...And Nothing Sweeter Than a Lover's Last Kiss by muggledog
Summary: She's gone. A great light has gone out, and a family grieves.
...And Nothing Sweeter Than a Lover's Last Kiss by muggledog
Chapter 1: Chapter 1Author's Notes:
…And Nothing Sweeter Than a Lover’s Last Kiss
Harry Potter had finally achieved his dream: He had finally defeated the most evil wizard of the time, Lord Voldemort, had a good career as a member in his father-in-law’s office in the Ministry (after growing up famous, he wanted a job that would be relatively obscure, and Arthur Weasley was over the moon that Harry would be interested in working with him), but most of all, he had his gorgeous wife, Ginny Potter, and their children Matthew Francis Potter and Shea Lillian Molly Potter, and life was about as good as any one could have managed. Out on broomsticks teaching Matthew and Shea all about flying and Quidditch when Ginny’s back was turned, enjoying Friday night dinners with his brother and sister-in-law Ron and Hermione Weasley, who to everyone’s surprise, were, for the time being, childless. But even so, Harry reckoned that he had the best life, and nothing could get any better.
But apparently, it could get worse. Much worse. Recently, Ginny began to complain of frequent headaches that were often followed by moderate nosebleeds. When she first approached her mother on the subject, she and Molly Weasley both dismissed both the headaches and the nosebleeds as stress-related, as Shea and Matthew were both still very young (Matthew was seven, Shea four) and demanded a lot of Ginny’s time and energy. But after five weeks of headaches, plus Ginny reporting that she often got very congested after the nosebleeds, and sometimes remained so for days, Harry got worried and scheduled an appointment with their family Healer, former classmate and close friend, Neville Longbottom. Neville’s outstanding skill with Herbology and his kind demeanor had served him very well as a professional Healer, and he had been named Matthew’s Godfather (Hermione Weasley was Shea’s Godmother as well as aunt). To put it mildly, after a few tests were taken, Neville came back with a heartbreaking surprise: Ginny had cancer of the throat.
Almost immediately, Harry and Ginny agreed that she should be put under care, going through all the Wizarding world’s best cancer treatments, including the Periclymeas Diet, which was the pureeing of all Ginny’s food and put into a potion containing juniper root, root of a magical plant called Kangh Lily and dried and aged tail spikes from a Swedish Short Snout Dragon, and a treatment known as The Hobbes Method, which was the Wizarding world’s answer to the Muggle cancer treatment Chemotherapy. It worked somewhat. After nearly half a year of eating three perfectly square meals in the Periclymeas Potion (which Neville had lovingly and patiently taught both Harry and Ginny), and going three days a week to St. Mungo’s for The Hobbes Method, Ginny’s cancer had gone away, and for a while, life was back to normal.
But then, just the other day, Ginny had been with her mother (the kids were at their aunt and uncle’s) while Harry and Arthur had to go on an unusual Saturday call for a badly planned prank involving a Muggle pickup truck, when she fell seriously ill, and Molly, frightened, took her to St. Mungo’s. With tears in his eyes after examining the tests, Neville informed Molly Weasley that she ought to call the rest of Ginny’s family, as he said it might even be that Ginny wouldn’t last the night.
Harry came in first. He was pale and shaking, trying with all his might to remain strong for Ginny’s sake.
“Hey, love,” he said softly, smiling at her.
“Hey,” Ginny whispered in an exhausted tone.
“Oh, Gin,” Harry said, his lip trembling, “I…I don’t know what to do…Merlin, I’m so scared. I love you so, so, so much.”
“I’m scared too, baby,” Ginny said. Harry took both of Ginny’s hands firmly in his own, kissing them passionately. She smiled. She knew, of course, and never questioned, that Harry absolutely loved her, but to have him beside her in this moment meant so much.
“Harry,” she said after a moment, “will you send Hermione in?” Harry nodded, and stepped out. Hermione approached Ginny’s bed.
“Hi, Ginny,” she said, “you look good.”
“Don’t say that,” Ginny said, “we both know what’s happening to me.”
“No!” Hermione said, “you’ll make it! I know you will, you’re so strong Ginny, you’ll make it, I know you will. I…” both women started sobbing uncontrollably, hugging and kissing each other.
“I’ll miss you so much, Gin…” Hermione sobbed. Overwhelmed, Ginny could not reply. Finally, after a few minutes, she pulled herself together.
“Mione, are the kids here?” Hermione nodded. “I want to see them.” Hermione nodded again, and left, returning with Harry and Matthew, Shea was in Harry’s arms.
“Hey, Captain Matt,” Ginny said, knowing of Matthew’s fondness for Muggle ships and shipping industries, “how are you, Cap’n?” While trying his hardest to not cry and remain strong for his mother, Matthew could not answer. Gently, Harry laid Shea down on the bed beside Ginny. Harry observed his kids. He wasn’t sure if Shea even understood what was going on, but he could tell by his tired, sad eyes that, despite his strong front, Matthew knew exactly what was going on.
“Mommy, are you sick?” Shea asked in her child’s concern. Ginny nodded
“Yes, Shea, I’m a bit sick.”
“Where does it hurt?” She asked.
“Well,” Ginny said, grinning sadly, “it kinda hurts here,” and she indicated her heart.
“Do you want me to kiss it to make it better?” Shea asked. Ginny nodded, and bent her head down to where Ginny had pointed and gave it a soft kiss, and Ginny began to sob. Matthew, too, let his strong front crumble and began to cry as well, climbing up beside Ginny’s other side. Shea was crying as well, her mother’s hand securely around her.
“Oh, my babies,” Ginny said through her tears, “I love you both so, so, so, so much. Mattie,” she added turning to her son, “will you do me a favor and care for Shea? I had two wonderful kids so that they could have a friend in each other, care for each other and be there for each other.” Matthew nodded.
“I love you Mum,” he said to renewed sobs.
It was too much for Harry, seeing his strong wife lying there helpless, waiting for death to take her, cuddled up to the two kids she had given her everything to love, care for and protect, and his heart tore into shreds, and he left the room, unable to take any more.
For a few minutes, he stood in the hall, looking at his feet, and then broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. Arthur Weasley ran forward to comfort him. The hall by Ginny’s door was packed with Weasleys. Fred and George stood off to the side, silently crying, tears running down their faces. Bill sat, his face in his hands, his body shaking as Fleur softly massaged him. Charlie stood grim and silent beside his mother, who was devastated beyond tears. Even Percy was there, pale as a sheet and shaking. Ron and Hermione stood in each other’s arms alternately crying and comforting the other.
“Harry?” Hermione said as Harry began to calm down, “I think we need to get the kids and take them home. I expect this has been a bit much for them.” Harry nodded, and he, along with Arthur and Molly, went into the room to find both Matthew and Shea asleep on Ginny’s chest, while Ginny hummed lullabies to them. She was not keen on letting them go, but understood that they needed to go get some rest from the overwhelm.
“I’ll take them,” Hermione volunteered, and with help from Fleur, took the kids to floo home.
“I’ll be back,” both Hermione and Fleur assured their husbands. Harry and the others, on the other hand crowded around Ginny to make their goodbyes. All the while, Harry sat beside her, holding and rubbing and kissing her hands. All the brothers said their goodbyes tearfully, hugging Ginny with all their might.
“I’m sorry,” Percy said, breaking into tears, “I’m so, so sorry, Gin. I’ve been probably the world’s worst brother to you lately. Please forgive me.”
“I do,” Ginny whispered, and Percy hugged her with all his might. As he stood up to make room for his mother, his eyes locked with Harry, and something in both of them clicked, and Percy hugged Harry.
“I forgive you too,” Harry said.
“I’m sorry for how I treated you, too,” Percy said, “I can see now that you two love each other to the nines, and I’m sorry I doubted you’d be a good husband to my sister.” Thus saying, he turned away and all but ran out of Ginny’s room. It was down to Arthur and Molly, who, as one, embraced Ginny, both sobbing, no, weeping, screaming, howling…they didn’t say anything to each other; there was nothing they could say, they could only cherish their final embrace.
Finally, Arthur and Molly stood up and made their way to the door. Harry initially made to follow them, but softly, Ginny said,
“Stay, Harry.” He nodded, and as Arthur and Molly tearfully blew her kisses, Harry slowly returned to the bed and climbed in with her, hugging her close to him. If he thought he had cried all his tears in the hall, Harry found them falling again as he held the only woman he loved to him. Smiling, she reached up and brushed the tears away.
“I can’t believe I’m loosing you,” he said through his tears.
“You’re not loosing me,” Ginny said, “I’m leaving a bit of me in Mattie and Shea, and Ron and my other brothers, and Mum and Dad…” at that, she started to cry too “…oh, Harry, I’m going to miss you all so much. Especially the kids, I’m going to miss their lives. I won’t get to check under their beds for monsters anymore, I won’t see them go to Hogwarts. I won’t be able to watch them grow…” she wept harder, while Harry held her tight. Finally, she calmed down a bit.
“You know I’ll always be here right?” she asked, running her hand over his heart. He nodded.
“Oh, Ginny, my Ginny, my love. I’ll miss you so much too,” Harry sobbed, “I love you so much, sweetheart, and I always will…” he continued to whisper sweet nothings in her ear, sobbing with her.
“I’ll always love you with every fiber of my being too,” Ginny whispered, pulling Harry as close as she could. Ginny reached up and gave Harry a passionate, loving kiss right on the lips, and on his cheeks, nose and forehead. As he kissed her back, Harry knew he would never forget her kisses. Finally, they both fell asleep, overwhelmed.
And when Harry awoke, she was gone.
As he walked through the gates of Hogwarts, Harry reflected how he constantly wondered when he would be walking through these gates again. Had he been able to choose, however, it would not have been for the funeral of his favorite witch of all time. But Harry knew of the special moments he and Ginny had shared here, and the fact that this was the place that had brought them together, Harry knew that this would be the place he would have wanted to say goodbye.
He entered a bit before everyone else with Matthew and Shea. The ceiling had been un-enchanted for the funeral, its bleak grey colors fitting. Still, Harry hardly even noticed, for his attention was on the black coffin surrounded by beautiful floral arrangements centered approximately where Dumbledore’s chair would have been had the Head table been there (it had been removed for the funeral). Just knowing that in the cold, heartless coffin his love slept was overwhelming for Harry, and he broke down crying again, joined by his children. He enveloped them both in a passionate, strong three-way embrace, feeling their combined grief. Finally, he approached the coffin, holding Shea in his arm, and holding Matthew’s hand with his other, and all three said their final goodbyes to the one they loved as dearly as possible.
Finally, the others began filing in. First, holding each other tightly, came Ron and Hermione, and it was impossible to tell who was more upset. Nothing needed saying between the three adults and children, and they all hugged each other. Neville came in next, with Luna Lovegood, whom he had been dating for about a year. They made a beeline for Matthew and, as one, hugged him tightly. Both Luna and Neville — though especially Neville — loved Matthew dearly, and Harry knew that one of the moments where Ginny had really known what she was doing was when she named Neville Matthew’s Godfather. The Weasleys, led by Arthur and Molly came in, all either with tears running down their cheeks, or crying outright. Hagrid came in, almost out-sobbing Molly as he looked down into Ginny’s coffin. McGonagall followed Hagrid, walking over to Harry. Her hair was not in its usual bun, nor did she have her usual stern, thin-lipped, cool, calculating expression and demeanor. Instead, she looked sincerely grieved, and gave Harry a quick hug.
“You will be all right,” she said in a quiet voice that shocked Harry, “you will get through this; your children need you, and you need them.” Harry began to cry at the truth and significance in McGonagall’s words.
“Thank you,” he whispered. She smiled and moved to her seat. Harry also sat down in the front beside Hermione and Ron, who was beside his mother. A friend of Arthur’s, who was a magical Minister from Ireland, stepped up to the podium to begin.
“We are here,” he said, “to celebrate the life of a woman who was very dear to you all: She was a fine witch, possessing ample amounts of cunning and power, she was able and unafraid. But she was, more importantly, a fine, fine person: She had a heart that was only capable of love, and she loved you all. She was a fine mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Her name is Ginevra Molly Weasley Potter…” Harry didn’t truly listen to the preacher, but snuggled up to his kids. McGonagall was right: They were all he had now, they were his pillar of strength, and he was theirs. For some reason, as he looked at Matthew, who had his hair, but Ginny’s eyes and facial shape, and Shea, who had the Weasley hair, but his eyes, his sadness suddenly resettled itself in his chest as a burning, powerful, passionate feeling of love and pride. These were his kids, but more importantly, they were Ginny’s kids and he would love and protect them, cherish each moment with them, and make sure they remembered just how much Ginny loved them, through him, Hermione, Ron, Neville and all the other family they had. He watched Arthur take his place at the podium behind Ginny.
“There is no way,” he said in a congested voice, “to say how special my daughter is. When most people hear me say that, they assume that I’m merely talking about the fact that Ginevra was the first girl in so many generations of male Weasley children. Well, yes, I’m proud of that fact, but she is special to me for no other reason that she is one of my children, and I love her so much because of it. I sometimes fear that, at various times, the boys thought that Molly and I loved her more, which isn’t true at all; I love my sons every bit as dearly as I loved Ginny. But I think many parents would prefer that their children say goodbye to them, instead of saying goodbye to their children, and as I stand here, I think the same, and I hate right now, the disease that took my child from me way, way too early. When she was young, I always used to think that a day like this could never come, that I could protect her from anything and everything out there. But I couldn’t protect her, and reality slapped me hard in the face and reminded me that, however much I wanted it, I couldn’t always protect my baby. And on this day, she was taken from her father and mother, and Molly and I will miss her. I miss you Ginevra, and I love you so much. Thank you for being a part of my life.” The tears had returned to Harry’s eyes as he joined the others in applauding Arthur’s speech, and slowly got up to deliver his own eulogy.
“I…I…” Harry fought his emotions and tried to speak coherently, “I…will always wonder how I got so lucky as to marry Ginny Weasley. I think that one of the things I’ll always remember was the feeling that I got after the wedding, when all of her family welcomed me so joyfully as one of them, and one of the biggest wishes I’ve had since I was a boy–to finally have a family to be a part of–came true. But Ginny was always a very special member of her family to me. She never hesitated to make me see when I was wrong by whatever means she needed, and she could make me laugh in ways that even Fred and George–sorry, Gred and Forge could not —” there was a murmur of quiet, subdued, but appreciative laughter at Harry’s joke “ — and she just made me realize how special life was. When Mattie —” Harry smiled at his son, who was cuddling and crying on Ron’s lap, and Shea, crying very exhaustedly on Hermione’s lap “ — was born, I realized just how much life was special, and how happy I was to live it with her. I was always afraid of how much I think at times I hurt her. I should have befriended her much sooner than I did, and not have tried so hard to turn her away, even if it had been to protect her safety, which has always been my top priority.
“I never wanted this day to come. I wanted everything to be good in life, and I always wanted her to be with me through it all, but…I realize now that everything will be good, because I was married to Ginny, and I did manage to have times both good and bad with her. We survived a war together, we had fun together…we had the most beautiful kids together. I still wish we could live through what’s to come together, but I am so grateful for everything we had, and I will always, always cherish that.
“I don’t know what the future holds; I don’t know if I’ll ever remarry or not, but I do know, Ginny, that I love you with every breath I take, and I always will. I’m going to take good care of the kids, sweetie, I promise. I miss you so much, and I always will, but I will never forget you, Ginny, and I will never stop loving you.”
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