A morning for mourning
A morning for mourning
A/n: I do not own any of the Harry Potter characters
Harry woke up the morning after the Final Battle and was at first disorented. Why was he at Hogwarts? Why was he not out hunting horcruxes? Slowly the events of the past day…no the past year…no, the past three years came flowing back to him. Looking over at the bed next to him, Harry saw Ron and Hermione curled up next to each other. He felt a small pang in the back of his throat as his thoughts made their way to Ginny. She would never want to see him again, none of the Weasleys would. Getting up, Harry snuck down to the common room and left the tower.
How could all of this happen? he thought as he took in the destruction of his first home and school. Walls were missing chunks, stairs looked ready to give way and the slippery mixture of blood and stone seemed to ooze from everywhere. He didn't know why, but his feet seemed to lead him to the Owlery. As he entered the stiffling silent room, Harry searched for the familiar patch of white that he was used to seeing for six years. He knew Hedwig had died, but maybe it was a false hope. Nothing. No familiar face. He sunk down to the floor, the weight of the suppressed emotions finally pressing down on him. Pig even seemed to be avoiding him, which just cemented his belief that all of the Weasleys would want nothing to do with him. He placed his head in his hands and didn't even react as the tears came streaming down his cheeks silently.
Dad, Mum, Sirius…he thought. He wept for his parents, the last victims of the first war. He wept for Cedric; a young life cut short, a lost friend. He wept for Sirius, a man who was always there for Harry and would do the impossible to protect him. Dumbledore, the best Headmaster Hogwarts had ever known and Harry's mentor. Wormtail, or the man he used to be. The man his father trusted with his life and the life of his family. Hedwig; his first friend,the only thing that made his summers bearable. Dobby; a free elf, even in death. Colin, Mad-Eye, Remus, Tonks…Fred.
What if I'd been faster? Harry thought. Would Fred still be alive? Would I not be?
These thoughts streamed through his head just as the tears streamed down his face. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Despite his weariness, Harry jumped up and drew his wand…
…Only to realize that he was pointing it at Percy.
"Sorry," Harry muttered as he stowed his wand. Percy shook his head.
"Don't be," he said. "After the year you had, I'll count myself lucky you didn't curse me."
Harry forced a chuckle as he looked straight at the third eldest Weasley off-spring (yet somehow avoided eye contact). He sat back down.
"Percy, how can you be near me right now?" he asked. "If it wasn't for me—"
"Don't," Percy said, cutting Harry off. "Don't blame yourself. If anyone should, it should be me."
Harry couldn't see why Percy would blame himself. He was the least at fault.
"I should have pulled him away as soon as the wall began to fall," Percy said, sitting next to Harry. "I was there too Harry. It was always my job to protect my younger siblings, and I…I c-couldn't even do that."
Harry stared at Percy. He was seriously blaming himself?
"Percy, you were in the middle of a duel when the wall came down. There wasn't any time. If I'd only been faster," he countered and Percy stood up so quickly that it caused Harry to look up. Percy was frightened by how Harry seemed to be a shadow of his former self. He seemed old almost. His eyes had an almost dead quality to them.
"Harry," Percy said firmly. "Stop it. You know why I came up here?"
Harry shook his head, but feared the worst and looked at the ground. Though, how did Percy know where to find him?
"Ron told me about the Marauder's map," Percy said, "along with how to work it. But that's beside the point." Percy said as if he didn't noticed Harry's headshake. "I came to find you. Mum is worried that you've gone and done something dangerous."
Harry looked back up at this. It was clear on his face that he didn't believe a word that Percy said.
"Harry," Percy sighed, not even knowing how to say what needed to be said. "When Hagrid came out of the forest," he began slowly, keeping the words carrying your dead body out, "I thought mum would kill You-Know-Who herself, she was so mad. Dad went paler than I had ever seen him and kept shaking his head. Bill was screaming right along with Professor McGonagall. Charlie looked ready to feed You-Know-Who to a dragon, George…" Percy paused. It still hurt to talk about George without mentioning Fred. It seemed unnatural. "George was shaking and kept muttering "We can't have lost two." Ron was terrified."
Ron had told Percy that Harry had left after viewing something in Dumbledore's office without telling him what it was. He became worried when Harry didn't come back. Just as none of them could possibly grasp George's pain of being without his twin, Percy doubted that any one of them could grasp the fear and mixture of emotions Ron must have felt seeing Hagrid carry the dead body of his best friend out of the forest.
"Ginny had tears in her eyes," he finished softly. That's what frightened him the most. Ginny had never cried, not even as a baby. Sure she'd thrown a few temper tantrums but tears rarely leaked out of her eyes. "She almost seemed deflated, but the fire to fight was still in there. It was if she was going to bring down as many Death Eaters as she possibly could."
Harry was looking down at the floor again, and Percy wondered what he was thinking. He wasn't saying this to make Harry feel guilty. No, he was seeing it so that he would realize that he was a part of their family.
"I was numb," Percy admitted softly. "Seeing your body. I'd just seen you not twenty minutes ago and then…that. It just didn't seem possible to me."
"But why?" Harry asked looking up. His eyes were glassy but at least there was some of their old spark in them. "I'm just Ron's best friend."
"Harry," Percy shook his head and kneeled down in front of him. "You are a member of this family whether you realize that or not. You became so the minute you and Ron became friends on the train your first year. Your place was cemented when you—not me, not F-Fred, not George—you and Ron went down to rescue Ginny your second year. That's why McGonagall allowed Mum and Bill to visit before the third task your fourth year. You are family, and forgive me for not realizing that sooner. "
Harry stared at him in disbelief.
"There's nothing to forgive," Harry said softly still looking at his feet.
Percy wondered if he'd ever get through to him when Pig flew down and landed on Harry's shoulder. There was sadness in his eyes, as if he too knew that there was a Weasley missing from the world.
"Percy…" Harry said softly, not knowing what he was going to say. In truth, his heart had healed a little when Pig came down to see him. At least not all Weasleys were going to avoid him—though he'd take care not to mention that to Percy; he did just get put in the same group as an owl after all.
Percy stared back at him. There seemed to be a gap between the two of them, something nothing could breech no matter how hard he tried. Just then, Percy seemed to chuckle though stopped and looked repulsed as soon as he heard it.
"What?" Harry asked.
"I was just thinking about what Fred would have said about his death," Percy said softly. "Probably something like, "all the Death Eaters around and I get taken out by a wall?"
Harry chuckled along with Percy, though also felt disgusted with himself. But then, unbidden by his memories, a certain one came floating along. The last day of term his Fourth Year when he gave the prize money to the twins.
But I could do with a few laughs. We could all do with a few laughs. I've got a feeling we're going to need them more than usual before long.
Fred had lived by laughter, if his pranks at Hogwarts with George right by his side had anything to do about it. He lived by it, he embraced it, and heck he made a living out of it! More importantly, he died by it. He died laughing. He died with a grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
"Harry?" Percy said softly and Harry realized that he had been woolgathering for a while. He smiled a small smile back at Percy, though it still felt forced. The funny thing though was that he found himself forgetting why he'd wanted to avoid the Weasleys in the first place. They were his family, just as Hogwarts was his home.
"Harry, mum's going to come searching for both of us in five minutes if we don't hurry up," Percy said and the threat was real enough that Harry knew that he wasn't bluffing. Picking himself up off the musty smelling floor, Harry turned to Percy.
"Thanks," he said softly. One word. That was all that was needed to be said. All the possible meanings were audible just as easily as if Harry had said them.
Thank you for being here.
Thank you for caring.
Thank you for coming back.
Thank you for rejoining the Weasleys; your family.
But the most obvious one was the most simple one: Thank you. That was it. That was all it could possibly mean.
Two men left the Owlery that morning; one a man who left with his brother and the other a man who felt lighter than he had in three years.
A/N: Okay so I stink royally at writing emotional stuff, so I'm sorry that it might not be any good. I've seen a few of these stories and so wanted to write one. But I chose Percy as he would feel just as guilty and maybe drive Harry to see how ridiculous he was being, blaming himself.