|SIYE Time:12:25 on 24th September 2018|
Passing the Mantle
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Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Story is Complete
Summary: The war is over and Harry, Ron and Hermione have returned to the Burrow. Ron realises it's time to pass the mantle of being Harry's closest, to Ginny.
Hitcount: Story Total: 2479
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.
Ron sighed as he looked out of the kitchen window of the Burrow. He still couldn’t believe it was all over and he was home. The sun was just starting to make an appearance over the hill. In the distance, Ron could see the Quidditch hoops on their makeshift pitch. He decided, at some stage today, he was going to go for a fly. He kept looking out the window as he started to prepare breakfast for his family.
“Ron, why are you up, it’s so early,” said Hermione softly. She was still half asleep herself, but had woken and gone into Ron’s room, needing to see him and be close to him. She came over to him and slipped an arm around his waist. He pulled her close to him, encircling her in his arms. He kissed the top of her head, still unable to believe that she was his.
Hermione burrowed closer to him, feeling safer than ever. She loved that he was so tall, yet he fit so perfectly against her own body. She flushed slightly,thinking of other ways their bodies might align too, but it was still too new and precious to even think about things like that yet. “Is anyone else awake? Harry wasn’t in his room. I’d hoped to find him here with you,” she said. She moved out of his arms and began turning over the sizzling bacon.
Ron nodded to the window and she glanced out. Her heart sank to see Harry out there, gazing at nothing and probably lost in bad memories. “Oh,” she said softly. “How long has he been out there?”
“Since I got here, half an hour ago. Just sitting there, not moving, barely blinking,” said Ron sadly. He added some eggs to the frypan.
“He can’t go on like this. He’s barely sleeping or eating. He won’t listen to us. I think he needs to talk to someone,” said Hermione, filling the kettle and setting it on the stove.
“I think we know who he needs to talk to, Hermione,” said Ron softly.
“Well, she’s as bad as he is. Both of them, needing each other and not saying anything. One of them needs to make the first move,” said Hermione.
“It won’t be Harry,” said Ron. “Ginny’s the stronger one when it comes to that.”
“Has-has she said anything to you about her year at Hogwarts?” asked Hermione hesitantly. They’d heard stories from some of the other students, and they were horrifying. However, they were random students. They both knew Ginny, Neville and Luna had been the main target of retribution from the Death Eater teachers. Luna had been kidnapped and held hostage for months, and Neville had been beaten when they’d first seen him.
“No, she hasn’t,” said Ron grimly. He didn’t know how much he could handle, hearing about Ginny’s year at Hogwarts.
“Someone’s coming downstairs,” said Hermione quickly, getting her wand out instinctively.
Ron placed his hands over hers. “It’s fine, Hermione. We’re safe,” he said quietly.
Hermione flushed and put her wand away. Ron hugged her quickly then they both turned to see who had come downstairs. It was Ginny.
She seemed surprised to see them both there. “Hey,” she said tiredly. Ron noticed she was almost half her weight and her eyes were sunken with dark smudges under them. “Need a hand?” she asked.
“No, Sis, we got this,” said Ron gently.
Ginny nodded and went to sit on the window seat. She looked out, saying nothing more.
Ron and Hermione exchanged worried looks, then got down to finishing the breakfast. Soon they had platters of eggs, bacon, sausages and toast, waiting under a warming charm.
“Gin, you hungry? Breakfast is ready,” said Ron, coming to stand near her.
“Maybe later,” she shrugged, her eyes still looking out the window. Ron could guess what she was looking at. Or rather, who. Ron looked at Hermione, who shrugged helplessly. He decided to take a chance. His best friend and his sister were both hurting, and he wanted it to end.
“You know, Harry, Hermione and I have been best friends since we were eleven,” began Ron.
Hermione noticed Ginny stiffen, but she didn’t look at Ron at all. Hermione hoped Ron didn’t stuff this up.
“We’ve been through a lot of stuff together. Crazy stuff, fun stuff, deadly stuff. What we’ve been through, it’s brought us even closer together,” said Ron.
Hermione saw a tear roll down Ginny’s cheek. “Ron,” she said softly. He held up his hand to stop her from continuing.
“It’s been hard, seeing Harry deal with all this. The funerals, the press and all. He’s not coping and nothing Hermione and I say to him make any difference,” he continued. “Then I realised something. This isn’t something Hermione and I can help him with. There’s only one person who can help Harry right now. We’ll always be best friends, but right now, Harry needs more. He needs someone who’s there just for him. Someone who loves him, has always loved him,” said Ron gently, crouching down next to her.
Tears ran down her cheeks but still she said nothing. Ron took her limp hand and finally she looked at him. “He needs you, Gin. He needs a reason to go on, to get up every morning. I really think you’re the only one who can help him right now,” he said earnestly. “He’s been sitting out there for ages, looking up at your bedroom window. So will you, please?”
“Please, Ginny,” begged Hermione, tears in her eyes. “I can’t bear to see you both hurting like this. You need each other. You belong together, to help each other heal. Ron and I, we have each other. Harry needs you to be strong for him, then he can be strong for you.”
Ginny moved to get up. Ron rose too, and Hermione came to his side. Both looked keenly at Ginny, but she flushed and turned away. “I-I need…I’m sorry, I-“ she moved aside and headed for the stairs. Hermione buried her face against Ron’s chest, until she heard his intake of breath.
She looked up at him. “What is it?” she asked.
Ron indicated with a nod of his head. Hermione turned her head in time to see Ginny head, not for the stairs, but to the door. She opened it and went outside.
Hermione and Ron quickly went into the kitchen and looked out the window. They watched as Ginny tentatively approached Harry, who was sitting on a log.
They saw Harry turn suddenly when he realised he wasn’t alone. His wand outstretched, anticipating an attack. He paled when he realised he’d pulled it on Ginny, and Hermione was sure she saw him mutter, “Sorry.”
They could’t see what Ginny said to him, for her back was to them. Harry’s head dropped as he lowered his wand, then rose to look at her again.
Hermione and Ron held their breath, waiting for one or the other to make a move. They could see Harry wasn’t saying anything; it was as if they were simply staring at each other.
“Come on, come on,” muttered Ron. He tucked Hermione under his arm as they watched on. “Come on, Gin.”
After what seemed forever, but in reality was mere seconds, Ginny moved closer to Harry. In fact, she stepped between his open legs. She must have said something, for Harry suddenly reached for her.
Ginny took the final step, wrapping her arms around Harry’s shoulders. He buried his head against her chest and his body shook. Ginny ran her fingers through his hair as she held him close. She too, was crying. She leaned her head against his neck, turning to face the window. She saw Ron and Hermione watching them, and she nodded slightly. Ron nodded back.
The mantle had been passed on.
Ginny held Harry until the worst had passed. Then she pulled away slightly, whispering something in his ear. He nodded and she stepped back, allowing him to move off the log. He stepped down, and Ginny immediately moved back to his side, her arm around his waist and his arm over her shoulder. Together they walked off in the direction of the pond. Both leaned heavily on the other as they disappeared from view.
“She did it,” whispered Hermione in relief. “She got through to him.”
“She was the only one who could,” said Ron, hugging her.
“How did you know?” asked Hermione, swinging around so she was facing him.
Ron brushed her hair off her face. “I just know that you’re the only one who can help me deal with all this…stuff, and I want to help you. When Harry told us what happened in the forest when he faced Voldemort, it wasn’t you or me who was his last thought, it was Ginny. Simple logic, my dear.” He palmed her face and kissed her.
“You’re a genius,” she gushed, after the most passionate kiss they’d shared yet.
“Well, I learnt from the best. Now, what do you say, after breakfast we get dressed and head to the Ministry,” said Ron, brushing her hair with his fingers. Merlin, how long had he wanted to do that to her.
Hermione groaned. “Do they need to talk to us again?” The three had to give statements as to what they had been doing the last year.
Ron shook his head. “We’ve got a meeting at eleven with the Portkey office. We need to organise a date for us to go to Australia and find your parents,” he said.
Hermione stared at him in surprise. “W-we do? Really? But wait, what about your family, they need you here?” she said.
Ron nodded solemnly. “I know, but when I made the appointment, they told me they’re not allowing International Portkeys for at least another two weeks. I asked Kingsley for help. He told me he can’t override that decision, but we should get one of the first Portkeys out of England. Meantime, he’s got the Ministry in Australia already working on finding your mum and dad. So we’ll have time with my family before we go and get yours,” he said.
“Ron, I can’t believe you did that. Thank you, thank you,” she said, kissing him in thanks.
“I, erm, only requested two Portkeys. I hope that’s okay. I don’t think they want Harry to leave England, and quite frankly, I think he needs to stay here,” said Ron.
Hermione nodded. “I agree, especially now.” She looked out the window, but there was no sign of Harry or Ginny. “Think they’ll be okay?” she asked him.
Ron shrugged. “I think so. I hope so. We all just need to take it one day at a time, right now. We are the lucky ones. We have time ,” he said softly.
Hermione knew he was thinking of the ones who no longer had time, Fred especially. His death had hit the Weasley family hard.
“I’m proud of you, Ronald Weasley. Look at how you’ve stepped up, helping your family, helping your best friend, helping me. I lo-“ She stopped herself; it was too soon to say those wonderful words.
“I love you, Hermione. I have for a very long time, and I’m going to love you for the rest of my life,” Ron declared.
“Oh Ron, I love you too,” said Hermione, jumping into his arms and kissing him.
“Ugh, it’s way too early to see that while I’m eating. In fact, it kind of kills my appetite,” said George, sitting at the table.
Ron and Hermione drew apart sheepishly. “Here,” said Hermione, thrusting a plate in front of him and beginning to load it up. “Cup of tea?”
“Ah, now I understand. Hermione’s turning into Mum, that’s why you love her,” said George, picking up some bacon with his fingers. Hermione brought a cup to the table and smacked George’s fingers, putting a knife and fork on his plate. “Yep, just like Mum.”
“Shut it, you,” grinned Ron, leaning against the kitchen bench watching Hermione bustle around the kitchen.
“Where’s Harry? Aren’t the three of you usually attached at the hip?” asked George, eating more bacon.
“Not anymore,” said Hermione.
George raised an eyebrow in query, then both as he realised what they weren’t saying. “About time. I was this close to locking them i the pantry together, just so they’d talk to each other.”
“You knew?” said Ron. Hermione sat next to George, nibbling a piece of toast.
George shrugged. “Gin and I have been helping each other get through this. She was closest to us, you know, me and F-Fred.”
“Did she mention her year at Hogwarts?” asked Ron quietly.
George stopped eating and looked at his little brother. No, not little, youngest. For Ron stood tall, one of the tallest of all his brothers, George realised.
“Yeah, she said some things. It wasn’t good, Ron, but she needs to tell you, not me,” he said firmly.
Ron nodded and Hermione patted George’s arm. “It’s good to see you up,” she said gently.
“I had a dream about him last night, you know. Fred came to me, told me to get my ass out of bed and get back to the shop. Even gave me a new idea to try out,” said George, smiling half heartedly.
“So you’re going back to the shop today?” asked Ron.
George shook his head. “No, not yet, but soon. Might ask Lee to come with me. Right now, I just need to be up, you know?”
Hermione beamed and nodded.
It was a small step, but the Weasleys began to heal that day. George had taken his first step back to life, as had Harry and Ginny.
Soon, laughter would return to the Burrow.
For they had time.
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