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dionysus, journey down

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Hades: Shine now for him your sacred torches, and escort him, extolling him with his songs and dances.

- Aristophanes, "the frogs"

--

They end up going to Harry's funeral after all.

--

"It's odd," Ginny says, and puts the pipe to her mouth. The pipe - yet another affectation stolen from Moody; sometimes Remus thinks that Moody, transformed into this childlike, afraid man, gave up his secrets entirely to Ginny's small frame - flares briefly.

"What is?" Remus has stopped drinking. He has a Muggle water bottle in his hand, and occasionally passes it to Ginny, who refuses. Still, he passes it over.

Ginny says, "How many people came."

--

"You're what?" Ginny asked, three pints in with no stopping in sight. Rosemerta had been instructed; she was to keep bringing full pint glasses until, as a unit, the table couldn't stand - and then she was to make sure they couldn't see, either. "You're not serious."

Neville - sitting with his back to the corner and still looking out of place - nodded. "I'm tired of all of this. Aren't you?"

Ginny shrugged, and a laugh burbled up. People were drunk, dead-drunk - but that wasn't the kind of thing one would say, this night. The laugh rippled, spilled out of her lungs. Dead-drunk. "You'll make a good Healer, and you'll enjoy Spain."

"I will," Neville agreed sloppily. His glass tilted, tipped, spilled, and he sipped some beer - not Butterbeer, but stronger - off the lip of his glass and then licked it off his thumb. There was now a wet patch on the front of his robes. His agreement was rote, it was nothing of substance - like beer foam, not the ale itself.

Ginny sucked up foam. "And the sunshine will be nice, it'll--" she stopped. Neville's pale skin, nearly porcelain, wasn't anything anyone had even thought about in years, and it was stupid to try and avoid the subject now that he could finally go out into the sun again. There was no real reason to protect him from the truth of his incarceration now that he was out.

"Yeah, it'll be nice." Neville had been one of the first to arrive. He didn't really have any reason to be protected any more, and that made it all the more obvious, made even Ginny - who called her mother a cow right after her father died - stay her tongue.

--

Usually when people died, they didn't get to have some amazing last line. They just died, with a puff of green. Ginny had seen enough people die that her sense of history was distorted, unreal - she knew that one day people she knew could make history books, but that was in a future that had no place for her, so it was completely irrelevant. History was unimaginable, she never saw herself making it that far.

The only thing Ginny took with her was the last thing Harry said in his life, because it was "me or the school," and it had turned out that Voldemort had picked him.

--

Ginny walked to Harry's wake. She had a broomstick, she had a collection of portkeys, and she had enough Apparating experience to make it around the world in eighty seconds.

The cemetary was five miles out of Godric's Hollow, along a little creekbed. They had to wait two weeks for everyone invited and bound to show up to filter into England, so making her way from Cornwall to the town on foot was doable. She hitched for nearly forty miles, carrying a beat up Muggle backpack and sixteen pounds.

The Minister of Magic held the service because Dumbledore was crying too hard. Ginny stood with the precious remains of the Order - Tonks, missing an eye, Moody with a cane, her mother, Neville, Remus and Hermione - and apart from the other well-wishers. Ordinary witches and wizards cried for Harry Potter. She didn't feel anything but relieved, to know that something, that everything, was finally over.

--

Ginny didn't picture Harry. It was as if there was no weight on her stomach, on her chest, at all, no weight of the past, nothing, nothing, nothing. Remus felt like a feather, his skin cool, her hair tied back and messy. They spoke naturally, calmly, he held her hand and she didn't picture anything at all. It was an odd sensation, for all it was pleasant - rather than not even feeling Harry's presence in the room, she felt no one's, not hers, not Remus's.

"I wonder," she murmured between kisses, "if this is why Fred always weeps?"

--

They'd always imagined Harry's death as the loss of the war. It was funny that they were wrong.

--

She traced one finger down Remus's chest, around hipbone, along skin, ran her hand through the curly hair between his legs. He lay on his back, eyes closed. "It's funny," she said, and put her palm on a scar near his navel.

"What is?"

"That people are acting like it's the end of the world," Ginny answered. She was unsure whether the surprise came from other people thinking it was, or the fact that she found her own world quite in tact.

Remus sat up quietly, raising himself up onto his elbows, tilting his head to stare into her face. "It's always the end of the world," he told her. Ginny stroked his chin, the tiny white line along his jaw where, he'd told her years before, Sirius had bit him out in the Forest.  The ends of Remus's worlds were marked on his very face. He kissed her fingertip, lay back down, said, "People have to feel it ending."