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Times Goes On by Sarcastic_Bones

Format: Short story
Chapters: 8
Word Count: 28,392
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Fluff, Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, George, Ginny
Pairings: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny

First Published: 11/16/2008
Last Chapter: 11/21/2010
Last Updated: 11/21/2010

Summary:
I'm back from my second long, unannouced hiatus, so sorry! Chapter 8 now waiting validation! (November 2010)


Continuing straight after the trio leave Dumbledore's office, this is my take on the lives of them and the others in the Wizarding World. (Mainly fluff/romance really but give it a chance if you're looking for an easy, light-hearted story to enjoy).

Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione


Chapter 1: Feelings Of Nothing
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Important: This is the same as the chapter in "Time Goes On 1" as they both belong to me. I just thought they would look nice together. I hope nobody thinks i'm stealing them. Please, please, please believe me. x



Harry walked slowly away from Dumbledore’s office, Ron and Hermione following closely behind but leaving him some space to be on his own.

After all that had taken place recently, it was nice to not feel the need to fill every silence. So much had happen in such a short space of time it was impossible that he could feel so numb and empty. Harry could not pin-point any one emotion running through his body, instead he felt drained. Perhaps, after getting some sleep he might feel better and his mind might be able to process all that had happened. One day, maybe in a years time or maybe ten years time, he knew the celebrations would come but for now, mourning the deaths of people he knew and loved was enough.

“Harry?”

He almost didn’t realise Hermione had spoken until she placed her hand on his shoulder. They had stopped at the portrait hole leading into Gryffindor common room but the Fat Lady was nowhere to be seen. No doubt, Harry thought, downstairs in the Great Hall with everyone else who was in a state of peaceful mourning.

Harry turned, reluctantly, to look at Hermione’s worried face. It pained him to know she was aching inside. Not only feeling her own pain, but his, too.

“Mm-mmm?” he asked.

“Harry, we were wondering how... how you were.” It wasn’t a question. Hermione wanted an answer.

“I don’t know, Hermione," he sighed. "I think I need some rest before anything really feels real.”

“OK, Harry,” she began, still worried but looking slightly more relieved he was giving full answers, “But me and Ron are here for you, whenever you need us.”

Harry looked at Ron.

He stood less than an inch away from Hermione, face white and clutching her hand as if it was his life line. What had they been talking about just now?  There would be time to ask later. It looked as if Ron would fall apart if he spoke. Harry watched him attempt a smile, failing but comforting him somehow, and open his mouth to speak. His voice was quiet and weak.

“Yeah, we’re here.” Was all he managed to say.

“I know. I think I’m just going to get some sleep and think things over in the morning,” Harry told them again and then added in an undertone, “God, I hope Rita Skeeta doesn’t find out about this anytime soon.”

Harry walked forwards, hoping that he wouldn’t have to resort to blasting the portrait hole open, and pulled the painting. It opened effortlessly.

“Harry?” Hermione called his name again as he was about to take a step forwards into the common room.

“Mm-mmm?” He repeated.

“Ron and I are going to go back down to the Great Hall. No—“ she said quickly as Harry sighed and attempted to turn his tired body around, “—you don’t have to come. It’s just... Ron really wants to be with his family at the moment.”

“Thank you, Hermione.” Harry whispered, too tired to even speak properly but recognising she knew that he had no energy to get the the end of the corridor let alone down the stairs and into the Great Hall.

She smiled and Harry realised just how tired they all looked.

There were dark lines under her eyes and she stood as if some unknown strength was holding her up and keeping her together. Ron looked exactly the same, scars and minor wounds, some still bleeding slightly, covered his face and arms.

Hermione looked at Rons face, pain even more evident in her own expression and, when he smiled at her, her lips curved quickly into a smile, too. This smile was different. She looked more... relieved?

“Come on, Ron.” She pulled his hand gently and they walked down the corridor away from the portrait hole and back through to castle.

Harry dragged his feet through the portrait hole and up the stairs to his four-poster bed waiting for him.

Chapter 2: Comfort is Sometimes Hard to Find
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Disclaimer: I own none of the characters or JKR's story. She's a genius.






          It was not as if she expected everything to end happily. Of course not, to do so would be ignorant.

           During the endless weeks she had spend with Harry and Ron recovering the Horcruxes, Hermione would have thought that the best circumstance she could ask for would be for all three of them to live. That was before Fred had died. Tonks. Lupin. Colin Creevey, who she barely knew but felt responsible for his death. She felt partly responsible for all the deaths that had occurred just a few hours ago. Even Snape.

             And what was she doing now? Walking back through the castle to the room where all the relatives of the dead were, grieving. But she knew that they would all welcome her and Ron without even thinking that they had played an important part of the death of their family and friends because they were simply too grateful for the death of Voldemort.

             Harry, especially, would be welcomed without any thought. And she knew that Harry felt it was his entire fault. All the deaths and the pain and the damage that had resulted because of Voldemort. But it was Voldemort’s fault. Not Harry's, but he wouldn't accept that for a long time.

             What would she have done if Harry had died? There was no way she would have had the courage to kill Voldemort himself. Neither would she have let Ron do it. If Ron had died...

              Hermione's foot went through the trick step on the staircase. She'd forgotten to jump over it, too engrossed in her own thoughts.

              It hurt much more than she thought it would. It was a surprise that she could feel the pain, but she did. She was certain of that.

              Ron, who had been walking next to her through the castle, and was the main reason she had kept glancing to her left every so often, stopped walking immediately. She had tugged on his hand when she stopped as they had been holding hands. The gesture was only small, they both needed comfort, and everyone did. When you experienced a loss like this, so many people dying, and had a thought at the back of your mind that it had been your own fault, even though not one person blamed you, it was difficult not to want someone close to you. To convince you that it was not your fault.

               Of course, Ron needed her now. His brother had died. That would cause serious damage to all the Weasleys.

                Hermione felt a sudden jolt of guilt. Ginny would want Harry to be with her, which was obvious. But Harry tended to close off any connections with anyone. She was determined in that instance that she would talk to Ginny about it. And Harry.

                Ron let go of her hand and put his right arm around her waist. Her pulled her to her feet and took her right hand in his. They continued to walk like this down the stairs: one of Ron's arms around her waist and holding onto her hand.

               They reached the large doors that entered intro the Great Hall which were presently pulled open only a couple of metres so that the draft coming through Hogwarts’ main entrance into the Entrance Hall did not disturb the people inside. These large doors had been placed open with just enough space for the occasional person to enter or leave. The main doors that led into Hogwarts had been placed open also and, sometime after the fight had finished, a large fire had been constructed either side. This was the only source of light nearby, not including the candles twinkling on the ceiling in the Great Hall that sent a peaceful glow into the hallway. If you were to look up all you would see were the beams that made up the ceiling. It had been returned to its original state, the same way it had looked at the funeral of Cedric Diggory.

               Both stopped walking. Ron took a deep breath, closing his eyes as he did so and not re-opening them. Hermione turned her head and watched him, watched his movements and his face. She took several deep breaths too but kept her eyes open, watching Ron’s face. She would not let him out of her sight ever again. Unless he didn’t want her to do that, after all, that kiss had been her idea. Sure, he had kissed her back but he thought he was going to die and he was a boy. Maybe he was just being polite.

               No. How could she think that?  Considering that he was standing here next to her, holding her so that she didn’t fall over or completely lose her mind and go crazy, she must just be paranoid. Even as she watched him, Ron opened his eyes and showed a weak smile when he looked at her face. She knew it was to reassure her but she could also see that he was close to falling apart. He wouldn’t break down in front of everyone, he would act strong. For his mother, father, brothers, little sister and the rest of his family and friends, he would show no tears, only pain.

               The voices of many wounded people, both physically and emotionally, could be heard as a low rumble from out the door in the Entrance Hall.

               Ron and Hermione walked slowly down the grand staircase which, despite once being elegant and full of students making their way to class, even just the day before, was now covered in debris and dust. They approached the large doors, hand-in-hand. Just as Hermione took a step forwards to enter the hall she was jerked back by accident. Ron has stopped walking again.

               “Ron, what—“

               “—just give me a moment, Hermione,” Ron spoke without looking up from the floor. He took several deep breaths.

                “Ron...” Hermione waited. “Ron, look at me.”

               Ron sighed deeply and inhaled another breath of fresh air that was coming through the open front doors before looking up. Hermione continued.

               “Ron, you don’t have to go in, you know.”

               “But I do, Hermione.”

               “No, no you don’t.”

           A few moments passed where neither of them spoke. Hermione stared at him forcefully, daring him to object again. Another moment passed and she looked away, through the doors, towards the people who had gathered to mourn those they knew and loved who had died. More voices could be heard from inside the Great Hall, along with the clatter of knifes and forks.

            Ron broke the silence between them. His voice was only a whisper, as if he was admitting a terrible crime he had made.

            “I have to be strong. For my family, you know. George, Bill, Percy, Ginny, my mum. My mum,” he grimaced. “It’s my fault! I wish I could help, I really do. But I caused this. If only I helped him, pushed him out the way or something. Anything—“

            “—Don’t,” Hermione interrupted, she knew what he was talking about and her anger rose suddenly. “Don’t you dare blame yourself. We spent almost a year tracking down the Horcruxes to destroy Voldemort. We barely ate, barely slept. I was tortured, Ron. Tortured.

            “You think I don’t know that?” he spat at her unexpectedly, he was furious. “I still remember you screaming. And me, stuck down in that cellar without my wand, not being able to do anything. I still have nightmares about that, Hermione. Just because I hate myself because of what happened to Fred, it doesn’t mean that I can forget about that, too. I’ve caused so much pain to my family and I just need one minute to put on a brave face so they don’t think I’m useless and pathetic for once. Is that alright with you, Hermione? I know everyone else thinks it, I can tell. You all think I’m stupid. Harry Potter’s stupid friend, that’s me. I’d be better off on my own. Dead, maybe then I could apologise to Fred until he talks to me. Why did I go back? It was stupid. I should have just stayed away from everyone.”

            His temper evaporated as quickly as it came once Ron had realised what he had just said. A look of disgust crossed his face. Hermione, however, was hurt. She looked at Ron as if she was afraid at what he might do or say next.

            “Hermione...” he began. “I’m so, so sorry. I didn’t mean that, honestly.”

            “It’s O.K,” she replied, looking down, her voice only just loud enough for him to hear.

           “No. I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry. I meant that if I hadn’t of come back then Fred might still be alive. He might have not fought...”

            His voice trailed off until there was silence once again.

            “Oh, Ron,” Hermione took a step forwards and hugged him.

            When they pulled apart Ron took a deep breath, “Ready?”

            Hermione nodded and took his hand and they entered the Great Hall together.





            The Weasley Family were sitting at, what used to be, the Gryffindor table. Ginny had her head resting on her mothers shoulder and her eyes were closed, but every now and then her body would twitch and she would readjust her position. Mrs. Weasley was sitting between Ginny and Mr. Weasley, who was holding her hand; opposite them, with their backs to the doors, Bill and Fleur were also there, comforting George, who did not move; Charlie and Percy stood behind their mother, one hand on each of her shoulders.

            As Ron and Hermione approached Percy, Charlie and Arthur Weasley looked up. Mr. Weasley walked around the table to comfort his youngest son and, as he did so, Mrs. Weasley turned to her daughter and they conversed quietly. Arthur Weasley gave his son a quick hug and then turned to Hermione.

            “Do you mind if I have a quick word with my son for a moment, Hermione?”

            “Of course not, Mr. Weasley,” she replied and gave him a small, weak smile.

            Hermione turned to Ron and stood on the end of her toes to whisper in his ear, “It’s O.K. to cry, remember,” before kissing him on the cheek and giving his hand a quick squeeze. She then moved round the table to Ginny and Mrs. Weasley.

            Arthur Weasley left the hall with his son just as Hermione sat down next Ginny. However, it was Mrs. Weasley who spoke first, startling everyone.

            “Where is Harry, dear?”

            “He’s sleeping, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione answered, leaning across Ginny to speak quietly.

            “Of course, of course,” Mrs. Weasley replied. “He must be tired. What about you, dear, I’m sure you could use a little extra sleep.”

            “I’m exhausted, but I thought Ron would like some company after... after everything.”

            “That was nice of you, dear,” Mrs Weasley replied, sounding as if she had not heard Hermione’s reply.

             Hermione yawned just as Mr. Weasley and Ron re-entered the hall and made their way over.

             “Of course,” Mr. Weasley spoke out loud to everyone, possibly trying to take their minds off things, “you must be exhausted.”

            “I’m fine,” Hermione insisted.

            “Hermione,” everyone turned to Ron as he spoke, following the only conversation, “you really should sleep.”

            “I’m staying here, Ron.”

            “Look at you; you’re going to fall asleep anyway. You might as well—“

            “—I’m staying, Ronald.”

            Ron opened his mouth to retort but was interrupted by George.

            “Just leave her alone, Ron.”

            Everybody froze.

            “Georgie? Are you alright?” Mrs. Weasley spoke to her son.

            “I’m fine. Everyone thinks that I’m mental or treats me as if I’m suicidal. I just want to move on from it. So can we please talk about something else?”

            “Sure, umm, so…” Hermione started to say, not sure where she was going with her sentence, “what’s going on?”

             “Nothing,” Ginny replied glumly.

             “Gin… If you really want to go see him that much, just go,” Charlie told her quietly. Everyone could hear but no one commented. Ginny glanced quickly at Ron and then back to Charlie.

                “No,” she said simply but sounded as if she was going to sulk.

                It was silent for a minute from them all. Everyone lost in their own thoughts. Hermione knew that they had been talking about Harry and Ginny had refused to go see him because Ron was there. She didn’t want to upset him at the moment. He already looked too breakable.

                “I know you want to go see Harry, Gin,” Ron spoke suddenly and all eyes snapped up to face him. Ginny didn’t speak, nor did anyone else. “I’m sorry that it’s because of me that you won’t go. But I don’t want to deal with you two at the moment and all the mess that comes along with it.”

                Hermione knew that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were confused; she sensed their curiosity from behind her. She also sensed that Ginny was about to become angry, hearing Ron speak what she knew out loud. She knew that he knew he was the reason she was suffering without the person she loved most in the world. And this made her angry.

                Before Ginny had a chance to yell at Ron, forgetting their surroundings, Hermione looked at him. She was standing so close to him that he would have to look at her soon enough. At first Ron wouldn’t look up at her but she whispered him name and he could not help looking at her automatically. Their faces were less than inches away from each other; she knew that if she tilted her body forwards slightly she could touch her nose to his.

                “Ron,” she whispered again, “she needs him, Ron.” Then even more quietly she whispered, “Just like I need you right now. Ron, she needs someone to be there for her.”

                As soon as she said it, Hermione was aware that her voice had not been quite as low as she had thought, or perhaps it was just that they were standing so close to his family. They all froze again, except Ron and Hermione. Ginny quickly relaxed back to being angry but the others were extremely curious now. George sat there looking quite amused with the whole situation.

               Ron drew in a shaky breath and closed his eyes, “Okay,” he whispered even quieter so that even Hermione was not sure he had said it. Once she realized he had she leaned her forehead against his and closed her eyes for a moment, too.

                After a few long seconds they moved ever so slightly apart and Ron looked straight into Ginny’s eyes.

               “Go,” he told her softly. “You need someone. Go.”

               Ginny sat frozen again; she could hardly believe that Ron had changed his mind. Then her thoughts caught up with reality and, despite their surrounding and the past few hours and all her previous anger at her brother, she smiled quickly. She jumped up, not quite happily, death was still in the back of her mind, and kissed Ron on the cheek.

                “Thank you, Ron,” she whispered and turned to leave.

                Hermione called her name suddenly, she needed to warn Ginny.

                 "Ginny?" she repeated when her friend was standing next to her. "Don't let him push you away again. No matter what he says. If you think he's worth all the pain, stay with him."

                 "Thank you, Hermione," Ginny whispered then left the Hall as fast as she could without running.

                Hermione turned to Ron. "Thank you, too. You know how much this means to her." Ron only nodded and squeezed her hand. He didn’t look at all happy about it.

               Arthur Weasley cleared his throat loudly. Fortunately for Ron and Hermione, Professor McGonagall called the attention of all the people in the hall towards the front.

               “I would not like to give a long speech as I can see that most of you are tired. I will set up beds for those of you wishing to stay the night and the fireplaces in the teachers’ studies are available for those of you wishing to use the floo network. Of course, you can also apparate. We hope to open Hogwarts again in September and will begin the long and hard job of restoring the castle tomorrow. If anyone can offer any help, perhaps even by restoring something small as you walk past it, that would be greatly appreciated. We shall bring out some more food on one table incase you become hungry. Thank you.”

               As she finished her sentence, food appeared on the Gryffindor table on the far side of the hall. The other three tables vanished and were replaced with many sleeping bags.

               People started to file out of the hall slowly, some could be seen heading up the staircase to use the floo network, others simply vanished on the spot.

              “What time is it?” Bill asked, looking at his wife who was yawning.

             “Morning time,” George replied, sounding slightly more like his normal self, looking straight up at the ceiling before remembering that its usual enchantment had been removed for the time being.

                “Right, thanks, George. Real helpful,” Bill told him and helped Fleur stand up. “We’re going to go back to Shell Cottage but we can meet you here in the morning, mum.”

              Mrs. Weasley looked sadly at her oldest son. “Alright, dear. See you in the morning,” she told him and gave him a hug, looking as if she didn’t want to let him go.

               The others all said goodbye and went their separate ways. Bill and Fleur apparated directly back to Shell Cottage while Arthur, Molly, Percy and Charlie crossed the hall to get sleeping bags. George, Hermione and Ron headed up the Grand Staircase in silence and entered Gryffindor Tower easily, the Fat Lady still hadn’t returned.

             George headed straight for the staircase to look for an empty bed, possibly one owned by a first year that had been evacuated from the castle before the fight had broken out. This left Ron and Hermione standing at the bottom of the staircase.

               And then it hit Hermione just how tired she was. She swayed on the spot and Ron caught her quickly before she came anywhere near hitting the floor.

               “Whoa,” he mumbled whilst putting her back on her feet. “Come on – you might as well come to our dorm. You’d probably fall down the stairs on the way up to yours, anyway.”

               Hermione nodded and closed her eyes. She let Ron guide her up the staircase, eyes still closed (which was probably not the best idea she’d had), and into the dorm. As soon as the door opened she felt her body fall forwards onto a warm and comfortable bed before drifting off into a very welcoming sleep.





So what did you think? I'm not sure I find this chapter very relevant but I had an idea for a chapter and I needed a filler chapter.
I've also had a stroke of inspiration but I'm not sure how to incorporate it yet.
And also, sorry for the late update. I've been so busy lately.

So tell me, what was your favourite and least favourite thing about this chapter? Any thoughts are welcome. Yes, even constructive criticism is welcome, of course. :)


Chapter 3: "Screaming girls do often influence destiny,"
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I am SO sorry for how long this update took. I had a lot of things going on.

OK, so this chapter is a little short, I think, but I wanted to post SOMETHING and it's a little different to my other chapters. But I think I actually know what I want to put into the next chapter so it shouldn't take as long to update.

I want to say thank you to hedwig90 and charlie23 for reviewing and keeping my spirits up and this story going.







  The bright sunlight that shone unexpectedly through the curtains of Harry's four-poster bed was the last thing he imagined would wake him up. His dream had been a blur of flashing lights and retreating figures. More than once Voldemort had appeared out of the darkness and he had awoken with a start, sweating with the stress of it.

  He knew this would not be the last nightmare he had and, with an exaggerated sigh, heaved himself off the bed.

  The room started to spin.

  “Whoa,” Harry clamped his hand over his head, subconsciously resting on his scar.

  “Finally!”

  Harry jumped high off the bed and landed on the floor. He turned sharply to face whoever had spoken whilst struggling to climb to his feet. Across the room, sitting comfortably on Neville’s bed and trying as hard as he could not to laugh, was Ron. He looked considerably healthier than the night before.

  “What was that for?” Harry shouted at him, but he sounded more amused than angry.

  “Shh… keep it down.” Ron pointed towards his own bed where Hermione’s bushy hair stuck out at odd angles. She was sleeping face down as if she had fallen asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.

  Harry turned back to Ron whilst climbing back onto his bed and then noticed why his best friend looked so much healthier than last time he saw him.

  Without thinking, Harry said, “You’re clean.”

  Ron gave him a look that plainly said ‘are you feeling alright?’ but replied just the same, “I had a shower this morning. You should try it.” He joked and Harry looked down at his own body, stretching his hands out in front of him.

  His skin was still covered in blood and dirt. There were many small wounds all over his arms; some only millimeters long, others running the length between his elbow and wrist. Harry lifted his hands up to touch his face and felt one long cut running diagonally across and under his chin.

  “I don’t have any clean clothes. Hermione has them all, and who knows when she’ll wake up,” he replied, once more looking at Hermione’s sleeping figure.

  “Here,” Ron said and reached into the cupboard behind him and pulled out some clothes for Harry to wear. “Neville and Seamus told us that we could borrow some clothes.” He continued and added “I’m not stealing,” when Harry only continued to look at him.

  Finally Harry rolled his eyes and smiled. He caught the clothes as they flew across the room. “Right, well I’ll go have a shower then… before I get insulted again.”

  Hermione turned over in her sleep and mumbled something. Harry only caught the words ‘traitor’ and ‘dark’.

  “I’d go before she wakes up then,” Ron told him and Harry nodded and walked swiftly out the door.

  “Hey, Harry,” Ron called before he was out of hearing range. Harry’s head reappeared around the door frame. “Did you speak to Ginny at all yesterday?”

  “No, why?” Harry asked, confused by the way the conversation had suddenly changed.

  “Err, no reason. I heard that she was looking for you,” Ron lied, not convincing Harry one bit.

  “Right, well maybe I’ll see her at breakfast,” Harry suggested and made to turn again.

  “Dinner,”

  “Dinner?”

  “Yeah, it’s half five,” Ron told him.

  “I slept for almost… what, twelve hours?” Harry asked, shocked by this realization. Ron just shrugged.

  Helpful, Harry thought before turning once again to leave the dormitory.






   The common room was so packed that Harry thought briefly whether he could possibly make his way through the crowds without being knocked over by accident, or worse, recognized.

  Not only were students sitting by the fire, playing exploding snap or gossiping, Harry even saw a particularly violent game of Wizards Chess in the far corner, but parents and young children had joined them and were adding to the vast number of people who were blocking his way to the prefects bathroom.

  “Harry!” Someone exclaimed from behind him and he immediately jumped. ‘Why am I so tense all the time?’

 Harry’s anxiousness was not necessary. As soon as his brain took in the bright yellow dress and radish earrings, even before looking at the persons face, he knew it was Luna Lovegood.

  “Hey, Luna,” he replied, and he found a genuine smile cross his face. “How are you?”

  “The same as everyone,” she told him, rather vaguely. “You look like you’re trying to hide from something.”

  “People,” he told her quietly.

  Luna smiled and her gaze became even more dreamlike as she looked across the common room, “You know, I never thought it would look like this,” she told Harry, and her eyes swept across the common room.

  Harry’s muddled brain was working just enough despite his drowsiness to recognize that this had not been Luna’s common room for the past six or so years she had been attending Hogwarts. This was a strange thought and he briefly saw an image of himself in the Slytherin common – what he imaged a vast majority of his evenings would have looked like if he had indeed been put in that house.

  “I don’t think anyone’s looking, Harry,” Luna continued. “You could probably leave without anyone even knowing you had woken up.”

  “You think?” Harry asked just as Neville entered the Common Room and was immediately surrounded by at least half the people in the area.

  "Yes, but I would do it now. Just in case,” she advised, turning to face him again.

  “Yeah,” he agreed, looking at the spot where Neville had disappeared between all the people. “Thanks Luna. “

  Harry quickly moved through the crowds, head bent low incase someone caught sight of his dark hair or easily recognizable eyes, and slipped through the portrait hole. He silently decided that it would be more peaceful to go straight to breakfast after having a shower instead of trying to dodge through the crowds back into Gryffindor common room.

  He’d have to face everyone soon.

  As it turned out, Harry didn’t have to wait long before he was followed by whispers and, much to his surprise, adoring fans. He stepped out of the prefect’s bathroom where, unfortunately, a large group of nine girls stood gossiping animatedly. Clearly they had nobody to grieve for.

  The door swung shut behind Harry and there was a moment of silence in which the girls, all looking to be around Harry’s age, just stared at him, frozen in the middle of conversation.

  And then the running began.

  Harry took off down the corridor at top speed, taking steps two at a time when he came to stairways and pulling himself round corners with his arms so as to not slow down. The girls still ran behind him, screaming to each other that he was Harry Potter.

  As Harry took one of the last turnings which would lead him back to Gryffindor Tower he turned sharply and ran straight into someone. He felt them stumble backwards with the force. The person attempted to talk but the group of girls were still following him and so Harry quickly grabbed the hand of his victim and pulled them through the nearest door. In his haste Harry caught his foot in the door as he closed it shut and, therefore, only realized which room he had entered until it was too late and he could clearly hear the girls gathering outside, asking each other which way Harry Potter had gone.

  “Great, a cupboard,” Harry mumbled under his breath.

  “Harry?”

  The cupboard was so small that the shock of hearing the voice so close to him and also who it was caused Harry to jump and hit his head on the mop that was propped up against the wall behind him.

  “Ginny?” Harry replied, equally confused, and rubbed the back of his head with his hand.

  After a moment of rubbing his head Harry took his wand from the pocket of his jacket and muttered “Lumos” so that the cupboard was filled with light.

  Ginny stood so close to Harry that he could see all the freckles on her face and count her eyelashes. She wore the same jeans that she had had on the night before but her top was different and her hair had been combed back into a ponytail so that she looked fresh and awake. Despite this, her eyes were red from where she had been crying all night.

  “Harry,” Ginny repeated, “why are we in a cupboard?”

  “Shh…” Harry put his finger to his lips and then pointed towards the door next to him where the voices of the girls outside could be heard clearly.

 
  “When we find him I’m going to be famous,” one girl boasted to her friends.

  “Will you be rich?” a second asked her.

  “Of course she will. And everyone will love her because she’ll be married to Harry Potter,” said a third and the other two agreed.

  “But… but what if Harry Potter doesn’t want to marry you, Dee?”

  “Of course he will, Gwen, don’t be silly,” replied Dee snootily.

  “And it’s not as if he’s actually ever had a proper girlfriend before,” added the other voice.

  “He dated Ginny Weasley though,” Gwen insisted.

  “Ginny Weasley? Honestly, Gwen, you’ve got to pay more attention. Hannah’s right, me and Harry are soul mates. That Weasley girl wasn’t a proper girlfriend for him, they didn’t date very long. What does that tell you?”

  “That… that they broke up because of – of Death Eaters. Or that’s what I heard, anyway,”

  “It’s called a rumor, Gwen,”

  “But they seemed so happy together,”

  “Oh, be quiet, Gwen, I want to plan Dee’s wedding,” Hannah told her and the girls called Hannah and Dee immediately started chatting quietly with each other.

  After another moment of silence in which Harry and Ginny could only hear the muffled sounds of voices outside and the sound of each others heartbeat Dee announced to her friends, “Oh, we’re going this way. He must have gone back to Gryffindor Tower,” and Harry and Ginny heard feet move away and down the corridor.

  Harry breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Ginny. “Sorry about that,” he told her.

  She raised her eyebrows, “Yeah… It seems you’re a bit of a favourite for girls now.”

  There was another silence but this one was filled with awkwardness.

  “Harry, are… are you alright?”
 
  “I think maybe I should be asking you that, Ginny,” Harry reminded her.

  “I’m fine,” she told him immediately.

  “You’ve been crying,” he whispered.

  “No I haven’t,” Ginny protested but even as she said it a tear rolled down her cheek. Harry reached out a wiped it away with his finger.

  “Is it… is it about Fred?”

  “It was. But now it’s about you,” she told him and when Harry only looked confused she explained. “I thought you were dead. You have no idea how that felt.” There was silence after this until Ginny looked around at the darkness. “What a weird place to be having a conversation like this.”

  “Screaming girls do often influence destiny,” Harry replied and smiled delicately at her. Ginny did not return the smile but another tear ran across her cheek. Harry opened his arms in front of him, as wide as they would go anyway, in a way that clearly asked if she wanted a hug. Ginny put her arms round his neck and when she felt his arms tighten around her waist she started to cry even more.

  It was not long before Ginny had started to recover herself, she did not usually cry much and definitely not in front of others. She moved away from Harry, lowering her hands and quickly wiped away the fresh tears running down her cheek with the back of her hand. There was another long silence while they stood in the dark, face to face.

  “You know,” Ginny said suddenly, “you are going to be famous and rich.” She sounded worried. And then her voice turned to a whisper and was filled with so much passion that Harry thought impossible to be held inside her small body, “You better be careful who you marry, Harry. You don’t want anyone to love you for the wrong reasons.”

  And with that she pushed open the door and swiftly walked down the corridor so fast that she was gone by the time Harry looked out after her.





I'm not sure about the ending. I want to write more but it's getting late and I really want to post something before I go to sleep.

The problem with my writing is that I ALWAYS forget and then when I do remember I can never seem to like what i'm writing. Then, once I get into it a bit more, I can't stop.

New chapter sooner (if that's a word) than this one. I hope.


Please review. I'll promise to update in Mrach if you do. =]] Sorry. I find bribery normally works. =] (I'm honestly joking about the bribery thing, I don't really do that). OK, now i'm rambling.

:D xx

Chapter 4: "I’m the only person he has left to look to,"
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Firstly, don't kill me.

Okay, I am SO sorry about how long this chapter has taken. I'm also writing a Rose/Scorpius because I got serious writers block on this story but I finaly managed to write a chapter that I can lead somewhere. I'm trying to alternate which story I add a chapter to but it's proving harder than said because i'm SO busy at the moment. Not only has this update taken me forever but the current validation blockage is 11 days so it'll be ages until you actually get this chapter. SO SORRY.

Secondly, I am so
totally not J K Rowling becuase if I was I would possibly not be writing a random fan fiction (you never know, J K could secretly be writing fan fiction to expand on her totally awesome seven books already out there in the big wide world).

There are some lines in this chapter that have been quoted from the Half-Blood Prince. Woops, forgot to mention this the first time. I'm rather stupid, really. =] Yeah, so, those are DEFINITELY the fabulous work of JK Rowling. You'll find them in italics when Ginny is thinking back to her break up with Harry. I put a little star (*) near them so you you know as well, just to make sure. =] Page 602 from
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Thirdly, (I know, LONG writers note) Hedwig90 suggested that Ginny was not really in character at the end of the last chapter (which I totally agree with) so I decided to write one chapter following her around to get more of a sense of her. Tell me what you think. =]]


"I'm the only person he has left to look to",




Ginny raised her bruised and cut hand to wipe away the tears on her face but they kept falling as she slowed to a walk in one of the corridors of Hogwarts.

Smart move, Ginny, she thought angrily to herself. Now he’s going to be all confused and it’s going to be awkward next time you see each other.

She walked into the bathroom on her left and looked at herself in the mirror. Bellatrix had hit her with a painful curse towards the end; it stretched right across her shoulder. Ginny pulled down the side of her top a little to inspect the damage. She hadn’t dared draw attention to it with her mother there; she’d just fuss over it. Now that Ginny was fully focusing on that cut, it seemed to sting more than before. By looking at it she could see that it was oozing yellow pus and it smelt quite bad now that it was in the open.

Ginny quickly pulled her top back so that the cut and infection could not be seen and washed her face so that it was less obvious that she had been crying. Again.

She hated crying, she had always related it to weakness. Of course she knew better now but there was still a thought at the back of her mind that she shouldn’t be crying this much. And in front of Harry.

Ginny made a noise of disbelief before drying her face and walking out of the bathroom and heading towards the Hospital Wing.

She took a long route to the Hospital Wing instead of going straight there just in case a member of her family or someone she knew saw her. This was because it meant that it wasn’t as obvious where she was going. This evasive route had nothing to do with not wanting people to see her weak and injured, it was about avoiding something much scarier. Her mother.

Ginny did not want her mum to know about this small, cursed cut. It wasn’t a big deal but she knew that her mum would make it a big deal. OK, so she had almost got hit by the killing curse but that was over and done with and she hadn’t actually been hit so she just wanted to forget about it.

At least she had got to fight. If she hadn’t than she would have felt worse because then she would have known that there was more that she could have done but by fighting she knew that she had tried her hardest. It hadn’t saved Fred and many others but it had saved the Wizarding World and Harry.

Again, the memory of what it was like when she saw Harry being carried out of the Forest by Hagrid appeared in her mind. She shuddered.

That had been the worst moment of her life, she could safely say as the truth, except when she had discovered that Fred had been killed.

And both had happened in the same day, she sighed to herself, rubbing the back of her neck. Ginny felt her eye lids become heavier by the second and soon she was looking down at the floor, watching her feet move instead of using more energy to watch where she was going.

She turned the corner and walked through the open doors into the Hospital Wing. There were a few people here, she knew from the noise, some standing at the bedside of an injured man in the far right hand corner and the others waiting in a small group to get checked over. Ginny quietly joined the mass of people, still looking at the ground.

“Ginny?” she heard someone whisper from right in front of her and her head snapped up to face the person.

She immediately relaxed. “Hey Ron,”

“What are you doing here? Are you hurt?” he asked, worried.

“Umm...” Ginny debated whether to tell Ron. She decided that the truth was the best. “Just a little scratch, nothing really. I thought I’d better get it looked over, just in case mum found out and, well...”

Ron nodded and his ears turned red, “Me too. Avoiding her and the rest of the family was hard - they’re everywhere.”

“Are you hurt?” Ginny asked, concerned for her brother.

After all, he was really in the middle of the fight with Harry, she thought. She shook her head slightly when she realised that her thoughts had again turned to Harry and was brought back to present time when Ron answered her question.

“No, I’m fine. It’s—“

“—He dragged me here,” Ginny heard another voice complain and then she realised that Hermione had been standing directly behind Ron and had been blocked from her view. Hermione continued, turning to Ron, “Honestly, Ronald, I’m perfectly fine. It’s Harry that should be here, really,”

“I agree with you there, Miss Granger,” Madame Pomfrey announced just as Ron opened his mouth to argue, and she made her way over to where all three of them were standing. “Now, what can I do for you all?”

“Actually, it’s them two. I’m just here for... umm....” Ron started to mutter and then his sentence faded into incoherent words.

“Right, Miss Weasley, you appear to have to most urgent wounds so come this way and I’ll check it over,”

Ginny was surprised that Madame Pomfrey had known about her infected cut but then realised that the sleeve on that shoulder and slipped and revealed it. She followed the Matron over to a spare bed and Madame Pomfrey started to clean it with a potion. Ron and Hermione followed too and sat on the bed with her.

It felt nice to have them back. Ginny had spent practically all of her summers since she started Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione and she had missed them all terribly when they had been gone. It had been worse because she had discovered not long before they left that they were definitely going off to try and destroy Voldemort – that had worried her more and she hadn’t been sure if she would ever see them alive again.

She didn’t like to think about who she had missed more. Hermione was the only girl out of the three and they could gossip to each other at night and generally hang around each other and be girly. But Ron was her brother and, even though she had five other brothers, she had been closest to Ron because he was the closest to her age and hadn’t minded hanging around her during the holidays. Having said this, she had missed Harry more than she possibly thought imaginable. Okay, so they had broken up but she hadn’t wanted that, it was just easier on them both because she knew that Harry was going to do something major, something that may have ended his life. And it nearly had.

She remembered exactly what she had said to him that sunny day when Dumbledore’s funeral was over. He had told her that they couldn’t be together, not that he had wanted to end it, and she had replied, “It’s for some stupid, noble reason, isn’t it?”* Ginny knew that she would always remember what he had said to this. He had replied, “It’s been like... like something out of someone else’s life, these past few weeks with you. But I can’t... we can’t... I’ve got things to do alone now.”*

She briefly wondered if he would even want to start things up again. He had said that if they had gotten together sooner than they could have had years. Had he really wanted that? Would he still want it now? After all, things had changed so much since those sunny hours spent alone out by the lake.

“There you go, that should be alright now. Just make sure not to get any dirt in it to attract anything that will get it infected again,” Madame Pomfrey told her and Ginny nodded her head. She looked over to Ron and Hermione and saw them deep in conversation, their heads close together and whispering quietly but quickly.

As if he felt her looking at him, Ron looked up and grinned, “I think mum is trying to round up everyone to get us back to The Burrow,” he told her. “She wants to get away from the castle. I think she feels like she needs to, you know... breath, after everything with... with,”

As furtive as it was, Ginny still noticed when Hermione grabbed hold of Ron’s hand and he visibly stopped shaking and calmed down. He smiled at Hermione and his face showed a look similar to one Ginny had seen her father use when worried about her mother.

Ginny sighed. She hated to admit it, because admitting it was admitting her true feelings (which would possibly be more painful), but she wanted that with Harry. She wanted it so badly it was starting to hurt. She stood up abruptly.

Both Ron and Hermione gave her an odd look as if to ask her what’s wrong but she just ignored it. “You’re right, I think I’ll just go and find mum so that she doesn’t worry. I’ll meet you down there in a minute then...”

And with that she left the Hospital Wing and returned to the many corridors that Hogwarts held. She stared at the floor again, watching her feet with every step they took and as they turned the corners and drifted down staircases. She turned a corner that would lead her into a corridor where the Grand Staircase was and walked straight into someone.

Regaining her balance and wondering briefly whether it would be possible to run into Harry twice within the same hour, Ginny turned to look at the person who she had nearly knocked over, “I’m so sorry,”

“It’s alright, Ginny,” Andromeda Tonks reassured her and adjusted her grip on her grandson, Teddy Lupin.

“Oh, is this Teddy?” Ginny asked.

“Yeah,” Andromeda replied sadly and Ginny knew that she was thinking about her daughter and son-in-law.

“Are you alright?” Ginny asked after a moment of watching Andromeda and realising that she did indeed look too pale to be considered healthy.

“Of course, dear,” she replied distractedly but her grip on Teddy slipped a little.

“Andromeda, do you... do you want me to take Teddy for a while? I mean, c-could I?” Ginny asked trying to make it seem as if she was taking the young boy for her own reasons and not pitying the other woman.

“Oh,” she looked surprised. “Yes, of course you can. I would love for him to get to know everyone,” and she handed Teddy over to Ginny.

His hair, which was previously a silver colour, turned to a vivid orange and his eyes changed from turquoise to become a deep brown, not unlike Ginny’s own eye colour. She laughed and Andromeda smiled at the sound.

“Well, dear, I think I’m going to talk to Professor McGonagall now. I have a feeling that it will be a lot easier to do so now that Teddy’s in your care for the moment,” she said kindly and waved as she hurried off down the corridor, glancing at her watch.

Ginny turned in the opposite direction, again towards the Great Hall, and as she walked she looked down at Teddy. He was smiling up at her, a huge grin on his tiny face, and looking as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Ginny smiled back uncontrollably and, instantly, she knew that she would love this boy like her mother loved her.

She walked into the Great Hall tickling Teddy and approached her family. As she did so Teddy laughed especially loud and all of them turned to look at her and the young boy as they smiled warmly.

"Isn’t he wonderful?” Ginny asked, zealously.

The members of her family were smiling sadly at her. The only people not there were Ron and Hermione so Ginny assumed that they were still in the Hospital Wing. With a pang of unease she realised that Harry was there also, and he was staring at her with a strange expression on his face. She quickly looked away just as Hermione and Ron reappeared between the ever-growing crowds in the Great Hall.

“Is that Teddy?” Harry asked Ginny and everyone turned to her and the little boy in her arms.

“Yeah,” she replied casually, trying to not make eye contact. “You wanna hold your Godson?”

Harry smiled at her and she felt as if her heart had melted, “Sure,”

Ginny walked around to the other side of the table, every one of her family staring at her in a strange way (It must just be Teddy their looking at, she thought), and handed Teddy over to Harry once he was standing up. She stood beside him as he stared down at his smiling Godson.

Teddy’s hair changed to the same jet black as Harry’s and his eyes became a dark shade of green.

After a moment’s silence Harry whispered to Ginny, “He is wonderful,” then his face changed to be more serious, “Wait... Is Andromeda Tonks here then?”

“Yeah, I saw her when I was coming back from the Hospital Wing –“ Mrs Weasley looked as if she was going to interrupt but Harry beat her, speaking first.

“—Hospital Wing? Why were you in the Hospital Wing? Are you hurt?” he looked concerned.

Ginny sighed, showing annoyance, but she really felt a little bit of hope – if Harry was worried then did that mean he cared about her?

“I’m fine. I had a cut on my shoulder, nothing to worry about,”

She saw Harry’s eyes dart towards Ron and then back again before he stuttered, “I-I...I wasn’t worried,”

She only raised her eyebrows to show that she didn’t believe him and, from the corner of her eye, she saw Hermione roll her eyes.

“Of course he was worried,” Hermione spoke and Harry glared at her in a way that clearly said ‘stop talking now’ but she didn’t take any notice. “He’s been worried about you for the past year, Ginny.”

Ginny turned to face Harry slowly with an expression of confusion on her face; she saw that Harry was blushing deep red.

“What’s she talking about?”

“I... I don’t know,” Harry mumbled again, even less convincing than before.

Their eyes locked and they just stared at each other in silence, the other members of the Weasley family looking completely confused.

Harry was saved when Andromeda Tonks made her way over to them exclaiming loudly, “Oh, Harry, you found your Godson,”

“Umm,” Harry looked as if he had only just realised where he was. “Yeah, Ginny let me hold him but you can... you can have him back now if you like,”

He spoke sadly as if unwilling to let the little boy out of his sight but still leaned forwards, across the table, to hand Teddy over to Andromeda.

“Oh, no, dear,” she waved him away. “You’ve only just met him.”

“Thanks,” Harry mumbled and sat down on the bench. He moved over so that Ginny could sit beside him. They both looked down and Teddy and the rest of the Weasley’s and Hermione started their own conversation.

“Hey, Teddy, I’m—I’m your...” Harry’s words seemed to get stuck in his throat.

Ginny squeezed his hand. “It’s going to be alright,” she whispered.

“No, it’s not Ginny,” he replied, whispering too. His voice showed a hint of desperation, as if he was trying to get Ginny to understand him. “I’m his – his Godfather. I’m the only person he has left to look to; I have to look after him. I have to be a good role model for him.”

“Harry,” she leaned towards him, making eye contact so that he would see reason. “You just defeated the most evil wizard of all time. I think that comes under good-role-model material.”

Harry smiled at Ginny and for a moment she forgot all about the awkwardness that there should be between them and was only aware of how close they were – both leaning towards each other, sitting inches apart, Teddy grinning between them.

Ginny could have looked into his eyes for a lot longer but, unfortunately, Professor McGonagall chose that moment to stand up at the front of the hall and start to speak.

Every face turned towards her anxious expression.

“In the early hours of this morning possibly the most evil wizard of all time was defeated, it came at a great cost to many of you – friends and family lost in the struggle – but know that they helped to make the world, for Wizards and Muggles alike, a better place for future generations. There is nothing I can say to take away your suffering, for now it is best to grieve for those you loved and, in time, you will learn to honour them in a way that is not sad and will continue with your lives.

I would like to ask Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger if they could come up here and perhaps say a few words.”

Ginny turned to Harry and he looked as if he was going to pass out. “It’ll be alright,” she told him reassuringly and squeezed his hand again.

“You’ve got to come with me,” he whispered and Ginny couldn’t quite believe that he had said it.

“What?” she asked.

“Please, can you just—just come up there with me a-and Ron and Hermione... and Teddy?”

“Of course I will, Harry,” Ginny told him firmly and all four of them stood up and made their way through the many crowds of people in the Hall to stand at the front. From the corner of her eye Ginny saw Hermione and Ron holding hands and she wished, yet again, that she could hold Harry’s hand.

Once they were standing on the raised platform where the teachers usually ate dinner Ginny finally realised how many people were actually squashed into the hall. It was really a very large room and it could have even been magically enlarged if any one of the of-age wizards or witches in the hall had wanted to but no one had. Ginny quickly noticed the crowd of reporters standing at the back of the hall and briefly wondered how McGonagall had managed to keep them out of the castle for so long. Harry must have noticed them too because he froze and he clutched Teddy tighter.

Without caring about whether it was right or not anymore, Ginny reached forwards and took Harry’s hand. He didn’t shake it off. In fact, he glanced quickly at her and smiled faintly before speaking.

“Umm...hi, I’m Harry Potter,” he started and Ginny couldn’t help but roll her eyes.

Start with the obvious then, Harry, she thought sarcastically and smiled slightly.

Again, the ending is pretty awful. I don't want you to think that Ginny's not upset but I can't get my words down how I want. Ginny's just remembering how she used to feel around Harry before the whole Horcrux-Hunt thing. =]

Please leave a review if you can - even if it's only to tell me that my updating is SHAMEFUL or that I leave totally unnecessarily long authors notes.
Oh, and I want to thank a million all those who reviewed. It really brightens my day to know people live past my notes and actually get the the story. :D xx


Chapter 5: Sorting out your Personal Life (H/G, R/Hr)
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Seriously, this hasn't been updated in SUCH a long time. (It's terrible, I know). But I'm also writing a Rose/Scorpius ('Help Me, Please') which I actually have a good, solid structure for. =] I know... strange for me to be organised.
So anyhoo, back to my pleading, I have mainly been writing that story because I know wat I want to write but then I realised that it's been, like, almost two months since I updated this one so I FREAKED out and totally had to make myself write something. To be honest, I don't actually hate it as much as I thought I would.
Some how, I kept writing and writing but the word count hardly went up... sorry about that. =]
By the way, just as a little word of warning, this chapter is VERY FLUFFY, I would say. But I tried to do it in a non-chessy way that had the characters, well, in character. =]
PLEASE tell me what you think of it because it's different to my "comfort zone", I suppose you would call it that. =]
Thanks to all those who reviewd before, by the way.
The Harry/Ginny is especially dedicated to Harry_and_Ginny because you ALWAYS review and I know, of course, that your a big fan of them. But also to charlie23 because you actually made me sigh with relief with your AWESOME comment. I hope I did it justice...
xxx








Ron watched as Ginny took Harry’s hand. Before the Horcrux Hunt he probably would have gotten overly protected and annoyed but now he simple ignored the older brother thoughts in the back of his mind. Ginny and Harry both deserved to be happy...

Besides, the part of his mind that almost made him see reason said, they were standing in front of a lot of people. Bringing it up would cause a scene. Some of the people even had cameras, with flash, which was, to be honest, very annoying. Every time one went off they all blinked to see through the bright light.

“Umm...hi, I’m Harry Potter,” Harry addressed all the people in the Great Hall.

Ron turned his attention back to Harry and Teddy at the front.

“So, umm, I just wanted to say I’m – I’m sorry,” Harry continued, struggling for words. “I didn’t want anybody to die. Really. As far as I knew, I was supposed to die. And, it’s not that I–“

Teddy laughed, interrupting Harry mid-sentence.

“I’m sorry,” Harry quickly apologised to everybody in the hall. “This is Teddy Lupin, he’s... he’s my Godson. His parents, Remus and Tonks, they... they died too.” There were a few sad ‘ahs’ throughout the hall. Harry felt tears threaten to spill from his eyes. “Ginny, could you...” Harry motioned towards Teddy and Ginny took the little boy from him. “I know that a lot of you, well, all of you really, probably want answers and want to know exactly what it is we’ve been doing this past year and I really want you all to know but right now... now isn’t really the best time to tell you. I need to sort some things out but you will know. I promise,”

Harry turned to Ron and Hermione. “Anything you want to say?” he asked. They both nodded their heads. Harry turned back to all the people watching him.

“I just wanted to say, to make sure, that you all know something that I found out about Severus Snape.” A lot of people stirred in their seats but Harry ignored it and continued talking. “He was a good man and he was always on our side. He was probably one of the bravest men I ever knew,”

Whispers and mutterings could be heard throughout the hall, obviously everyone had not been expecting Harry to mention Severus Snape, let alone compliment him. Harry spoke over the noise, trying to ignore it as best he could.

“That’s really all I can say at the moment. I sort of need to do some thinking...” and he trailed off, staring out past the crowds for a moment whilst his eyes glazed over.

Hermione shot Ginny an anxious look but Ginny just shook her head, her eyebrows pulling together, and shrugged her shoulders. To the surprise of both girls, Ron walked forwards and placed his hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“Harry, mate...” Ron’s voice seemed to pull Harry out of whatever he was thinking about. He blinked a few times and then seemed to realise where he was and that Ron was standing next to him. “Maybe you could do some thinking a bit later, yeah?”

Hermione smiled at this. Ron almost looked worried that Harry would say no but he just shook his shoulders in a ‘might-as-well’ kind of way and stepped down off of the raised platform, Ginny following him, to allow Ron and Hermione to say anything they wished.

“I just want to say that Harry was brilliant - like, really amazing – when we were away,” Hermione spoke aloud to the hall, stepping forwards so that she was level with Ron and taking his hand again. “He really believed in what we were doing and he really worked so hard. He was there for me all the time, even when I was afraid, when we almost d-died,” Hermione’s voice shook slightly as she thought back to their previous trip to Godric’s Hollow.

The reporters at the back of the room had their Quick Quotes Quill’s writing like lightning whilst all this was going on. Ginny, shifting Teddy’s weight slightly, caught the eye of her mother and tried to smile reassuringly.

She quickly caught the slight change in Ron’s posture as Hermione spoke and she heard him whisper in her ear, “I’m so sorry.” Hermione just smiled weakly at him, wrapping an arm around his waist, and shook her head, looking as if tears were about to spill over her eyelids and muttered, “R-Ron? Anything you want to add?”

“Erm, yeah, just... just thank you,” he said to everyone, seeming to struggle for words. “For being here, and – and, y’know, helping and stuff. It was really brave of you all and, well, just – just thanks.”

All five of them made their way back over to the rest of the Weasley’s, tucked away neatly in the corner where they attracted less attention. The crowds in the hall clapped and cheered to show their support but it was obvious that people were still curious as to what exactly the three of them had been doing the past year.

McGonagall stepped up onto the platform and addressed the people in the Great Hall once again.

“I am sure that you all are wondering what Harry, Ron and Hermione have been doing this past year – I am too – but we must give them time to rest and go over the details together. Undoubtedly, there will be things that they will want to keep from us,” she smiled knowingly at them before returning back to the others in the Hall. “For now, though, the house elves have prepared a lovely meal for you all – feel free to stay here, at the castle, but I do ask you all to help with our repairs if you can. Even just repairing a broken tapestry or fallen brick would be tremendous help and later on tonight I shall be asking you three,” McGonagall looked to Harry, Ron and Hermione again at this point, “to, perhaps, give us some more details on the past events of the year.”

All three of them nodded at her and then McGonagall stepped down and the hall returned to the usual conversations between families.

After a moment’s hesitation, in which Bill started up a conversation with Charlie and Ron, Ginny handed Teddy over to Hermione, who looked entirely startled, and, placing her hand on Harry’s shoulder and leaning towards him so that the others could not hear her, she whispered in his ear, “I need to talk to you.”

Harry nodded and stood up to follow her out of the Great Hall.

“Where are you two going?” Ron asked protectively, cutting Bill’s speech off mid-sentence.

“That’s none of your business, Ron,” Ginny said quickly, dismissing him, and pulled Harry out of the Hall by the hand.

Ron turned back to Hermione, red-faced and annoyed. “Honestly, Hermione, if they get back together and he hurts her again then I’ll—“

“—you won’t do anything, Ronald,” Hermione interrupted, tickling Teddy and not looking at Ron. “Because you know that they’re meant for each other. You can’t change that and you don’t want to, just stop being so dramatic about it all the time.”

Ron mumbled something under his breath whilst Mr and Mrs Weasley shared an amused, and slightly confused, look.

“Is there something we should know?” Mr Weasley addressed Hermione, probably because she was the more rational one and was most likely to give a straightforward answer.

“Oh, it’s nothing really,” Hermione quickly told Ginny’s parents. “If it was you’d be told. Don’t worry, Mr Weasley.”

“Nothing... yeah, right...” Ron muttered under his breath, watching the door that Ginny and Harry had disappeared through.

“She’s right, Ron,” Charlie joined in. “If they want to be together than they can be.”

“But what if—“

“—what if he leaves her again?” George supplied. “Do you seriously think that’ll happen?”

“Why isn’t anyone concerned about it?” Ron exclaimed, flapping his arms up to show his annoyance at them all.

“Because, Ron, Harry won’t leave her again,” Hermione said softly to him. “He loves her.”

They both stared at each other for a long moment, neither breaking eye contact, until Mrs Weasley exclaimed, “Oh, dear, look at the time. We better get Teddy off to bed.”

“Of course!” Hermione said a little too loudly whilst Ron coughed awkwardly and looked away. “I completely forgot, he’s so young.”

“I’ll take him, dear, he’s staying with me for now.” Andromeda leaned over and took Teddy from Hermione after she had kissed him on the forehead.

“Night, Teddy Bear.” Hermione whispered to him and then caught Ron looking at her, eyebrows raised. “What? I can be caring,” she argued.

“You two should get to sleep as well,” Mrs Weasley told them both, ushering them up and towards the Entrance Hall. “And could you find Harry and Ginny for me, please, dears?” she asked.

“Sure thing, Mum,” Ron told her and hugged her goodnight.

“Night, Mrs Weasley,” Hermione said and pulled Ron out of the hall by his elbow.







Harry let Ginny pull him away from the crowds of people in the hall and into an empty classroom on the bottom floor of the castle. Every now and then people walking in the opposite direction would stare after them until, eventually, they had walked far enough away from the hall that there was nobody about.

The classroom was empty so Harry lit it quickly with his wand so that it filled with light and he could see Ginny clearly. She turned to face him, standing a few metres away.

“What did you want to talk about?” Harry asked, nervous but trying to sound innocent, as if he had no idea where this conversation might lead to.

Ginny’s face hardened. “You think you can just die on me, Harry Potter? You think everything will be fine afterwards?” her voice raised quickly until she was shouting at him.

“I—I... what?” Harry asked, confused by her sudden change in emotion.

If she was going to have shouted, surely she would have done it sooner rather than later? He thought, but his attention was diverted again because Ginny seemed to have become more hysterical within the last two seconds.

“Do you even realise how... how horrible that was for us all? What about for me? I actually felt a part of myself die when I saw you like that. You were just so b-broken and lifeless.” Her voice wavered slightly and turned to a kind of whisper. “I’ve never felt like that before, Harry. I mean, when I s-saw Fred, just lying there..., that broke my heart... But you, Harry, you shattered it into so many pieces I thought I’d die right then and there. And then I realised that... that V-Voldemort, he had done all this. He had killed everyone I loved, and more.” Ginny stopped for a moment to catch her breath but continued before Harry could do more than take a step towards her.

“Ginny...”

Her voice rose again so that anyone walking along the corridor outside would be able to hear them very clearly. “And then you just appeared and killed him and made everything right again and I was so exhausted and... and just drained that I tried to rest. But now... Merlin, Harry, I don’t know what to do! I just want to know that you’re safe and alive and there for me and that you’ll hug me and hold me and I’ll be just fine, but its impossible to get anything through your thick head,” she flicked him twice on the forehead, “and make you realise that I...”

She sighed and buried her head in her hands, shaking with tears.

“Don’t cry, Ginny, please,” Harry begged her, moving to her side and taking her in his arms. “You are safe and... and, if you want, I’ll be right next to you until you don’t want me. But... but please want me because...” he stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head, “because I want you to be there, next to me, every time I turn around or make a mistake or celebrate good news.”

Ginny laughed, even though it was muffled from her face being squashed against Harry’s chest. They were silent for a while and Harry stroked her hair and played with it for something to do.

Suddenly Ginny sighed and mumbled something into Harry’s chest. He laughed at how incoherent her sentence was and then asked, “What?”

Ginny took a step back from him so that she could look into his eyes and breathed, “I love you, Harry. You know that, right?”








“Come on, Ronald,” Hermione tried to haul Ron along the corridors of the seventh floor towards the Gryffindor Common Room but he pulled against the force, moving so slowly that it only aggravated her further. “Merlin, you’re so slow. Move faster!” She yelled in his ear.

“Hermione,” he complained. “Can’t we just walk slowly for once? I’m tired of always being in a rush to go everywhere.”

Hermione sighed, defeated. “Fine... but can you at least walk a little faster because I’m so tired and I know you are too.”

“Why do you think I’m walking slowly?” He asked as if she had pointed out the most obvious thing in the world.

Hermione bumped into him lightly with her shoulder and he knocked her back playfully. “You know,” Ron told her, swinging his arm over her shoulders. “You were right.”

“I usually am,” Hermione agreed, smiling. “What were you thinking about, though?”

“You are caring,” Ron whispered in her ear and Hermione blushed. “And you, Ronald, are getting on my last nerves.”

“What are you talking about?” Ron asked her, confused, as they turned a corner into the corridor where the Fat Lady’s portrait hung on the wall. “Did I say something stupid again?”

Hermione laughed at this. “No, well... well yes, actually,” when Ron only looked more confused she elaborated. “You just had to go back into older-brother mode when Ginny wanted to talk to Harry just now.”

“I didn’t want—“

“You caused a problem, Ron.” Hermione told him fairly.

“Yeah...” he agreed. “I did, sorry.”

Hermione laughed at this too. “I’m not the one you should be apologising too – it’s Ginny.”

“But... but she wasn’t actually there so do you think I could just—“

“—No, you can’t just write her a note,” Ron looked slightly disappointed at this. “It’s quite awkward for them when you keep making problems that aren’t really there. Can’t you just accept that they’ll probably be together sooner rather than later? How would you feel if you loved someone very much but they’re older brother kept on ruining their chances of getting together?”

“I let them be together yesterday...” Ron argued half-heartedly.

“Oh, Ron...” Hermione tried to reason with him. “You can’t keep giving them your blessing. They’re going to get tired of it and elope together someday,” she sighed.

Ron looked startled by this and turned to stare at her, stopping Hermione in her tracks outside the portrait of the Fat Lady, which was empty at that moment. “E-Elope together?” he stuttered. “What? When? Why?” His voice shot up an octave.

Trying to speak through her laughter, Hermione answered, “You’re...you’re so... gullible sometimes, Ron.”

Realisation was evident on his face as soon as it hit him. “Hey... that’s mean, okay?” Hermione just continued to laugh, trying to say sorry but failing miserably. They wandered into the Gryffindor Common Room and over to their favourite armchair near the fire, squashing together.

The room wasn’t completely empty. Only a few groups of people were there, one playing a quiet game of Exploding Snap and another huddled together and talking in low, quick murmurs.

Ron turned his body round so that he was able to look at Hermione easily. “What do we do now?”

She sighed, tearing her eyes away from the fire and looking directly at him even within their close proximity. “We... we get on with our lives, like normal people.”

Ron snorted. “We’re allowed to be normal now, then?”

“I suppose we are,” Hermione agreed, smiling at him.

“And...” he looked slightly anxious to ask what he wanted to. “And what does that entail, exactly?”

“I’m glad to see that you’re using a wider vocabulary,” Hermione told him. “It means that we can finish school, get jobs, celebrate birthdays and have stupid arguments without worrying whether it’s too late to apologise because that person has just been killed by Death Eaters.” Her voice had risen and attracted the attention of a couple of people so she lowered it again. “We can live and love like normal people.”

“Love?” Ron breathed. Hermione nodded.

Something changed with only that one word having been spoken aloud, this was no longer just a friendly conversation; they were both feeling that the atmosphere around them had changed. Slowly, and without consciously doing so, they became closer together until their lips were only millimetres apart.

“Hermione,” Ron sighed, pulling away slightly. “We need to talk about... about the Room of Requirements.”

“We do?” she asked quietly, following his movements so that they were the same distance apart as before.

Ron hesitated. “We could... I mean, I suppose we could always talk about it tomorrow—“

Even before he had finished his sentence Hermione had wrapped her arms around Ron’s neck and gently kissed him.

“Tomorrow sounds good,” she pulled away to whisper in his ear as his arms found their way to her waist and pulled her even closer.

“Tomorrow,” Ron agreed and, this time, it was he who kissed Hermione.






Okay, so that's chapter five... Umm, I honestly have no idea how you guys are going to react to this (I'm actually a little scared) so, PLEASE, it would mean a lot to me if you could review just quickly to tell me your opinions. I take critisism very well (if I say so myself, =]), even though I hope so much that you do like this chapter.
I'm literally begging for reviews because I'm a little freaked. Oh yeah, I'll try and alternate my updating and do it more regularly. =]

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Kezzy. xx

Chapter 6: Love Comes From Anything and Everything
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

I've. Been. Terrible.
I know... It's been FOREVER. But my ScoRose is going SO well and I just couldn't bring myself away from it. But then I FINALLY realised that I hadn't written anything on this story of SO LONG and I had to do something. I think the break from it helped a little too. I hope my writing has improved, and not gone downhill. It was a little hard to get into to start with 'cause I've been writing a Next Generation Fic but soon I got into the swing of things. Especially with the whole RonMione thing (cause I LOVE them)
Anyway, this is the LONG LONG LONG awaited chapter six!
Don't give up hope, people, I still LOVE THIS STORY. :)






Harry stood still, as if he’d been frozen.

“Wh...What are you—I mean,” he coughed. “What?”

“I said, I love you, idiot,” Ginny muttered the last part mockingly and, sighing exasperatedly, she marched over to the door.

Harry didn’t know what to say. What was the correct response? Actually, he knew the correct response. It was to say ‘I love you’ back, if you did love the person back or... well, ‘thank you’, if you didn’t. And he needed to make that decision now.

Before Ginny could pull the door open he followed her path across the classroom, turned her to face him by spinning her by the arm and said firmly,

“I love you, Ginny,”

Harry watched as her face changed from the initial reaction of shock, to confusion, back to shock, and then finally settling on breaking into a smile whilst blushing. Harry took her hand as they left the classroom, Ginny leaning on him for support as she yawned, heading back up towards the Gryffindor Common Room.

“You know...” Ginny muttered sleepily, “You’re the first person outside of my family that’s actually told me that.”

“I am?” Harry asked, a little surprised.

Sure, this was the first time anybody had told him that they loved him, but he’d only had two girlfriends before. Well, Harry thought. One girlfriend, Cho and me weren’t really together. But Ginny had had loads of boyfriends. That sounded bad. She’d dated a lot more than he had, that was all, which was understandable, and she hadn’t had the problem of defeating the most evil wizard since forever when growing up. And even if she had, Ginny is a lot more attractive than I am.

Harry was pulled back to reality by Ginny’s quiet chuckles. “What?” he asked defensively.

“You just had this look on your face, like you’d realised something,” she told him, smiling.

“I just realised that maybe I’m allowed to be happy now,” he admitted. “’Cause, y’know...” he blushed, “I’ve got you...”

“Not because you’ve just defeated Voldemort, something that you’ve been trying to do since you were eleven?” she asked.

“That definitely helped,” he laughed.

“So...” Ginny hesitated. “Does ‘now that I’ve got you’ mean that you want to ask me something?” she asked, raising her eyebrows. When Harry only looked confused she elaborated a little. “Me, as your good friend, who you find completely hilarious and interesting, and nothing more than friend at the moment?”

“Oh,” realisation dawned on him at they stopped outside the portrait hole. “Will you... y’know, will you be my girlfriend?”

“Of course I will—but only on one condition,” she quickly added. Harry looked confused for a moment but then agreed.

“What’s the condition?” Harry asked, slightly scared that the answer could lead to something terrible on his part.

“I’m the only one,” Ginny whispered in his ear, “that gets to do this.”

And with that she rested her arms on his chest, reached up on her tiptoes, and kissed him on the lips, sweetly and gently.

When they pulled apart Harry blushed even more than Ginny did, and with the Weasley genes that was quite a feat. He smiled nervously at her and breathed, quite giddily, “Sure.”

They entered through the Fat Lady’s portrait, still empty, to find the common room completely empty. Everyone had evidently gone back down to the Great Hall for dinner.

Harry breathed out a sigh of relief, “Thank Merlin for that, I really couldn’t deal with everyone talking to me.”

Ginny laughed. “You’re going to have to, Harry. You’re their saviour.”

“I know, but sometimes I just want to be me, normal, plain, boring Harry.”

“You’ve never been boring,” Ginny whispered, reaching up behind his neck to pull his head towards her.

They were interrupted, quite rudely, by Hermione, who suddenly sprang up from behind the sofa closest to the fireplace, only her waist and upwards visible to Harry and Ginny because of the high back of the sofa and from where they were standing.

“Hey,” Hermione said quickly whilst letting out a breath and desperately trying to flatten down her chaotic hair.

Ginny and Harry exchanged a confused, suspicious look before turning back to her. “Hey...” they both replied warily at the same time.

“What’s going on?” Hermione asked, now attempting to wipe her mouth with the back of her hand.

Ginny raised her eyebrows but said nothing. “We were just coming to find you, Mrs Weasley asked us to. They’re serving dinner in the Great Hall now and she’ll probably want us all there. Where’s Ron?” Harry finished, glancing up at the stairs that led to the boys dormitories.

“I—I dunno,” Hermione said quickly, almost cutting off the end of his question. “Why would I know where he is?” She laughed but it was obvious that she didn’t find anything humorous. “I mean, I haven’t seen him anywhere since earlier, why would he be here anyway? I was just—just reading,”

“O...okay,” Harry replied after her slight outburst, staring concernedly at Hermione, but Ginny was simply looking her. Her expression changed from suspicious to harden as if she knew something.

“Well, maybe we should look upstairs or down in the kitchens because you know Ron, he—“

Ginny interrupted. “I know he’s here,” she stated.

“What do you mean?” Hermione asked.

“Hermione,” Ginny stared at her for a moment. “He’s right there, behind the sofa.

“What? No he—“

Ron sat up, cutting off Hermione’s protests. He blushed when he saw his sister and best friend.

“Ron!” Hermione exclaimed, throwing her arms up in the air. Ron flinched like he though he was going to be hit.

“Sorry!” He mumbled back. Hermione tilted her head slightly as if trying to tell him something. “What?” he asked. Harry and Ginny looked on, amused, as they carried on like this; Hermione tilting her head and Ron muttering ‘What?’ every few seconds.

Finally, Ginny couldn’t handle the repetitiveness and exclaimed, complete with a violent hand gesture and a step forwards, “Oh, just tell him, dear Merlin.”

Hermione glowered at her for a moment (she didn’t particularly like to be told what to do, Harry remembered), before turning to Ron, pointing to his face and whispering, not quietly enough, “You have lipstick...”

Ron reddened like only a Weasley could and tried to wipe it away with the back of his hand. Hermione, as if on instinct, reached forwards and attempted to flatten his hair.

The second she realised what she was doing, Hermione pulled away and stood up. “So, you said we should get down to dinner, Harry?” she reminded him, not quite looking at either Harry or Ginny in the eye and promptly leading them out of the Common Room.

Ginny caught Harry’s eye and they both tried to hold back the laughter that had suddenly presented itself to them. To stop themselves from laughing in front of Ron and Hermione at Ron and Hermione, Ginny promptly followed Hermione out of the portrait hole.

Harry turned back to face Ron, who quickly shrugged in a ‘what-can-you-do?’ kind of way and followed the girls down to the Great Hall.

It was a short, quiet walk to the Great Hall. Ginny and Hermione walked side by side in silence with the boys mumbling quietly behind them.

“Is it weird?” Ron asked Harry quietly, shooting a look at the girl walking only two steps in front of him.

“Is it weird for you?” Harry asked quietly. Both boys avoided each others eyes – neither of them were any good with talking about emotions.

Ron didn’t speak for another two more corridors. “No... It feels—”

“Ron, do not finish that sentence,” Harry warned him but smiled to let him know that he was simply making fun of him.

“Haha,” Ron replied then went quiet. “Right... It feels right.”

“Good,” Harry grinned at his friend. “It took you two long enough to get together anyway.”

Whilst their staircase moved they didn’t speak. Only once Harry was moving and had an excuse to look at the floor, did he state, “I told Ginny I loved her.”

Ron stopped walking as if he’d walked into a Protego Charm. “You did?”

Harry nodded. “What did she... y’know... what did she say?”

Harry grinned shyly. “She told me she loved me.”

He wasn’t sure how Ron would respond. Ginny was his little sister, and Ron tended to look out for her a lot of the time. He’d never been particularly enthusiastic about their relationship but, now that he didn’t have to juggle almost dying every year with his school work and personal life, Harry thought that he really had a chance to show Ron how much this relationship meant to him.

“She bloody better have,” Ron mumbled back. Seeing Harry’s confused look, he elaborated. “Look, Harry, as much as I ate to admit that my sister should date...” he sighed. “I’m happy for you both. It’s about time we could all get on with our lives.”

Harry didn’t say anything, only nodded, and the two shook hands.

“Aren’t you two passed hand shakes by now?” Ginny called back to them from the bottom of the staircases.

Before either of them had time to reply the staircase moved, Harry and Ron went with it, whilst Ginny and Hermione stayed firmly on the floor in the Entrance Hall.

Hermione took a step forwards, used to running after them both when either was in trouble. “They’ll be back in a second,” Ginny laughed.

“I hope so,” She replied dreamily, watching their figures fade further away as the staircases changed again.

“So...” Ginny started. “You and Ron?”

Hermione startled out of her daydream. “You’re going to make fun of me, aren’t you?”

“No, I’m not, actually,” Ginny sighed. “You two are just so...”

“So completely opposite?”

“Actually, I was going to say ‘so perfect for each other’,”

“You were?” Hermione looked genuinely surprised.

“Hermione, everybody knows you two have sort of had this thing going for years, it’s about time something happened about it.”

Hermione smiled. “Really?”

“Really.”

“But... what if something goes wrong?” She asked worriedly and Ginny could see that she was starting to get troubled. “What if we break up and we’re never comfortable in the same room again? After everything we’ve been through, I don’t want anything to mess it up. I don’t want us to fall apart, Gin.”

Ginny placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder, “What if it doesn’t go wrong?”

Hermione was speechless for a moment, trying to form words. “But... but that would mean that we were... y’know... we’d be—be married...”

“And can you see yourself married to Ron?”

Hermione couldn’t help but laugh, softening the tension in the atmosphere. “I never thought somebody would seriously ask me that.”

“Why not?” Ginny laughed.

“Because... Merlin, because Ron and I drove each other crazy.”

“’Drove’?” Ginny raised her eyebrows at her.

“Okay, so we still do,” she grinned.

“Still do what?” Ron asked as him and Harry appeared finally.

“Nothing,” Hermione spun round quickly to face him. “We were just... just talking about stuff.”

“Okay, well,” Harry looked between the three of them. “We better get into the Hall; it’s been more than an hour since Mrs Weasley asked us to go look for you.”

“She’ll be getting worried about now,” Ron commented.

As soon as they entered Mr Weasley’s voice could be heard loudly over the crowd calling to his wife, “They’re here, dear. I told you they wouldn’t be long.”

“Yeah,” Ginny agreed, sitting on the bench opposite her mother. “Ron and Hermione just couldn’t keep their hands off each other.”

Ron’s head snapped up to glare at his sister in record time as he slapped her lightly on the back of the head.

“Ginny!” Hermione exclaimed, going red with embarrassment.

Both Mr and Mrs Weasley exchanged confused, alarmed looks. Finally, Mr Weasley turned to his youngest son, giving Hermione a look that told her not to worry. “Ron, your mother and I need to talk to you as soon as we get back home.”

Ginny snorted, attracting her father’s attention. “You too, Ginny.”

“What?” She was immediately defensive. “Why me?”

“You’ll find out later. Stop complaining, Gin,” Bill told his sister firmly. Apparently this future conversation had already been organised.

Ginny made a face at him when he turned away.

“Later?” Ron picked up on Bill’s choice of words. “Are we going home... now?”

“After dinner,” Percy replied. “It’s better to get back to familiar surroundings.”

“Are you... sure?” Ron shot a look in George’s directions. He sat slumped over, looking down at his feet with his over-grown hair covering his face. Slowly his head moved up and then down, nodding once.

Ginny and Fleur placed a hand each on his back and Mr Weasley reached across the table to grasp his son’s hand. George looked up at the contact. “Remembering him for his jokes and laughter is better than wallowing in grief.”

“I know,” George sounded tired. “It’s just...” a sigh escaped his lips. “Hard.”

“We’re all here, Georgie,” Mrs Weasley told her son sincerely.

“And can cope together,” Ginny added.

The food appeared then, distracting them all; especially when a large bowl full of soup materialised exactly where Ron’s elbow had been leaning on the table.

He quickly withdrew it, inspecting his shirt sleeve that had been covered in soup al around his elbow. Resignedly, he looked up at his mother, “Oops.”

Mrs Weasley shook her head reprovingly at her son and Hermione couldn’t help but smile. “Here, Ron, let me.” And with one fluid movement of her wand, the soup disappeared.

“Thanks, ‘Mione,” he grinned back at her.

“I’m gonna throw up,” Ginny jokingly mumble to Harry, how laughed loudly.

Ron shot him a glare as Hermione rolled her eyes and Neville appeared behind Harry, Luna by his side.

“Hello everybody,” Luna greeted them all. “Daddy wants to thank you for everything, but he’s been called to McGonagall’s office, so I said I’d do it for him.”

“Don’t worry about it, Luna,” Harry smiled up at her.

“It’s not as if we’d leave you behind,” Ron exclaimed.

She smiled dreamily at him. “Well, I better go see if I can find the Thibbledy that’s been wandering around here. Daddy says it’s good luck if you can catch it.”

And, with that, she skipped away, looking as if there was something immensely interesting three paces in front of her.

“Harry, I...” Neville’s voice came out hoarse and he coughed to clear it. The second time he tried to speak no words came out and Hermione, worried about how he was feeling after facing Voldemort for the first (and last) time, offered him a glass of water. As she passed it to him she felt Ron’s eyes on her and blushed from the attention.

Neville took the glass gratefully and swallowed almost all of it before placing it down and turning back to Harry. “I just... I mean, facing You-Know-Who like that... it was my chance to really do something to make my parents proud and I just wanted to thank you for letting me do it, Harry.”

“Of course, Neville,” Harry was a little shocked by the turn the conversation around him had taken. “You deserved to do it. Voldemort hurt your family like he’d done to so many others and... And I knew that you really ought to have had your chance to show him that he can’t just get away with it.”

“Thank Harry,” Neville twirled the sword of Gryffindor around in his hand, something Harry hadn’t noticed that he was holding until now.

“What’re you going to do with the sword now that it’s not needed?” Hermione asked.

“Put it back in Dumbledore’s office,” Neville answered her. “Where it belongs.”

“Good idea,” Ron agreed heartily. “Everything doesn’t have to change now that he’ gone. We’re just... free from his rules.”

“Does that mean that the Prophet will stop running horrible stories about you lot?” Ginny asked hopefully.

“I’m sure we’ll find a way to quieten Rita Skeeter,” Hermione mused quietly, twisted her wand between her fingers.

“Speaking of reporters,” Bill spoke up. “There’s one watching your every move, Harry. Standing over by that blonde girl in the corner.”

They all turned to look in the same second. “Don’t make it obvious we knew he’s there!” Hermione slapped Ron on the arm across the table. They all turned back, expect Harry and Neville.

“Ouch,” Ron complained. “Why’d you hit me? Everybody else was looking too!”

“Oh, be quiet, Ron,” Hermione teased him.

He rubbed his arm. “You hit hard.”

“Well, I’ve had to learn to,” she responded.

“Merlin! And I thought the arguing would stop!” Ginny exclaimed as Harry turned back to face them.

“I don’t think it ever will, Gin,” Harry responded.

“Well, I don’t want you two fighting every other hour under my roof,” Mr Weasley smiled at the two of them.

“Neville?” Harry asked, directing everyone’s attention to him. “What’re you looking at?”

All their eyes followed Neville’s unwavering gaze to the blonde girl that was sitting near to the reporter, chatting away happily with her friends.

“Nothing,” Neville blushed, and reluctantly turned away from her.

“You should go talk to her,” Ginny whispered to him.

He looked at her like this was the last thing he’d thought of doing. “No... I can’t. I’m just me; she won’t even notice I’m speaking to her. She’s too pretty to even talk to me.”

Hermione sighed. “Her name’s Hannah Abbott and she takes NEWT Herbology like you do. She loves eating chocolate and she in Hufflepuff.”

“She takes Herbology?” Neville asked, turning to stare back at Hannah.

“Yep,” Hermione replied calmly. “I’d bet she’d listen to you.”

“Me too,” Ginny agreed.

“Go on, Neville,” Ron slapped him on the back. “Go talk to her.”

“Yeah... yeah, I think I will. Thanks guys,” and he quickly made his way across the room before he could change his mind, sword swinging off his arm, forgotten.

“Which reminds me,” Percy suddenly stood up, turning the others heads back towards him. “I have to... err, go somewhere quickly.”

They all looked at him, but Mrs Weasley was the first to ask questions. “What do you mean, dear? Where are you going?”

“I have to...” Percy went red in the face. “Talk to my girlfriend.”

Amazingly, George was the first to laugh. “You have a... a girlfriend?” He managed to breath.

“What’s so strange about that?” Percy defended himself.

“Oh, nothing, nothing,” Ron mumbled back, exchanging glances with George and both tried not to laugh even harder than before.

“Not that it’s any of your business,” Percy declared, raising his chin. “Her name’s Audrey and I happen to live with her.”

Bill looked to his father, trying his hardest not to look amused with the situation. “I think you should bring him to your chat with the other two later, dad.”

Mr Weasley laughed quietly and even Mrs Weasley smiled at her son. Ginny and Ron exchanged confused looks, now looking thoroughly alarmed.

“I promise I’ll meet you at the Burrow later, or tomorrow, at the very latest,” Percy spoke to them all but directed his words to his mother, the most anxious of them all.

Picking up his coat and swiftly walking out of the Hall, Fleur turned to her husband and said, “’Eet is about time we left also. Maman and Papa will want to ‘ear news ov ze war and I am very tired.”

Bill looked at his wife softly for a moment longer than necessary, and then exchanged a few words with his parents before they left into the darkness outside. It was reassuring for Ron to know that there was nothing lurking outside to threaten the lives of those he loved any more.

Except he’d already lost someone who he loved.

Tears formed in his eyes and he tried to blink them back, but they kept coming.

Hermione was the first to notice. She covered his hand with her own and leaned across the table, lifting his chin up to meet her eyes. “Ron... Ron, are you alright?”

He nodded but didn’t speak. “It’s alright, whatever it is... you can tell me.”

“Just... just thinking about F-Fred,” he whispered back.

Hermione looked at him with tears in her own eyes, hating that he was hurt and that she couldn’t do anything to take away that pain.

“We better get going then,” Ginny spoke up, oblivious to the scene between her brother and her friend. “I’d rather get home before that reporter comes over.”

They were soon organised and ready to leave. Ginny noticed that Harry was rather reluctant to leave at first, but soon realised that there was nothing he could do to help at the moment and that it was better if he got some proper rest and relaxed for once.

They had to go beyond the Hogwarts boundaries to apparate because the normal charms were still in place.

Hermione found herself reluctant to step out of the Entrance Hall and into the darkness, images of Bellatrix using the Cruciatus Curse on her reappearing in her mind.

The others started their walk down the path towards the large gates but Ron only took three steps before realising she wasn’t behind him.

“Hermione?” he asked tentatively. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing, really, Ron,” She responded distractedly. “Just... go on ahead, yeah? I’ll be there in a second.”

Ron looked unsure for a moment, and then surprised Hermione by taking four steps back towards her and took her hands in his. “What’s wrong, ‘Mione?”

“It’s... I don’t feel... safe in the dark anymore,” She whispered to him.

“You’re safe, Hermione. I’m here, don’t worry,” he tried to reassure her. “Here...”

Placing his arm around her waist and pulling her close to him, Ron gently coaxed Hermione forwards and along the path. She relaxed in his arms and slowly their walk picked up pace until they were not that far behind the others.

“Where did you two get to?” Harry asked them when they were all ready to disapparate.

“I... didn’t like the dark,” Hermione admitted.

Harry’s whole posture changed and he gently squeezed her hand. “You’re safe now, ‘Mione.”

“I know,” she smiled at them both and pulled them in for a group hug, even through their protests.

“Oh, no, do we have to?”

“’Mione!”

“Shut up,” she told them firmly, chuckling.

“Come on, then,” Mrs Weasley called over to them all. “Ginny, your father will take you by side-along apparition.”

“Can’t I go with Harry?” She complained.

“No, you can’t, young lady,” Mrs Weasley replied resolutely whilst Ginny pouted.

“Hurry then, everybody, it’s getting cold,” Mrs Weasley explained and they al turned on the spot, thinking happy thoughts of the Burrow, and appeared a few seconds later in the fields surrounding it.

They all trudged tiredly up to the house in silence, George looked a little scared of entering for the first time without his twin, but managed to explain that he was going to bed for hurrying off up the stairs. Mrs Weasley, teary eyed and quiet, followed a moment later.

Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny made to turn up the staircase, yawning and using the barriers to help as they were suddenly overcome with sleep, but Mr Weasley called out to them suddenly, “Ginny, Ron, I need to talk to you first.”

“Now, dad?” Ginny looked worried and exactly like she was trying to get out of an uncomfortable situation, which their fathers talks usually were.

“Yes, Ginny,” he sighed. “I’m sorry, but your mother wants be to talk to you so I best do it now.”

“Okay,” they both agreed and, after one final hesitating look from both of them, Harry and Hermione made their way upstairs and to bed.

Immediately, Mr Weasley opened the door to the living room and ushered his two youngest children inside.

They both sat on the sofa, leaving their father to sit opposite them in his usual armchair.

“Now, Ron,” Mr Weasley started. “I’m going to get straight to the point because, let’s face it, we’re all tired and this conversation is awkward as it is. You were away for almost a year in a tent with a teenage girl, yes?”

“It was only Hermione, dad,” Ron mumbled to his feet, looking down at the floor.

“Listen, Ron, I’m going to trust you didn’t do anything... stupid over the year—“

“What—“

“Don’t interrupt me, please,” Arthur shot his son an apologetic look. “But you should know why your mother and I are worried. After all, you are only a teenage boy. Well, you’re a man by Wizarding standards and its only natural that you’d have... strong emotions—“

“We were hunting Voldemort, dad!” Ron cried out. “Not doing... anything else. And Harry was there. And you know Hermione and I weren’t dating or anything. I don—didn’t even like her like that.”

Mr Weasley did not say anything about Ron’s choice of words, nor did he get a chance to because he was interrupted by Ginny. “Yeah, but now you do like her, Ron. And now you’re not hunting Voldemort.”

“Shut up, Ginny,” Ron muttered firmly.

“Hey,” she held her hands up as if in protest. “I’m just giving you the facts, Ronnie.”

“Which brings me to you, Ginny,” Mr Weasley diverted his attention to his youngest child, and only daughter. Ron smirked at the sudden change in focus in the conversation.

“What about me?” She asked. “I wasn’t away in a tent for a year with my boyfriend.”

“Yes, but you are home now with your boyfriend—“

“—how do you know I have a boyfriend?”

“Ginny, please,” Mr Weasley told his daughter. “I may be old, but I’m not as stupid as Ron looks—“

“Hey!”

“—it is quite obvious that there is something going on between Harry and you. And, even though I really do not want to know how serious this thing is, I want you to understand that your mother and I are not going to tolerate anything... grown-up in the household. Do I make myself clear?”

This was one of those rare times that Mr Weasley was fully serious about family matters, and so Ron and Ginny both nodded and told their father that they weren’t going to do anything like what he had been hinting at. Mr Weasley picked up immediately on his children’s word choices, having had similar conversations about this with five other boys.

He noticed how his son used phrases such as ‘not happen in your household’ or ‘promise to try and follow the rules’ and couldn’t look into his eyes. He also noticed how his daughter, the first girl’s point of view he had had in a conversation of this nature, stuck to the words ‘yet’ and ‘anytime soon’. From previous experiences he knew that his daughter’s definition of ‘soon’ was not nearly long enough for his liking.

Eventually, both children and their father were free to go to bed, each of them silently agreeing to never bring up a conversation like that again unless they had to and wanting to simply sleep and recover from recent events.






So, was it okay? I'm sorry that there wasn't anything particularly eventful about this chapter but I had to get them back to the Burrow first and now I can more on anywhere from there. :)
Also, I wanted to make George seem a little more upset, 'cause even though I didn't want him totally depressed becaus it would take me forever to get him out of that depression, I still wanted to show that he had a heart and was close to his brother. :)
Anyhoo, reviews would be really nice, if you can spare another 30 seconds or so, just so that I know somebody's still reading! :)
Thanks for reading too! :))
I'd love any comments, thanks!
Kezzy. xx

Btw, Check out my "Help Me, Please" if you have'nt already and you quite like Next Generation fics or ScoRose's...
:))

Chapter 7: A Story Worth Telling
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I've been on a hiatus for almost 6 months! How bad is that!
I'm incredibly sorry. I know it seemed like I gave up on this story but I really haven't!
One thing after another happened and then my internet crashed - What a nightmare!

But I wrote the chapter I'd originally intended for Chapter 7 before writing this, then, just as I was about to post it I realised thagt this chapter fitted better into my storyline. So that means I actually have a Chapter 8 waiting!
So (1) I'm SO incredibly sorry for my disappearance.
(2) This chapter is mainly the retelling of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows to the Weasley's. That said, I do not own any of the things Harry, Ron and Hermione said they did, that all belongs to JK Rowling, except Hermione's horcrux, which was my own thoughts. I do not own the few quotes that are used. I have numbered these to let you know which ones I am talknig about. They belong to JK Rowling in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapters 'The Silver Doe' - page 309 (of my edition) and 'King's Cross' - page 579 (again of my edition, pages may change per edition). I also do not own the characters in the story, they all belong to JK Rowling, nor to I think I am JK Rowling.






The Weasley’s tried to sleep. They really did.

Nobody could.

Eventually Mr and Mrs Weasley, Bill, Charlie, George, Harry, Ginny and Percy ended up sitting in the kitchen.

As Hermione came down the stairs, intent on getting a cup of tea for herself, she was greeted by many tired faces.

“Can’t sleep?” Bill asked kindly. Hermione shook her head. “Nobody can, and it’s only been two hours.”

“Maybe we should give it up as a lost cause?” Ron suggested as he came tiredly down the staircase, rubbing his eyes.

“Well, I think I’ll go get Fleur,” Bill sighed. “She isn’t asleep anyway.”

He wandered into the living room and used the fireplace to floo back to shell cottage. The others followed him through to the next room - the kitchen was becoming crowded.

Bill and Fleur were first into the living room. Mrs Weasley was being supported by Mr Weasley and the others all trailed in afterwards. George was the last one to enter the living room and he took a seat next to Percy, Charlie and Ginny on the sofa. Mr and Mrs Weasley sat on another sofa; Harry, Ron and Hermione each sat around the small table in the middle of the room and Bill pulled up a chair for Fleur whilst choosing to stand behind it instead of sitting down himself.

He then conjured up ten glasses of fire whiskey and magically handed them to each person in the room, apart from Fleur. Then, holding his glass high in the air, he said, “To Fred,” before drinking it in one.

The others all followed murmuring, “To Fred,” at different times before drinking their own glass. Then there was silence for a long while where all Hermione could hear was the ticking of the clock, which was especially loud from where she was sitting, and the hands of the Weasley family no longer pointed to ‘mortal peril’. Except George, who’s hand pointed to ‘elsewhere’.

“At least it’s over,” Mrs Weasley spoke quietly and suddenly, nobody showed any signs of hearing her, but they did. “Before there was so much fear, so much unknown. I would sit at home with the older ones of you waiting for Arthur to come home and pray with all my might that nothing had happened to him and that, maybe, he would come home early – and every time he left for work the next day the waiting would begin again. All you could do was pray. You youngsters wouldn’t understand how it feels to have the person you love to just walk out the door into the unknown because they believed they had to. It feels as if... as if—“

“—you’ve been split in two,” Hermione interrupted, staring determinedly at her cup of fire whiskey whilst every face turned to look at her with complete surprise. “Like your hearts gone with them and you want to get up and follow them too but you know you can’t because you have obligations,“ Hermione’s voiced picked up. “You have to stay where you are and no matter how much or how loud you call their name they don’t answer and every time you feel the disappointment so hard that you feel like you can’t stand it.”

There was silence whilst everyone looked at Hermione and tried to make sense of her words. Harry, who sat across the room from her, was the only person who knew what she was talking about. He had been the only one there in those few weeks of their horcrux hunt that Ron had left and had witnessed her grief.

Hermione’s voice turned to a whisper and silent tears were now rolling down her cheeks, “And you cry so much that you never realised you could until then,”

Realising that she had just spoken openly to every single member of the Weasley’s about something she had wanted to keep secret from them all, especially Ron, she quickly stood up and walked to the door. Then, just as they expected her to disappear from sight, Hermione turned and, subconsciously looking straight at Ron, and thinking she might as well finish her train of thought, whispered, “And you know that you could never love anyone else,” And then she did disappear, escaping to the privacy of Ginny’s bedroom.

There was silence whilst Ron stared at the doorway and everyone else seemed too shocked to speak - it was so out of character for Hermione.

“That was what it was like for her when you left,” Harry spoke aloud to the room even though his words were only meant for one person, he couldn’t take all the quietness and the secrets anymore.

“I know…,” Ron seemed hesitant to answer. “I—I’m sorry. I didn’t think when I left,”

“Left? Left when?” Mrs Weasley asked. Harry and Ron glanced at each other.

“I think it’s time we told them everything,” Harry said, Ron nodded.

“Hermione should be here for this,” Ron added.





Hermione slammed shut the door to Ginny’s bedroom – she hadn’t meant to. As soon as it had shut she slid down onto the floor, her back against the wall, and started to cry.

What’s wrong with you, she thought, annoyed at herself, you just practically told Ron you loved him to his face...and in front of his entire family.

She quickly shook her head and impatiently wiped away the tears on her cheek. No doubt Ginny would be up here soon to fetch her again or see if she was alright. And even if she did leave her some space, Mrs Weasley would come up to give her some tea or a hug.

As if on cue, there was a knock on the door and Ginny walked in, not waiting to be allowed admittance, just as Hermione stood up and wiped her tear-stained hands on her jeans.

“Are you okay?” Ginny asked her.

“Yeah, I’m... I’m fine,” Hermione replied and walked over to the mirror to check her reflection wasn’t a complete mess.

The reflection staring back at her was still her face yet her hair was about four times bushier than normal, she looked obviously tired still and there were tear tracks on her face. Other than that she noticed many small scars on her face. Her shirt, which had a higher collar covered up her neck but was obviously very dirty.

“I look awful,” she muttered, half to herself and half to Ginny. It wasn’t as if she cared too much, it was just that she couldn’t wait to get back to her normal self.

“Under the circumstances, Hermione,” Ginny said, joining her at the mirror, “I would say you looked great.” There was a moment of silence in which Hermione tried to wipe away the tear tracks and Ginny attempted to flatten her hair for her. “But you might as well get changed,” Ginny told her and gave her an apologetic look for not thinking about it before, before tossing her a clean pair of jeans and top from her own cupboard.

Hermione changed quickly but as she pulled her old top over her head, her neck was exposed and Ginny couldn’t help but gasp.

The mark that Bellatrix had left on her with the knife at Malfoy Manor would probably be there the rest of her life. There was no point in hiding it so all she said in reply was, “Bellatrix.” Ginny knew that she didn’t want to talk about it and so Hermione pulled the new purple top that Ginny had lent her over her head and they both went back downstairs to join the others.

As Hermione entered the room she took a seat next to Ginny on the sofa – Charlie had gone to make some tea. Everyone else was sitting in the exact same position that had been a few minutes ago but Hermione could see Ron and Harry in the far corner, still sitting at the table, conversing quietly.

“What—,” she started to ask but was cut off by Ginny.

“They, rather dramatically, decided to tell us everything,”

“Now?”

“Now,”

Charlie entered the room and handed out cups of tea by hand. Hermione took one gratefully and then, once Charlie had offered everyone, stood up to let him sit down where he had been before.

“That’s okay, Hermione, don’t get up,” he told her but she did so anyway and, with a sudden thought, she went and sat on the chair next to Ron, moving it so that she could rest her head on his shoulder and he could drape his arm over her shoulders. Ron was hesitant - he wasn’t sure whether he had done something wrong or not.

Every eye turned to face Harry, waiting for him to start, as if he was telling an interesting scary story, which, in a way, he was.

“Right, so, umm...” Harry turned to look at Ron and Hermione for a second, not sure where to begin.

“The wedding?” Hermione suggested.

“Right, the wedding. We apparated to Tottenham Court Road and were followed by some Death Eaters in cafe where we had to Obliviate their memories before apparating to Grimmauld Place-”

“—Grimmauld Place?!” Mr Weasley exclaimed.

For more than an hour Harry spoke, occasionally pausing to explain what something meant or to let Ron and Hermione speak. When Harry came to explain how they had heard from the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black about Ginny and the others stealing the sword of Gryffindor (which made Ginny receive a few incredulous stares from some members of her family) he paused. “And then... we... well Ron and me – we both stared to—“

“I left,” Ron stated clearly so that no one could question whether he had admitted it or not.

“You... left?” Mrs Weasley asked her son, completely shocked. And then, after a millisecond pause, everyone in the room started to shout and argue.

Only Bill and Fleur remained silent apart from Harry, Ron and Hermione and after a minute or so of letting his family express their opinions, Bill spoke up so loud that Hermione was sure the ghoul upstairs in the loft could hear.

“ALRIGHT,” Bill yelled and his family immediately quietened down. “So he left, Ron knows it was a bad thing to do – don’t you, Ron?” Bill said; it wasn’t really a question as he knew the answer but Hermione could tell he was determined to show his family that his brother didn’t need to be yelled at anymore.

“The worst,” Ron said and his hand squeezed Hermione’s whilst he whispered something in her ear and a tear started to roll down her cheek again.

“So just leave it, he came back – that’s what matters,”

“But where did you go, Ron?” Mrs Weasley was the first to express her concern for her youngest son.

“To Bill’s,” Ron stated simply as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“What?!” Mr Weasley exclaimed again and, turning to Bill asked, “And you didn’t tell us?”

“Of course I didn’t,” Bill said, although he looked like a five year old again with his mothers penetrating glare looking at him. “You’d all make a big deal out of it, like now,”

“That’s why I went to Bills in the first place,” Ron told them all. “Because I knew he wouldn’t tease me about it and constantly tell me how wrong it was,”

“But it was wrong,” Percy tried to reason.

“I know that,” Ron snapped finally and his family were momentarily shocked because it reminded them all of Hermione. There was more silence, Harry didn’t know whether to carry on or not and Hermione traced circles on the back of Ron’s hand to calm his pulse.

She knew he wasn’t really mad at his family, just trying to vent emotions.

“Go on, Harry,” Ginny said calmly. “What happened once Ron had gone?”

Hermione spoke instead, “I tried to convince him to come back but... it was raining and dark and I couldn’t see very far in any direction and then I heard him dis–disapparate.” There was more silence and then Hermione turned to Ron, “I thought you’d gone for good.”

“I would have seen you after,”

“What if I had died?” she asked and Ron was speechless, he had no answer. His family were also quiet again.

“What happened next?” Ginny prompted again and Harry continued to tell their story.

When it came to explaining about Godric’s Hollow, Hermione noticed that Ginny looked as if she was going to lose all self-control and start crying. It was obviously because Harry had almost died but some members of her family looked completely clueless, mainly Percy.

“And then I saw a silver doe, just... walking through the forest and I followed it,” Harry was explaining about retrieving the sword of Gryffindor and, Hermione knew to come, the return of Ron. She hadn’t heard much about it – only what they had told her on the night he had returned and at that time she had been too filled with rage to really pay close attention.

“And I told Ron to stab the Horcrux once I’d opened it and it opened but...” Harry glanced quickly at Ron who turned bright red but mumbled “Tell her,” whilst determinedly staring at the floor.

“Tell me what?” Hermione asked, now very curious. What had they not told her before? And why would they keep secrets from her?

“Well, when the Horcrux opened it sort of, showed us what Ron was thinking about or rather, what he was worried about most... like, as a holographic – ghosts,” Harry said to some of the blank-faced Weasley’s. Now Hermione was really curious and, at the same time as Ginny and George, said, “What happened?”

“It was you... and Harry,” Ron explained and Harry recognised that Ron needed to say something on the matter, to get his way of thinking across. “And you told me everything I would tell myself when I was annoyed – that I was worthless, that my own mother preferred Harry instead—“

“—Oh, Ronnie,” Mrs Weasley started but Ron carried on.

“That wasn’t the worst of it,” and he looked Hermione straight in the face and said, “You told me that you would always prefer Harry,”

There was silence in the room again, but this time Hermione was frozen, unsure what to say; Ron could only see Hermione, waiting for an answer; and the rest of the Weasley’s, including Harry, felt like they shouldn’t be there, like Ron and Hermione should have some privacy with the direction the conversation had turned. But Ron wanted to get it sorted out. Like Harry, he was sick and tired of secrets now.

“But you believed it,” Hermione whispered.

“Yeah, I did,”

“Why?”

“You sort of... you and Harry, well, you...”

“Our Horcrux-selves kissed,” Harry told her, obviously embarrassed, he could see Ron was struggling to speak.

“I see...” Hermione said, and her vision became cloudy as her thoughts drifted off to somewhere else, as if she was trying to understand what they were saying when, in actual fact, it made complete sense.

“So what happened when you went back to the tent?” Ginny asked, trying to hide the smirk on her face.

“I was attacked,” Ron told her in a voice that stated ‘isn’t it obvious’.

“Verbally or actually punched?”

“Both,”

“Hey!” Hermione protested, “I wasn’t that mean. I only called you stupid.”

“Actually,” Harry spoke up, “I believe your exact words were: “You complete arse Ronald Weasley,”(1)

“Well, you get the point,” Hermione muttered under her breath while the others laughed.

“Then what happened?” George sat forwards in his chair, evidently happy with the interesting distraction from his own thoughts.

“Well Ron told us that the Death Eaters had jinxed Voldemort’s name,” Harry started. The Weasley’s flinched at the name, but neither of them commented. “And then Hermione realised that Dumbledore had signed his name in that book Rita Skeeter wrote with an ‘A’ that looked like the symbol Xenophilius Lovegood was wearing round his neck at the wedding… so we decided to go and visit him.”

“You went to the Lovegood’s?” Mr Weasley asked, surprised.

“But that’s not far from here,” George added.

“Why didn’t you visit?” Ginny spoke quietly.

“We couldn’t, Gin,” Ron told her. “It was too risky.”

Harry explained about their visit to Xenophilius Lovegood’s house and what happened there. He explained about the story of the Three Brothers and how it related to Voldemort. The Weasley’s were shocked too much to speak, especially when Hermione added that Mr Lovegood had tried to turn them in to the Death Eaters.

“But he seemed so nice!” Mrs Weasley was the most shocked.

“He only did it because they promised him Luna would be handed back to him,” Hermione defended him.

“But, surely, he must have known they were lying,” Percy exclaimed.

“He was desperate,” Harry sighed.

“What I don’t understand,” Bill started. “Is why you went to talk to Xenophilius about the Deathly Hallows when you knew that finding the horcruxes were really important?”

“I was outvoted,” Harry mumbled.

“I was curious!” Hermione told them all. “I thought It was important, and I was right.”

“And Ron agreed with you, Hermione?” Charlie asked.

“She was still really mad at me, of course I agreed with her,” Ron smiled.

“But Hermione’s idea of letting the Death Eaters get a glimpse of me was pure genius,” Harry grinned at her. Hermione blushed, flattered.

Harry went on to tell the Weasley’s about the significance of the Deathly Hallows and how he already owned the invisibility cloak because he was a descendant of Ignotus Peverell.

“I was sure that the Resurrection Stone was inside the Snitch that Dumbledore had left me,” Harry continued. “And then I realised what I had been seeing when I saw Voldemort - he wanted the Elder Wand, to conquer death.”

“Voldemort really believed in that story?” Bill asked. Fleur seemed surprised that her husband had spoken Voldemort’s name.

“Well, it turned out to be true, didn’t it?” Ron pointed out. “But Hermione didn’t think it was.”

“Okay, well now I know I was wrong, don’t I?” Hermione defended herself.

“So you just argued about it for a while?” Ginny asked.

“Well, until Ron managed to tap into Potterwatch,” Harry answered. Ron looked proud of himself.

“You were listening?” Bill looked really surprised at that. So did the rest of the Weasley’s.

“Only the once,” Harry commented.

“And that’s when we heard about Ted Tonks and Dirk Cresswell,” Hermione added.

“Who was on Potterwatch when you listened?” George asked enthusiastically.

“Lee Jordan, Kingsley, Lupin and…”

“And Fred,” George finished Ron’s sentence. “It’s alright, Ron, you can say his name.”

“You know whose name you couldn’t say?” Ron glared at Harry after a few short seconds of silence.

“I’m so sorry!” Harry replied quickly.

“What…” Mr Weasley began to ask.

“I said Voldemort’s name,” Harry stated.

“But it was tabooed!” Charlie was shocked.

“I slipped up and… and the snatchers found us.”

The Weasley’s started to shout their opinions. Mrs Weasley looked like she was going to faint.

“Let them talk!” Bill yelled over them all again. Everyone was immediately silent.

“Hermione jinxed my face to swell up--”

Ginny laughed.

“--And the snatchers could quite recognise us,” Harry told them all. “But they took us to Malfoy Manor anyway.”

“Malfoy Manor?!” This time it was Bill who shouted. Mr Weasley stood up, completely shocked. Nobody else spoke.

“What happened?” Fleur asked the question quietly, directing it at Ron and Hermione.

“Ron…” Hermione squeezed his hand. “I can’t…”

“It’s OK,” Harry smiled weakly at her. Hermione nodded, gathering her strength together.

“Malfoy… he said he didn’t know whether it was Harry or not--”

“--Of course he would recognise Harry!” George interjected.

“Well then he lied,” Harry commented.

“Can I finish?” Ron mumbled like a child. “But Bellatrix went mental when she saw the Sword of Gryffindor and she started screaming that they had to call… had to call Voldemort and she sent Harry and me down into the dungeons and Hermione… she was left upstairs.”

Hermione stiffened.

“Luna and Ollivander were in the dungeon, but they had no way to get out,” Harry continued. “But we could hear Bellatrix asking Hermione whether the Sword was real. She ordered Griphook to her and I told him to tell her the Sword was fake.”

“She didn’t believe him at first,” Hermione stammered. “She… she took her anger out on me.”

Hermione reached up with a shaking hand and pulled the top of the high neck shirt Ginny had lent her down so that the unhealed scar left by the knife from Bellatrix was visible. The Weasley’s gasped as one, except Fleur and Bill, who had seen Hermione right after Malfoy Manor.

“Then what happened?” Ginny pressed.

“Ron and Harry made it out of the cellar with the help of Dobby and they came and got me,” Hermione continued quietly.

“We went back to Bill’s,” Ron avoided his mothers eyes. “And Fleur helped clean Hermione up.”

“What happened to Dobby?” Charlie asked. He’d only met the house elf a handful of times but he’d grown attached to him.

“Bellatrix,” Harry used short words. “With a knife.”

“We buried him in the garden,” Bill sighed. They all looked rather confused until Harry explained about the mirror piece he’d asked help from.

Harry continued with the story explaining how they’d realised that there must be something in the Lestrange’s Vault at Gringotts. By the time he got to the part about the dragon, George was laughing.

“I thought that was a rumour!” George seemed happy. “Fred would not have believed this!”

“Glad somebody liked it…” Hermione muttered.

Ron chuckled. “Hermione isn’t a fan of flying.”

“You don’t say…” Ginny replied sarcastically.

“And then we went straight to Hogwarts,” Harry continued. He did most of the talking, after all, it was his connection to Voldemort that was important at this point.

Ron took over to explain about Aberforth Dumbledore and the secret passage it had which led to Hogwarts that allowed them to enter the castle.

“And you guys know the rest of that bit,” Ron said.

“We only know up to when Harry and Luna left for Ravenclaw Tower,” Ginny pointed out.

“Don’t think I didn’t notice what you did there, Ginny,” Hermione muttered quietly to Ginny. “I would have told Luna to take Harry instead of Cho Chang as well.”

Ginny smirked. “I know.”

“And then I came back and… and I couldn’t find you two,” Harry turned on Ron and Hermione.

“We went to the Chamber of Secrets,” Hermione smiled. “It was Ron’s idea.”

“For Basilisk fangs?” Ginny asked.

“How did you know?”

“That’s the only thing down there,” she replied. That one comment was enough to remind everyone of the time when Ginny was taken by the Basilisk.

“I let Hermione destroy this horcrux,” Ron persisted. “She hadn’t had the pleasure of doing so before.”

“What happened with that horcrux?” Ginny asked, obviously curious.

Hermione blushed. “Nothing.”

“Come on, Hermione,” Ginny pleaded.

“I saw myself,” she spoke quietly. “And it told me that I was so ugly and that we’d fail. Harry and Ron would die and then I’d be left alone. It said that you all would hate me and I’d be alone and I’d never find my parents.”

“But it was wrong,” Charlie pointed out.

Hermione nodded. “Yes, it was wrong.”

“So you killed another horcrux?” Arthur asked.

“Yes and I knew what the next one was. I found Ron and Hermione in the room of Requirement finally and… and we left to find the diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw.”

Ginny screwed up her eyes. “There’s something you’re not telling us.”

Harry grinned. “I’ll let Ron and Hermione tell you that bit later, shall I?”

Ron shot his best friend evil looks whilst Hermione simply looked at the floor. Harry took over the rest of the story until he got to the part where he watched Snape’s memories.

“So Dumbledore was right?” Arthur asked. “He was good.”

“He was,” Harry nodded. “He loved my mother so much that he risked his life to keep her safe, and when that didn’t work out he continued to risk his life for her son and for the good of the wizarding world, and the muggle world. He was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

That shocked them all, but none of them argued. Harry was right - Snape’s actions were courageous beyond compare.

“And to think everybody hated him for no reason, and he didn’t protest at all,” Hermione added. “But I think you’re wrong there, Harry. You are the bravest man I know.”

“I am?” Harry was shocked and confused, but flattered nonetheless.

“You gave yourself up to save everybody else,” Hermione elaborated.

“That makes him stupid, not brave,” Ron joked.

“So you knew, or thought, you would die?” Ginny spoke softly.

“I did,” Harry said.

Mrs Weasley looked at Harry proudly and the others saw him with more respect than before as Ginny asked. “Weren’t you scared?”

“Definitely,” Harry gave a small laugh. “But I wasn’t alone.”

They looked at him questioningly. “I had the Resurrection Stone.”

Hermione gasped. “’I open at the close’!”

“Exactly,” Harry agreed.

“And did it… open?” Hermione asked. The others seemed confused but didn’t interrupt.

“It did,” Harry’s eyes lit up. “And I saw my parents and Sirius and Lupin. They walked with me…”

“To your death?” Ginny’s eyes were full of tears.

“Through the forest,” Harry supplied.

“Hold on,” realisation dawned on Ginny. “You walked right past me! When I was talking to that girl I thought I heard someone. You were under the cloak. How could you, Harry?”

“I’m sorry, Ginny,” Harry looked embarrassed in front of her whole family. His own eyes filled with tears too. “But I couldn’t--”

“--Why not?!” Ginny was angry. “Why couldn’t you just--”

“--Because it was too hard!” Harry yelled, forgetting where he was. Ginny was quiet. “Because it was hard just to walk past you, Ginny.”

She had started to cry now.

“I’m sorry,” Harry hurried to stop her crying, hating that he’d caused it. “I didn’t mean to yell. And I didn’t want to leave you. I’m sorry.”

He sprang out of his chair and came to kneel in front of her. Ginny’s head was bowed, it rested in her hands as she tried not to cry.

“Ginny, please don’t cry,” Harry pleaded. He looked to Ron for help but Ron simply shrugged his shoulders, not knowing what to do either.

Before Harry could say anything else, Ginny looked up and threw her arms around him. “Don’t you ever do that again, Harry James Potter. Don’t you ever walk away from me.”

“I won’t,” Harry whispered into her ear. He realised he was happy in that moment. “I promise, Ginny.”

The Weasley’s shared looks whilst the two teenagers hugged. Mr and Mrs Weasley smiled at each other.

“Tell me, Harry,” Ginny asked as they broke apart. “How did you feel when… when you died?”

“I didn’t really feel,” Harry told her. “I just thought of happy thoughts.”

“Like what?” Charlie was curious.

“Like… my parents and…” Harry’s eyes flickered towards Ron the second before he spoke. “And Ginny.”

“Ginny?” Ron, Molly and Percy all spoke at once.

Ginny was silent. Then she beamed. “No Veela’s?”

“No Veelas,” Harry smiled at the memory of his last birthday present from Ginny and the reason she’d said was behind it.

“But then you came back…” Bill pressed.

Harry told them about his talk with Dumbledore, though he kept some things secret, such as him having the choice to return and Dumbledore’s personal thoughts.

“So, was it real?” Hermione asked, always the one to ask questions.

Harry grinned at her. “I asked Dumbledore that myself - whether it was happening inside my head or not, and you know what he said?”

“What?” George asked.

“’Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’(2)

George laughed the loudest out of all the Weasley’s. “That sounds like Dumbledore,” he said.

All that remained was for Harry to explain what Narcissa had done for him, something that the others all found shocking. When he had finished they were all stunned.

“And that’s… that’s what happened,” Harry finished.

Mrs Weasley exhaled loudly. “Well, that’s quite a story.”

“I wanted you all to know the real story, not the edited one, which I’m going to tell the press,” Harry answered.

“You must be exhausted,” Arthur said.

“I’m tired just listening to it,” George agreed.

“Off to bed, then, everyone,” Mrs Weasley got to her feet and started to usher them all off to bed.

As Harry climbed the stairs Ginny caught his arm and dragged him into the bathroom. The others were saying loud goodnights, Harry, Ron and Hermione’s adventures at the front of their minds, so did not notice their disappearance.

“Ginny, what are you doing?” Harry asked as she shut the door.

“You have some explaining to do,” she started. “I let it go earlier but now I hear all this other stuff you did, nearly getting killed and then walking willingly to Voldemort and then you go and tell me that you thought about me before the died!”

“I… You were the last thing I thought about,” Harry stammered.

“Well…” Ginny looked confused. “Stop doing that!”

“What, why?”

“Listen, Harry, you need to come up with one plan and stick to it,” She looked irritated to Harry. “You can’t break up with me and then let me kiss you, then you leave without saying goodbye and then when you come back you tell me that I was the last person you thought about before you died!”

“Why not?” Harry laughed. “And, besides, you know that I only broke up with you because I had to keep you safe, you kissed me, I had to leave without saying goodbye because there were Death Eaters everywhere and I did think about you.”

“I know but… I’m just so confused,” Ginny sat on the edge of the bath.

“I thought you… wanted to be together?” Harry asked carefully. He wasn’t good with relationship talk.

“I do! But--”

Before she knew it, Harry was kissing her.

“Why does everything have to be complicated?” He asked.

“You’re right,” Ginny smiled. “I think Ron and Hermione’s relationship was rubbing off on me.”

Harry laughed. “They are just the image of difficult.”




I know this Chapter contained a lot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which you've all obviously read (hopefully) but I hope you enjoyed seeing the Weasley's reactions to parts of Harry, Ron and Hermione's adventure. And don't worry, I will address the ministry later on.
Thank you so much for reading! I'm ever so sorry I've been away for so long.
Kezzy. xxx


Chapter 8: Comforting For The Future
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I am possibly the worst updater/author in the history of the world.

Would ‘sorry’ really make things better? I truly hope so because I absolutely ADORE this story. With my Scorpius/Rose story taking off and keeping me extremely busy and getting frequently bad occurrences of writer’s block, then starting on a million and one one-shots that got absolutely nowhere, I haven’t had time to update, let alone write this story. Now that Deathly Hallows is really coming to/already at the cinemas, my immediately post-DH inspiration has suddenly hit again. I can’t promise fast updates at the moment as work is keeping me busy and I’m still yet to finish the troublesome ScoRose I’m writing (troublesome but so enjoyable to write), although it only has two chapters left. As soon as I get on and write the last two chapters of ‘Help Me, Please’ I am free to continue with this story, which I love because it gives me such free reign of what I want to happen in the next chapters, but is still a lovely reminder of the original story of Harry Potter, something I simply love JK Rowling for sharing with us all and which introduced me to my passion for writing.


Lastly, I want to thank anybody who has checked this story and is continuing to read it. I do truly love it and I would love for you all to stick with it. Thank you for reading! It really means a lot to me.


A huge apology for spacing issues - the spaces would just not work for me.
 





All was silent. Usually when it was quiet that would suggest there were little or no people around. No, not at the moment. Ron was standing in a plain, white room full of hundreds of people wearing black Death Eater masks, all staring at him. Every time he opened his mouth to ask someone where he was, a voice would whisper “Why?” and he would immediately close his mouth and continue to stare back at the people in unbearable silence.

Perhaps this silence made the scream that cut into his dream sound even more startling. Ron sat up in bed and squinted through the darkness at Harry, who had also sat up and was reaching for his glasses. He grabbed the deluminator that Dumbledore had given him from the table bedside his bed and clicked it.

Immediately the room was filled with light and Ron could see Harry clearly. His hair was a complete mess, more so than usual, and he had an imprint down one side of his face where he had fallen asleep whilst reading a book. The book, The Hundred Best Years of Quidditch, was clearly visible on Harry’s pillow.

Harry picked it up and chucked it haphazardly across the room. It slammed into the wall and then rebounded, landing on the pile of books that Hermione had hurriedly dumped in Ron’s room before going to bed.

There was a small thump as the book collided with the floor just as Ron rubbed his eyes and asked, “What was that noise?”


“I dunno...” Harry replied faintly, still half asleep, his brow furrowed in confusion.


The door swung open quietly and revealed Hermione. She was wearing a pair of pink pyjamas that evidently belonged to Ginny and was hugging a pillow close to her body. Her hair was tangled in an untidy array around her face, as if she hadn’t brushed it in days, and there were signs that tears had been streaming down her frightened face.


“Ron...” she whispered. Ron was a little surprised that she’d come looking for him, but was rather pleased nonetheless.
 

“Hermione, are you okay?”


She simply shook her head, more tears running down her face. Hushed voices could be heard on the landing below.


“I’ll go and check on Ginny, and tell the others no one’s hurt,” Harry told them, crawling out of bed and rushing out the door. Ron had a small feeling that Harry had also left to give them some privacy.
 

Things have really changed, he thought to himself.
 

Hermione and Ron were left in silence then, a different silence to the one in Ron’s dream. An almost comfortable silence, if Hermione hadn’t been upset. After a moment they heard Harry’s voice downstairs, evidently explaining to the others what had happened. Hermione walked quietly over to Ron’s bed and climbed up next to him, he moved over slightly so that she had space and wrapped her in a hug. When they broke apart Ron turned off the light again. It was hurting his eyes and that from the hallway was enough to see by.


“Nightmare?” he asked softly. Normally he would not know what to say, but the words just came to him this time.
 

“Yeah,” she replied tiredly and sighed. “Bellatrix.”
 

Ron tensed slightly, remembering that night and knowing that it was even worse for Hermione. “It’ll fade, y’know,” he told her quietly.

It wasn’t much comfort, he knew that, but it was something.
 

Hermione turned so that she was facing him, sitting side by side with Ron. “I know. I just… I can never seem to get to sleep unless – unless you’re around… or Harry.”
 

“I have nightmares too,” he whispered back without making eye contact with Hermione. “But they always seem to disappear when you’re around.”


She sighed again, and this time she seemed happier. “Ron?” she called again, whispering quieter than before.
 

“Hmm?”
 

“What are we?” Hermione moved so that her head was resting on Ron’s shoulder.
 

“What do you mean?” Ron replied after only a slight hesitation.
 

“Just humour me, I need a distraction. And besides,” she pressed. “you know what I mean.”
 

There was more silence until Ron asked carefully, “What do you want us to be?”
 

“Why make things difficult, Ronald?”


Harry entered just at this moment with Ginny, neither seeming to realise what was going on. Both Ron and Hermione turned to see them enter, sitting up fully.
 

“Because that’s what he does, Hermione.” Ginny answered and then her face changed to concern. “Are you okay?”
 

“I’m...” Hermione thought for a moment. “Fine.”
 

Ginny gave her a look that said ‘I don’t believe you’ and then turned to Ron.
 

“’Night, you two,” Ginny called and blew a kiss to Harry. Ron made an expression that said ‘why do this to me?’ to his annoying sibling and Hermione rolled her eyes.


“Come on, Ron,” Hermione said. “How can you cringe at kissing when you had your tongue stuck down Lavender’s throat for most of sixth year?”
 

Ron blushed and flinched but didn’t say anything.
 

“Is she that bad a kisser?” Ginny asked, making no move to leave and, instead, collapsing on Harry’s bed. It seemed this was a conversation she wanted to be in.


“What—I ... no, it’s just...” Ron spluttered, less than a minute ago he was having a quiet, private conversation with Hermione. Hermione raised her eyebrows at him.
 

“You’d rather not kiss her ever again?” Harry suggested, evidently sympathetic to Ron’s situation.
 

“Yeah...” Ron admitted, blushing even more.
 

“Why not?” Hermione asked, obviously simply to put him on the spot, and Ron’s ears turned an incredibly deep shade of red.
 

“Well, we never really... y’know, liked each other that much.”
 

“So why snog her in the first place?” Ginny laughed, but Ron knew that she had a point. Now that they had begun the conversation, Harry, Ginny and Hermione were not going to let an opportunity to speak their mind about Ron and Lavender pass them by.

 

“Hey!” Ron exclaimed at the accusing look on their faces. “It wasn’t me who started it!”

 

“It wasn’t?” Harry asked, changing sides. Ron gave him a look that meant ‘I thought you were on my side!’.


    “No! She just... cornered me. I don’t know why…”
 

    “And you couldn’t just tell her ‘sorry, I don’t like you like that’?” Ginny countered.
 

    “Well, that didn’t actually occur to me.”
 

    Hermione couldn’t help but laugh, despite just how much pain the relationship had caused her what seemed like a lifetime ago, and soon Ron was too.
 

    Mrs Weasley made her way into the room at that moment.
 

    “What is going on?” She fussed, looking at them all individually when no one answered. She flicked her wand towards the light switch and her face changed from confusion to simply sighing with defeat at the teenagers when she noticed them all properly.
 

Ron and Hermione were both on his bed and Ginny and Harry were sitting beside each other, Harry’s arm around her waist and Ginny’s head resting on his shoulder - all four looked happy and Mrs Weasley, despite the early hour, felt her lips twitch into a smile: At least somebody was happy.
 

“You’re making a lot of noise,” she told them gently. “What are you all doing up so early? George said something about a nightmare…”
 

“We’re contemplating why Ron is failing when it comes to his love life,” Ginny told her mother.
 

Mrs Weasley looked towards Ron and sighed, almost as if she was disappointed in the choice of topic, but he immediately said, “Believe me, mum, I did not choose this conversation.”
 

Mrs Weasley looked as if she wanted to laugh. Instead she sighed and then looked to Ginny and Hermione. “What are you two doing up here?”
 

“I was... I was worried about Hermione. She had a nightmare so I came to see if she was alright,” Ginny told her mother, smiling innocently up at her, no doubt attempting to get on her good side.
 

“Off to bed, Ginny, please,” Mrs Weasley instructed and Ginny was forced to reluctantly make her way to the door. As soon as she was out of sight of her mother she winked at Harry again and made a face at her brother before disappearing down the stairs.
 

Mrs Weasley sat down on the end of Harry’s bed and leaned forwards, towards Hermione. “Are you alright, dear?”
 

“Yes, Mrs Weasley, I am now.” Hermione smiled. “Thank you for asking though.”
 

“No problem, dear,” she smiled. “I think it’s time you got to bed too, you must be very tired.”
 

Hermione stood up quickly, thinking that it really would be best if she tried to get some more rest.
 

“Night Ron,” Hermione retrieved her pillow from it’s place on the floor. “Night Harry.”
 

They both muttered a ‘goodnight’ back before she left the room, followed by Mrs Weasley, who turned out the lights.
 

Harry and Ron both exchanged a look: Like we’re going to get back to sleep now.
 

“Do you think we’ll ever forget it?” Ron asked his best friend.
 

“Truthfully?” Harry asked. “No, I don’t think we will - any of us.”
 

Ron sighed at that and mumbled dejectedly, “I didn’t think so…”
 

That made Harry laugh. He slapped Ron on the back as he got up to switch the light off, but before he did he turned to Ron.
 

“Hey, Ron?”
 

“Hmmm?”
 

“Ask Hermione out tomorrow.”
 

The tips of Ron’s ears went red. “Yeah, okay…” He mumbled awkwardly as Harry switched the light off. The only way he could tell his friend had climbed back into bed was by the way his quiet laughter moved across the room.
 





Ron couldn’t get to sleep.  He continued to worry whether Hermione was having nightmares again - What if she was? How would he know? What could he do? - He didn’t want her to be sad or afraid, and nor did he want that for the rest of his family.
 

He sighed and uncomfortably rolled over in bed.


He definitely knew he had to ask Hermione out, officially, once he’d gotten up. But this was Hermione. They argued and they fought and they’d only really become friends through Harry, right?
 

He wished she’d stayed with him so that he knew she was safe. His sleeping was never right anymore when she wasn’t there. For so many past months she had slept within a few metres of him and he had known she was safe - her quiet breathing had been one of the only constants when away from home and it was now one of his favourite sounds in the world.
 

Ron was just contemplating whether or not he should go downstairs and find Hermione, just to check she had managed to get back to sleep peacefully, when the door opened slightly and a figure entered. It had been over two hours since they’d last turned the light out and Harry was firmly asleep, seemingly peacefully - for once.
 

The figure walked over to him and climbed into his bed.
 

“Hermione?” Ron asked. He knew it was her even before he asked.
 

“It’s me,” she whispered back quietly so as not to wake Harry, whose quiet snores filled the room.
 

“My mum told you to stay in Ginny’s room,“ he mumbled to her even though he had wanted her with him - he knew his mother would have told her that. “Why’d you come back?”
 

“I can’t sleep without you,” she whispered so quietly that for a moment Ron wasn’t sure that she had said it because she was facing away from him.
 

“Good,” Ron replied bravely.
 

“’Night Ron,” she told him for the second time.
 

“’Night,” he sighed back and was asleep within the next second.
 





Hermione was awoken by Ron shaking her gently and muttering in her ear,

“Hermione, I think I can hear my mum downstairs and you need to get back to Ginny’s room.”
 

    “Hmm, Ig fiv mormintes...” she mumbled and rolled over so that she now lay on her stomach, one arm draped across Ron and almost all the bed sheets covering her, leaving Ron cold and uncovered by them.
 

    “She’ll kill us both,” Ron tried, but he got no reply from a comfortable Hermione. “She’ll make assumptions...”
 

    Hermione sighed deeply at this but hauled herself up off the bed anyway. “I was finally asleep, Ronald.“
 

    Despite the early hours, Hermione still managed to use that voice she used when addressing Ron which hinted at impatience but really was a term of endearment. He secretly loved it.
 

    “Sorry,“ he muttered back carefully. “But you know what my mum’s like when people don’t follow her rules…”
 

    Hermione smiled at that thought, “I’m going...”
 

    Just as she reached the door Ron called back quietly to her, “See you soon.”
 

    She smiled again as a confirmation of Ron’s words and disappeared. One step creaked as Hermione stepped on it and Ginny’s bedroom door made a lot of noise when opened but nobody was around in the house to see her.
 

    Ron glanced at his clock and realised why the house was so quiet.
 

    It was only half past four in the morning, still dark outside. The noise that had woken him up had probably just been somebody getting up for a glass of water. The family could have only gone to sleep around eleven o’clock and many of them were still tired from the battle at Hogwarts. Still, Ron couldn’t wait to get up and spend the day with Harry, Ginny and, most of all, Hermione, without the chance of being hunted by Voldemort.
 

    This time it would be reporters, he found himself thinking.
 





Ron reached across the table for another piece of toast whilst shoving the previous one into his mouth straight after buttering it. Ginny glared at him, she was evidently on edge from lack of sleep, and he shook his head slightly back at her and raised his eyebrows as if to say ‘what’s your point?’ before cramming the next piece of toast into his mouth.


    The Weasley kitchen was busy early that morning. Many of the families that knew the Weasley’s (and they knew many people, on account of their family being so recognisable) had written to the them that morning. The table was filled with letters that gave the Weasley’s their condolences or offered support. The letters also brought news of Hogwarts from Kingsley Shacklebolt, Neville and Luna. The people at Hogwarts had more than trebled since the night before. Families who had only heard of the fight once it was over or who had young children and were unable to leave them had joined the throng of people and therefore turned it into, what Ginny and Ron knew to be, Harry’s personal nightmare.


    Harry was expected to give a speech the next day to inform the public what exactly the downfall of Voldemort meant, how it had been done and why Harry had been the one to do it. Many of the public were still confused - hardly anybody new just what the fight was about, how it had started or how Harry had killed Voldemort.
 

    Ron saw Ginny glance towards the stairs for the sixth time in one minute and, finally, he couldn’t take it.
 

    “I’m sure he’ll be here soon, Gin.”
 

    “Wh... What?” she asked, looking back at Ron and appearing as if she was completely taken off guard, believing that no one had seen her unusual behaviour.
 

    “I said, I’m sure he’ll be here soon,” Ron repeated patiently and Ginny only nodded. “You know… he’ll hate this.”
 

    Ron gestured at all the letters that told of the increasing number of people at Hogwarts absentmindedly with one hand and forced another piece of toast into his mouth with the other. “I know,” she replied.
 

    Ron placed the knife he had been using to butter pieces of toast onto the table and picked up a glass full of pumpkin juice.
 

    “Hey mum,” Bill said and everyone jumped, causing Ron to spill his juice down his shirt. None of the Weasley had heard or seen him approach. “How are you doing?”
 

    “I‘m surviving, Billy,” she sighed wearily as Bill gave her a hug before sitting down next to Fleur, who had entered unnoticed with Bill and taken a seat next to Percy. Bill only looked sadly at his mum for a minute before sitting next to his wife. He could do nothing to help her.
 

    “Where eez everyone?” Fleur asked, looking around the table to check again the number of Weasley’s. Everyone else checked who was seated with them.
 

    “Only George’s missing,” Percy told them all.
 

    “And Hermione,” Ron said almost immediately after him.
 

    “And Harry,” Ginny added.
 

    “Well, yes, them too,” Percy agreed and went back to staring at his toast.
 

    Silence crept up between the family until Charlie, Percy, Mr Weasley and Mrs Weasley started up a conversation about contacting their relatives with the news about Fred.
 

    Ron sat staring out the window, the bright sunlight shining in his eyes, despite it being six o’clock in the morning. Where was Hermione? Was she avoiding him? Of course not, that was stupid to think... right?
 

    Ron hadn’t been able to sleep very much and had eventually turned to watching Hermione sleep. Maybe it should have been weird, but it wasn’t. She looked so... peaceful was not the right word… Hermione had woken up a lot in the night and called for him. He had always been there to stroke her hair and hug her and reassure her that everything was alright until she fell back to sleep. Ron knew that she had been dreaming about that night at Malfoy Manor as she spoke in her sleep. It was not pleasant to hear and he winced just remembering it.


    Ginny suddenly sat up in her seat, turning to gaze at her empty plate, and a few seconds later Harry walked into view. He reached the bottom of the stairs, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, and took a seat between Mrs Weasley and Ron.


“Mrs Weasley?” Harry asked covertly as the other Weasley’s went back to their conversation. Ron was only able to hear because Harry sat right beside him.
 

“Yes, dear?”
 

“I’m so, so sorry a-about... about Fred,”
 

It was so typical of Harry to apologise for something that wasn’t his fault. He really needed to get that into his thick head.


He took her by surprise for a moment and then Mrs Weasley smiled weakly at Harry and, before he knew what was happening, caught him in a hug so tight that it looked like he was having trouble breathing. When she let him go she asked, “And you’re alright, aren’t you, Harry, dear? I was so worried about losing you. What would we do without you?”


“I’m coping, Mrs Weasley,” Harry told her, glancing slightly at Ginny without, it seemed, realising.
 

Ron decided to not comment - he was feeling reasonable today.
 

Then he felt something warm in his hand and Hermione whispered in his ear, “Thank you, Ron, for being there for me.”
 

“No problem,” he whispered back as Hermione took the seat on his other side.

Everyone greeted Hermione but Mr Weasley simply said, “I have something for you, Hermione,” and started to rummage around the pile of letters and platefuls of food on the table.
 

George had entered at the same time as Hermione; he didn’t speak and chose to sit at the end of the table rather than between Ginny and Bill, where there was space.
When Mr Weasley finally found the item and handed it to Hermione, Ron noticed that it was only the size of an envelope. No, it was an envelope. But it was larger than that, like someone had stuffed it with many pieces of paper or photographs.
 

Ron watched Hermione’s face turn from confusion to shock as she took the letter from Mr Weasley and read the front of it. She froze and dropped the letter as if it had burnt her hand. It landed on the table with a surprisingly loud thump and Ron saw the words ‘Miss Hermione Jean Granger’ neatly hand-written on the front.
 

“What’s wrong?” he asked, already knowing what the answer would be.
 

In a voice only loud enough for Ron and Harry, who were sitting closest to her, to hear, she whispered, “It’s from the ministry… in Australia.”
 

The letter lay on the table between Hermione and Ron. All three of them stared at it until they were brought back to the present by Mrs Weasley.
 

Hermione had only one link to Australia so the trio did not need three guesses as to what the letter was about.
 

“We should do it soon, the family needs to know,” Mrs Weasley was saying in a surprisingly calm voice.
 

“There’s no rush, Molly,” Arthur Weasley tried to tell his wife. “I would hate for us to tell them too soon and have to face an evening of silent grief with all the family together.”
 

“Yeah, mum, there are enough of us as it is,” Bill joined in.
 

“I’m sorry boys but I think it’s best sooner rather than later. I just want to put it behind us.”
 

“It’s your choice, mum,” Bill told her.
 

“No, I’m going to let Georgie make the decision,” she announced and George look startled when everyone turned to look at him.
 

    “Umm... I-I’d rather just get it over with...please,” he said quietly, his night alone in his room evidently bringing across the reality of his missing twin, and Ron felt so bad for George, for everyone, for the death of Fred, for Hermione having to give up her parents, for Harry’s guilt, in that moment that he stood up rather hurriedly.
 

    “Fresh air,” he managed to choke out before hurrying out the back door and into the garden.
 

    Ron reached the fresh air outside and took in a deep breath hoping that it would help him breath. It didn’t. It had finally hit him that Fred was dead, everything was changing. Nothing would be the same again.
 

    He felt as if the world was crashing down on him.
 





    “Do you think he’s ok?” Ginny asked everyone and turned back to the worried faces of her family.
    

“Maybe I should go and talk to him,” Harry thought aloud.

“No, I’ll do it,” Hermione said and stood up. “No offence, Harry, but I think he’d rather talk about feelings with a girl.”
 

    “Right,” Harry agreed, relieved.
 

    Hermione walked calmly out of the kitchen and into the warm breeze outside, the eyes of the Weasley’s and Harry following her until she was out of sight.
 

    Ron was sitting at a bench in the corner of the back garden, not far from where Harry had told them about his vision of Ollivander months before, his head in his hands. He gave no sign that he had heard Hermione approach. She went and sat beside him.
 

    For a moment the only sound was of the birds and the wind - it really was a waste of a nice day.
 

    “Ron…” Hermione spoke gently. He didn’t move so she tried a reprimanding tone, “Ron.”
 

    “I’m fine, Hermione,” Ron mumbled quietly into his hands.
 

    “Well, you clearly are not,” she spoke softly, patiently.
 

    “I don’t want to talk,” Ron grumbled, evidently preferring to wallow in self-pity for an hour instead.
 

    “Well, you know what, Ron?” Hermione raised her voice, which caught his attention - that was not what he expected her to do. Ron fully expected Hermione to leave him be for a while but she didn’t. “You’re going to have to.”
 

    “Hermione, I--”
 

    “Listen to me, Ron,” Hermione turned towards him as he pulled his head out of his hands. “You aren’t getting the point. You aren’t realising what is right in front of you, are you?”
 

    “What is…?” Ron’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion.
 

    “The point, Ronald,” Hermione seemed rather irritated, but only as if she was talking to a small child. “The point is that you survived. You are alive. You have your life to live now.”
 

    “But Fred--”
 

    “Ron,” Hermione’s voice wavered slightly as she took his hand. “F-Fred is gone. But he wouldn’t want you to live your life in self pity. He’d want you to laugh and play pranks on people and generally cause chaos on the world.”
 

    “But I have nothing to live for if Fred’s dead. I should have stopped it somehow,” Ron mumbled. “I should have--”
 

    “--Of course you have things to live for,” Hermione argued kindly. “You are alive, Ron. And you have your family. Ginny is alive, your parents are alive, your brother and his beautiful wife--”
 

    “But--”
 

    “And you have Harry, Ron,” Hermione pointed out. “He’s just as much a brother to you as  your other brothers are and as Fred was. You have been blessed with a wonderful family, Ron. I feel blessed just being considered friends with you all, let alone being considered family too. I am so proud to be considered family because your family are… incredible.”
 

    “Hermione, you--”
 

    “I am listening to you, Ronald,” Hermione knew what he was going to say before he said it.
 

    “But I’ve hardly spoken,” a small part of him suddenly felt like laughing at her, even though the rest of him felt devastated.
 

    “When you’re talking rubbish, Ron, I tend not to listen.”
 

    “I’ve noticed,” He mumbled. The corners of both their lips twitched - even whilst trying to comfort each other they still managed to argue. Ron continued seriously, “But I’m trying to tell you that I should have--”
 

    “This,” Hermione cut him off rather abruptly, pulling his face round so that he was forced to look into her eyes, “is not your fault.”
 

    “It is.” Ron looked down at the ground as he spoke. “I don’t deserve this life.”
 

    “I haven’t finished my list yet,” Hermione warned him. “You have done so much with your life already, Ron.”
 

    Ron snorted sarcastically.
 

    “Oh, really?” Hermione questioned him. “So who else helped Harry Potter defeat the darkest wizard of all time?”
 

    “You did,” Ron muttered.
 

    “Please, Ron,” Hermione sighed. “ You killed part of Voldemort - you were the one that saved Harry’s life and stabbed the locket. And you saved my life when we were eleven. You’re not seeing what is right in front of you. What’s waiting for you in your life…”
 

    “I am, Hermione,” Ron was irritated now. “So I helped Harry, so what? Anybody could have done what I did, which wasn’t much short of running away. It was just me because that’s where I sat on the train that day. It was just luck, our friendship.”
 

    “And ours, was that just luck?” Hermione questioned him. The sun moved out from behind the clouds and they were both immediately illuminated with sunlight. The breeze picked up too. “You came to save me seven years ago when I was stuck in that bathroom with that troll.”
 

    “It was Harry’s idea..”
 

    “And you didn’t have to come, but you did.”
 

    “What’s your point, Hermione?” Ron turned away from her to watch a few gnomes plotting again them. “It’s still my fault Fred’s dead. I was right there when it happened. It should have been me.”
 

    “Don’t ever say that again,” Hermione almost shouted, she‘d forgotten her surroundings. Her voice lowered again as she pulled Ron back round to look at her. “You and Harry have been best friends since before you even set foot on Hogwarts grounds. You both saved my life when I was eleven and you saved my life just a few days ago.”
 

    Hermione’s hand pointedly went to the long scar that ran from the back of her jaw, round her neck and stopped short halfway across her throat. The cut was still pink, trying to heal.
 

    “And you and Harry have been through everything together, not just the V-Voldemort stuff but the normal teenage boy stuff and you’re still friends. You’ve argued about Harry’s fame, the Goblet of Fire, Ginny, everything imaginable, but you’re still best friends and you always will be, Ron. Harry needs you.”
 

    “Look, Hermione, you’re making a good point and all but you’re missing the main idea - I was there. I was right next to Fred when he died. You have no idea how stupid I was - Why didn’t I manage to help him? I should have pushed him out the way or… I don’t know… something! Fred was a twin, Hermione. George wasn’t just one person. Half of my brother died when Fred died. If it had been me, which it could have been, things would be so much easier - One dead, an individual, not half of a person.”
 

    A single tear could not escape rolling down Hermione’s cheek as Ron’s eyes welled up with tears of his own - with survivors guilt, incredible fatigue and an overflow of an unimaginable amount of emotions. Ron was exhausted.
 

    “Easier?” Hermione slapped him on the knee affectionately, but impatiently. “Fred may have had a twin, Ron, but you have people who love you just as much.”
 

    “My mum--”
 

    “I’m not talking about your family,” Hermione stated bluntly.
 

    They looked at each other in silence. More birds had started to sing and the chickens in the Weasley’s garden had begun to cluck for food.
 

    Eventually, Ron broke the silence between them, unsuccessfully trying to hold back a laugh. “I sure hope you aren’t talking about Harry.”
 

    Hermione chuckled at that too before pulling him back inside to be with his family.
 





Chapter 9 half written and, with a bit of luck, coming soon.
Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. xxx



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