are you two sure that we shouldn’t wait for the rest of your family to
be here when we bury her?”
they answered in unison. “Hermione, you know that they chose to let the
dragon riders bury Charlie, I think we can safely assume they’ll feel
the same about this,” said Ron.
that was in Romania,” Hermione said rationally.
cleared his throat. “Ginny told me once that if something happened to
her she wanted us to bury her alone. She didn’t want your mum to see her
There was a long pause, and then Hermione said, “I guess it’s time to
bury her now, then.”
Harry whispered huskily, “I just want to say one last thing to her.”
can’t hear you, Harry,” Hermione said. “But maybe – just maybe – there’s
a way that she can.”
that, Hermione picked up Voldemort’s yew and phoenix feather wand. She
muttered a quick incantation that Harry recognized as the one to recall
the last spell the wand had done. The tip of the wand glowed red, and
then a small, ghostly hand came out of the top – two hands – now two arms,
and they pushed out a head and a torso. Finally, Ginny’s whole body emerged
from the tip of his wand.
looked as though she were made of a thin film of white smoke. “Harry,”
she whispered, walking toward him. “I can’t stay for long.”
had been struck breathless by the mere presence of her spirit, but now
his heart sank. “I know,” he whispered.
face broke out into its familiar smile. “Don’t look so gloomy, Harry!
You can call on my spirit whenever you want to. Remember that locket I’ve
Harry asked, slowly.
shortly after our first time… together,” she began, her pale cheeks flushing
a bit, “I cast a special spell on that locket. It has a connection to
my spirit. So, in the event of my death, you can call on my spirit whenever
you want and we can be together for a few minutes. You don’t need to wear
it, if it makes you feel unmanly,” she said, trying to repress a smile,
“but it has an Unbreakable charm on the lock, so I suggest you find something
to do with it.”
gingerly took the locket off of her body and opened it. Inside was a small
picture of the two of them, arms around each other, looking sublimely
happy and totally in love, waving at him. As he looked, Ginny kissed his
cheek. “I’ll wear it,” he told her.
I will always be with you, Harry,” she told him. “And remember, I followed
my own path. I knew this might happen – that’s why I charmed the locket
in the first place. So don’t you ever think it’s your fault I died, because
I will personally haunt your every waking hour if you do. It was my fault,”
she smiled sadly, “my fault for loving The Boy Who Lived. And if I had
to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change one thing, except maybe to
become your friend sooner.”
love you, Ginny,” he whispered, putting his palm up in the air, facing
placed her ghostly palm against it, holding her arm carefully so that
his hand didn’t go through her. “I love you too, Harry,” she whispered
back. Then her body began to diffuse. “I must go… Ron, Hermione, take
good care of him, will you? I love you two… and Harry, this isn’t truly
goodbye.” With that, she disappeared.
sun was setting. The sky was hot pink, the clouds violet, and an orange
glow was cast over everything. Harry, Ron, and Hermione conjured shovels
and buried Ginny’s body on the west side of the hill in the meadow, so
that she would always watch the sunsets. Holding hands in a circle, they
Disapparated back to the house they shared in Hogsmeade. They all knew,
without speaking, that they’d go back to give Ginny a headstone the next
day at sunset. Ron handed Harry the picture he’d drawn of him and Ginny
earlier that day without a word and Disapparated into his room. Harry
looked at the picture for a long moment – Ron had done it with magical
pencils, so the drawing actually moved. The picture Ginny sighed and leaned
back against Harry’s shoulder. In the picture Harry twirled a piece of
her hair around his finger.
pressed his lips briefly to the thin paper, and then to the locket around
his neck. She would always be with him. And Ginny had committed this largest
of sacrifices so that he could return the wizarding world to its former
glory from the mess it had become.
Harry retired to his room and quickly fell asleep.
Author’s Note: The
first sentence belongs to George R. R. Martin as the opening line from
The Hedge Knight, and the tickling is from one of my stories archived
on sugarquill.net, The Sweetest Present. Thanks for reading and