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27 June 2008 @ 12:32 am
Beneath Boundless Skies, part one  
Ah Worldcup ... six weeks when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. My beloved job disappeared, my beloved cat took to dying, and my beloved J took it awfully hard, which meant that I had to hold everything together. And I had to come up with a story, with no hope of any time extension, and on a team that had already churned through all of its backup writers (who did a MAGNIFICENT job, BTW) due to others falling out faster. So I ended up writing the last 15,000 words of this in about 24 hours, with another two for editing.

My prompt was Death, which was ironic however you sliced it. I wanted to do something a bit different than my usual England-focussed stories, so I decided that the characters should be allowed one of the prime options available to those who have lost those nearest to them. They should be allowed to run away.

I had one commenter on the original posting who complained that it seemed really random that they went to Australia. I cannot imagine that person is from a Commonwealth country. Running away to Australia is as British as Pimms, Wimbledon and whining about public transport. I did it, hundreds of my friends have done it, though most of them went back. It's a place to take a year where you can be sunburned and drunk and sleep with inappropriate people and do things you would never do at home, because you're not at home. You're in the Other Place, where the rules aren't the same.

Anyway, if you haven't read it, feel free to judge for yourself whether or not that worked. I will have some more author notes at the end, because I enjoyed reading anthimaeria 's so much that I am stealing the idea.

This version is slightly edited, to correct cock-ups and the one bit that I had meant to tweak. For the original, you can go here. And I have added a few multimedia links in case you want to know what things are like in sundry places. For the record, people aged under 35 have been less fond of the first third than those over 35.



Title: Beneath Boundless Skies
Author: blamebrampton
Team: EWE
Prompt: Death
Wordcount: 29,800
Rating: M
Warnings: Character death (not H/D), homosexual activities, rampant Australianisms
Summary: The end of one journey is the start of another. No matter how long it takes for you to make the first step.
Author’s Note Many thanks to jadzialove , whose wildly supportive beta-ing cheers me every time and to pushdragon  for her Ozpicking, genius proofing and spottings of my madness (here, there, pretty much everywhere). Because this was a monster, I was also sustained and corrected by the lovely bryoneybrynn  , while the charming oceaxe  and who_la_hoop  gave excellent sugestions, directional advice and reminders that not everyone was born in the 1960s.

NB This is set postwar, but there is a decided lack of emo angsting. Because I am of the generation that prefers tea and black humour. Sorry.




It was, without doubt, the strangest Owl that Harry had ever received.

A firm hand, using a broad quill, had spelt out “Potter, Thank you. Malfoy” A finer, more elegant hand had added a “Dear Mr” at the beginning, and a penultimate “Draco”.

He blinked at the owl, a small brown that seemed vaguely familiar. “What time is it?” he asked, still groggy from sleep. The owl hooted at him. Harry did not need a bird to tell him that birds could not tell the time.

Bright sun shone in through the castle’s open window beside him. Someone, presumably Kreacher, had been in and left clean clothes at the end of his bed. And there was a meal, the dishcovers were still warm. Harry guessed it might be two o’clock, maybe a little later.

He took the dishcovers off and grinned at the sight of shepherd’s pie, roast vegetables and treacle tart. His favourite comfort meal. He sat on his bed and began to eat, grateful to Kreacher. Images of the house-elf at the head of a band of armed warriors played in his mind. That had been a good moment. Merlin he was hungry.

The brown owl hopped over and clicked its beak hopefully. Harry passed it a roast carrot, which was apparently acceptable. He picked up the parchment it had borne again. Such a strange letter. He supposed he had saved Malfoy’s life, but was that the sort of thing one sent a note regarding?

Clearly Narcissa Malfoy thought so, if Harry was any judge. Which meant that she might very well be expecting a similar note from him. Harry grinned at the owl. He looked over at the trunk beside him, yes, there was a quill and ink. Eating with his left hand, he penned a reply with his right on a scrap torn from the original parchment.

“Dear Mrs Malfoy, Thank you for your courage and kindness in not betraying me to Voldemort in the final battle. It meant a great deal to me, and, I suspect, to the war effort. I hope your family is well. Sincerely, Harry James Potter.”

There was no room for more. “Halfbloods can be polite, too,” Harry told the owl, tying the note to its leg. The owl continued to be interested only in the contents of Harry’s plate, and was rewarded with scraps before being sent on its way.

Harry finished his meal and contemplated a shower before heading down to face what remained of the day and find Ron and Hermione. Maybe just a quick nap to digest first.

*******************

Harry woke to the sound of his name being called. He sat up, shoving his glasses on, just in time to see Kingsley stepping into his room. The light was longer now, evening rolling in, or was it the next morning?

“Did I wake you?” Kingsley asked.

“No. Well, yes, but I need to get up. Come in,” Harry invited, swinging himself out from underneath his blanket. He was still dressed in yesterday’s clothes, and suddenly aware that he smelled terrible.

Kingsley came over and patted Harry’s shoulder, then sat on the bed opposite his. “How are you feeling?”

“I’ve had some sleep and food,” Harry replied. “Could do with a shower, though.”

“Couldn’t we all?” Kingsley smiled. Harry noticed that he, too, was wearing yesterday’s clothes. “You did well, Harry.”

“We all did. It’s hard to believe it’s over.”

Kingsley leaned across and patted Harry’s knee. “It’s over. You did it. And I’ve come to tell you that the Prime Minister sends his regards and that the Interim Minister for Magic requests you dine with him tonight.”

“Well he can sod off for a start.”

Kingsley turned the corners of his mouth down comically. “I thought we were friends.”

“It’s you?”

Kingsley nodded.

Harry grinned. “That’s great! I go to sleep for a few hours and already things have started improving. It was just a few hours, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s seven. Dinner will be half an hour. Everyone’s down in the Room of Requirement, Minerva’s created a new hall there …” Kingsley didn’t need to explain, the memory of the Great Hall was unlikely to fade for either of them.

Harry nodded, happy to hear that the Fiendfyre had not destroyed the Room itself. “Okay then, I’ll shower and get dressed.”

Kingsley didn’t get up. “There’s two more things …” He reached into a pocket and pulled out a copy of The Daily Prophet. He held up the front page, with its banner headline of ‘SALVATION’ and underneath it an artist’s impression of Harry killing Voldemort – which was substantially more dramatic than the real sequence of events.

Harry couldn’t help laughing at the absurdity.

“I was hoping you’d say that,” Kingsley said with a smile. “And then there’s the Malfoy question. Did Narcissa Malfoy really help you in the final battle?”

Harry frowned. “Yes, she did, immensely. But how did you know?”

“We read your letter. Andromeda Tonks insisted on it. She has Narcissa and Draco with her.”

“And Lucius?”

“He’s with us.”

Harry thought for a moment. “Draco helped, too,” he added. “When we were imprisoned at the manor, he refused to identify me. And last night – this morning – he stopped Vincent Crabbe from killing me.”

“That’s good.” Kingsley’s voice was gentle. “I have no taste for prosecuting children.”

Harry remembered something else. “Gregory Goyle,” he blurted out. “He’s just an idiot. He was in it because he’s a bully who thought the robes and masks were cool.”

“He willingly participated in Death Eater raids,” Kingsley told him. “No murders, at least. A lesser evil, perhaps. Or maybe just a more banal one.”

Harry pushed a hand back through his grotty hair. “It was all banal,” he whispered. “All those people dead for Tom Riddle’s fear. Such a stupid waste.”

“Not a waste.” Kingsley’s voice was surprisingly loud and resonant. “None of us wasted our energies or lives so long as we were able to stand up and say that we wanted a world in which everyone walked free and equal. Courage is never wasted, Harry.”

Harry nodded. “Remus said something like that once.” At the name, a flood of other memories intruded. “Andromeda Tonks, how is she? How’s Teddy? What’s she doing with the Malfoys? Is there someone else with her?”

Kingsley raised a calming hand. “They are both well. She has taken her sister and nephew in for the moment. Sybill Trelawney has gone to her house with them to help manage things.”

“Professor Trelawney?”

“She was quite keen to help,” Kingsley smiled. “And mysticism aside, she’s a fine witch with a bit of a temper on her.”

“Did you see her with the crystal balls?”

“A memory that will keep me warm in old age.”

Harry stood up and gathered his clean clothes. One more thought occurred to him. “Where are Ron and Hermione?”

Kingsley’s grin was mischievous. “I sent them off to bed. I insisted they needed to sleep as much as you did.”

Harry grinned back. “I’m glad you’re the new Minister.”

“Interim Minister,” Kingsley corrected him. “Now go and shower, dinner’s in twenty-five minutes.”


****************


Dinner was not the trial Harry had expected. In a strange way it was comforting, there was a tangible bond among the survivors. Immense relief buoyed them, and made bearable their shared grief.

As he walked in through the doors, there was a chorus of “Harry!”, and then another of “Neville!” as Longbottom came in behind him. Harry turned to greet his classmate, but was too late. Hannah Abbott and Luna Lovegood swooped in and took Neville by his arms, escorting him to their table-full of DA members. The three of them flashed smiles at Harry as they passed. He, bemused, was beckoned by Kingsley over to a table full of Order members.

Professor McGonagall insisted that Harry sit between her and Kingsley. Several times through the evening he caught her simply looking at him. “Sorry, Mr Potter,” she apologised on the fourth occasion. “I’m just … very pleased to see you this evening.”

Harry knew exactly what she meant, but, like his old teacher, had no idea how to say it. He smiled, and she patted his arm in understanding.

It was a strange meal. The house-elves divided their time between delivering food and sitting at their own table, apparently consuming a great deal of butterbeer. A buzz of particular excitement ran under everything. Several times Harry looked up to see senior students sneaking from the room in pairs.

Hermione and Ron appeared halfway through dinner and sat at the end of Harry’s table, with Charlie Weasley and Professor Flitwick. Harry exchanged looks with them and laughed out loud when Ron grinned broadly and Hermione blushed as red as Weasley hair. He was happy for them; after the past year, they deserved it.

Emotions were less intense than they had been that morning. Some of the younger students were being hugged by family and friends, some of the adults and seventh years sat alone, looking for a spot of peace.

“Are there more Death Eaters to be rounded up?” he asked Kingsley suddenly.

Shacklebolt shook his head. “The ones we know of are all accounted for, dead or in custody. There are more supporters out there, and snatchers and the like. I’m sorry to say that no one’s seen Dolores Umbridge since yesterday, but the main danger is really over.”

Harry smiled crookedly. He wondered if something similar was said sixteen years ago.

Kingsley guessed his thoughts. “It won’t be like last time, Harry. They revealed their hand too thoroughly. The Ministry has been gutted and will be rebuilt only with those who can genuinely be trusted. I don’t care if I have to make it so ninety per cent of the staff are Muggleborn, it ends here.”

Harry nodded soberly. “I believe you.”

Neville appeared at Harry’s elbow. “Heya,” he said, smiling. “I’ve finally escaped!”

Harry couldn’t help smiling back. “From a table full of our friends, and girls who keep touching you.”

“It’s been like that all day.” Neville grinned. “Probably because you were busy sleeping.”

Harry poked his shoulder happily. “Idiot. It’s the sword thing.”

“Yeah, well,” Neville muttered. “Would have been more than just crispy eyebrows if not for your protective magic. That was good work.”

Aside from thinner eyebrows, Neville actually looked better than he had last night. Healers must have been at work, his bruises and cuts were gone, leaving one rather rakish scar along his jaw.

Neville frowned. “I hate to ask, but were you actually dead? Because that’s how they’re saying you did it. Like you said this morning – the same way your mum protected you.”

“I don’t think so,” Harry answered, aware that the other conversations around them had stopped and more ears than Neville’s were listening.

“I think I was mostly alive and that Voldemort only killed his connection with me. It was all pretty strange.”

He looked for a way to phrase the experience “I was somewhere else for a while. Dumbledore was there. He told me he thought I was alive, but that because I was prepared to die if I needed to, that would be enough.”

Neville looked at him for a long moment. “Shit, Harry, that’s pretty serious,” he said at last.

“Says the bloke who stood up to the Dark Lord single-handed.”

Neville shrugged. “Eh, somebody had to, you were just lying around.”

Harry’s guffaw was so loud that conversation at other tables stopped and people turned to look at him. He knew he should have felt guilty for laughing, there were so many dead, but he was alive. And people he had expected to die before dawn were alive, too.

The level of volume in the hall went up at that, and laughter and anecdote began to flow more freely, along with the butterbeer and firewhisky. Harry lifted his first glass to Neville. “To the heir of Gryffindor,” he said, only half joking.

“To the saviour of the wizarding world,” Neville replied, with considerably more tongue in cheek. They tossed back the drinks. Neville’s face was more serious after he had finished. “Someone should say something,” he lifted his chin towards the masses on the other side of the table, “to them. A sort of toast. It should probably be you, Harry.”

The problem with Neville, Harry realised, was his habit of being right on uncomfortable topics.

“All right. Stand with me?”

Neville nodded. Harry poured more firewhisky and the two young men stood, glasses in hand. A ripple of silence spread out from them, and all eyes turned towards them.

Harry took a deep breath and held his glass high. “To those who stood, and to those who fell. Every single one of you bought Voldemort’s defeat, let us go on from here in ways that honour the sacrifices made. To victory.”

Hundreds of voices echoed: “To victory.” Hundreds of glasses were raised, and downed.

“Nice one,” Neville whispered.

Kingsley was smiling at Harry, and Professor McGonagall reached out and squeezed his arm. There were tears in her eyes, and she was blinking them away crossly. Harry smiled a crooked smile. He rather felt the same. Ron and Hermione raised their glasses slightly to him, and Harry returned the gesture, flooded with memories of the past year. The air felt heavy.

Luna’s voice floated out across it. “It’s moments like these where we really need a single tune for the school song.”

The heaviness receded. Someone transfigured a plate into a drum, someone else made a guitar out of a chair. Fiddles and a bass were formed, a knife became a flute, the scratch band conferred briefly and started in on one of the Weird Sisters’ better-known dance tunes. Tables were pushed back and people began to dance. Those who stayed seated turned to their neighbours and shared their stories.

Professor McGonagall surprised Harry by pulling a photograph from one of her pockets. She held it across to him with a small smile. There she was, small between the figures of Fred and George Weasley, who were looking down at her with great affection. “Colin Creevey gave me this last year,” she told him. “He thought I needed reminding of jollier times.” She tilted her chin up and smiled more determinedly. “I’ve carried it with me and found it immensely helpful. I suspect several copies might be in order.”

Harry looked at the twins waving goofily at the camera. George was making the classic bunny ears behind McGonagall’s head, while Fred mouthed that Colin ought to hurry up. The image of the young Muggle-born boy snapping away popped readily into Harry’s head. “I’d like one of those copies,” he said.

“Charlie Weasley might want to see this, his dining companions have deserted him.” McGonagall indicated meaningly with a chin lift.

Charlie seemed self-contained as he watched the dancing, but he smiled as Harry sat beside him. “Heyup, Harry. Was looking for you earlier, but word has it you were dead to the world. Again. It’s a habit with you.”

Harry snorted. “That’s appalling, Charlie.”

“I’ve been waiting hours to use it, thanks for the chance.” Charlie grinned, though it didn’t reach his eyes. “What’s that?”

“Photo. Professor McGonagall thought you might like a copy. It’s … it’s Fred.” Harry held out the photo and Charlie took it gently.

He smiled, and this time it did reach his eyes. “It is indeed,” he murmured, as the Fred in the photo left off teasing Colin and waved at his brother. Charlie handed it back. “I’d like a copy very much.” They sat in silence for a minute or two, then Charlie went on. “I have some photos of Tonks at home, from when we were at school, and then when she came to visit me over the last few years. I’ll find some good ones and make you copies.”

Harry paused. “I’d like that. I can share them with her mum and Teddy.”

“Good lad.”

Charlie stood up. “I should probably go home. Mum’s trying to fix up the house at the same time as sorting the funeral. George said that you are not to come tonight, because he wants you to stay here and have a chance at a bit of a party. He says that Fred would return from the dead and kill him if he let you leave your celebration, and then the beauteous Gred visage would be gone from the world altogether. I think that’s pretty close to the exact wording. He said come tomorrow, with Ron. And slap Ron if he refuses Hermione’s advances.”

“Er …”

Charlie grinned briefly. “Already sorted? Brilliant. I’ll let George know, that’ll cheer him up.” He reached down and drew Harry into a swift, fierce hug, then released him just as quickly. “See you tomorrow. And don’t worry, Ginny will come round.”

Charlie was several steps away before Harry called after him: “Tell her to stay at the Burrow, I’ll see her tomorrow.” Charlie’s steps paused for a moment, then resumed their path to the door.


********************


The next morning, Harry was woken by Ron and Hermione. Like most of the younger inhabitants of the castle, they had still been dancing when he left for bed, but he was so tired. At least today’s waking light was considerably earlier than yesterday’s.

“Is he awake?” Hermione whispered, not quietly.

“I’m checking!” Ron replied.

“People are awake in Hufflepuff with the noise you two are making,” Harry grumbled, sitting up and fumbling his glasses into place.

Ron and Hermione flopped down on his quilt. “Sorry,” she said. “But we wanted to make sure you saw this before you came down to breakfast.”

“In case it puts you off your food,” Ron interjected.

“What?”

Hermione pulled a hugely thick edition of the Daily Prophet from under her jumper. “This,” she said.

Harry looked down at the paper. The front page was him again, with Neville this time, under the banner ‘HEROES’. He turned the page to find a long feature: ‘The Longbottoms’ Legacy of Courage’, with many more shots of Neville and a series of proud quotes from his grandmother.

“This is brilliant!” he laughed. And there were Ron and Hermione on page three: ‘The Brains and the Heart: Behind Harry’s Success’.

“You look great, Hermione!”

She held back a smile. “It’s on page five …”

Harry flicked over. There was a large photograph of Andromeda Tonks with her husband and daughter, and a smaller one of Narcissa and Draco Malfoy. The headline beside them read: ‘How the Dark Lord’s Most Trusted Helped to Defeat Him’, it was written by Andromeda. Harry let out a quiet sigh.

He scanned the paragraphs. His letter was there in full, and Kingsley was quoted repeating Harry’s words regarding Draco. Neither of the Malfoys commented in the story, just a single mention that Lucius planned to throw himself on the mercy of the Ministry.

“What do you call that?” Ron poked the paper.

Harry looked up at him and smiled faintly. “A family. I can’t blame her.”

“It’s Malfoy!”

“Who didn’t give us up at the Manor, who stopped Crabbe killing me. He may not have been any real use to us, but he did help, even if he didn’t mean to.” Harry looked at his two friends very seriously. “His mother saved my life when Voldemort wanted me dead. I owe her.”

“What about Lucius?” Hermione asked.

“Prison,” Harry answered immediately.

“Well, that’s something,” Ron muttered.

A new worry occurred to Harry. “Do you think your mum will mind?”

Ron shook his head. “Things will be a bit crazy at home, I don’t think they’ll be worried about the paper.”

Harry looked at Ron closely. “How’re you holding up?”

“Yeah, good and bad,” Ron shrugged stoically. “Been the best two days of my life in some ways, and the worst in others. It’s still not real that I won’t see Fred again. S’pose it’ll hit when I go home. George is probably going to kill me for taking so long.”

Harry coughed slightly. “Maybe not,” he muttered.

Ron looked at him sharply. Harry continued, “He sent word with Charlie that he wanted you to stay here with Hermione.” Harry paused as Hermione’s eyebrows soared dangerously. “To make sure that she was fine because her family is still in Australia,” he concluded quickly.

Both of his friends’ faces expressed extreme doubt at this reasoning. Harry couldn’t help laughing, and they followed, though Hermione mixed laughter with a few blushes.

“Good old George,” Ron declared with determined cheer. “He’s a prince among brothers.”

The rest of the morning passed in breakfast and planning. Ron and Hermione went straight to the Burrow, Harry to follow in a few hours after making a brief statement to the press, a favour for which Kingsley had promised him eternal gratitude.

What Harry had forgotten was that this left an unfilled half-hour. Through habit, he wandered outside the castle – and regretted it immediately.

The lawns were gouged with the violence of battle. Stones from collapsed walls and thrown missiles littered the spaces he had marched across on the way to and from classes and escapades since he was eleven. Dark stains showed where people had fallen – wounded, dead – many of them people he knew, some of them people he loved. In the distance, the remnants of Hagrid’s hut still smoked.

Hagrid himself was visible, too, with Grawp, to the left of the castle’s entrance. As Harry watched they lifted stones and began to rebuild the drystone wall that held back one of the garden beds. Students and parents who were walking in the grounds came to help, spelling stones into place and replanting uprooted shrubs.

Harry wandered closer. This wall had a small plaque at the still-standing end, which had previously been hidden by a now-crisped fuchsia: ‘In loving memory of those students, staff and friends of Hogwarts who laid down their lives that evil might be defeated: 1970-1981.’ Harry was astonished that he had noticed dozens of ancient In Memoriams about the grounds, but never this.

It occurred to Harry that he had forgotten something important.

The journey to the Owlery was doubled by collapses and blockages across the grounds, and the Owlery itself had suffered in the battle, but there were still a good number of school birds in residence, and some sensible hand had laid in a supply of parchment, ink and ribbon so the survivors could send messages.

Harry took up an envelope and scrawled Dudley Dursley on the outside, then paused. He added: In hiding, somewhere in the South East, the Order of the Phoenix should know, look for a very large red man with a moustache, Dudley will be nearby'.

“Sorry,” he apologised in advance to the owls.

He picked up a sheet of parchment and scrawled a hasty note to let his cousin know the war was over and that he’d survived it.

Harry tied the message to the leg of the largest owl he could find. “Good luck,” he told it. “I’ll appreciate whatever you can do about getting that to him.”

With a Hedwig-like click of its beak, the owl flew away, and Harry trudged back inside to face the press.


*******************


Harry’s sudden good mood lasted him all the way through his press interviews, especially when Luna Lovegood sat with him on behalf of The Quibbler and probed him with questions such as: what were his preferred wild herbs to eat while hiding from Dark Wizards? and what did he have to say to those who considered him to be immortal?

She had hugged him fiercely when he apologised that he had to go and be with the Weasleys, and sent all her love to Ron and his family. Then she had thanked him for his defence of Narcissa and Draco Malfoy.

“When I was trapped in the Manor with Mr Ollivander, they were not unkind to us. We always ate more when they brought us food, and they made the house-elves protect us from some of the Death Eaters who wanted to harm us. I appreciated that.”

Harry sensed the calm voice in which she relayed this hid a story that was much scarier, and felt he’d made the right decision.

But stepping out of the Floo at the Burrow, Harry’s cheer evaporated. Molly Weasley sat at her clearly repaired kitchen table forlornly looking at photos of her dead son. Arthur was beside her, holding her hand. They both stood up to greet him.

“Don’t get up, it’s just me.” Harry half-smiled at Molly, aware that a like-a-son was a poor substitute for an actual son.

“No just about it, Harry,” said Arthur, enveloping him a hug.

“Oh Harry,” Molly hiccoughed. “When I thought they’d killed you, too …” Her voice trailed off in a soft wail and Harry and her husband hugged her in turn.

“I’m so sorry,” Harry whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

“He knew the risks, son,” Arthur patted his shoulder. “We all did, and we thought them worth running. We made choices to be there. And if Fred had known what was going to happen, he’d still have gone.”

Harry nodded. There were no words to answer that. He knew Fred had possessed more overt courage than he did, and even he had chosen death to defeat Voldemort. Maybe it was easier if he thought of everyone as having made the same decision. Even if the others had been less certain.

“We’ve sent the children outside to do some more work to the place, and to see if they have any ideas for what they think Fred would have liked at his funeral,” Arthur told him. “You go out and join them. See if you can come up with anything that isn’t fireworks or a rocket-propelled casket.”

Harry smiled. “Fred would have liked both of those.”

“Well,” Arthur conceded, “Molly and I may allow a few small fireworks. Possibly something a bit more spectacular at the end of the ceremony.”

Molly sniffed loudly. “He’ll have the whole fandango. Bigger than Bonfire Night. He may no longer be with us, but that’s no reason to start pretending he was what he wasn’t. Subtlety was never something Fred liked.”

Harry smiled affectionately at her.

Molly clicked her tongue. “Go on, out with you. The others are still tidying up. Too many unwanted visitors this last year.”

Outside Ron and Charlie were rebuilding one of the fences, but were happy to stop when they saw Harry.

“How goes the darling of the Daily Prophet?” Charlie asked.

Harry raised his middle fingers in a gesture of support. “How goes the building?”

“Not so bad,” Ron wiped his hands on his jeans and sat down under a nearby tree. “Time for a quick rest now, though.

“Can’t push Ronniekins too hard, he’ll rupture something vital,” Charlie agreed, sitting beside his brother.

Harry noticed the gentle nudge of shoulders between the brothers that accompanied Charlie’s banter. He joined them in the shade. “How are George and Ginny?” he asked.

Ron sighed. Charlie answered, instead. “George is bearing up pretty well. He says that whenever he wants to just throw himself to the ground and wail, he imagines what Fred would say and is too embarrassed. And he says that even though he knows Fred’s gone, he still feels him around, still feels comforted by him.”

Harry nodded. He had an inkling of that feeling himself.

“Ginny … She’s taking it hard …” Charlie sighed, too. He looked at Harry intently. “She’s not really herself at the moment. Just … just don’t be too hard on her.”

Harry frowned, uncertain. “I won’t,” he promised. “I never would be.”

Charlie pulled a flask of something bitter and Romanian from his pocket and passed it round for fortifying sips, then the three young men put themselves to fence rebuilding in earnest. The job was completed in less than an hour, including shoring up the wall of Arthur’s shed, and finding some of his collection of Muggle artefacts, which had been scattered by some of those who had come in search of Ron.

“Good job Dad’s lineage is so impressive,” Charlie muttered as he returned a jar of screws to its rightful shelf. “They could hardly preach pureblood supremacy and go about offing us.”

Harry nodded quietly. Until he’d seen the clear signs of repeated searches, he hadn’t realised how at risk the Weasleys had been. The irony of prejudice being their salvation wasn’t lost on him, but he was grateful nonetheless.

It was dinner before he saw Ginny. She and George had not appeared with Bill, Fleur and Hermione. Percy was even back from the Ministry before six, looking tired, but speaking proudly of the work they had begun. Just before seven, with food about to hit the table, she came in with her brother, gave Harry a small, tight smile, and sat at the other end of the table. George looked at Harry sympathetically and sat beside him.

“Heyup, Harry,” he murmured.

“Hey George. How are you holding up?”

“Reasonably crap, but philosophical. He lived a full life, life goes on, it was for the greater good, I’ve heard them all in the last two days.” George smiled wryly. “I am considering a line of platitude-based sweets to be handed out by the bereaved on occasions such as this. They will induce indigestion proportional to the inanity in the commenter. Possibly nausea. I’m working on it.”

Harry couldn’t help but hope he followed through on this. “So you’re keeping Wizarding Wheezes going?”

George’s eyes widened. “Harry you godless creature, you may not believe in the sure and certain resurrection, but I am a great proponent of the afterlife, and when my time comes I do not want Fred’s words of welcome to begin with ‘You fucking prat’ and conclude with ‘what the fuck were you thinking?’ Of course I’m keeping it on. Ron’s going to help for a year.”

Harry turned to Ron. “You’re not coming back to school?”

Ron shook his head. “Nah, Kingsley says that it won’t make a difference if I want to apply for the Aurors later, he’ll just drum whatever I need to know into my thick head. Don’t think I could face it, not after what happened there.”

Harry bit his lip guiltily. “Sorry mate, I didn’t even think.”

“That’s OK. If I wanted thinking I’d ask my girlfriend.” Ron’s grin at the word threatened to pull a cheek muscle.

Harry turned back to George. “Is there anything I can …”

George patted him on the head. “You’ve already done it, Harry. He didn’t die in vain.” George’s jaw tightened for a moment, and Harry looked away as grief washed across his eyes, looked back as George sighed. “He’d have been proud of all of us. And, I am guessing, not impressed about the fact that after all that resistance, he missed the chance to pick up at the victory celebrations. Tell me you, at least …”

Harry shook his head. “I got some sleep.”

“Well, I suppose it’s for the best.” George glanced at Ginny, and Harry, thinking he understood, smiled.

It was the quietest dinner Harry had ever had at the Burrow. Several times he tried to catch Ginny’s eye; every time he received a small smile, after which she would look away quickly.

Harry was surprised, then, when she asked him to stay at the table after dinner. Molly shooed everyone else from the room and left them to talk. Harry couldn’t help noticing that even she seemed worried.

Ginny sat beside him, and hugged him fleetingly. “I’m so glad you’re alive,” she whispered. Then she pressed her lips together.

Harry breathed in the scent of her hair. “Ginny, I …” he began.

She raised a hand to stop him. “I’m sorry, Harry,” she said, quickly. “Every time I look at you I think of Fred. I don't think I'm ever going to be able to look at you without knowing that he died fighting beside our.”

She swallowed. “I know it wasn’t your fault, but you were right there. He was my favourite brother. You didn’t save him!”

Harry felt as though his lungs were being squeezed. The back of his throat, too. “Ginny,” he managed, “Gin, I …”

Tears were pouring down her face, but she looked at him fiercely. “I know! I know it’s not fair. Percy told me what happened, I know! But it’s how I feel and I can’t help it! I saw Malfoy in the paper, you saved him, but not Fred. If you'd just been more …”

Harry felt his own eyes fill, and his breath was hard to draw. He took in a few panting lungfuls, then managed a full one, and blinked back the threatening tears. “OK. All right. I can see that. I’ll go away for a bit so you don’t have to see me. And when you feel a bit better, we’ll try again.”

Ginny closed her eyes.

Harry didn’t press the point.

“I’ll stay at school tonight, and come back in the morning, so I can help put the house back in order before the funeral.”

Ginny smiled a sad little smile. “Thank you.”

“Can you ask Ron and Hermione if they can come up for breakfast? And tell everyone where I’ve gone?”

“Yes, of course.” Ginny stood beside Harry and put her arms around him. “I’m so sorry. I know you tried to save everyone. I know that you never wanted this.”

Harry hugged her back stiffly. “I never wanted any of this, Gin. None of it was fair.”

She caught a little more meaning than he had intended to convey. With a last tightening of her arms and a sob, she fled the room.

He gazed after her for a little while, but he knew she wasn’t coming back. Quietly he stood up, walked to the fireplace, stoked the fire, took a pinch of powder from the mantel and Flooed back to school. Home.

Neville, Dean, Hannah and Luna were all in the Gryffindor common room when he stepped over the hearth. Harry nodded tiredly at them.

“Thought you were staying at the Burrow, with Ginny,” Neville said, somewhat confused.

Harry grinned wryly. “Yeah, so did I.”

“Oh. Dear.” Neville patted Harry’s shoulder clumsily. “Sorry.”

Harry nodded. “Thanks. Think I might go to bed early.”

“Yeah, course. Um, sleep well.”

Harry made his way up the stairs, past the figures of other students who had fought and their parents who had stayed with them, to the welcome of his old bed.

There was a tray of still-steaming food on a table beside his four-poster, and an owl waiting in the window. He reached across and took the letter from the school owl.

“Thanks,” he said. “I’ll go to the Owlery if I need to reply. You get some rest.”

It was the same owl he had sent earlier in the day. Dudley’s handwriting was neater than Harry remembered.

I am very happy that you are alive and that the bad guy is dead, it read. I hope that you did not have to kill him because that would be really horrible, but if you did I am sure that he deserved it. I am sorry to hear that people you knew died.

Mum sends her regards and hopes you are well. Dad is pretending that he did not see the owl. They are both well.


Dudley closed with the hope that he and Harry would stay in touch. Harry smiled. At least there was some good news to end the day on.


*********************


Ron and Hermione did appear for breakfast. This time Harry was up and dressed before they arrived. He took advantage of his freedom to call for Kreacher.

The house-elf appeared carrying a tray with a steaming pot of tea, and two cups. “Cheers,” said Harry. “Pour one for yourself.”

Kreacher did so and handed Harry’s to him. “You called for Kreacher, Master?” he asked calmly.

Harry sipped his tea. “I did. I wanted to ask you something. Do you prefer Hogwarts or Grimmauld Place?”

“Master will not be giving Kreacher his freedom,” the house-elf warned, though his voice remained calm. “Kreacher is an old elf and does not want change.”

Harry smiled. “Kreacher, you led an army.”

“In the service of Kreacher’s Master, which is a proper duty for an elf.”

Harry nodded. “And I was proud of you, Regulus would have been proud, too. No freedom, I know that’s not what you want. But you’ve done a lot for the house-elves here at Hogwarts and I was wondering if you’d rather stay here than go back to Grimmauld Place for the time being?”

“Grimmauld Place is Kreacher’s home,” the house-elf began, though without much enthusiasm.

“Yes, but I thought we could spend a year here while we helped the school get back together,” Harry suggested. “And then move back to London for work next year.”

Kreacher’s mouth almost looked as though it was smiling. “Kreacher thinks that Master deserves a holiday at this time and it would be proper for Kreacher to stay by his side and bring tea.”

“Why tea?” Harry suddenly realised that he had received more tea from Kreacher in the last two days than he would normally have seen in a month.

“Master has been through an ordeal. Tea is the sovereign cure for ordeals. Everyone knows that.”

“Of course. So. Er, Hogwarts is your home for now, but move about as you need to. Will that cover it?”

Kreacher agreed that it would, and promptly disappeared with the dirty cups.

Harry was surprised how easy it was to sort out his life now that he knew it was a continuing proposition. He would ask the Aurors to examine Grimmauld Place, to see if the Death Eaters had left behind any nasty surprises. Then he would ask Professor McGonagall about coming back to school, though so many of his year were repeating or only now taking their seventh year that he expected that to be a matter of course. He would not think about Ginny. He would invest more money into Wizarding Wheezes so that George and Ron could rebuild easily. He would establish scholarships in the names of the fallen, and only give interviews if the press promised to encourage donations.

Next year he would move to London, and Kingsley had promised him a place in Auror training, so that would be easy, too. Perhaps Ron and Hermione would share Grimmauld Place with him. Maybe this wasn’t exactly what he’d planned, but it would be good.

Harry’s optimism lasted until his two best friends appeared in the common room Floo.

Hermione flung herself into his arms. “Oh Harry, I’m so sorry!”

Ron patted his shoulder. “I’ve had a word with her, but she won’t budge. Sorry, mate. She’ll come round eventually.”

Harry felt the tightening in his throat again. “No she won’t,” he muttered. “Anyway, we’re here to eat. Let’s head down.”

Breakfast was a splendid affair, even better than the previous day’s. The porridge was served with cream and three choices of sugar. Lamb cutlets joined the bacon and sausages, two omelettes appeared, one with smoked salmon. Harry ate until his stomach actually hurt, Ron kept going well after that point.

“The thing,” said Ron, “that you never fully appreciated, is that I’d never missed a meal in my life until last year.” He shovelled in a slice of toast slathered in marmalade. “It wasn’t that I was bad tempered, I was hungry.”

“You were bad tempered and hungry, Ron,” Hermione told him gently. “But we love you anyway.”

Ron gave her cheek a sticky kiss, and offered to lick it clean when she complained. Harry’s hopeful mood returned. This was how things were meant to be.

He kept that mood up all through the day, working long hours at the Burrow, then returning to Hogwarts for a huge dinner and an evening of excited conversation with his former housemates and friends.

The next day Harry awoke to the headline: ‘The Girl Who Broke our Hero’s Heart’ and two-hundred-and-eighty-seven Owls from witches offering to help put it back together, plus thirty-three from wizards.

He sent a note of apology to the Burrow, then hid inside all day with Professor McGonagall, helping her compose obituaries and speeches for the coming funerals.

By the end of the day, the post had trebled.

The next day was for funerals.


*****************


The families of those who had died at the Battle of Hogwarts had worked together to avoid timing conflicts as far as possible. Most had opted for small, private funerals, family only, and would deal with the press at the memorial service, which had been planned for the weekend.

The Weasleys had selected an evening funeral, Andromeda Tonks had decided on mid-afternoon. Which is why Harry began Wednesday dressed in a dark charcoal Muggle suit and walking with Neville, towards St Peter’s London Docks in Wapping Lane.

There they joined the quiet knot of students at one side of the larger group. Dennis Creevey came and stood amongst them, thanking each of them for being there. Just before the group moved into the church, Professor McGonagall joined them, dressed in a plain and sombre suit.

Harry found the ceremony hard to focus on. The rituals of church were vaguely familiar, yet had never been a real part of his life. The Creeveys both spoke of Colin as a warm, kind boy, who lived for his family and friends, and who had been brave and studious. They told of his love for photography, and his good sense of humour.

Then they invited Professor McGonagall to speak.

“Colin came to my school as a young fresh-faced boy who had never travelled more than ten miles from London,” she began. “He won a full scholarship, covering all of his tuition and equipment, and when I met him I was impressed to find a boy of immense promise. Over the years Colin boarded with us, he made many friends, both in his own form and those above and below him. He became famous for his photography, his courage and his thoughtfulness.

“Colin died putting himself in the way of danger so that other children would be safe. He had a chance to run and protect himself. He chose not to. For five years I had held Colin’s protection of Dennis up to all of my students as an example of brotherly devotion, but I understated his qualities.”

Harry bit his lip at this point. He wanted to take back every moment of exasperation, every grumble. He had never told Colin exactly how much he appreciated his commitment to the DA, he had never even told him how impressed he was at Colin’s ability to match spellwork from students years older than him. He hoped the priest was right. He hoped Colin knew.

McGonagall’s eulogy ended with a statement that everyone who met Colin was deeply moved by how much he loved his family, and the announcement of three Colin Creevey Scholarships to Muggle schools in the area. There was another, unmentioned, scholarship at Hogwarts. It would buy books for Muggleborns, and fund an art room.

It was all Harry could do to stay after the service and meet the family. If Neville had not been there with him, he would have fled, but Dennis was so proud as he introduced Harry to his parents.

“Of course, you’re Harry,” Mrs Creevey said, with a brave smile. “I’ve seen so many photographs, you wouldn’t believe. You were a wonderful friend to Colin, you really helped him to find his feet at that school.”

“I’m so sorry,” Harry whispered.

“He was very brave,” she said, and behind her Mr Creevey nodded agreement, his white face impassive. “Neville told Dennis all about what happened. He said Colin was a hero.”

“He was,” Harry agreed. “He was crucial to defeating … you know …”

“We know.” She tilted her chin up. “Dennis showed us the paper this morning.” The Prophet had run two pages on the lad who would not leave his friends to die alone and, for probably the only time in his life, Harry was grateful to Rita Skeeter.

“Every word is true,” Harry told her in a strong voice. “And he saved more people than they counted. You should be very proud.”

“That’s what Neville said, too,” Mrs Creevey whispered. Her husband’s hand tightened on her shoulder, and, with a smile goodbye, they moved on.

A large hand descended on Harry’s shoulder. He turned to find Neville beside him. They stood there for a long time.

“Potter, Longbottom, I am taking us to lunch.” McGonagall’s brogue broke the moment.

She piled them into a taxi and directed it to a club that looked as though it had not changed since the boyhood of Albus Dumbledore.

“Is this a Muggle club, Professor?” Neville asked.

“I had an adventurous girlhood,” she replied, signing them in.

The dining room was still, quiet and safe. She ordered steak with mash and steamed vegetables for all of them. “Because I know that we all skipped breakfast and we need to keep our strength up today.” Then she ordered doubles of the best single malt on the list, with a splash of spring water. “Because we are keeping our strength up for funerals, and I don’t think we should face another one completely sober.”

They dined in companionable silence, which lasted almost unbroken through dessert, and the short walk to the Apparition point. A quick change back at Hogwarts, then down to Hogsmeade, where the next funeral was to take place.

It was in another church, and this time Harry was not able to mingle among the guests. Neville and Professor McGonagall stayed with the students at the rear. Professor Trelawney took Harry’s arm and led him towards Andromeda Tonks. She was sitting with her sister, who was holding Teddy. On her other side was Draco Malfoy. Charlie Weasley was with them, looking pale.

Harry paused halfway down the nave. He wasn’t ready to face the Malfoys without a moment’s preparation. “Thanks for taking care of Mrs Tonks and Teddy.”

His former teacher patted his arm. “It’s been a pleasure. We were at school together, you know. Reasonably close for all that I was in Ravenclaw.”

Harry managed not to show an iota of surprise.

“I am so pleased that the Fates decreed you should survive your encounter with You-Know-Who. I did predict that, you know.”

“I remember,” Harry agreed. “We should sit down.”

Andromeda Tonks greeted Harry with a hug and Charlie did the same. Narcissa Malfoy proffered a three-fingered handshake from beneath her armful of baby. Draco Malfoy managed a nod. Narcissa kicked him, and a hand was proffered.

“Sorry for your loss,” Malfoy said, with no trace of malice.

Harry looked at him for a moment, then shook the extended hand. “Thank you,” he replied, too tired for anything else.

The service was similar to Colin’s, save with no vague references. Here the courage and sacrifices of the lost were spoken of openly. When Harry stood up to give his eulogy he realised how many students were packed into the church. Even Hermione, who must have slipped away from the Burrow, stood up the back. He forgot every word he spoke as soon as it left his mouth. But he remembered meeting Remus on the train, and the way that Tonks’s smile sprang into her eyes, and when he sat back down that now-familiar tightness made it hard to breathe.

Narcissa Malfoy stepped in front of him and passed Teddy to him. Harry held the baby and bent his head to pull faces at him, grateful for the chance to look away as Charlie led the bearers towards the two simple coffins.

Andromeda bent to whisper “Take your time” in his ear as she passed. Her sister walked on one side of her, Sybill Trelawney on the other. The remaining pair of shoes stopped in front of Harry.

“I know you won’t believe me,” said Draco Malfoy’s voice. “But I did think he was an excellent teacher. And I wish I’d known my cousin.”

Harry nodded, not looking up. “I believe you,” he said. The shoes walked away.

When Harry finally left the church, the mourners were already assembling around the graves. He stood quietly behind Andromeda and her family as the gentle rites of departure were spoken.

After wiping the soil from her hand, she came and took Teddy back. “Harry Potter, godfather,” she said. “Do you believe in God, Harry?”

“Not particularly,” Harry confessed. “I was raised Church of England.”

“You’ll do,” she told him. “Dora always knew what she wanted, and she always ended up being right.”

Harry wanted to shake his head, but Neville was there, with Hermione, and Charlie, and McGonagall and Andromeda asked them to pass on her love to the rest of the Weasleys.

Nobody remembered more than two things about Fred Weasley’s funeral. The first of those things was George Weasley’s eulogy. For half an hour he told story after story of escapades he and Fred had ventured over the past two decades. From childhood broom thefts to the Great Swamp of Hogwarts. From experimenting on their younger brother to actually supplying the Order of the Phoenix with Extendable Ears. Harry was amazed to hear the laughter that filled the Town Hall of Ottery St Catchpole – the church had been nowhere near big enough.

As George spoke, he drew a likeness of a life complete, one lived for every moment, and so unable to be cut off. “The people who speak in cliches tell me that no one is dead until the last of their influence is felt on the world,” George concluded. “If that is true, then Fred is as alive today as he was a week ago. Each and every one of us has been touched by his sense of fun and adventure, his willingness to try, his courage and daring. Yes he clowned his way through much of his life, but it was only because he was aware of life’s basic absurdity, a position he would see this funeral as reinforcing.

“I will miss my brother every day of my life, but I will also live each of those days secure in the knowledge that what he has given me cannot be lost: his love, his laughter, and the ability to turn each member of this congregation into a Weasley for the next two hours.”

As George spoke, every head of hair ripened to the richest of reds. He grinned though a sudden wash of tears, and Mr and Mrs Weasley laughed out loud. Harry couldn’t help but join them.

The other thing people remembered was the fireworks. They were, indeed, bigger than Bonfire Night.

In the milling about before the internment, Ginny hugged Harry, and made fun of his hair, but was gone as quickly as she had appeared. Mrs Weasley invited him to stay again, but Charlie stepped in to rescue him, reminding her that Harry had offered to help Professor McGonagall back at Hogwarts. The acting Headmistress herself made the same excuse for him after the funeral supper. Harry was strangely relieved. Upsetting Ginny further wouldn’t help at all.

It felt strange to be leaving Ron and Hermione behind and departing with McGonagall and Neville. Stranger still when his former teacher asked them to pause for a moment before they Apparated.

“You boys should not have to do this,” she said. “This should never have been your war, and those people we buried today should still be alive. Sadly, should has never meant much to madmen.

“I want you both to know that I am proud to have taught you, and proud to know you. Now enough sentiment, people will be wondering where we are.”

When Harry and Neville returned to the Gryffindor common room, the floor was covered with pillows, cushions and duvets. Hannah, Luna and Seamus were sitting in one corner of the room, arranging cups beside steaming pots of hot chocolate. Some of the other students were curled up in groups around the room, quietly chatting. Near the fire, a handful of parents remained.

“What’s this?” Neville asked.

Luna passed him a cup of chocolate. “We thought about it through the day, and decided that no one should be alone tonight.”

Harry’s hands closed around the cup of chocolate she pressed into them. That terrible tightness that had gripped his ribs for days finally began to ease. He took a long sip of the drink, then put it down.

“We’re missing something,” he said. He stepped out through the portrait, and reappeared a few minutes later with Professor McGonagall.

Harry helped her to step through the hole and then transformed one of the overstuffed chairs along the wall into an overstuffed chaise with tartan blankets. “While we were away, they decided no one should be alone tonight,” he told her.

She looked at the chaise approvingly. “It’s nice to see you pay attention, Harry.”

Dean brought a cup of fresh hot chocolate to his head of house, and was rewarded with a smile.

It was a quiet night, but it was not a lonely one.

Part two
 
 
Current Location: sofa
Current Mood: achey
Current Music: Wimbeldon
 
 
 
Seshetasesheta_66 on June 26th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
I read the original, loved it, and am in awe of your 15K words in a day!

*is confused* Not everyone in our fandom was born in the 1960s? Huh. ♥
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 26th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
I am medium-old, and sometimes I forget that other people are young ... I had a few references that you had to be a fair bit more than 20 to get, and the girls pulled me up on them.

I have a feeling that marathon writing sessions may be why my back has decided to rebel today ...
timorous beastiejackieohno on June 26th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
bah, garbled code!
I know I've told you how much I love this story, but it won't hurt to tell you again! I am also in awe of your crunch-time writing skills, very impressive!

And speaking of Australia and travelling, I was reminded of this article I read a few years back about the opposite phenomenon of what you were writing about--Australians running away to other countries! I'm not sure about the reasons she gives, but it's an interesting article nevertheless.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
Re: bah, garbled code!
Argh! I fail at replying! That was a great article, and very funny to me; my ONE good Australian friend before I arrived here moved to London about three weeks after I came to Sydney, and has not been back for more than a fortnight at a time since.

Her reasons are simple: pounds are real money and London has real museums. Can't argue with that ...

And I am so happy you loved the story!
women's lasers: izzard-potter: slytherin made it upsarcasticpixie on June 26th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
I know you probably have ample evidence for the age gap, but I really, really think this first part is lovely, above all else. It's such a rich, real look at life immediately after the battle, and I just want to cry AND burst out laughing all at once. McGonagall and Neville, in particular, are fleshed-out and delightful.

/continues re-reading
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 26th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, but you are a spookily mature reader and writer, as your superior cat-owning skills attest (studies prove these qualities come as a package ;-)
Bubba: Paris Electricabsynthedrinker on June 26th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
I am sorry to hear of your recent misfortunes. I hope and pray all goes better in the foreseeable future.

When I read this in the WorldCup I knew this was your work straightaway. It was every bit as wonderful the second time around. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing talents with us all.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 26th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
BUBBA! I have missed you so! About to reply to your post with saner exclamations, but I am so relieved that you are back well.
Amazing Little Ecosystemwinterthunder on June 27th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)
I've said it before but it's worth saying again: I love this fic. And it's author is pretty awesome too! :D Hope your back works itself out. Is it upper or lower? I've got some stretches which, when combined with a muscle relaxer, do a decent job of popping vertebrae back into place- let me know if you want them.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 27th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
Lower, and there is no reason for it. I just woke up with it in the middle of the night! I suspect the cats of plotting nefarious ills. The little one does not like her daily anti cat-flu paste, she may have orchestrated a revenge ...

Stretches would be lovely. I have a few, but am always willing to try more!

And I am only as awesome as my flist!
(no subject) - winterthunder on June 29th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 01:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Blindmouse: fuji watercolourblindmouse on June 27th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
Am bookmarking this to read later, because oh yes, tea and black humour over angsting any day, ta muchly.

Also. Uh. Australianisms are very appealing, in a narcissistic sort of way. I feel nervous about accidental Australianisms in my HP fic, but on-purpose ones are totally different. Plus, as a Brit, you are totally allowed all of them :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
I think that Australianisms are far less startling than Americanisms, but that's probably because I find Australianisms more interesting. I just hope that I have stayed on the right side of my affection for many of the daft things here.
Joanne2amconversation on June 27th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
I don't understand porridge and sugar. Salt! Salt is the way to go!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC)
Dammit, only just found this comment. LJ is tricking me! My theory is you make the porridge with a good pinch of salt, then decorate it with brown sugar and cream, or milk if you are worried about sudden coronaries. I can also accept bananas, honey and a simple dash of milk without sugar, but look blankly at those who insist on yoghurt.
Meredythmeredyth_13 on June 27th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
You do know you just made me cry? Dammit, from watching that link to Kathryn Jenkins, and then George's eulogy... bah!

I guess I'm already using up tissues, so I can add sniffles to my list.

I've told you I love this story, haven't I?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 27th, 2008 07:26 am (UTC)
Yes, you did, in a truly heartwarming comment.

I liked the hymns a lot; I was planning to pop in some songs for the Australian section, but everything I really felt like putting in ended up being by Crowded House, which was more Kiwi ...
(no subject) - meredyth_13 on June 27th, 2008 07:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
★★ C. Gabriel Wright ★★: hp: dennisgabe_speaks on June 27th, 2008 07:25 am (UTC)
i remember this fic. i remember the story invoking so much emotion that i really couldn't continue in one sitting. (and no, it wasn't completely b-c of your colin funeral... maybe 75%).

everything about this first part is wonderful. everything from the banter to the meaningful banter to glimpses of poignant exposition. i remember thinking that this was either you or geoviki, because you two always seem to have me enraptured -- ENRAPTURED, I SAY!! -- in the dialogue. you could probably write harry talking about excavating an agnail (i did that spelling just for you), or Draco describing in excruciating detail his last drunken bout with the backdoor trots, and I would be trapped. TRAPPED, I TELL YOU!!!!

enviable writing, this is, and i thank you for it.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 27th, 2008 07:43 am (UTC)
Oh no! Dennis icon! I can forgive JKR everything except for her cavalier treatment of Dennis.

Thank you so much for your kind words, and I could not agree with you more about geoviki, she is a joy to read. I promise not to write poo fic, though. It would be wrong ...
(no subject) - gabe_speaks on June 27th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
grey_hunter on June 27th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
I've just read into it a bit because I didn't remember which fic this one was. (I still don't but I'll reread it another time when I don't have to go to sleep in the middle.) Just wanted to say that this was the fic that made me think of the potential of a Kingsley/Trelawny pairing. LOL
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 29th, 2008 10:19 am (UTC)
Oooh! You should definitely write that. I think that it would be a definite case of opposites attract.
(no subject) - grey_hunter on June 29th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
SlytherinBrandBabyOilsbbo on June 29th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Aw, man, this was yours? I loved this entry. I even recommended it to friends who aren't in fandom who just like Harry Potter. It was spectacular.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 10:35 am (UTC)
I would have a terribly insightful and delighted reply to make here, but I am too busy doing the undignified happy dance of glee. But I have added blown kisses into the UHDoG especially for you.
Voldemoofrantic_mice on June 30th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
Just wanted to say (I'm in an airport at a "hot spot" --I wish!-- waiting for my plane) that as a younger than 35 yr old I completely love the first third of your story. I love it muchly. From the top of its head (if it had a head it would have a bangin hair cut) to the tip of it's toes (delicious toes it would have too). Maybe it's because I don't buy into those quick getting over 'ems. I love somebody or the idea of somebody (yes even fictional people because I am some serious creepy) and I mourn for them like those sicillian women who wear very sliming black dresses for the rest of their lives.

It was so weird and crass IMO to go from Hogwarts to that strange nightmarish sequence of marriage and settling down and children whose names got picked out from the obituary. To me it was like when those pretty perky reporters talk about a car crash and then smile and say, "In other news..." It's hard for me to jump emotions so fast like that. Your story did what the Epilogue should have done and didn't. Thank you thank you thank you!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
I felt the same way about DH, I just needed a list of names, of nothing else. Who are those other fifty?

And while you look like a fresh young thing on the outside, you have wisdom beyond your years (I am horribly biased of course, since you are always so nice to me, but on the whole I suspect that may be true).
Kieran: blue eyefilmatleven on March 3rd, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
'm 26. Just stating that for the record.

Perhaps it was my Roman Catholic upbringing which, while I may no longer practice, I still have a knowledge and appreciation for in some ways. (The beliefs, the God, not the mindless followers.)

Perhaps it was losing important members of my life already, years ago, when I was younger than I am now.

Perhaps it's an understanding of culture, a respect of emotion.

Perhaps it's a lot of things that provide a lot of reasons why, but the point is this first part brought tears to my eyes. It's beautiful. Absolutly gorgeous.

Just wanted you to know that before I continue.
Jamfranalan on May 25th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
“Master has been through an ordeal. Tea is the sovereign cure for ordeals. Everyone knows that.”

I love Kreacher!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 25th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
Hee! Well, he is a thoroughly British house-elf ;-)
(no subject) - franalan on May 26th, 2009 06:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
Cearesceares on August 12th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
Um, I'm almost through your fics so I can cease spamming you with comments *g*. I'm pretty well over the 35 yr old boundary but I think I could have appreciated this much before that. Maybe it's because there's been death in my life since I was a little kid but this feels authentic from the grief to the weariness to genuine moments of pleasure and connection. It's perfect really. A wonderful closure to the battle.

Of all the deaths in the series I think the one that broke my heart the most was Fred because the thought of George without him is just wrong. You're funeral(which will always be my canon now) helped ease that a little. I'll think of everyeone in the church red haired and Fred somewhere laughing.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 12th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Really, I'm not complaining about the spamming, you have brought a smile to my face for days now!

I'm so pleased you enjoyed that part. I was deeply saddened by Fred's death, too, and so I wanted to give him a send off that was something close to worthy. Thank you for assuring me it came near the mark.

And thank you for your generous support, it's lovely!