|SIYE Time:20:45 on 24th July 2017|
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Minerva McGonagall
Story is Complete
Summary: Harry finds that he is not the only one mourning his godfather. Somehow that helps ease his grief. Slightly AU.
Hitcount: Story Total: 2707
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Harry left the castle and wandered down by the lake. He didn't want to talk to anyone, but he really didn't want to be by himself. As he neared his favourite spot near the lake, he heard the sound of sobbing. He faltered not wanting to intrude on someone else's grief when he recognized the trainers sticking out from behind the tree. Rounding the tree he saw Ginny with her head down in her arms crying.
She raised her head and hastily wiped her eyes, "Harry."
He sat down near her and handed her his handkerchief. She took it with a watery smile and wiped her eyes. "Thanks."
Nodding he asked, "What's wrong?"
To his surprise, Ginny blushed and looked down at her hands. "I was just…upset about Sirius."
"Really?" Harry was shocked. His other friends had said they were sorry he died, but they seemed more upset for Harry than upset about Sirius. A thrill of warmth momentarily broke through his numbness; Sirius had mattered to someone other than him.
She nodded, "Last summer, he was really great. When we first got there, I was really upset about Percy leaving. Ron doesn't like me hanging around and especially once Hermione got there, he didn't have time for me. I was kind of bored and I walked into the library and Sirius was there."
She looked out over the pond and Harry could see a faint smile on her face, "He reminded me a lot of my oldest brothers. He talked and joked and listened to me. He told me how he'd left his family and how he still kind of missed them, especially his brother. He told me a bit about your dad and how he went to live with your grandparents. He was just nice to me when so many people were ignoring me."
Harry smiled softly, "He was always really good at listening. Last year during the Tri-Wizard Tournament when Ron wasn't talking to me, it was a really bad time. Most people thought I was just some attention seeking prat and then I found out about the dragon. Sirius firecalled me and I just blurted everything out. He couldn't do much, but he just listened."
The smile fell from his face, "He won't be able to do that anymore and it's all my fault."
"No, Harry, it's not your fault."
He glared, "I was stupid enough to believe Voldemort's visions were real. I'm the one that brought his friends into danger. Everyone one of you got hurt all because I was stupid enough to believe in that vision."
"I know how easy it is to believe what he tells you is real. I imagine having him put the vision directly into your brain must be horrible," Ginny said earnestly.
Harry relaxed slightly. When he continued his voice was a bit shaky, "It's just…I just got to know him and I was never really allowed to spend a lot of time with him and now he's gone."
Reaching out Ginny cautiously placed her hand on his arm. "I know Harry and I am so sorry for your loss."
Her heartfelt words crumbled his defences and to his horror, he felt tears streaming down his face. He tried to turn away, but she wouldn't let him. Getting up on her knees she turned towards him and wrapped her arms around him. He resisted for a moment before burying his head in her neck, his arms came up around her arm as he quietly sobbed out his grief.
Unknown to either of the grieving pair at the lake, they were being watched from the castle. Minerva McGonagall's heart went out to the two of them. As she turned away, she suddenly wondered why Harry was still at the school. Normally when a student suffered the loss of a close family member they were sent home. Remembering his family, she thought that maybe he was better off here at the school.
Heading over to her desk, she pulled out several sheets of parchment. She had letters to write.
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That evening in the common room a subdued Harry sat down on the couch in front of the fire. He gave a brief smile when Ginny joined him. Pulling a book out of her back pocket she sat down on the couch. He settled back and stared into the fire. He was a bit embarrassed after having broken down in front of her, but she was so nonchalant about the whole thing he wasn't quite as embarrassed as he might have been. Her quiet presence was rather soothing.
Harry looked up in surprise at his Head-of-House, "Professor McGonagall."
She moved a chair closer with a wave of her wand and sat down. Recalling the last time he'd seen her, Harry asked, "Are you okay?"
She nodded, "I am much better, thank you, Mr. Potter."
Looking at the two in front of her she said, "I wanted to talk to you, Mr. Potter."
"Would you like me to leave?" Ginny asked as she closed her book.
"No, Miss Weasley. I think you should stay if that is alright with Mr. Potter."
Harry nodded, "I want Ginny to stay."
"First, Mr. Potter, please allow me to extend my condolences on the loss of your godfather," Professor McGonagall said. "I know he thought the world of you."
"Thank you," Harry muttered looking at his hands.
"That is actually the reason I am here. Normally students are sent home upon the death of a close family member," Professor McGonagall explained. She held up her hand at the look on Harry's face. "I realize that sending you back to your relatives early would not be at all comforting. I made some inquiries today and if you are interested tomorrow we could make a pilgrimage to Godric's Hollow and have a quiet memorial service to honour Sirius."
"Really?" Harry asked. He looked over at the older witch. "Is that where my parents are buried?"
"Yes, they are buried in the churchyard in town," she replied.
He looked over at Ginny and asked the professor, "Can Ginny come?"
"If she would like to join us, I have no objection," Professor McGonagall answered with a hint of a smile.
"I want to come," Ginny said firmly before Harry could say anything.
He smiled at her, "Thank you."
"Excellent, I will pick you up after breakfast."
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After a sleepless night filled with nightmares of Sirius falling through the veil, Harry rose and after showering stood in front of his wardrobe trying to find something descent to wear. Professor McGonagall had told them to wear Muggle clothes, but to his dismay Harry didn't have any Muggle clothes that he felt were nice enough for such an occasion. Rummaging through his belongings, he found the one nice shirt he owned. Sirius had bought it for him, or at least he had Tonks buy it for him. It was a button down light grey shirt. He wore that with his nicest pair of jeans. He had to roll the cuffs up on the legs and tighten the belt, but he felt he looked half-way decent.
As he descended the stairs to the common room, he caught sight of Ginny waiting for him. He remembered thinking from time to time that she was pretty, but he'd been wrong. She was beautiful. He watched her for a moment as she gazed out the window. She was wearing a yellow sundress with a little white shawl thrown over her arm.
Clearing his throat, he got her attention. Smiling he said, "You look really nice, Ginny."
She blushed, "Thank you. I borrowed this from Katie."
As they started walking down to the Great Hall, Harry said, "I didn't really have anything nice to wear. The only Muggle clothes I have are my cousin's, well except for this shirt. Sirius gave it to me for Christmas."
"It's nice," Ginny said shyly. They walked in silence for a few minutes and Ginny stole glances up at him. "What do you mean the only clothes you have are your cousin's?"
Harry blushed, "My aunt and uncle don't really like to spend any money on me. I get all of my cousin's hand-me-downs and he's like four times my size."
"Oh," Ginny said. "My mum thought you chose those clothes. Something about Muggle fashions."
He shook his head, "No, the only clothes I've ever gotten new are my robes."
"I know the feeling," Ginny replied. "I'm the youngest of seven so I have hand-me-downs from all of my brothers. The only nice clothes I have Hermione gave me. I'm a bit smaller than her so I just take them all in."
"Why didn't I think of that?" Harry wondered aloud. "I could at least fix them to fit a little better."
"Come here," Ginny beckoned him into a classroom at the end of the hall. Once they entered the classroom, she said, "Stand there."
Harry stood where he was told and watched as Ginny walked around him looking at the jeans he was wearing. He blushed a little feeling vaguely uncomfortable, but unsure why. Ginny drew her wand and cast a spell he was unfamiliar with on the jeans. He almost jumped as they shrank and molded to his body. The cuffs unraveled and shrank. Within a few moments, he was wearing a pair of jeans that actually fit. It felt a bit strange to wear clothes that actually fit.
"Wow, Ginny. Thank you." He ran his hands down the legs. "This is great."
Blushing, she said, "Your welcome. It's a fairly easy spell. I can teach you if you want."
"That would be great," Harry said looking at her in admiration.
Feeling a bit flustered under his admiring gaze she said, "Let's get down to breakfast. Professor McGonagall wanted to leave early."
Harry felt his appetite leave as he and Ginny entered the Great Hall. It somehow felt so wrong that all of his classmates were laughing and joking when Sirius was dead. Ginny tugged on his arm and he followed her to the Gryffindor table.
Sitting slightly apart from the others, Harry played with a piece of toast while Ginny ate her bowl of cereal. She seemed to realize he didn't have much of an appetite and to Harry's relief she didn't bug him to eat.
He did manage to drink some pumpkin juice and once she was done the two of them headed for the Entrance Hall. Professor McGonagall was waiting for them holding a Muggle style picnic basket. She gave them a rare smile when they approached.
"Are you ready to go?"
They nodded and after Harry took the picnic basket, the three of them headed off towards the gates. "We will be taking a Portkey to Godric's Hollow. Have either of you ever been there?"
The two young people shook their heads.
"It is in the West country, actually not too far from where your parents live," Professor McGonagall explained addressing the last part of her comment to Ginny. "Godric's Hollow is of course the birth place of Godric Gryffindor, but it is a Muggle town. There is a small magical community living within Godric's Hollow."
Harry felt a twinge of interest that he and Godric Gryffindor were from the same place, but he couldn't work up much more than that. "Professor, do you know if my dad was born in Godric's Hollow?"
"Yes, his family had lived there for several generations. Your grandparents were rather elderly by the time James graduated from Hogwarts and he wanted to live near them. They died shortly after you were born." Professor McGonagall looked over at Harry. "I think having you really helped James with his grief. He was so thrilled that they both lived to see you born. They were both in poor health so we weren't sure they would live to see you, but they did and they were both so happy hold you."
Grief rose up in Harry rather quickly; he had never really considered his grandparents before. He knew that his mother's parents had died in a car accident, but he had not really heard about his father's parents. The extent of his losses seemed somehow larger. He jumped slightly when Ginny slipped her hand into his. He looked over at her and she smiled and squeezed his hand. Somehow she just made him feel better.
"Is there…anything there?" He asked.
To his relief she understood his question, "The house is still standing and I should warn you that there is a statue of you and your parents in the town square."
"What?" He couldn't imagine that.
Professor McGonagall explained, "You have to understand that once you defeated You-Know-Who, people wanted to honour your family. It appears as a war memorial until someone magical passed in front of it. Muggles of course can't see the statue."
After they left the grounds, Professor McGonagall pulled an empty ink pot from her robes before she pulled off her cloak. Harry's eye widened as he took in his stern professor in Muggle clothing. She was simply dressed in black trousers and a green blouse.
She swiftly transfigured her cloak into a shawl rather like the one Ginny carried held out the Portkey. The younger two reached out to touch the Portkey and Professor McGonagall said, "Sirius."
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Harry felt the familiar sensation of being yanked through space and spat out onto a dirt path. He got to his feet quickly and helped Ginny to her feet. Professor McGonagall waited until they had sorted themselves out before leading the way into town.
"It's really pretty here," Ginny said breaking the silence.
Harry nodded looking around at the rugged countryside, "It is."
As they continued down the road, Ginny asked, "Is it a big town, Professor?"
"Not really, it is a rather small town," she replied. "I think that appealed to Lily, living in a small town. She knew all of the other magical families in town and several of the Muggle families as well. There was a group of young families here and Lily told me she would take Harry to the playpark and talk to the other mothers."
They were closer to the town now and Harry could see some houses up ahead. They houses were much older than the ones he was used to in Little Whinging. He liked the individuality of the homes with the stately trees and bright gardens. They passed a few people, some watering their gardens or watching children play. Everyone raised a hand or offered a friendly greeting. Harry fell in love with the town right away.
They passed the playpark and Harry could see some young families already out enjoying the weather. He paused when he heard a dog barking, for a wild minute he expected a large black dog to appear. Instead it was a golden lab running in the park with a little boy. He watched them play for a moment before resuming their journey.
Entering the town square, he stopped and looked around. There were several shops, including an antique store, a book store, and a general store. There was a post office and pub that was just opening up. Up ahead he could see the statue and a large church with a graveyard behind it.
Taking a deep breath, Harry followed the two witches towards the centre of the town square. Ginny reached out her hand once again and Harry was happy to take it. They stopped in front of the statue and Harry's heart caught in his throat when he saw the statue change into that of a young family. There were sitting on a bench with Harry sitting on Lily's lap. James was looking at both of them proudly with his arms around his small family.
Harry's whole attention was focused on this depiction of his family. He didn't notice the tears of the other two and didn't appear to notice his own tears at first. He was fascinated by the depiction of him without a scar and so obviously loved.
He started to speak, but had to clear his throat before he could say, "She was so beautiful."
"Aye, she was," Professor McGonagall agreed. "Both inside and out, she was very kind and friendly."
"Professor," Harry hesitated, but his need to know overrode his natural tendency towards privacy. "Were they in love?" He rushed to explain, "I saw…a memory. He was…rather a jerk and she seemed to hate him. I just…"
When he trailed off Professor McGonagall replied, "They were very much in love. I would imagine from things I heard it was a memory of Professor Snape's?"
Harry nodded miserably, "It was horrible. My dad was picking on him for no reason, just because Sirius was bored."
Professor McGonagall sighed and gestured for the two of them to join her on one of the benches that surrounded the statue. "Your father, Sirius, and Professor Snape were sworn enemies from the day they met on the Hogwarts' Express. Rather like you and young Mr. Malfoy. James and Sirius were popular, athletic, and wealthy; everything Severus Snape was not. I normally would not speak of a colleague so frankly to students, but I think you need to understand. This is not to be bandied around."
Harry and Ginny quickly agreed and the older witch continued.
"James and Sirius were a bit spoiled and indulged, but they were not bad boys. They were mischievous and fun loving. Severus…well, his childhood was not as happy as theirs and he did not react well to being pranked. He was in Slytherin and they were in Gryffindor so there was some built in hostility.
"Sirius was brought up in a dark household and he couldn't imagine anyone embracing that lifestyle as Severus appeared to do. Severus, I believe was fascinated by the power and knowledge they offered without seeing the downside.
"Before he started at Hogwarts, Severus had befriended a young Muggleborn witch. They were best friends for their first three years at school until his darker friends started to exert more influence on him."
She fell silent. Harry looked over at Ginny who was also wrapped up in the story. Professor McGonagall continued softly, "I don't know for certain, but I think he had a crush on his friend and she while she did not return his feelings others may have perceived him as a rival. That fueled the animosity between Severus and James."
"Snape was friends with my Mum?" Harry asked horrified.
"He was," She replied simply.
"Did they date?" He was praying the answer was no.
"They did not," Professor McGonagall reassured him. "I don't think she viewed Severus like that."
Harry was silent for a few moments trying to wrap his head around the thought that Snape and his mum were friends. He looked up, "Do you know how my parents got together?"
She smiled, "I heard rumours. As you know they were Head Boy and Head Girl, Lily was horrified at first to hear James was the Head Boy. James had matured his last two years at school. I think as his parents got older he had to shoulder more responsibility. She was able to see past his cocky exterior and see the good man that was inside.
"James was good hearted. If any of the younger students were homesick, he would talk to them and make them feel better. He would make them laugh and help them send letters home. If they were Muggleborn, he would help explain the magical world. He and Sirius would help some of the younger ones with their studies."
"I thought…well I guess it was something Hermione said, I didn't think they did well in school," Harry explained. "She said something about Professor Lupin helping them pass."
A pained look crossed her face, "No, they were brilliant students. James was especially gifted in Transfiguration and Defence Against the Dark Arts while Sirius was good in Transfiguration and Astronomy. Remus was a good student, but he wasn't better than them. The opposite actually, Remus worked very hard for his grades while James and Sirius did well without seeming to try."
Harry's face lit up hearing good things about his father. She asked, "May I ask why Miss Granger thought they were not good students?"
It was Ginny who answered, "Hermione thought they must not be good students because they were known as pranksters and they weren't prefects. She said something about them being like my brothers."
"They were pranksters, but they were also the oldest sons of very wealthy Pureblood families. They were exposed to magic from their childhood and encouraged to read and learn as much as possible. I don't know where she got her mistaken impression, but I wish she had clarified it before saying anything to you." Professor McGonagall did not sound happy with Hermione.
"She didn't really trust Sirius," Ginny said softly. "I think she picked up on my mum's attitude towards him and thought he was rather irresponsible."
"He was not," Professor McGonagall said promptly. "I heard about your mother saying Sirius confused Harry and James, but I don't think that it true."
Turning to look at Harry she said, "Sirius loved you very, very much. He broke out of Azkaban to protect you, he lived off rats to stay near you last year, and he would have done anything for you. Did he make mistakes? Of course, just like we all do, but he always did his best for you."
Harry somehow felt better hearing so many good things about his father and godfather. He realized that he had accepted Hermione's rather dim view of his godfather.
"Thank you, Professor."
"You are most welcome, Harry." She stood, "Would you like to see were your parents are buried?"
He nodded and the three of them headed into the graveyard.
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Harry stared at the shiny white stone that marked his parents' final resting place. It seemed so strange to think of them lying silently under the ground, he dropped to his knees next to the head stone. With a shaking hand, he traced their names.
He didn't bother to check his tears, but stared at their names. Part of him wished he was with them instead of here alone. As he looked around the town, he imagined growing up in this pretty town with loving parents instead of the loveless existence he endured at the Dursleys.
Wiping his eyes, he stood up. Professor McGonagall approached him and handed him a wreath of lilies to place on their grave.
"Would you like to place a stone honouring Sirius next to them?"
He nodded. Placing her hand on his shoulder, she drew her wand and after making sure no one was around she transfigured a matching white stone. She engraved his name and dates on the stone and looked at Harry, "What else?"
He stared at the stone for a minute before sniffing and asking, "Can you put a dog u-under the dates?"
She did as he asked and then he said, "Can you engrave, 'I solemnly swear I'm up to no good' on the stone?"
Nodding she did as he asked. He smiled faintly, "That is perfect."
He knelt by the stone, "I'm sorry, Sirius. I…I love you and I'm going to miss you so much. I wish we'd be able to move in together and be a family like my parents wanted. At least you're with my parents again."
Standing, he said, "Professor, how can I conjure up flower for him?"
She showed him how and to his surprise, he was able to perform the spell on the first try. Pleased with his efforts, he placed his creation on the gravestone.
"What kind of flower is that?" Ginny asked as she wiped her eyes.
"A dogwood," Harry said with a smile. "That is one of the few trees I like in my aunt's garden. I thought it was appropriate for Sirius."
Professor McGonagall led the two teens down one of the streets leading out of town. As they neared the end of the street, Harry could see a cottage that appeared to have been abandoned and overgrown.
"I just assumed it…exploded," Harry said.
"No, just the nursery," Professor McGonagall said pointing to the upper floor. She touched the gate activating the sign honouring the Potters.
Harry shook his head, "I wish they'd just torn it down or fixed it."
"You own the house and land," She said gently. "If you wish to fix it up, that is your choice."
Once Harry had looked his fill, Professor McGonagall suggested, "There is a nice park near the church. I thought we could have a picnic there. Your friend, Dobby, prepared a meal for us."
The three headed back to the park and Professor McGonagall spread out a blanket while the two teens pulled out containers of sandwiches, salads, fruit, and pumpkin juice.
They ate in a companionable silence while Harry absorbed everything he had learned that day . As she finished her pear, Professor McGonagall said, "Did you ever hear how your father and his friends managed to turn all of the Slytherins pink?"
"What?" Harry and Ginny started laughing.
She shared several stories about the Marauders as well as stories about James and Lily. Harry told them how he'd met Sirius for the first time as well as the meeting in the Shrieking Shack. Ginny told them how her brothers tried to prank Sirius soon after they moved into Grimmauld Place only to have it turned around on them.
It was mid-afternoon before they retraced their steps to the road out of town to return to Hogwarts. Before she activated the Portkey, Harry reached out to Professor McGonagall, "Thank you."
She smiled warmly, "You are very welcome, Harry."
They returned to Hogwarts and the two teens returned to Gryffindor tower. It was empty on the beautiful summer afternoon. Harry smiled at Ginny, "Thank you for coming with me. I…I don't think I can tell you how much it means to me that you came with me."
She smiled and to his surprise reached out to hug him, "You are very welcome, Harry. I'm glad I could be there for both you and Sirius."
He squeezed her to him for a moment, trying to show her his appreciation. As they separated, Harry turned to head up to the boys' dorm.
Turning back he said, "Do you want to go see Ron and Hermione before dinner?"
She smiled, "That sounds great."
Heading up the stairs, he smiled. He couldn't believe how much better he felt knowing that others missed his godfather and parents enough honour them and also secure in the knowledge that his parents loved him and each other. That was a comforting thought.
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