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SIYE Time:8:56 on 19th July 2024
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Summer of Recovery
By PotterSloth

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Category: Post-DH/AB
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Teddy Lupin
Genres: General, Romance
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use
Story is Complete
Rating: R
Reviews: 141
Summary: What comes after Voldemort’s defeat? A very, very difficult summer. The world moves on, and it’s much different than it was when Harry and Ginny first got together. The summer will be one of grief, but they’re ready to recover together after so long apart. The only question is: will the world finally let them?

Part 1 of Happier Every Day
Hitcount: Story Total: 16427; Chapter Total: 655
Awards: View Trophy Room






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"I am fucking pissed off that there are families that won't ever be whole again because some evil people decided that they got to choose whose lives mattered and whose didn't."

/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*

The evening passed in a blur for Ginny. She spent most of it crying with Harry, dreading what the next day would bring. He had snuck into her room again that night, but for the first time, that didn't help her nightmares, and they cried together for a lot of the night too.

When Ginny woke early the next morning, Harry was already gone, though she was sure he'd told her bye. Her eyes felt swollen from all her crying and lack of sleep, and one look in the mirror confirmed that they also looked the part. Ginny wished that she had Tonks' ability to change appearances, then winced at the thought. She settled for applying subtle makeup, not wanting to appear too gaudy for a funeral, and even though she could still see the redness, it would hopefully be enough to not be obvious today.

Ginny changed into a black dress that stretched below her knees and had short sleeves. She usually wore bright colours, and this was the only thing that would work for a sombre occasion, which meant this dress would be getting a lot of wear this week, she realised sadly. She made her way downstairs and saw that everyone was already there, even George. They were all sitting around the kitchen table, but nobody had made any breakfast. A wise decision, Ginny thought, knowing that she didn't feel like eating anything, and she imagined her family felt the same.

She sat silently next to Harry, taking his hand in hers while rubbing his thigh with her other hand. He was rather dashing in his black dress robes, but he looked like he was going to be sick, and his eyes were just as red as hers had been when she woke up. She hated this feeling, like there was nothing any of them could do to stave off the grief and sadness and pain. It wasn't fair.

Before long, it was time to go. Harry side-alonged Ginny to the church in Queen Camel, Somerset. The small hamlet had a rather large wizarding population living on the outskirts of it, including the Tonks'. There was a large crowd already gathered in the church, wearing eclectic wizarding garb. Ginny suspected that a Muggle repelling charm had been cast to ensure nobody would be intruding today. She saw several people she recognized, as well as many more that she didn't. Charlie seemingly recognized a large group she didn't and joined them, looking slightly out of sorts himself. Ginny realised that these must've been classmates of Tonks and Charlie, and she mentally scolded herself for forgetting that Charlie had been friends with Tonks and was probably dealing with a lot right now too. He seemed okay enough, but, then again, pretty much everyone seemed to be putting on a brave face at one of the first funerals for the heroes of the battle.

Ginny and Harry sat with Andromeda, who was holding Teddy, at the front, and Molly joined them to sit on her other side. Andromeda didn't say a word to them, merely attempting to smile, though it looked much more like a grimace. Ginny couldn't blame her. Her own stomach was twisting itself in knots. Every moment they spent here, getting closer to burying Lupin and Tonks, made the loss even more real. Before she knew it, Kingsley was at the front of the church, and everyone quietened. She realised that it was probably a big deal for the Minister for Magic to be officiating a funeral, but that didn't seem very significant to her. Lupin and Tonks had been his friends, and he clearly appeared to be in mourning too, even as he maintained his stately demeanour.

Ginny barely registered Kingsley's speech. She only heard little snippets of it. "Always making people laugh- brave- wise- outspoken- in love- too young." Too young. Much too young. Lupin may have been older, but they were both supposed to be starting a new chapter of their lives, not having the final one cut much too short.

"I'd like to invite Miss Ginny Weasley, who has been asked to speak here today." Ginny was snapped out of her thoughts as she heard her name, realising it was time. Harry squeezed her hand briefly before letting go, and Ginny stood, passing by Kingsley. She tried to smile at him, and he nodded politely at her, neither really meeting each other's eyes. She turned to face the crowd, which looked even bigger than it had when she'd entered the church. There must have been at least a hundred people here. She closed her eyes, praying that she could at least honour Tonks even though she didn't know what she could say that would make any of this easier.

"Wotcher, Ginny," Tonks said, flopping into a chair next to Ginny's in the Burrow.

Ginny smiled at her friend. "Hey Tonks, how are you?"

Tonks shrugged. "Been better. Another day trying to sniff out Death Eaters, but we've got no new leads. It feels like we're running around in circles."

"I think you need a boyfriend to let some steam off with," Ginny commented with a suggestive smile, trying to cheer her friend up. That was clearly the wrong tactic, as Tonks' face darkened and she looked away.

"Sorry Tonks, I didn't mean-" Ginny tried apologising but Tonks cut her off.

"It's not like I haven't tried. He just doesn't seem interested, and I'm tired of it."

"Who?" Ginny asked, very confused now.

"Remus bloody Lupin," Tonks muttered. Ginny's eyes widened. That was about the last name she would've expected Tonks to say.

"You- you want to date Professor Lupin?" she asked, wanting to make sure she heard correctly.

Tonks rolled her eyes. "Unfortunately, but he doesn't want to. Keeps going on about how I should be with someone younger or not so… wolfish. He doesn't care that I don't care, just keeps telling me how I should be feeling."

Ginny was still surprised, but it was obvious Tonks was being serious, and that she was very upset about it. Ginny tentatively put a hand on Tonks' arm. "I'm sorry Tonks. I don't know what to say," she admitted. "But I'm here. He's probably just used to people seeing him as a werewolf and doesn't want you to be seen like that too."

"But I don't care!" Tonks exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air. "Why can't he see that?"

Ginny tread carefully. "Some… people have a- a tendency to want to protect people, even if they get hurt in the process. For all you know, this could be tearing Lupin up, but he wants to protect you."

"I'm a bloody Auror. I think I can protect myself," Tonks growled.

"Well obviously. We both know that. But if you're sure about this, I think you're gonna have to be persistent. He'll realise it eventually."

Tonks nodded, still staring at the floor in front of her. She looked up when Harry, Ron, and Hermione walked in though. "Hey Tonks," Harry said.

"Wotcher, Harry," she responded, smiling a little at him. Ginny nodded at the three of them as they walked upstairs to Ron's room.

"Speaking of overprotective and hopeless romance," Ginny joked.

Tonks looked at her closely. "You and Harry?"

Ginny almost laughed. "There's not a 'me and Harry'. Never has been, clearly never will be. He's just the kind of person who will always protect someone else before himself."

"But you have feelings for him?" Tonks probed.

Ginny started to shake her head but settled for shrugging. "I used to have a huge crush on him. Then after my first year, that changed into something more, but he never looked at me any differently. Hermione told me last year that I should try dating some other people, and maybe that would make Harry notice me. It hasn't worked, and I think I'm done trying."

Tonks grinned at her. "You're not done trying."

"I am too," Ginny said firmly.

"What about being persistent?"

Ginny chuckled. "I've been at this a lot longer than you, Tonks. I've been persistent, but nothing's changed."

Tonks shook her head. "Sorry, Ginny, but that's not the same at all. Harry was what, fourteen, when you gave up on him? I was fourteen once too Ginny, and all the boys were bloody stupid. Harry's still a teenager, and he's dealing with much more than any normal teenage boy. I promise you, if you keep at it, keep letting Harry see you and not Ron's little sister, you've got a much better chance than I do of getting a happy ending."

"I doubt it. Besides, I have a boyfriend anyways," Ginny retorted, but Tonks just chuckled.

"Oh, another one of the boys you're trying to get over Harry with, you mean?"

Ginny opened her mouth but couldn't really find a good argument to make.

"Tell you what. Let's make a deal," Tonks proposed. "I won't give up on Remus, but you don't give up on Harry either." Ginny started to open her mouth again, but Tonks raised her hand. "I'm not saying you start hounding him or asking him out, but don't be afraid to be you. Flirt with him and see what he does. Trust me, Ginny, he'll notice you."

Ginny sighed. "And you won't give up on Lupin?" Tonks nodded. "Fine, I guess." Tonks grinned as Ginny agreed. Ginny was already trying to plot how to show Harry the real her. Maybe she could show him how good she'd become at Quidditch. They did have most of the summer left for that.

"Just think, a few years from now, we'll be planning our double wedding!" Tonks joked, and Ginny laughed with her, thankful for the sisterly advice Tonks had given and how easy it was to talk to her.


Ginny took a deep breath and opened her eyes, suddenly knowing what to say. "I grew up in a house with six older brothers. For as long as I can remember, I desperately wanted a sister. It took fourteen years, but I finally got my wish when I met Nymphadora Tonks. Tonks had a very unique gift. Actually, she had two unique gifts. She was the only Metamorphmagus I'd ever met, and she loved using that gift to make people laugh. That was how I first started talking to her. She introduced herself, and as I was introducing myself, she changed her hair to match mine. Every meal we shared together became a challenge to see how long it would take her to make me laugh with her ridiculous transformations.

"But the gift I'll always remember most that Tonks had was her ability to make me feel heard. In a house with so many older brothers, there were times when I felt like nobody was listening because there were so many voices to listen to. I never felt like that with Tonks. Anytime I talked to her, she would listen to me, completely focused, and she'd talk to me like I was mature enough to have a real conversation. When you're fourteen and it feels like everyone is ignoring you because you're too young to know anything important, it feels incredible to have someone you look up to treating you with respect, like an equal. But that's who Tonks was. She never saw herself as being above anyone, and she always took the time to talk to me, even when it felt like nobody else cared to listen.

"Tonks inspired me, every single day. It was pretty cool to see how a powerful woman could make it in the Auror Department, excelling and making a name for herself while doing what was right. She- she died doing what was right, fighting to protect the ones she cared about, including her son, Teddy. The last- the last thing I told Tonks before the battle was- I said I'd always be there for Teddy and for her. What I didn't tell her, and what I'd give anything to tell her now, is that I loved her because she'd always been there for me. And even though I miss her so much-" Ginny took a shuddering breath as the tears finally fell again. She looked at Harry, who was looking at her so intently that he seemed to be willing strength into her. "Even though I miss her, so very much, I'm so proud that I got to call her my sister."

Ginny was surprised when she heard a couple of people clapping. She looked into the crowd, trying to find who it was, but before she knew it, the entire audience was applauding. Ginny smiled softly, knowing they were applauding Tonks and the amazing life that she had lived. As the applause slowly died down, Ginny cleared her throat. "Thank you. And now, I'd like to invite Harry Potter to the stage."

Ginny walked off the stage, and Harry pulled her into a quick hug before replacing her on stage. Ginny sat down next to Andromeda and her mother, both of whom were weeping openly. Andromeda patted Ginny briefly on the arm to express her gratitude as Harry looked at her. Ginny nodded at him, and he nodded back, opening his mouth to begin speaking.

HGHGHGHGHGHGHGHG HGHGHGHG

Harry had done his best to remain present and aware throughout the service. He'd spent a lot of the night awake with Ginny, crying, and now that he was here, it was difficult to not fall into that again. Harry listened to Kingsley talk about what a great Auror Tonks had been and how Remus had been a great teacher and fighter for the Order. He talked about how they were a great couple and the world was better because of them and their love. He listened to Ginny, who was just so strong, talking about how she loved Tonks and saw her like a sister. When it was his turn to speak, he hugged her, trying to draw as much strength from her as he could before getting on the stage. When he looked out at the crowd, he knew that he had to be honest, even if the truth was hard. Still a little unsure of himself, his eyes found Ginny, who nodded at him, smiling a little reassuringly. Harry nodded back at her, feeling slightly better, and he began his speech.

"Remus Lupin was best friends with my dad and my godfather. They were all in the same year in Gryffindor, and they quickly became close friends. They became so close, in fact, that my dad and godfather taught themselves how to become Animagi to keep him company on nights he had to transform into a werewolf. My dad told him that he just had a furry little problem and shouldn't let it define him. But after my dad died, Remus did let it define him.

"He practically withdrew from society, viewing himself as a problem that needed solving. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it was for him to deal with being a werewolf, but I do know what it's like for people to look at you differently because of your scars." A few people in the audience chuckled, and Harry paused for a moment. He hadn't intended that to be a joke, and it took a moment to recompose himself. "Remus lost the people who welcomed him the most, despite his furry little problem, and instead of trying to find more people to welcome him, he hid until I met him in my third year at Hogwarts.

"He was the best teacher I ever had. I don't know if it was because he saw my dad in me, but he treated me like an adult, and he trained me better in Defence Against the Dark Arts than any other teacher I ever had. He spent countless hours with me outside of class, teaching me how to cast a Patronus. I was thirteen, and he took the time to help me even though he didn't have to. The things he taught me have saved my life countless times, and I owe more to him for that than I ever thanked him for.

"Remus was also afraid when it came to love. It took him ages to finally realise that he deserved love, despite his furry little problem. But when he did finally realise it, he got a chance to live the life he actually deserved. Remus always appeared, to me at least, to be a very sad person. I never saw him happier than when he was with Tonks and when he told me that Teddy had been born. He smiled like I'd never seen that day, and for a while, I saw what he must have looked like when he was at Hogwarts with my dad and godfather. He was happy, and he deserved so much more time to be happy.

"The problem was that even though he was afraid throughout his life- afraid of what people would think of him, afraid of love, and afraid of his furry little problem- he was one of the bravest men I ever knew. He was afraid of a lot, but being with Tonks and having Teddy completely changed his view on life. He wanted to protect them, even though he was afraid. I had a chance to talk to him aft- before the battle. He told me that he was fighting to make the world a happier place for Teddy to live his life. That was who Remus Lupin was. A man who was afraid, but despite that fear, rose up when he was needed to fight for what was right, to fight for a happier world."

Harry exhaled deeply, barely hearing the applause thundering in the church as he remembered the last time he saw Lupin, in the forest. Harry would've given himself in a heartbeat if Lupin or Tonks could be here with their son. But he'd been the one to live, and he swore that he'd spend his life protecting Teddy, telling him about his brave parents, and making sure he enjoyed a life in the happier world his parents had protected for him.

He stepped down the stairs off the stage, hugging Ginny again. She was crying, but her eyes blazed as she looked up at him, clearly proud of what he'd said. Kingsley concluded the funeral with a few more brief remarks. Then everyone proceeded outside to the graveyard, where Tonks and Lupin were being buried. Andromeda lowered Tonks' coffin into the ground near Ted Tonks' grave, tears streaming down her face as she held her wand, shaking slightly. Harry followed suit, lowering Remus into the ground next to his wife as he did his best to stay composed, finally shedding a tear as he turned away and back to Ginny.

The graves were soon filled in, and Andromeda surprised them both when she asked them to inscribe an epitaph on their gravestones. Ginny stepped up first, writing underneath Tonks' name and years of life- Sister to All. Harry followed her, knowing as he knelt in front of Remus' gravestone what should be written to honour the last of the Marauders- Mischief Managed.

Harry walked back to the Weasleys, noticing that George, Ron, and Hermione had all smiled at his inscription. Lupin may not have been the most mischievous of the Marauders, but in Harry's mind, he still managed more than enough mischief to earn that epitaph. And besides, maybe it would make Remus laugh from wherever he was. Harry liked to think he was laughing a lot more now.

HGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGH GHG

After they buried Remus and Tonks, the crowd was surprisingly slow to disperse. Several people Ginny didn't know thanked her for her 'moving' eulogy for Tonks. She wasn't really sure how to respond to that, so she stuck to nodding appreciatively. Ginny felt like she was overwhelmed, but looking at Harry showed what overwhelmed really looked like. It seemed like every single person who had attended the funeral wanted a chance to shake his hand and say something to him. She suspected that many of his visitors weren't as interested in talking about Lupin and Tonks as they were about the battle and thanking him for what he did. She knew that he was modest, almost to a fault, and would be feeling extremely uncomfortable, but she didn't see a way that she could pull Harry out of there without causing a scene that would embarrass him further. She kept one eye on Harry as she walked over to Charlie, who was standing by himself, slightly removed from the crowd.

"Your boyfriend sure does have a lot of admirers," he commented wryly.

Ginny smiled. "He deserves them, but he hates the attention. He never thinks he deserves anything to be honest… always thinks he could do more or be better."

"Bit out of character for a hero."

"He never wanted to be a hero. It's amazing how natural the things that we think are heroic are to him. He thinks anybody would've done them."

Charlie looked at her curiously. "You know, the last time I really talked to him before this week was four years ago. He seemed like a pretty normal kid, despite everything that had happened to him. I just kind of figured with Voldemort coming back, he would've changed, wanted some appreciation, especially considering how the Ministry tried to discredit him for so long. But none of it's an act, is it? He really doesn't want any attention?"

Ginny shook her head. "Yesterday, we were washing dishes together, by hand, since that relaxes Harry for some reason. He said something I thought was odd. He asked if that was something normal people did. He's definitely a hero, but I think all he wants is to live a normal life without all the attention."

"Bloody hell," Charlie swore. Ginny gave him a confused glance. "It's not nearly as much fun taking the piss out of a bloke who's dating you when he's… that," he said frustratedly, gesturing at Harry, still surrounded by a throng of people and looking rather nervous.

Ginny laughed. "I'm sure you'll still find some enjoyment in it. But try taking it easy on him, he deserves a little break at home at least, even if he's not getting it in public."

"No promises," Charlie joked, but his expression told Ginny that he would at least consider it. They stood in silence for a moment, watching wizard after wizard shake Harry's hand when Ginny remembered why she'd come over to talk to Charlie in the first place.

"How are you doing? I know you and Tonks were friends at school…" she trailed off.

Charlie shrugged. "Not great, honestly. Y'know… we never told anyone, but Tonks was my first real girlfriend."

Ginny gasped. "You and Tonks?" she asked in disbelief.

Charlie smiled a little and nodded. "Yeah, it was back in our sixth year. I'd gone on a few dates before, but never anything like a real relationship. We dated for a few months, but I ended up leaving to go to Romania. We wrote fairly often, but we agreed not to wait on each other. It was for the best; we had different paths that we wanted to follow at the time. She was still one of my best friends though, even after we'd both moved on."

Ginny gave Charlie a brief hug. "I'm sorry Charlie, I never knew the two of you were that close."

Charlie shook his head. "It's okay. I'm gonna miss her, but it sounds to me like she was much closer to you over these past few years. I'm glad she was there for you when you needed her, and… I'm sorry you lost her."

Ginny nodded but bit her lip, refusing to cry anymore. Charlie looked back at Harry and the slowly thinning crowd around him. "I do wish I'd been here more. To be around Tonks when she was alive… but also to be around the family more. It feels like you're so different than you were when I left for Romania."

Ginny chuckled softly. "I was eight when you left, Charlie. I'm definitely a little different than I was then."

Charlie looked at her, sadder than she'd seen him the whole day. "Yeah, you sure have grown up, Gin-Gin."

"I thought we talked a long time ago about calling me that," Ginny scolded, putting her hands on her hips for emphasis.

Charlie smiled a little, breaking his glum demeanour, and shrugged dismissively. "Sorry Gin-Gin, but you're still a little kid to me."

Ginny rolled her eyes but didn't protest any further. There was clearly something bothering Charlie more than just what had happened to Tonks, and considering the situation, she decided to let it slide this once. She looked at Charlie and tilted her head towards the rest of their family, who was talking to Kingsley Shacklebolt.

Charlie sighed and nodded. "Your boyfriend's almost done with his fans anyway."

Ginny saw that he was right- there were just a few more people keeping Harry from being able to leave. She and Charlie walked towards their family. As they got closer, she heard Kingsley say, "- just in time for the memorial," but he stopped talking when he saw her.

He smiled at her and shook her hand. "That was an excellent speech you gave, Ginny. Tonks and I worked very closely together for a long time, and I know she felt very close to you. She would've been proud."

Ginny blushed, thankful that he'd shared that with her even though it made it difficult to keep her emotions in check. Clearing her throat, she said, "Thank you, Minister."

Kingsley chuckled. "Honestly Ginny, you've been calling me Kingsley for years. That's my name, and that's what I like to be called." Ginny smiled at him and nodded, grateful that he was remaining down to earth even as he wielded enormous power in the wizarding world.

She was surprised when Harry walked up to her, sliding an arm around her waist. She turned and kissed him on the cheek, making him smile more than he had all day. Kingsley shook his hand. "Sorry for another handshake, Harry, but that was a fantastic eulogy you gave for Remus."

Harry nodded. "Thanks Kingsley… I honestly wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing with it, but I'm glad you thought it was good."

"The truth always matters, Harry. Remus was a flawed man, like you said, but he was also a brave hero when he needed to be. I think he would've agreed with everything you said."

Harry nodded again, suddenly looking very tired, as if the events of the day, including his impromptu celebrity greeting line, were catching up to him. The rest of her family had already left, so Ginny nudged him softly, causing him to look at her.

"Ready to go home?" she asked. Harry nodded before looking back at Kingsley, who waved a hand to gesture that they should leave.

"Don't let me keep you. We'll be seeing plenty of each other over the next few weeks anyways," he promised grimly. Ginny did her best not to remember that several of those occasions would be more funerals. They bade farewell to Kingsley, who disapparated. Harry followed suit, holding Ginny close to him as he turned on his heel and transported them back to the Burrow.

The rest of the day passed very slowly at home. Ginny and Harry napped together on the couch for an hour or two, even though it didn't feel like they'd rested at all. Molly made a chicken and ham pie for dinner, and George surprised them all by joining them for dinner, even though he didn't speak at all. Instead, he mostly shifted food around his plate, not eating much. Granted, nobody was really talking much. The day had taken a toll on all of them, and it was only the beginning.

It wasn't until Ginny and Harry were sitting outside on the porch swing again that Ginny remembered whose funeral was tomorrow. Colin Creevey, her classmate and fellow Gryffindor, would be the next hero of the battle that they would be saying goodbye to. Harry had been even more quiet since dinner, and Ginny suspected that Colin's death was hitting him even harder than it was hitting her.

Not that Ginny wasn't sad about Colin. They'd been friends, very good friends for a long time. She hadn't had many friends after her first year at Hogwarts, but Colin was just so outgoing that he made her feel like she always had a friend in him, despite what had happened with the Chamber. After Ginny broke up with Dean, he actually asked her out, but by that point, she was waiting for Harry. He grew a lot in the original Dumbledore's Army, and when he came back to Hogwarts for the battle, Ginny wasn't surprised. As a Muggle-born, he'd been removed from the wizarding world for almost a year, but he seemed to have matured even more in that time. The last time she'd seen him, he'd had such a strong look of determination on his face that Ginny knew he was fighting for more than himself. He was fighting for all the Muggle-borns who were made to hide in fear of a ruthless and cruel new regime.

Ginny felt tears in her eyes, and she tried blinking them back, but it was hopeless. She'd cried more in the past few days than she had in years, it felt like, yet she couldn't stop. Harry held her, and they didn't need to say anything. Ginny could tell, even though he wasn't crying, that Harry felt the same way. Colin deserved so much more than a life ended at sixteen by a war he shouldn't have had to fight in.

HGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHG HG

Burying Remus and Tonks had been incredibly difficult. As Harry had been surrounded by an endless blur of faces and well wishes, he felt himself disassociating from it all. For Merlin's sake, this was a funeral, and people were lined up for him like he was some sort of attraction at a zoo. He kept looking for Ginny, who stayed within view, never moving too far away. For a while, Charlie and her were talking while looking at him, but Harry had no idea what that was about. After what felt like hours, he shook the last hand and was finally able to leave, taking Ginny and himself back to the Burrow.

The day passed uneventfully, and as Harry sat with Ginny on the swinging bench, he thought about the next funeral- Colin's. Harry couldn't even wrap his head around the fact that Colin was gone. He knew as he hugged a crying Ginny that she was mourning the loss of yet another friend, but it hadn't even sunk in to Harry that someone even younger than him had laid down his life defending Hogwarts.

They didn't really talk that night. Harry slipped into her bed after everyone went to sleep again, and they lay in silence. Not sleeping, but not crying either. All they needed was to hold each other. Harry must've finally dozed off at some point because he was woken, for the first time since they'd returned to the Burrow, by Hermione, who quickly escorted him out of Ginny's bedroom. Harry dressed upstairs with Ron in his black dress robes again, not nearly ready for another funeral. At least he didn't have to speak at this one.

Like yesterday, the family sat together at the kitchen table, but nobody ate anything. Arthur mentioned that there were two parts to Colin's funeral. There would be a wizarding ceremony, and then everyone would leave while Colin's Muggle friends and the rest of his family would hold a second funeral and bury him. When the time came, they all apparated to a church in Coventry, where the Creeveys lived.

There were many more Hogwarts students at this funeral than at the one yesterday, Harry noticed. Almost every member of the D.A. had come, along with a large portion of Gryffindor House and several other students from Colin's year. Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, Slughorn, and Sinistra had come, as well as Hagrid. Harry found himself rather pleased that so many people had made it, especially considering it was just days after the battle. Colin deserved as large an attendance as possible.

Harry stuck with the the Weasleys, and there were far less people who wanted to talk to him today, likely because he'd gone to school for so long with so many of these people, and also because, unlike most of the well-wishers yesterday, a lot of the attendees had been at the battle. They knew the realities of it, not just the brief version being described by the Daily Prophet that featured Harry as a hero and ignored all the sacrifices made by people braver than him.

He was about to sit down next to Ginny near the back of the church, not wanting to draw attention to himself, but he was stopped when Dennis Creevey tapped him on the shoulder. Harry turned, surprised, but that surprise shifted quickly into guilt and shame and empathy, seeing the broken expression on Dennis' face, even as he tried to smile at Harry.

"Hey, Harry. Thanks for coming," Dennis said quietly.

Harry nodded. "I wouldn't have missed this for the world," he responded honestly.

Dennis tried smiling again, but he looked like he was wincing in pain. "I was hoping I could introduce you to my parents. Col- he talked a lot about you, and I know they'd love to meet you."

Harry was very surprised at this request. He looked back at Ginny, who nodded encouragingly to him, even as she looked slightly discomforted by Harry's plight. Harry looked back to Dennis. "Yeah, I'd definitely like to meet them… are you wanting to right now?" he asked, thinking that the service should be starting soon.

"Yeah, just come up front with me. They're standing up there," he pointed to a clearly grief-stricken couple standing at the front row. Harry almost reluctantly followed Dennis to his parents. "Mum, Dad, this is Harry Potter."

Mrs. Creevey stunned Harry by hugging him, before seemingly realising herself and pulling back. "I'm sorry, it's just… he talked so much about you, and I know- at least I've heard about your life and what you've been through. He looked up to you so much, and he loved being your friend."

Harry couldn't speak as Mrs. Creevey started crying again. All Harry felt was a lump in his throat. Mr. Creevey extended his hand to Harry, who shook it weakly, continually feeling more and more uncomfortable. "Dennis told us about what happened… at the school. After everything Col- Colin told us about you, and what Dennis said… you're a good man, Mister Potter, and I'm glad that you were friends with my son."

Harry thought he was going to be sick. Somehow, he managed to say quietly, "I'm so sorry. I would do anything if I could bring him back." The way this kind, short couple looked at him, even as they were clearly grieving, did nothing to comfort him.

"Col- Colin wanted to do what was right. We wish more than anything that he was still here, but we're so proud of him," Mr. Creevey said.

"You should be. Colin is a hero," Harry agreed with conviction.

Dennis cut in. "Harry… they're about to start, and I wanted to ask you. D'you think- I mean, would you mind- I think Colin would've liked it a lot… if you spoke today."

Harry didn't think it was possible for him to feel any worse than he already did, looking in the mourning faces of a family smaller than it should've been because Colin had gone to Hogwarts to fight. Because Harry had brought the fight there. He wanted more than anything to disapparate out of the church, to never have to speak in front of people again, to be done with all this.

He didn't know how, but he heard himself saying, "Yeah, of course I will." He couldn't say no to this family that somehow thought so highly of him despite everything. As much as he hated it, if it brought them any comfort, he would force himself to do it.

All three of them smiled a little. Dennis nodded. "Thanks Harry, just sit up here with us and they'll say when it's time for you."

Harry sat next to Dennis, not saying anything else. He realised somewhere in his mind that the Weasleys, especially Ginny, would probably be wondering why he was sitting up here. To be honest, he was still wondering that himself. But he didn't have very long to wonder as Professor McGonagall stood in front of the church, gathering everyone's attention to begin the service.

"I had the honour of serving as Colin Creevey's Head of House at Hogwarts for the past six years. In that time, I saw him grow from a very energetic and talkative boy into a young man, who valued bravery and friendship above all else." McGonagall kept talking, but Harry found that he couldn't listen anymore. He knew he should be trying to think of something he could say, but all that he could see in his mind was a camera pointed at him and a high pitched voice asking, "Alright, Harry?"

McGonagall talked for a while. As she concluded her speech, she said, "Colin held all his friends close to his heart, but there was one friend he held in especially high esteem, particularly as a younger student. That friend has graciously agreed to speak today, so I invite Harry Potter to come up to the stage."

Harry was surprised, and he realised that Dennis must have told McGonagall that he would be speaking before he'd even asked Harry. Not a bad move, Harry observed as he quickly tried to collect his thoughts. McGonagall looked at him sadly as they passed each other, and Harry realised that she likely wasn't very familiar with burying her students. Not that anyone should ever be used to something like that.

Harry turned to face the audience, and he took a deep breath. He could barely see her, but as usual, his eyes found Ginny, and he knew that she was with him even though he stood alone on the stage. Harry exhaled, took another deep breath, and began talking.

"The- the first time I met Colin, he asked if he could take a picture of us for me to autograph. Even as an eleven year old, Colin wasn't afraid to put himself out there, regardless of what other people thought. And not in a bad way either. Colin was the kind of person who never knew a stranger. He'd talk to anybody and make them feel like his friend. As he grew older, his bravery and willingness to be himself manifested itself in ways beyond just social situations. Colin was a founding member of Dumble- a Defence Against the Dark Arts club, and he grew tremendously in his abilities and confidence to defend himself and others. This past year, Colin had to be in hiding as a Muggle-born, but when the chance came for him to fight, he managed to get into Hogwarts and fought for what was right."

Harry hesitated for a moment, suddenly seeing what he really wanted to say, even though it might make people uncomfortable.

"I didn't know that Colin had come to Hogwarts until- until he'd been killed. I feel so sorry for his family and friends. I'm extremely sad that Colin's life was cut far too short, but I'm also incredibly proud that I was friends with someone like him, who was heroic and brave when he didn't have to be. There wasn't anyone forcing him to be at Hogwarts. He ran to Hogwarts instead of staying away because he wanted to fight for what was right.

"More than anything though, I'm pissed off." Some people stirred in the audience, but Harry wasn't stopping now. "I am bloody pissed off that this was a fight that Colin felt the need to be a part of. I'm pissed off that because of his magical heritage, something he had no control over, he dealt with ridicule and slander and spent the last year of his life hiding from a corrupt government that would've arrested him or worse for being able to do magic. I'm pissed off that there are still a lot of wizards and witches who think that their blood status matters at all, or even that the fact that they're able to do magic makes them better than the people who can't.

"The truth is that it doesn't matter at all. I'm a half-blood, and my two best friends are a pureblood and a Muggle-born. Colin Creevey was a Muggle-born, and he's worth dozens of pureblood wizards who were too afraid to stand up for what was right when he wasn't. I'm pissed off about a lot of things that have happened. But more than anything, I am fucking pissed off that there are families that won't ever be whole again because some evil people decided that they got to choose whose lives mattered and whose didn't."

Harry's voice trembled, but he kept going. "Colin was a friend to all, and he was murdered by people who fear friendship and crave violence, dissent, and cruelty. Colin died fighting for the rights of people just like him, people caught between the Muggle and magical worlds, who deserve the right to live as they please without fearing what the government or other witches and wizards will think about them because of where they came from. He died fighting for a world where all wizards and witches are treated equally, for a world where blood status doesn't matter. Colin is a bloody hero, and we can honour his life by doing what's right and treating everyone fairly, regardless of who their parents are or how pure their blood is. We're all bonded by magic; we shouldn't be looking for ways to divide ourselves. Never forget that, and Colin's sacrifice ends in victory."

Harry walked off the stage abruptly as the church sat in stunned silence. He noticed as he sat down next to Dennis again that tears were running down his cheeks, but he had no idea when they started. All three members of the Creevey family were weeping, but Dennis clapped Harry on the shoulder.

He whispered through the tears, "Colin would've loved that Harry Potter swore in a church in front of everyone for him," almost chuckling even though he was crying.

Harry wished he felt like laughing at that, but he was just shaking. He hadn't even thought to put into words what he felt about the fact that so many people died at the battle. And if the silence in the church was any indication, a lot of people were very surprised at what he had to say.

The silence lasted for another moment before Professor McGonagall finally stood up, concluding the service by thanking everyone for coming, directing those who wished to speak to the family to the front, and asking people to leave shortly because the Muggle service would be happening in a couple hours. Harry wanted to slip away, but Mrs. Creevey pulled him into another hug, surprising Harry once again with her strength for such a small woman.

"Thank you for what you said up there," she said in his ear. "That was the most impactful speech I've ever heard, and it means so much coming from you."

Harry nodded, not able to make eye contact with her as she pulled back before her husband pulled Harry into a tight hug as well. Harry nodded to them all once again before backing away slowly as others came up to the family, looking for another exit out of the church. Not finding one, Harry resigned himself to standing against a wall and hoping people wouldn't notice him.

That hope was quickly dispelled when Harry felt the wind knocked out of him as someone hugged him very tightly. He tried to see who it was, but his vision was blocked by a forest of bushy brown hair. He realised who his hugger was and quickly hugged her back. Hermione backed away from him after a few moments, wiping tears from her eyes.

"That was just… the most beautiful speech I've ever heard, Harry. You have no idea how important it was for you to say what you did," she said a little breathlessly.

Harry looked at her curiously. "I mean… sure thing, Hermione. You know how I feel about blood status and all that rubbish."

Hermione shook her head. "Well of course I know how you feel about it, but you've just told the rest of the world how you feel." Harry furrowed his brow, still confused. "Honestly, Harry, you can be a bit stupid sometimes. Word will spread, and you can bet that what you said will be in the Daily Prophet on Sunday."

Realisation dawned on Harry. "Oh… I hadn't thought about that. To be honest, I didn't really think, I just said what I was feeling. Guess I shouldn't have sworn so many times though if this is going to be in the paper," he noted, cringing a little. "I'm sure you didn't like the swearing either."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "I usually don't, but for today, it was perfect." She hugged him again. "Just… thank you for saying that. It means so much, even if I already knew how you felt about me and other Muggle-borns." Harry smiled a little at this affection, even if he was still a little confused at her reaction, but that wasn't going to keep him from hugging his best friend.

He was pleased when she stepped away that nobody was waiting to talk to him. There were several people near the Creeveys, but nobody had queued up to shake his hand today. Grateful, Harry turned to go back to the Weasleys when he heard Dennis calling him. "Wait up, Harry!"

HGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHG HGHGHG

Her boyfriend really was a hero, Ginny thought as she watched him passionately defending Muggle-borns in his speech. She knew that he hadn't known when he came to the church that he'd be asked to speak, and it was obvious that he'd been speaking from the heart. After the service was over, Hermione quickly made her way to Harry, hugging him and talking to him for several minutes. Pleased, Ginny turned to see her family looking impressed too.

Bill commented, "That sure was something."

Fleur agreed, "Eet was just so beautiful and touching. 'E made a lot of people very proud today."

"He shouldn't have sworn so much, but that will definitely be in the Prophet this weekend," Percy commented.

Charlie rolled his eyes. "Bugger off, Perce. That was a bloody brilliant statement for the Prophet." Percy reddened but didn't respond.

Ginny was still seated next to George, who looked deep in thought. "What's on your mind, Georgie?" she asked, hoping that he wouldn't close himself off.

He shook his head. "Just thinking about a couple things. Great speech, though," he added, still looking towards the front of the church. Ginny decided not to ask again, figuring that he'd tell her if he wanted to.

She looked where George was looking and saw Hermione walking back to them. Her cheeks were shining with tears, but she was smiling.

"Where's Harry?" Ginny asked.

"Dennis wanted to talk to him about something. It's unbelievable though. Harry doesn't even realise that what he said was important," she said, shaking her head incredulously.

Ron snorted, "Of course he doesn't. Harry was surprised when he was on the front page of the Prophet after defeating Riddle."

"He'll be real happy when he's on the front page on Sunday, then," Charlie said, gesturing to the front of the church, where a photographer was taking a picture of the Creevey family with Harry.

"Honestly, can't they give it a rest at a bloody funeral?" Ginny growled, irate that reporters would intrude on something like this. `

Bill shook his head. "The sad thing is for a lot of Britain, the battle is already becoming a mythical thing that they want to learn more about. We know the realities of it, but it's becoming sensationalised in the press already, and the Prophet will sell a lot of issues with Harry on the front."

"He deserves a break," Ginny argued combatively.

"No arguments here, sis, but that's not the way the world works," Bill responded, even though he was frowning at the situation.

Harry finally started approaching them, and surprisingly, he arrived without anyone else stopping him to talk. Ginny pulled him into a tight hug. "You had no idea you were supposed to speak, did you?" she asked once they'd separated, still holding hands.

Harry shook his head. "Dennis asked me after he introduced me to his parents. I couldn't really say no then."

"Sneaky bloke," George commented from behind Ginny. Harry nodded, smiling a little.

Ron clapped Harry's shoulder. "That was brilliant, mate. Your swearing is gonna be on the front page of the Prophet!" he said a little too excitedly.

Harry groaned and looked down at the ground. Ginny squeezed his hand, and he responded in kind. "Harry," Bill interjected, stepping close enough to put his arm around his shoulder, "That was the perfect speech. People need to be shocked to realise how bad the situation is, and you did just that."

Harry nodded. "Thanks, Bill," he said, looking back up from the ground. "Are we going home?" he asked Ginny.

Ginny nodded. "Whenever you're ready. No adoring fans to wait for this time. Except me that is," she said, winking at him.

Harry smiled a little again. "Don't worry, I'll always have time for my number one fan." Ginny squeezed his hand, smiling back at him, and they walked outside, disapparating back to the Burrow with the rest of her family.

/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/ */*

A/N: Wow, that was quite the emotional roller coaster of a chapter, so I don't think it would surprise anyone to know that this chapter was incredibly difficult for me to write. I love happy fics, and I think this is ultimately a very happy fic, hence the series name Happier Every Day. But I also wanted and needed to be as authentic to the characters and canon as possible, and funerals were always going to happen after the Battle.

To write this chapter and a few upcoming chapters, I had to do my best to remember feelings I've had at the funerals of people I love. Thankfully, it's been a few years since I've been to one, but it isn't difficult, for me at least, to put myself back in a position of emptiness and despair when thinking about losing loved ones. Ginny blanking at Tonks' funeral was entirely inspired by my own personal way of processing things during funerals, but she was always going to be strong enough to deliver a beautiful eulogy for her big sister, and I hope I did Tonks justice with it.

Harry's eulogy for Lupin was even more difficult to write. It was important to me to not whitewash Lupin's mistakes, and I don't think Harry would've either, considering their interaction at Grimmauld Place at the start of Deathly Hallows. To me, this eulogy is a sign of Harry's growing maturity- recognising that Lupin wasn't perfect, but he was an incredibly brave man who deserved more than a few short days with his son.

Harry's eulogy for Colin was much different to write because Harry was experiencing a whole different set of emotions. He views everyone's deaths at the Battle as his fault, but Lupin and Tonks were at least in the Order of the Phoenix and knew what they were doing. For Harry to know that someone younger than him died at the Battle is a totally different feeling of guilt and responsibility and anger. Those emotions were just impossible to fully control when Dennis sprung the speaking role on Harry, but it was very important for him to say what he did, even though it came in a moment of him basically snapping emotionally. The end of the war marked a critical moment for the wizarding world, and in the immediate aftermath, everyone is still trying to figure out exactly how to move forward. Harry's making it clear that the path forward should focus on more inclusivity, which is a pretty good idea in my opinion.

I also wanted to note that, while canon doesn't ever explicitly say that Charlie and Tonks were in the same year, Potter wiki says Charlie was born in December 1972, while Tonks was born some time in 1973, so it's probable that they were in the same year at Hogwarts. I thought the idea of Tonks and Charlie being more than friends at one point was both cute and another level of sad, which I apparently couldn't resist. I don't think it's entirely unreasonable though. Considering the way I'm characterising Charlie, I actually could see them as a good couple in another life.

And two random fun facts from the chapter to try and end on a slightly lighter note… I picked Queen Camel, Somerset as the home of the Tonks family because Deathly Hallows says Harry and Hagrid flew over three counties to get to the Tonks house during the Battle of the Seven Potters, Somerset is three counties west of Surrey (where the Dursleys live), I loved the town name, and it has a very rich history tracing back to Roman times and the myths of King Arthur, so it felt like a reasonable Muggle-wizard hybrid town. I selected Coventry as the the hometown for the Creeveys because it's a decently sized Muggle city without being one of the more famous cities in Britain and because the one fact we know about the Creeveys is that Mr. Creevey is a milkman. At the time that I was doing research, the oldest milkman in England (aged 95) ran a delivery service headquartered in Coventry, so I went with it.

With that, we've reached the end of Honouring Friends, and they're going to have a little more time to process things now, but the hard times unfortunately aren't over yet.

Coming Friday: A Restless Break- Hermione rolled her eyes. "Are you telling me you don't love Ginny?"
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