It seemed wrong to Harry, so very wrong. Wrong that the sun was shining so brightly blue sky on what was undoubtedly the darkest day for the Weasley family. He watched as the family — his family —tried to hold on to each other, to help each other stay strong.
Taking a breath, Harry placed his arm out and placed his hand on Percy's shoulder and Percy reciprocated. He felt Charlie's presence behind him and knew Ron was behind Charlie; shortest to tallest. Arthur tearfully levitated the coffin onto his boy's linked shoulders and they began to walk forward.
It had been Percy who had suggested Harry take his father's place. Arthur, torn between helping carry his fallen son on his final journey, and his need to be by Molly's side, had finally stepped aside. Ron had seconded Percy's suggestion and Bill had nodded. It had been George's quiet, “ Harry was Fred's brother too,” that sealed it.
So here Harry was, helping Fred on his final journey. Together with all the Weasley brothers, they shuffled slowly down the aisle, heads bowed, Harry was grateful that those attending today were people he really knew. He'd tried to attend as many funerals as he could, but it was becoming unbearable as the focus shifted from the deceased to himself.
Kingsley Shacklebolt, now Minister for Magic, was conducting the ceremony today and when they arrived at the front he levitated the coffin from their shoulder and onto the bier. The men then joined Molly, Arthur, Muriel, Ginny, Fleur and Hermione in the front rows as the ceremony began.
It was easy to smile and chuckle through their tears, as Fred's great accomplishments were listed. Of course most, if not all, included George, who stared bleakly ahead at nothing.
They then formed a procession out to the Burrow grounds, to an area Harry hadn't been before. It was close to the pond but further around than he had been before. Molly let out a sob and he soon saw why, when he saw two headstones for the Prewett brothers she had lost during the first war, and the horrible gaping hole, waiting for it's resident. The coffin was gently lowered into it.
Tears stung Harry's eyes, but he tried to — had to — stay strong. Ron was weeping quietly, leaning into Hermione, who also had tears streaming down her cheeks. Ron's hand groped for Harry, and he grasped it like a lifeline, holding as tight as he could.
Ginny had been standing on the other side of Molly, visibly shaken. Kingsley had asked Molly and Arthur to step forward for their final goodbye, and to throw a handful of dirt — a little piece of the Burrow — and a flower — wildflowers were rampant on the Burrow grounds — on top of Fred's coffin. They had left Ginny to step forward, and for a moment, she swayed.
Bill and Charlie instinctively took a step forward, but it was Harry who got to her first. He wrapped his arm around her, drawing her close to his side.
Then mercifully it was over. Each attendant also had the chance to say goodbye, and everyone made their way back to the homestead.
Augusta Longbottom and Andromeda Tonks saw to it that the refreshments for the guests we replenished, for Molly was too griefstricken, yet her friends knew her pride in her home and providing for guests was important to her and they didn't wish to let her down.
Harry welcomed the chance to spend time with his adorable godson while Andromeda helped in the kitchen, trying to put aside her own grief at the loss of her daughter and son- in- law. People were drawn to Teddy, and Harry didn't get a chance to hold him for long before Fleur swooped down and took him away.
Harry's gaze drifted around the Burrow grounds, needing to check on his surrogate family. Molly, Arthur and a quiet, solemn Muriel were being consoled by their old friends and neighbours, the Diggory's. The loss of Cedric had taken it's toll on both of them, so they understood the Weasley's overwhelming grief for their son.
Charlie was chatting with Hagrid and Madame Hooch, while Percy was talking with Kingsley and Professor Macgonagall. Luna was nearby, with Professor Flitwick. Harry heard mention of the reconstruction of Hogwarts, but turned away, seeking the rest.
George had disappeared who knew where, but Lee Jordan, Angelina Johnston, Alicia Spinnet, Oliover Wood and Katie Bell had gone with him. Harry knew they were the twin's closest friends at Hogwarts; Lee particularly, felt as though he had lost a brother.
Harry's eyes searched for his best friends. Ron was sitting down on one of the many chairs scattered around, a look of loss and disbelief on his face. His arm was around Hermione and she rested her head on his shoulder, occasionaly looking up to whisper something comforting to him.
His eyes then searched for the one he most wanted to see. His eyes ran the area of the Burrow, resting on Neville Longbottom's worried ones. Neville nodded, then gestured to a path away from the pond. Harry nodded his thanks and, with a last check on Teddy who was still being cooed over by Fleur, he headed down the path.
The spring flowers along the path were colourful, almost too colourful on this dark day. He followed the path till he came across Ginny.
She was slumped with her back against a tree trunk, her face tilted to the sun, showing a trail of tears down her cheek. He hated to interrupt her solitude but he needed to know if she was okay.
“ Ginny?” He said it softly, yet her eyes snapped open as she turned to focus on him.
He didn't think he'd ever forget the look of absolute devastation in her eyes, although later he'd be told that it was equal to the look she had when Hagrid carried his seemingly lifeless body out of the forest.
“ Harry.” She'd barely whispered it as she took an unsteady step towards him; desperate, beseeching. He hurried to her, only knowing she needed him and he needed to be there for her.
She headed for him too, and practically fell into his open arms. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. Her face was pressed into his chest and with a sob, she let out all her grief.
Tears ran down his own cheeks as he held her, listening to her cry. He stroked her hair as he rested his head atop hers.
He didn't know how long they stayed there, simply holding each other. It was the closest they had been in ten months, apart from a brief encounter in the Room of Requirement before the battle had commenced.
A harsh breath made Harry look up. Percy looked brokenly at Ginny, who slowly pulled away from Harry's chest to look at her brother.
“ Sorry,” he said uncomfortably, “ I didn't mean to interrupt. Mum was getting worried,” he explained.
“ It's fine, Percy,” sniffed Ginny, as she wiped her face. Harry gave her some time to get herself together, then, with his arm around her, the three started the walk back.
They joined the rest of the Weasley family fare-welling their guests; Harry kept his arm around Ginny. Hermione was helping Andromeda and Augusta clear up, and Fleur stood next to Bill and kept a close eye on Molly.
With only their nearest and dearest remaining, the mood relaxed slightly, although still sombre. Charlie escorted Muriel home, after she'd embraced Molly and shared comforting words with both she and Arthur.
Feeling Ginny wilt, Harry led her to a nearby seat and without even thinking about it, sat down and pulled her onto his lap. She offered no protest, instead resting her head against his chest. Under the warmth of the sun and in the aftermath of releasing her guilt, she soon fell asleep. Her even breaths tickled his neck, sending shivers throughout his body. He was glad when Neville and Luna, then Oliver and Katie sat and joined him, talking quietly so as not to wake Ginny.
They discussed their concerns about George, how the just-started reconstruction at Hogwarts was going and what the future held for them.
Soon Katie and Oliver left, and Neville stood to depart too. He offered to see Luna home, and she thanked him, agreeing. Together they went into the house, to farewell the senior Weasleys and for Neville to see his grandmother.
They returned to Harry, and Luna leaned over his shoulder, gently brushing some hair from Ginny's face and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. Harry smiled his thanks, but was surprised when Luna brushed his cheeks too.
“I'm so happy to see the two of you together again,” she said softly, before standing and moving to farewell the other Weasley siblings and Hermione.
Harry glanced down at Ginny. They'd barely spoken since the battle, and certainly there'd been no mention of being a couple again, but as he held her, he knew he held his future in his arms.
Ron and Hermione joined them. “She all right?” asked Ron worriedly. “Do you want me to take her?”
Harry tightened his hold, not ready to let Ginny go. “No, it's fine...she'll be okay — in time.”
Ron nodded. “ We all will be. It'll take time, but we all will be.”
Bill and Fleur joined them, and so did Charlie and Percy. They too, eyed their sister in concern, but Ron assured them their sister was in good hands. Harry flushed but met each of the Weasley brother's eyes. They smiled and nodded their approval.
Augusta Longbottom and Andromeda Tonks came out to say goodbye, with Andromeda holding a sleeping Teddy. Harry assured her he'd be over as often as he could, to see his precious godson. The ladies returned inside to Floo to their respective homes.
Molly and Arthur came out to join them, it was just the family left now. They told them George had sought refuge in his old bedroom at the Burrow, needing time alone.
They sat around together, a family united. Sharing stories, sharing memories. Weasleys and the two honorary Weasleys, yet still Ginny slept.
This was to be the darkest day in the Weasley family for many, many years, and while this day felt like an ending of sorts, tomorrow, and the days ahead, would be the start of many new beginnings.