From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, ““That wand’s more trouble than it’s worth,” said Harry. “And quite honestly,... I’ve had enough trouble for a lifetime.””
Dumbledore nodded, with a knowing smile, “Well done Harry.”
“Come on. Lets go have a kip on a real bed for a change” Harry said, motioning to the door, and following Ron and Hermione down the rotating staircase. Without needing to explain where they were headed, Harry tossed his invisibility cloak over their heads, and they made for Gryffindor Tower.
“This was a lot easier when we were still first years,” Ron grumbled, stooping low to match the heights of the other two. They stumbled and struggled their way to the portrait hole, realizing once they arrived, that they didn’t have the password.
Harry pulled the cloak off his head, and spoke to the Fat Lady, “Erm, we don’t know the password, but…”
The Fat Lady looked delighted to see him and chimed in before he could finish, “Mr. Potter, I’ve changed the password in your honor, it’s only right that you be the first to use it.”
Harry ducked his head, and with a bit of trepidation asked, “Wha… What’s the new password?”
Hermione was about to remind Harry that he had just defeated the most evil Wizard in the history of magic, and the hero worship was probably going to get worse before it got better, when the Fat Lady puffed up like a peacock and said, “Peace.”
Harry let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding. “Peace” he said with a smile, trying out the word.
The Fat Lady swung her portrait forward, and the trio made their way through the portrait hole. Harry didn’t register that the common room remained largely unchanged, despite the battle that had torn through the castle. He headed straight for the stairs, all thoughts of food abandoned, wanting only to sleep. He heard the sounds of Ron and Hermione still following him up the steps to the familiar room. Once he reached the top he saw that his four-poster was untouched by his absence. He fell face first onto the mattress, hugging his pillow to him. As he fell asleep, he heard the sounds of Hermione putting up their security wards out of habit.
Harry wasn’t sure how long he had slept before he was woken by his nightmares. He sat bolt upright in bed, and grabbed his head in his hands as a wave of pain hit his temple. The full shock of the previous day hit him like a ton of bricks. His head ached, his chest burned, his whole body was sore.
He looked over to see Hermione tucked into Ron’s bed and Ron sleeping on top of the covers next to her. They didn’t seem to have heard his movement, so Harry slipped out of the room into the bathroom before calling softly, “Kreacher?”
Kreacher appeared immediately with a loud crack, “How can Kreacher help Master Harry, avenger of Master Regulus? Kreacher is at his service!”
Leaning on a washbasin, Harry asked, “Kreacher, do you think you can find me a headache potion? And maybe some dittany?”
Kreacher bowed low, and disappeared. Harry felt horrid, and looked worse; he washed his face, and used his wand to siphon some of the blood and dirt off of his clothing. Just then, Kreacher reappeared with several potions, as well as a cup of scalding hot tea.
“Harry Potter must take them all!” Kreacher said, thrusting potions at Harry, one at a time, as he announced what they were.
“Headache potion!” Harry choked it down.
“Potion for bruises.” Harry gulped it in one breath.
“Potion for pain!” Harry swallowed the last one quickly, and reached for the tea.
Harry had last had tea at Shell Cottage, but that seemed years ago to him. The hot tea was restoring, and as the potions started to work, Harry began to feel a bit better. He asked Kreacher to find him a change of clothes, and then stepped into the shower. He cleaned the rest of the blood, and sweat, and grime off his body. He felt much cleaner, but after standing in the shower, he was starting to get tired again. He began to dry off, and saw that Kreacher had left him a muggle t-shirt and sweats. Slipping into the comfortable clothes, he headed back to the dormitory, where he noticed that Kreacher was turning down his bed.
“Harry Potter must get proper rest! Back to bed he must go!” Too tired to argue, Harry sat down on the bed as Kreacher handed him another potion, “What’s this one for Kreacher?”
Kreacher summoned a glass of water to the bedside table, “Dreamless sleep potion,” he said quietly, “Kreacher hears master calling out in his sleep.”
Harry looked at the potion for a moment and then, remembering his nightmares with a shudder, uncorked it and tipped it back. “Good idea Kreacher.” He climbed back into bed, pulling the covers up to his chin; he fell asleep as he mumbled, “Look after Ron and Hermione please Kreacher!”
Harry woke again a short while later, despite the dreamless sleep potion, the nightmares had returned. He was still exhausted, but sleep wouldn't come. Not knowing what to expect when he left Gryffindor tower, Harry pulled the invisibility cloak over his head. A quick glance back at Ron and Hermione told him that they were still asleep.
He descended silently down the stairs, and into the common room. He was surprised to find it nearly empty; the only people there were Bill and George. George seemed fairly catatonic, and Bill seemed like he was only a shade or two above total despair himself.
Harry was surprised when Bill looked up very near the place he was standing, searching. "I know you're there Harry," he said quietly, "I'm meant to keep you from leaving the tower. Nearly everyone is asleep, so if you tell me where you're going I won't stop you."
Harry paused, wondering if he could just wait it out, but then Bill drew his wand. Before Harry knew what was happening, "Petrificus totalis" Bill called, with the steady ease of a seasoned curse breaker. Harry fell forward, and thumped into the back of a couch.
Bill walked around the back of the couch and felt for the cloak, pulling it off he righted Harry and removed the charm. "Harry, what are you hiding from," Bill asked, "it's over."
Harry moved to sit down, rubbing the lump on his arm from where he'd hit the sofa, "couldn't sleep," he mumbled.
"I'd imagine it will be a while before you comfortably can," Bill said, "you've been on the run a long time, and you're in nasty shape from the battle. You were in nasty shape before the battle," Bill recalled, thinking of his brothers friend's skeletal figure at shell cottage.
Harry seemed to have cleaned up, but that didn't hide the shadows under his eyes, or the bruises and cuts all over him. His hair, always uncontrollable, was matted into dreads and quite long now. "Where were you going?"
Harry hadn't thought that far out. He considered Hagrid’s, but couldn't face him. He thought about leaving all together. "The room of requirement", he mumbled. Maybe that remarkable room could tell him what he needed.
"Please come back here after, if mum finds out I let you leave I'll need a healer."
Harry smiled weakly at his surrogate big brother. "I just want to see if it survived the fiend fyre. How’s he doing?" Harry asked, motioning to George, who hadn’t moved.
Bill looked sadly at his brother, “he’s been like this most of the night. He was ok before, the adrenaline kept him going I think. We all came up here to sleep, not thinking. He went into their old dorm and he’s been like this since.”
“I’m so sorry Bill,” Harry said, and he pulled the cloak back on and slipped out the door.
Bill watched to portrait hole open and close, wondering if his friend would ever be able to live a day without looking over his shoulder.
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