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"So now what?" asked Ron. He and Hermione were holding Harry up.

"Let's put him in his bed. Help me pick him up" she said. They easily picked him up. 'He should weigh more' they both thought. He didn't stir when they laid him down, so they figured he was asleep. Hermione and Ron curled up into Ron's bed, Hermione with her back against Ron's chest. There wasn't much room, but neither seemed to mind. They were both asleep within seconds.

Hearing that they were asleep, Harry sat up. Although he was tired and sore, he had to go to the loo. When he returned, he realized how hungry he was. When was the last time they ate? 'I think it was yesterday' he thought. He couldn't remember what it even was. He went back into the loo. "Kreacher" he said softly.

With a pop, Kreacher apparated to his side. "Yes, master Har..." Harry put his finger to his lips. "Shhh. I'm trying not to wake the others."

Kreacher looked up at him. "I'm sorry" he said softly. "It's OK. How are you, and how are the rest of the house elves?" Kreacher's jaw dropped. He just couldn't get over that there were wizards and witches who cared about him. These three here certainly did. "There are some injuries, and we lost two of us."

He saw Harry fall to his knees. "Nooo..." Harry's body shook.

"What can I do to help Master?" said Kreacher. He didn't know what to say or do. Clearly, his master was hurt physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Harry looked up at Kreacher. "I hate to even ask... could you please bring us something to eat?. The others are both asleep, but I'm sure they could use a bite to eat when they wake up."

Kreacher nodded. "Master Neville is awake downstairs. I will bring something for all of you." With a pop he was gone. Harry left the loo and sat on the end of his bed. He heard a soft pop, and Kreacher came in with a tray of sandwiches and pumpkin juice. "I have already put a tray downstairs for the others' he whispered. "Thank you Kreacher. I don't know what we would do without you." Kreacher bowed and left.

When he returned to the kitchen, Kreacher told the rest of the house elves what had happened upstairs. How the good wizard Harry Potter had cried when he had heard about the deaths of Sarty and Usie. The rest of the house elves looked at each other and rededicated themselves to the students and teachers of Hogworts, and to Master Harry and his friends.

About halfway through Neville's shift, he heard someone wanting to come into the Gryffindor Common Room through the portrait hole. The Fat Lady kept saying no, they were not to be disturbed. Neville recognized the voice. "Ginny?" he asked.

"Neville, is that you? Please tell the Fat Lady it's OK. Please Neville" she pleaded. He walked over and pushed open the portrait for her.

"Thank you. I just wanted to make sure he... I mean they are all OK." Neville looked at her. She had a haunted look about her. It reminded him of how Harry looked when they helped him upstairs. Like all the rest of them, she was scarred with the hell of the battle. She had not taken the time to put herself together before coming up there.

"Is it OK if I go and check on them. I promise to be quiet" she whispered so as to not wake up Dean and Seamus. There were tears in her eyes. With all they went through last year, he had hardly ever seen her cry. She always thought of it as being a weakness, not an emotional outlet. Neville didn't have the heart to tell her no. "Madam Pomprey sent these." She held three blue vials. He recognized them as the dreamless sleep potions. "Neville, would you like me to get you something to ..." she stopped when she saw the food.

"It was Kreacher. Harry asked him to get something for all of us." Her tears started to flow at that point. After all that had happened, Harry was still trying to take care of everyone else. But the big question was, how did he feel about her? When she saw Hagrid carry in his lifeless body, a part of her died. At that point, all she wanted was revenge. For him. She would make Voldemort and all the others pay for what they did to her Harry. She didn't wonder how or why it happened. It was his nature, the self sacrifice. Wanting to make sure no one else was hurt. He must be going through his own personal hell fight now, blaming himself for all the casualties down there. Fred. Colin. And the others. The place reeked of death. That's part of why she came up there. Up here was the future. And hope. Hope that he still loved her.

Ginny put her foot on the bottom step to go up to the boy's dorm. She turned to look at Neville. He had sat back down with the sword of Gryffindor in one hand and his wand in the other. She smiled at how much he had changed in the six years they had known each other. He was every bit the leader that the 'Golden Trio' were. "Neville" he looked up. "Are they really here?" she said uncertainly. He smiled and said "Yes. Harry's really here. I don't know what happened after he told me to kill Nagini if I got the chance, but believe me. He is here with us." Harry had asked him to kill the snake, and he was able to with the use of Godric Gryffindor's sword, which had magically appeared for him.

Ginny's face brightened a little. Although she still had doubts about his feelings, she had more confidence as she ascended the stairs. When she reached the sixth year's room she hesitated. Should she knock? She didn't want to wake him. Them. So she gently turned the handle. Inside the room were five beds. Three were empty- they belonged to Seamus, Dean, and Neville. The fourth one had Hermione and Ron in it. She was laying with her back against his chest, and she was holding his arm around her. She tried to walk softly past them to Harry's bed, but Hermione's eyes popped open.

'Still watching out for him' Ginny thought of her best friend. "Sorry" mouthed Ginny. "It's OK" responded Hermione. Ginny held up the three blue vials, knowing that Hermione would know what to do with them. Hermione nodded, and pointed to the nightstand next to Harry. She put them on the tray with the remainder of the food Kreacher had brought. She could see Harry had eaten. Ginny looked down at him. He looked terrible. She could see he was malnourished (Hermione's cheeks were sunken in too). His clothes were destroyed. He was covered in blood, mud, grass, and more blood. His face was lined beyond his years. Every bit of skin she could see was cut and bruised. All she wanted to do was to cradle him in her arms and cry. She wanted to take away all the hurt. The pain. And the suffering.

Harry was starting to get restless. Maybe he sensed her presence? She knew they had a connection. One much deeper than normal. But did he feel it too? As he stirred he kept mouthing things, but nothing came out. His eyes kept darting back and forth. She was haunted by demons too, so she had an idea of what he was going through after having been possessed by Tom Riddle's diary. Harry had saved her life at the risk of his own in the Chamber of Secrets five years ago. He almost died after killing a basilisk, a giant serpent over 50 feet long. She had loved him since then. It just took him until last year to realize that she was Ginny, not Ron's little sister. After their first kiss, in front of everyone in the Gryffindor Common room after they won the House Cup, she knew for sure that it was real, not a childhood fantasy.

He seemed to feel the same way. At least until their break-up at Bill & Fleur's wedding last year. Despite his being noble 'I don't want you to get hurt' , this year had been hell for her. She had been beaten and tortured by the Carrows and their goons. All the students knew how important she was to Harry. Each week got worse until they were able to escape to the Room of Requirement. It is a special place in the castle which provides whatever the occupants need. Had it not been for that, she and many others probably would not have lived.

She didn't know what to do to comfort him without waking him. Bending over, she gently ran her hand through his hair. At that moment, his breathing relaxed and he stopped struggling. She kissed his forehead, and a smile came onto his face. Ginny stood up, smiling, and turned to look at Hermione. Hermione was smiling too, with tears running down her cheeks. Walking over, Ginny slipped her hand into hers, gave it a squeeze, and left the room. She seemed to float down the stairs, barely noticing Seamus who had replaced Neville on watch. He raised his eyebrows, she smiled back, and left the room.

 
 

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