Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chapter 1: Return to the Great Hall

* note: this is meant to take place immediately after chapter 36 of book 7, when they are in Dumbleore's office*

Still clutching the Elder Wand in one hand, his newly repaired holly wand in his other, Harry waked quietly out of the door of the Headmaster's office, Ron and Hermione close behind him.

"I'd like to put this away before people start asking about it" Harry told them, indicating the Elder wand. The three of them walked quickly through the castle, stepping around and over the rubble from the previous night's battle. Ron took Hermione's hand to guide her across a large chunk of castle wall which was lying in the middle of the hallway, and continued to hold it once she was clear of the debris. This did not go unnoticed by Harry, who commented "so you two have finally decided to stop being stubborn about the whole thing, eh? It's about time!" Hermione went pink in the face and Ron's ears turned red. Ron replied "well, you know, I was just waiting for the right moment." Hermione stared at him with an outraged look for a moment before she bust out laughing, Ron and Harry joining in.

Within a few minutes they found themselves standing at Dumbledore's grave, cracked and broken and left in the disrespectful disarray Voldemort had caused. Someone (perhaps Snape?) had at least re-covered Dumbledore's body but the tomb was still cracked down the middle, the pieces laying at the sides of the platform where the great Headmaster laid. Not wanting to bear the site of another dead loved one, Harry simply lay the Elder Wand on top of the shroud.

"Harry, I'm not sure if we can repair this. It was caused by dark magic, and Reparo might not work." Hermione told him regretfully.

"Spells have more power when they're done by multiple people. " he told them. The three of them raised their wands and together said "Reparo". As his wand preformed the spell, Harry felt the familiar warmth of his old holly wand but this time also felt another sensation, as if the wand had more power than it had previously. The tomb, responding to the force of 3 spells combined, resealed itself as good as new. Harry laid his hand upon the tomb for a moment out of respect towards its resident, then the three headed back to the Castle. Hermione was crying silently and Ron offered her his sleeve, then put his arm around her as they walked. Harry's mind was focused not on his friends' finally confirmed romantic feelings but on his wand. Had the Elder wand imparted some of its power on his own wand when it was repaired, similar to the way Voldemort had transferred some of his powers to Harry all those years ago? He chose not to mention this to the others until he had a chance to further test his now repaired wand.

They re-entered the Great Hall and headed to the table where the Weasley family sat, while a mixture of curious and grateful gazes followed them. As they approached the table, Harry began to feel awkward and guilty, like he had felt following Nagini's attack on Mr. Weasly. Harry worried that they would blame Fred's death on him, and he worried that if they did it was justifiably so. His fears were unfounded though, because as soon as they noticed him approaching the whole family turned toward him with grins of gratitude. There was still sadness there, and he knew it was going to be there for quite some time, but he knew they did not place any blame on him.

Ginny got out of her seat as they approached and walked up to Harry. Ron and Hermione gave each other knowing looks and sat down to give Harry and Ginny some privacy. Ginny looked straight into his eyes and asked "Is it over?". With a deep sigh full of relief, Harry replied "yes Ginny, it's over." Then she asked pointedly "Are we over?". He told her "I would like to hope that we're just beginning." With a grin and a laugh, Ginny threw her arms around his neck and kissed him hard upon the lips. As much as he would have loved to go on kissing her forever to make up for lost time, Harry was drawn back to reality when George hooted and cheered. Of course Peeves had noticed as well and flew around the room singing "Potty and Ginny sitting in a tree. . . " Embarrassed, Harry and Ginny pulled away from each other and sat at the table, avoiding the questioning eyes of her family members.

Seeing all that had transpired, Molly asked "well, now, what is this all about?" with more curiosity than warning in her tone, although there was some of that as well. Arthur gazed at them with an odd look on his face, torn between being upset over the idea of his youngest child and only daughter being romantically involved with someone, and happy that she chose someone whom he admired and respected more than almost anyone.

Ginny informed them "well, Harry and I began seeing each other last year after we won the Quidditch Cup, but then he dumped me because he claimed he had more important things to do, like vanquish some dark wizard or something." Harry started to sputter and refute her claims but he noticed the light of laughter in her eyes and grinned. The whole family laughed with them.

Everyone resumed their chatter as Harry tried to focus on the plate of food in front of him. As hungry as he had been, the exhaustion that he felt was overtaking him, and his eyes began to droop. Molly noticed and asked them "when was the last time you three slept?" It had been so long that they had to think about it. Ron said "the night before we broke into Gringotts. How long ago was that?" Molly replied "I have plenty of questions for you regarding that young man, but they can wait. I think the three of you are in desperate need of some rest. Why don't you head up to the dormitories and get some sleep?" they murmured agreement and stood up. Arthur stood with them and grasped Harry's hand, shaking it firmly. "Thank you, my son, for everything." he told Harry, then he pulled him in for a brief hug. He gave Ron and Hermione hugs as well as Molly pulled Harry into her arms for a motherly hug. She pulled away to give her attention to Ron and Hermione while Harry squeezed Ginny's shoulder and bent down to give her a light kiss. Then the three of them headed out of the Great Hall, pausing to shake hands with those who offered, and wave greetings at others. Ron decided to head for the showers to wash off days of grime but all Harry could focus on was his 4 poster bed and soft pillow waiting for him upstairs. Before he could even being to take in all that had transpired, he was fast asleep.

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