Everyone expected her to be at every funeral, even when there were three or four in a row because so many people had died. Someone inevitably pulled her to the front row, next to the parents or spouses or siblings of the deceased, even when she had no right to be there.
Most of them blurred together, and Ginny hated herself for being grateful for it, but she needed all the sorrow to blend into a vast expanse of nothing. It was the only way to survive.
Everyone wanted her to be Harry. They wanted her to rally the wizarding world together, to unite them, to lead them. Harry could do it, had always been able to do it. Just his name was enough to embolden the resistance, even when he had disappeared for months.
But she wasn’t Harry.
“I’m sorry,” Ginny said when someone plopped her down next to Andromeda Tonks at her daughter and son-in-law’s funeral. Ginny had laughed with Tonks, and Remus had been a quiet, calming presence since the dementors plunged her back into Tom Riddle’s grip on the Hogwarts Express so long ago.
She’d never met Andromeda, never even seen a picture of her grandson.
“You’re the Girl Who Lived,” someone in black mourning robes said as they dragged her to the front seats, “Harry Potter loved you, and he was Teddy’s godfather.”
Ginny tried to explain she learned Harry was Teddy’s godfather ten minutes ago, that she couldn’t give him what they wanted. The person didn’t stop to listen though, (they never did), just shoved her in the chair and walked off.
The only thing Ginny could think to do was apologize to the only person who had less say in this than she did.
“I’m sorry. I know you don’t want me here.”
Andromeda shrugged without looking at her, “All the people I want to be here are dead.”
Ginny couldn’t say anything to that, so she looked down at the small bundle in Andromeda’s arms. She could only make out a tuft of blue hair, a pink nose, and half a chubby cheek. The rest was hidden in a knit green blanket.
“Isn’t he too hot?” she blurted out. She was uncomfortable in her black robes on the warm day in May.
Andromeda shook her head, “He’s only a couple weeks old. He loses heat easily.”
The service was beginning. The old wizard, whom Ginny had gotten to know far more than she liked, was speaking, and Ginny was pathetically grateful for an excuse to end the conversation with Andromeda.
The service wasn’t long. There were a lot of funerals to get to, after all, and most of the people who loved Remus and Tonks best were already dead.
Except for Andromeda. Ginny wondered if she had ever met someone so lonely.
It was this thought more than anything that kept Ginny in her seat after most of the attendees had left.
Andromeda didn’t speak, didn’t acknowledge Ginny’s presence, just shifted the baby in her arms.
“I can hold him, if you’re getting tired, or if you,” Ginny took a deep breath, “If you want to say goodbye properly.”
Andromeda hesitated, “You don’t have to do this. Just because Harry . . .”
“I know,” Ginny said, “I’m not offering because of him.”
Andromeda nodded and carefully laid the baby in Ginny’s arms. It felt awkward, and Ginny wished for the first time for an ounce of her Mother’s maternal instinct. Andromeda seemed satisfied, however, and she left to kneel at the site of Remus and Tonks’ shared grave.
Ginny looked away and distracted herself staring at the tiny bundle in her arms. She’d been this small once. And Harry. And Fred. Even Voldemort. Ginny watched as the baby scrunched up his face as if about to cry before he relaxed again with a tiny sigh.
He was so small, and his life was already going to be so difficult, so lonely.
She thought of George, who kept turning to speak to a brother he kept forgetting he had lost, of Luna, thin and pale after months of captivity, of Neville, raised under the shadow of impossible expectations, of Hermione with scars on her arms and parents who still didn’t remember her. She thought of Christmas and Easter and Sunday dinners with nine people (plus anyone else her Mum inevitably adopted for the evening) arguing and laughing with each other in a tiny kitchen or under the velvet sky.
She thought of a bundle of blankets left on a doorstep, and of an orphan who wanted a family more than anything.
Andromeda returned, pale and wet-eyed, and silently took her grandson into her arms.
“Let me make you some tea,” Ginny said.