A/N: I can’t take too much credit for this fic. It’s based on the last scene in Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town. I am performing in Our Town at my school and this scene gets me every time.

Well. . .happy reading!

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter characters are owned by JK Rowling. I do not make any claims to own them in any way, shape, or form. The Our Town plot is owned by Thornton Wilder. I do not claim to own it either. All I did was mix the two together and put my own twist on things. Please don’t sue me!



Ghosts in the Graveyard

Ginny Weasley landed with a soft thump on the damp grass. She opened her blue eyes and looked around her. In the distance, she could see a group of people dressed all in black and carrying black umbrellas. Among them, she could see her brothers, her parents, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter. They were gathered around a coffin; a coffin that Ginny was certain contained her own body.


Ginny Weasley was dead.


The realization did not overwhelm her, and she did not burst into sudden floods of tears. Ginny barely remembered what she had died of; she believed it to be a Death Eater’s spell. Already she could feel a part of her drifting away, though where it was going, she couldn’t say.


She heard a soft murmur to her left. Turning, she saw three rows of people sitting stiffly upright in wooden chairs. Each chair stood beside a gravestone that displayed the person’s name. There was an empty seat beside a stone reading “Ginerva Weasley”. Ginny crossed and sat in it at once.


None of the fellow dead looked at her. They stared straight ahead, their bodies perfectly still. They neither breathed nor blinked. In fact, they looked more like statues than people.


One of the dead spoke then, in a quiet, mono-tone voice. The woman looked to be sixty years old, about the same age as Ginny’s mother. “Who is she, Lily?”


Ginny jumped at the familiar name and saw that Lily Potter was seated next to her. She was not the friendly and energetic woman Ginny knew from stories and pictures. She, too, stared straight ahead, her emerald eyes glassy.

Lily responded without looking at Ginny: “She’s my son’s girlfriend, Ginny Weasley.”


“How did she die?”


“In the war.”


The older woman gave her head a little shake. “My, my, wasn’t life terrible?” She sighed. “And wonderful.”


The man next to her snorted. “Wonderful, was it?”


“Now, Gideon,” Lily admonished softly.


“Lily? Lily Potter?” Ginny looked eagerly into Lily’s face.


“Hello,” Lily said without emotion.


“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Ginny replied, feeling rather foolish. Lily nodded, still staring straight ahead.


A silence fell, and Ginny looked around at the other members of the graveyard. She recognized James Potter, and Cedric Diggory. Though she had been on good terms with Cedric while they were alive, he didn’t even glance at her.

To her great disappointment, Sirius was not among the dead buried here. She supposed it was because he had never really been buried.


Someone tapped her on the shoulder, and Ginny gave a little shriek, whipping around in her seat. “Professor Dumbledore!” She gasped.


He smiled down at her. “Hello, Ginerva.”


“But. . .but, you’re dead!”


“As are you.” His blue eyes twinkled with laughter.


Ginny grinned for the fist time since she had died. “What I mean is, why aren’t you- why aren’t we- like them?” She gestured at the others who sat beside their stones.


Dumbledore sighed. “I suppose it’s because we haven’t been here as long. You see, Ginny, as we sit here, our living souls start to burn away. The bonds between mother and child, husband and wife, teacher and student, begin to dissolve. The people buried here know they’re headed for something, something more than what they have here. And so, they wait. In other words, they just aren’t themselves any more.”

He frowned. “I know I’m certainly not myself anymore.”


Ginny considered her professor’s words. “But I can go back, can’t I?” Dumbledore seemed to hesitate at this. “I can go back to the world of the living! I know I can. I can feel it.”


Dumbledore nodded. “Yes. . .”


Lily interrupted. “Don’t do it, Ginny!” There was a hint of urgency in her voice.


Ginny was confused. “What does she mean?”


“Others have tried to go back to their lives, but they soon come back here. They find it. . .too difficult.”


“Difficult? How so?”


Dumbledore fiddled with his long sleeves. “You not only live your life, but you watch yourself live it. You know what’s going to happen next.”


Ginny shrugged. “It doesn’t sound difficult to me.”


“Don’t do it, Ginny,” Lily broke it again, “You mustn’t go back.”


Ginny ignored Lily’s pleas. “All I want is one day,” she told Dumbledore, “One day to say goodbye.”


“Fine,” Dumbledore said.


Ginny didn’t even have to think about what day to choose. “I choose the day Harry and I first kissed.”


“I can’t let you have that day,” Dumbledore admitted, “It’s too important; I think it will be too much for you.”


“Fine,” Ginny huffed. “Can I at least choose a birthday? I choose my tenth birthday.”
“Very well,” Dumbledore said. “Here we are.”


Ginny looked around her. The dead and the mourners had disappeared. Before her was the Burrow. She gasped in delight.


“Oh! It’s just how I hoped it would be. Look! There’s Mum’s garden. I’d forgotten she used to grow tomatoes. And our chickens- that white one there was my favorite. Her name was Bella.”


She looked up hopefully into Dumbledore’s wrinkled face. “Are- are they inside?”


Dumbledore nodded. “Yes, your mother will be coming down any minute now to prepare breakfast. You will recall that your father had been away for several days on business, but that he caught the early Knight Bus so that he might be home in time for your birthday.”


“Will they be able to see me?” Ginny whispered, half-afraid of the answer.


“All they will see when they look at you is a ten year old girl.”


“Oh.” Ginny took a deep breath and walked in the door. Dumbledore followed her inside.


Mrs. Weasley was bent over the stove, frying eggs. “Hello, darling,” she said at the sound of her daughter’s footsteps on the kitchen floor. “Happy birthday.”


Ginny pitched her voice a tad higher than usual. “Hello, Mummy.”


Mrs. Weasley didn’t turn around. “There are some gifts for you on the table. Your Auntie Muriel sent you something I think you will enjoy. Oh, and Ron made something for you at school, so be sure to write him and make a big fuss over it, alright?”
Mrs. Weasley set the eggs on the table before Ginny. Ginny looked into her face with agonized delight.


“My word,” she told Dumbledore, “Mum was so young and beautiful! I didn’t know that Mum had ever been that young.” Ginny pushed the eggs around her plate, slowly losing her appetite.


Moving her plate aside, Ginny seized one of the wrapped packages in front of her. Mrs. Weasley glanced over her shoulder. “Oh, I hope you like that one, dear. I had to order it from London.”


Ginny looked up at Dumbledore. “I know what this one is.” She blinked back tears. “Merlin, I can’t bear it.” With trembling fingers, she unwrapped the present to reveal a beautiful heart-shaped pendant.


“Oh, Mummy,” she said, her voice thin with tears, “It’s exactly what I wanted.” She crossed the kitchen and flung her arms around her mother’s waist, planting a small kiss on the back of her neck. Mrs. Weasley didn’t turn around, but continued making Mr. Weasley’s tea and toast.


Ginny began to cry. “I thought this would happen,” Dumbledore said, gently placing a hand on her shoulder. “I can’t! I can’t go on! It all goes so fast. We don’t even have time to look at one another.”


She turned back to her mother, desperately sobbing “Mum! Just look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mum! Eight years have passed. I’m dead! You’re a grandmother, Mum! I feel in love with Harry Potter, Mum. Bill was hurt really badly Mum. We felt just terrible about it, don’t you remember? But, just for a moment, we’re together. Mum, just for a moment, let’s be happy. Let’s look at one another!” She made to seize her mother’s shoulder, but her hands slipped right through.


Even through her sobs, she could hear her father coming up the path. “Where’s my girl? Where’s my birthday girl?”


“Your father’s here!” Mrs. Weasley announced cheerfully.
“Dad,” Ginny whimpered. Then she turned to Dumbledore. “Take me back. Oh, Merlin, please take me back."


Dumbledore nodded. “Would you like to see your father?”


Ginny hesitated before shaking her head. “No, I don’t think I can bear it a minute longer.”


The last thing Ginny saw before she left the Burrow for the last time was her father’s back entering the house. “Where’s my birthday girl?”


“Daddy!” She heard her nine year old self reply.


Dumbledore extended his arm to her so that they might apparate, but Ginny didn’t take it. Instead, she turned around for one last look at her childhood home. “I can’t look hard enough,” she murmured, more to herself than to her ex-headmaster. “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?”


“No, I don’t think so,” said Dumbledore quietly.


She nodded, resigned. “Let’s go.”


They appeared back in the graveyard just moments later. As Ginny took her seat, Lily Potter asked, without looking at her, “Were you happy?”


“No,” Ginny admitted, “I should have listened to you.” She shifted in you seat so that she might have a better look at the mourners, many of whom were in the process of leaving. “That’s all human beings are; just blind people.”


“Look,” said Lily quietly, “It’s clearing up. The stars are coming out.”


A man nearby had overheard their conversation. “Yes. Now you know. Now you know: that’s what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feeling of those-- of those whom you loved best. To spend and waste time without a thought! Now you know: That’s the “happy” existence you wanted to go back to. Ignorance and blindness!”


Lily looked a little annoyed. “That isn’t the whole truth, Gideon, and you know it! Ginny, look at that star.” She hesitated. “I forgot its name.”


James spoke for the first time, in a proud voice. “Mooney was the best at astrology. He knew all the stars! He would help me study. Yes, sir, wonderful.”


Gideon glanced off to his right. “It’s one of them coming.”


Ginny was confused. “One of whom?”


“A living person, dear,” explained the elderly woman.


Sure enough, Harry was coming, a single rose in hand, down to the graveyard.


“Oh, Lily!” Ginny exclaimed. “It’s Harry!”


“Shh, dear. Just rest now.” Lily glanced at her son and spoke again in her careful monotone. “I’d forgotten how much he looked like you, James.”


“It’s Harry,” Ginny whispered to herself. He was face to face with her now, though she knew that he could not see her.


Harry knelt before Ginny’s grave, dropping the flower and slowly falling, face first, onto the dirt before her stone.


“Goodness!” The elderly woman clucked her tongue. “That isn’t any way to behave!”


Lily nodded, slowly. “He ought to be home.”


Harry began to sob. Ginny looked down at him with a mixture of pity and an odd detachment, for she knew that they would never be together again.


“Lily?”


“Yes, Ginny?”


“Living people don’t understand, do they?”


Lily shook her head. “No, dear. They don’t understand.”





FIN.

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