Harry woke relatively early the next morning, having had only a few hours sleep, but feeling surprisingly refreshed.
He opened his eyes slightly, and saw that light was flooding the room from a gap in the curtains. Ron was fast asleep on his bed, his mouth wide open, and his arm was around Hermione, who was lying on her back, her head turned towards Ron, and her profusion of hair spread out around her.
Harry smiled to himself and got out of bed. He walked across the room and gently shook them awake.
Wass goin on? mumbled Ron, opening his eyes blearily. As he pulled himself out of bed, his gaze wandered to Hermione, who lay next to him, and he couldnt suppress a smile. Hermione, too, sat up. As Rons eyes travelled around the room, his smile wavered, then his face fell.
What is it, asked Hermione, tenderly.
Sorry, he muttered, its just
for a minute then, it was like- like none of it had really happened
Hermione gently entwined her hand in his and he smiled gratefully at her.
We should get going, Harry said, walking to the door. Ron nodded, Yeah, well be down in a minute
When Harry got into the common room, he found Ginny sat in an armchair by the fireplace, staring trance-like at the dancing flames. Hearing Harry enter the room, she turned around. Harry noticed that her usually sparkling eyes were as red and teary as they had been the night before, and the bags under her eyes had grown. Despite all this, however, when she smiled at him, Harry felt his heart leap and he couldnt help thinking how beautiful she was.
Hiya, she said.
Hi, he replied awkwardly, not meeting her gaze. There was an elongated pause in which Harry looked down at his feet, longing for an interruption.
After what felt like an hour, the door opened and Ron and Hermione came in, hand in hand.
We going? asked Ron. Harry nodded gratefully and climbed out of the portrait before the two of them, Ginny taking up the rear.
They reached the entrance hall, where Mr and Mrs Weasley were waiting with Bill and Fleur, Charlie, Percy and George, in whose scarred, shaking arms lay Freds body; cold and lifeless, a grin still spread across his pale face. Every one of them looked grave and solemn. George was looking down at Freds empty, unseeing eyes as though willing them to fill again with their lost mischievous sparkle. When Mrs Weasley noticed the four of them she embraced them in turn. She hugged Harry last, holding him tightly to her breast, then stepping away and stroking his arm in a motherly way.
Well see you back at the burrow then, dears, she said, and dissaperated.
George was the next to dissaperate. Without a word to anyone he turned on the spot, Freds limp body swaying slightly in his arms, and they were gone.
One by one, each of the Weasleys left, until Ginny too had gone, and only Ron, Harry, Hermione and Mr Weasley remained. Before he too dissaperate, Mr Weasley addressed Hermione.
I expect youll be wanting to get back to your parents now, but youre welcome at The Burrow any time you like.
She smiled politely and replied, thank you Mr Weasley. Id really like to come and visit.
Mr Weasley vanished and Hermione turned to Harry and Ron. She hugged Harry and kissed Ron, then said, Well, bye then.
She was about to dissaperate, but halted mid-turn as Ron suddenly shouted Wait!
She looked at him.
Come stay with us!
She threw her head back and laughed melodiously. Oh Ron, I wish I could, but theres so much to sort out. My parents are in Australia for Heavens sake! I havent seen them in nearly a year. I promise Ill come see you as soon as everythings sorted out.
Oh. Ok then, Ron said, looking disappointed, but also slightly reassured.
Well Ill be seeing you soon, then, she said, hugging them both again before dissaperating.
Ron looked at Harry. Ill see you back at The Burrow, then. And the two of them dissaperated simultaneously.
Harry arrived in the yard outside the burrow a few seconds before Ron, and just had time to notice the Weasleys stood together nearby, Ginnys face standing out the clearest, before Ron apperated on top of him.
Sorry mate, Ron mumbled, getting to his feet, as Ginny giggled.
What are you laughing at? he said fiercely.
sorry, its just- well, youre missing an eyebrow.
He ran his fingers over the place where his eyebrow had been.
I think an eyebrows the least of my losses, dont you? said Ron, darkly. Ginnys giggling ceased instantaneously.
Ron- said Mrs Weasley.
Dont, he said, and stormed past them into the house.