Chapter 26 Aftermath
Ginny's heart skipped a beat as she heard the tell-tale sound of the motor on Sirius's old bike. Disregarding her mother's shouts to stay inside, she rushed out the front door as the house gave a rumble with vibrations of a hard impact. Sensing Fleur behind her, Ginny felt slightly triumphant that she wasn't the only one not listening to her mother.
Ginny breathed a sigh of relief as she spotted Hagrid, and supposedly the real Harry coming toward them. They both seemed relatively unscathed, and for that she was thankful.
From behind her, Ginny heard her mother say, "Harry, Hagrid. Thank goodness your safe."
Harry turned to Ginny and offered her a small smile. She returned it half-heartedly, her expression almost immediately changing to one of grimness. "Fred and Dad should have been back by now. Draco and Bill as well."
Harry's expression in turn mirrored her own, and she caught a flash of what might have been resentment before it disappeared as quickly as it was there. "Don't worry, I'm sure that they're all fine." She didn't miss the emphasis on "they're." Feeling heat in her cheeks as she blushed slightly, they both turned as the sound of someone else coming through the barrier reached them.
"Help me!" Came Lupin's voice. Ginny gasped in horror when she caught sight of George, arm draped over the old DADA teacher's shoulder. The right side of his head was covered in blood.
Harry ran forward and tucked his own shoulder under her brother's arm, and had it not been so serious, she would have laughed at how ridiculous Harry looked trying to support her tall brother with his own short stature.
Ginny's mother frantically gestured for George to be put down on the couch that sat in the middle of the living room. In the better light, Ginny was horrified to see that where George's ear was supposed to be, it was just...gone.
Fighting the urge to be sick, Ginny suddenly jumped as Lupin grabbed Harry by the collar of his jacket and slammed him into the wall.
"What are you doing?!" Ginny cried out.
"What creature sat in the corner the first time Harry Potter visited my office at Hogwarts?"
Ginny stared wide-eyed as she realized that Lupin was testing Harry.
"Are you mad?!" The bespectacled boy shot back.
Harry squeezed his eyes shut, and said, "A-grindylow!"
Lupin backed off, satisfied, and Ginny felt herself breath a sigh of relief. She couldn't imagine what it would have meant if Harry wasn't really...Harry.
Another snap, just following what Ginny thought had been Lupin saying, "We've been betrayed," and the former teacher was striding out the door. Again, he faced the man who...looked...liked Kingsley, and both of them pulled out their wands.
"The last words Albus Dumbledore spoke to the pair of us," Kingsley said in his deep voice.
"Trust Harry-he is our only hope."
When the wands were lowered, Ginny again breathed a sigh of relief.
As the others started showing up, Ginny's shoulders sagged in relief when she saw Bill and Draco ride up on a thestral. Fleur ran up and hugged and kissed Bill like there was no tomorrow, but Ginny restrained herself and just smiled as Draco walked over to her.
"Hey," he said. She noted that he looked more shaken than she'd ever seen him. Forgetting about picky parents for the moment, she put her arms around him and was happy when he returned the favor, hugging her back.
Another snap, and over Draco's shoulder, Ginny saw her dad and Fred walking up.
Ginny suddenly remembered the other twin in the house, and felt a surge of anger, sadness, and dread. She couldn't figure out which feelings were directed where, but her dad, Fred, and Draco all must have noticed a change in those who knew what had happened.
"Where's George?" Upon getting no answer, Fred sprinted into the house. Draco, forgetting about Ginny for a moment, followed close after.
The feeling of dread at the silence that met Fred's question grew as he approached the couch he saw his mother leaning over. Even a few feet away, he could smell the telltale coppery scent of blood, and Fred wasn't sure he wanted to see what had happened. But his feet decided for him, and he found himself standing behind his mother, who moved aside so that Fred could kneel down beside his twin.
Fred felt sick as he stared at the blood coating the side of George's head. Where his twin's ear was supposed to be, there was now nothing-just a hole.
Swallowing, Fred finally found his voice. "How'r you doing there Georgie?"
For a moment the younger twin thought that George hadn't heard the question, but George slowly opened his eyes.
Fred furrowed his brow in confusion. "Come again?" He asked, wondering if his brother had suffered some brain damage as well.
"I'm saint-like," George said. "See, I'm holey, get it?"
Fred felt incredibly incredulous, if that was even possible. His brother was bleeding all over the couch because his ear had been shot off, and he was joking.
He scoffed a little, shaking his head. "A whole wide world of ear related humor, and you go for 'I'm holey'. That's pathetic."
George smirked back at him. "I reckon I'm still better-looking than you."
cleared their throat, and everyone's attention was directed to Bill,
who was standing with his arm around Fleur, and his hand on Draco's
Wait, did something happen out there other than George...?
"Mad-Eye is dead. Mundungus took one look at You-Know-Who and disapperated."
A solemn atmosphere fell, and the joking that had happened only moments before, seemed now out of place.
Fred couldn't help but wonder how many more would die before the war that was upon them was finally over.
It was later that evening that Draco found him. Since George was hurt, their mother had insisted on them staying at the Burrow that evening, and then being there the next day to help start preparations for the wedding in a few days.
Fred had tried to sleep, but he kept looking over at his brother, who was knocked out with painkillers at the moment, white bandages wrapped around his head.
After midnight struck, Fred finally made his way down the stairs, careful not to wake any of the sleeping occupants in the other rooms. Making his way to the kitchen, he found some cookies and took them and some milk and settled down at the table.
A creak by the door startled Fred, and he turned to see Draco.
"I didn't mean to startle you. I just couldn't sleep and heard you leave the room."
forgot that you were sleeping in the corner of the room. I guess I was
so used to that always being mine and George's room." Upon seeing the
look on the blonds face, Fred hurried to add,"Not like you don't belong
there...I was just not used to it."
Draco nodded, and then asked, "Are there enough cookies for me?"