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Harry sat at the window, watching as the raindrops ran down the glass. He always enjoyed doing this as he felt that he wasn't alone, the weather felt the same as he did. In reality, of course, Harry was far from alone. He was living with Hermione in her parent's house. He felt extremely welcome; after finding out what the Wizarding World had been facing since even before the beginning of Hermione's life in it, they were very grateful for everything Harry had done. The quest to destroy Voldemort had ended several months ago. The raw emotion of grief and loss had subsided slightly. Obviously, no one would ever be able to get over the deaths they had experienced; most families had some strong connections with the dead now. The couple of weeks after the battle were very odd. Everyone went through a strange celebration knowing Voldemort had been stopped but on the back of their minds were the memory or memories of the people who weren't celebrating, the people who couldn't be celebrating.

"I just don't know what to do, Mum. He's been like this for so long. I always thought he would bounce back; he has a chance of a life, a new life." Hermione whispered to her mother. They were standing in the doorway of Hermione's bedroom looking in on Harry.

"Give him time, love. I'm sure things will start to look up."

"You keep saying that, and not one thing has changed," Hermione replied as they made their way downstairs. "He seems like a different person, the sparkle in his eyes have dimmed." She sighed. The boy she fell in love with had gone, sometimes it was like he had died with Voldemort. When Voldemort was alive, he had something to live for, something to focus on but now that was over, every death played in his mind like a non-stop movie reel.

"Maybe you should visit Ron with him. Maybe being reunited with the two people that he spent his time at Hogwarts with will help, it might remind him of all the good things instead of focusing on the bad."

Hermione nodded, it did sound like a good idea, but she hadn't spoken to Ron since the death of Fred. Out of respect to him, she decided to let him grieve with his family. Hermione's mother must have seen her hesitation to this idea, "he will be happy for the distraction too."

"You're right, Mum. Both Harry and Ron need to stop thinking about death for a day. I'll write a letter to him." And so she walked over to the table and picked up a pen and a piece of paper.

'Ron,
I hope that you are coping as much as you can be. Harry isn't doing too well, and I want to bring him to see you. I think you both need a distraction from past events. Are you free tomorrow?
Love
Hermione. '


She walked over to a window and opened it, as soon as she had done so, an owl glided into the room. It was a great owl, dark black which in the light reflected as deep blue. Kingsley Shacklebolt, the new Minister for Magic, had sent hundreds of owls to fly around and send any letter from anyone who needed to get in contact with someone. Hermione appreciated this move as she didn't have an owl and since the tragic death of Hedwig, neither did Harry. The owl dipped her head as a thank you and flew off into the distance. As she watched it glide away, she wondered why Harry couldn't understand. He was free now. Free as that owl is. Free to do whatever he wanted. Granted, that man had taken everything from him, his parents and his childhood but now he was gone, Harry was free to be whoever he wanted.

"He will get better soon, Hermione. He just needs some time." Hermione's Mum had walked over to the window to join her daughter; she wrapped her arms around her shoulders.

"I just hope it's sooner rather than later. It's hard." Hermione said while turning to face her Mum.

Her Mum looked into her daughter's eyes and noticed the pain in them. "I know, I know." She muttered.

Hermione looked into the eyes of one of her heroes. Even though they were from two completely different worlds, she was always close to her Mum. She put her arms around her and hugged her. She began to cry silently. Her Mum began to stroke Hermione's back, comforting her. Despite being worlds apart, she knew what Hermione was going through - the pains of seeing your partner upset and being unable to comfort him felt the same for Muggles and Witches alike.

After several minutes, Hermione recomposed herself. She pulled away from her Mum knowing that it was now Harry's turn to be comforted. "Thanks, Mum. For everything." She uttered.

"Anytime." Mrs Granger looked at her daughter realising that she was no longer the little girl she remembered. She had done all her growing up away from them which made the fact that her daughter was 18 and in love, harder to swallow. The bright eleven-year-old girl that had left on the train many years ago was gone. In her place was an intelligent, confident, strong, brave and loyal young woman who had to deal with hardship after hardship.

Hermione wiped the last of her tears with her sleeve, took a deep breath and made her way back up to her room. "Harry? Would you like anything to eat? You haven't eaten in a while." Hermione asked gently.

"No," Harry replied bluntly. He was still staring out the window, wishing for something he just didn't know what yet.

"Some water then? You need something." Hermione was worried. Too scared to walk over to him in case something happened. No, she couldn't think like that. Harry needed her now more than ever. His ultimate enemy had changed from Voldemort to himself. She stepped across her room towards Harry and wrapped her arms around him. She didn't say anything hoping that Harry would understand her. He gripped her back. She knew that Harry just didn't want to be alone so she sat next to him and stayed close.

Time had passed, how much time was a haze to Hermione. Harry had been drifting in and out of a restless sleep. Sleeping beside him every night for the past few months had taught her that he never slept well, always tossing and turning, talking and screaming. All she wanted was for him to have a dreamless, peaceful night. She knew that sleep would make him feel mildly better and on a selfish level, it would make her feel better too.

As Hermione was drifting off herself, an owl rapped on her window. She gently got up, making sure she didn't wake Harry by doing so. They had been on the window seat so she didn't have to walk far. She opened the window, and the owl swooped in. He gently landed on her desk chair, and she walked over to him. Stroked his head and took the letter from his leg. The owl didn't wait for anymore direction. Instead, he flew straight off again.

'Hermione,
It's good to hear from you. We are all obviously devastated, but things are looking up again. George has started to act more like his usual self. Mum is still a bit quiet, but she's getting there.
Sorry to hear about Harry. It would be great to see you both. Come around whenever you want.
Love
Ron.'


This lifted Hermione's mood slightly, hopefully seeing and spending time with Ron would help Harry. Harry began to stir. "Hermione?" He called into the ever darkening room.

"I'm here; I will always be here." She replied. She looked back at the letter and smiled to himself. "Guess who we are going to see tomorrow?" Harry didn't answer; he went straight back to looking out of the window. Hermione sighed. "I'm just going to get some water. Do you want anything?" Again, he remained silent. "I'll be back." She promised.

Hermione walked downstairs and spotted her father in the living room watching a documentary. "Hermione, what are you doing up? It's rather late." Her Dad asked with his kind voice.

"Yeah, I just need some water." She answered quietly.

"Hermione, come here." Her Dad commanded. So she obeyed. She joined him on the sofa. "Tell me what's wrong."

"I just don't know what to do anymore." She said, letting out the tears.

"Oh darling, it's okay." He wrapped his arms around her, and she settled her head on his shoulder.

"How do you know that? How does anyone know that? Neither of you knows what he was like before. He is completely different. What if he never goes back to normal?" She sobbed. She always felt safe in her father's arms.

"He will, I promise. Just give him more time."

"All he does, day and night, is re-run the whole thing in his head. He can't stop thinking about it."

"He will." Were his final words to her, they sat for a while with her just crying, letting it all out and Mr Granger comforting her.

She was about to fall asleep when she remembered she had promised Harry she would be back. She started getting up when her Dad stopped her. "Neither of you are alone. Don't be ashamed to ask for help." He always spoke so calmly and gently; that was probably why he was one of the most famous dentists in London.

She nodded in both understanding and appreciation before she went into the kitchen and poured two glasses of water. She was aware that Harry didn't ask for one but she hoped that he would at least have a sip.

"I've got you some water." She said as she entered the room. She walked over and tried to hand it to him, but he ignored her, still staring out the window. Hermione turned around and breathed. She didn't want to get angry with him; that was the last thing he needed but at times, it was so frustrating. "I think we should get ready for bed. We have a busy day tomorrow." Harry didn't move a muscle. "Ron's invited us over." She thought she saw Harry move slightly at this; that was something at least.

Hermione put the glasses of water down and pulled Harry up. He didn't resist at all, he was just going through the motion, not knowing what was going on. Hermione always made an effort to change Harry in the mornings hoping that that would make him more willing to do things, it didn't. She walked over to her chest of drawers to find some of Harry's pyjamas and offered them to him; he didn't take them. "Harry, please." She uttered with some desperation. This seemed to work as Harry took them off of her. She sighed. Maybe time was all that he needed.

He slowly changed into his pyjamas, never showing any emotion, his face just blank. Hermione began to walk over to get a pair of her pyjamas as Harry walked straight back to the window. "No, Harry," Hermione said calmly as she walked over to him. "We're going to bed." Once again he didn't move so she took his hands. "Everything will be okay." She reassured, partially to herself.

He started to stand up, more on his own this time. Hermione led him to the bed; she had already pulled back the duvet. He slid in, still holding onto her hands so she joined him. He curled up, letting go of one of Hermione's hands but kept holding tight onto the other. She looked at him, the boy that used to be so happy despite everything that had happened. Now it had all seemed to catch up with him - all the heartbreak and all the loss had finally taken its toll on him.

Hermione experienced another night with hardly any sleep. When Harry was asleep, she couldn't as he was moving around too much and when he wasn't, she was trying to comfort him. The nights were a lot harder than the day for Hermione; when she needed a break, she could just walk away for a while. At night, she couldn't, she feared that Harry would wake up and wonder where she was.

Several hours had passed, and Hermione had managed to sleep in that time. She thought that Harry had been a lot better tonight but that thought immediately vanished when she saw that he wasn't in bed. She looked around the room and noticed a figure by the window. "That bloody window." She said under her breath. "Harry?" She spoke louder than before. "What are you doing up? It's the middle of the night." Harry didn't move; this was all getting too much for her.

She couldn't recognise him anymore; he was an entirely different person. She just stared at him for the rest of the night, hoping that he would move, do anything - he didn't. As soon as she heard her parent's alarm go off in the next room, she got out of bed.

"Dad, I need to talk to you." She was trying her best not to cry. "I know it's early but, I need help. Harry isn't alright, and I don't think time will heal him." As she finished saying this, Harry began to shout and scream. Hermione ran to see what had happened and saw a sight that shocked her more than most things had done. He was rocking back and forth, his knees under his chin and his arms locked around them. As he was rocking, he was screaming and crying.

"No! Sirius!" He breathed. "Lupin, Tonks, I'm sorry you don't get to see your son grow up!"

"Harry!" She said while running over to him. "Harry, what's happening?"

"It's all my fault, Hermione. If I were just a little bit quicker, more skilled, none of this would have happened. Those people are dead because of me!" He shouted.

"Shh," She crooned just like her mother used to do when she was upset and crying in her arms. "None of this is your fault. Everyone who died, died fighting for their personal cause. You are not to blame. You did everything perfectly. You stopped him." Although it was heartbreaking for her to see Harry like that, she was relieved that he had some emotion left inside of him.

"I wish I had died fighting too." He cried.

"No! Don't you say that!" She began to cry. "Don't even think it for two seconds!" She kissed his head, knowing that this action wouldn't change his mind. "I need you here, with me." Maybe that would snap him out of this trance he was in. Knowing that he was still needed might help him get better.

"I love you, Hermione." He whispered before turning back to the emotionless statue that she had grown accustomed to.

"I love you too." She whispered back as she started to look out of the window.

*

"Harry, Hermione, it's good to see you both. How have you been doing?" Mr Weasley asked as they walked through the front door.

"Hi, Mr Weasley. We've been better, to put it mildly. How are you?" Hermione replied.

"These past few months have been tricky, but we've all been there for each other. Harry, Ron is up in his room. I think he was expecting you later." Mr Weasley said with a worried look on his face.

"Come on, Harry. Let's go and see Ron." Hermione said cheerfully. Harry stayed stationary. "Harry? Ron." She urged. He didn't look at her; he just walked off.

"You look shattered." Mr Weasley said when they were left alone. "How is Harry doing?"

"Not good. He hasn't been eating or sleeping."

"Have you been?" Hermione didn't answer; she didn't need to as she probably looked the same as Harry did. "Do you want me to talk to Harry so you can have a nap?" He asked kindly.

"I thought I would be able to cope; I thought he would get better." She began to cry; she felt that her lack of sleep was behind all these outbursts of tears.

"He will get better. We'll go to Ron's room. I'll take Harry for a walk or something."


"Bloody hell!" Ron gasped as Hermione and Mr Weasley walked into the room. "Hermione, you look like a ghost!"

"Not helpful." Mr Weasley muttered. "Where's Harry?"

"I don't know; I didn't know you had arrived," Ron said to Hermione. She started to turn towards the door to look for Harry.

"No." Mr Weasley warbled. "I'll find him. You need to rest. Ron, look after Hermione." And with that, Mr Weasley left to look for Harry.

"Hermione, you do look ill. Is everything alright?" Ron asked.

"I don't want to talk about it. Not now." Hermione murmured. She didn't want to burden Ron with anymore, he had his grievances.

"Tell me. I can handle it. I need to think about something else for awhile. You're both my best friends; I want to help you as much as I can." Hermione thought about this. He was right; they were best friends, but she wasn't sure what he could do to help her. "I'm here." He said. This reminded Hermione of all the things they'd been through if anyone were to understand it would be Ron.

"Let's sit down." She had suggested before she began. So they crossed the room to Ron's bed. They sat on the edge while Hermione unburdened herself. "Ever since he killed Voldemort, he has been very subdued. I completely expected this as it was such a massive thing to him. Everyone lost loved ones in that battle, but Harry feels responsible. My parents said that he needed time, I agreed with them but time has seemed to make him worse. He doesn't do anything. He just has a constant vacant expression. Sometimes he screams and shouts shows emotion, but that doesn't last long. He doesn't sleep, he eats small amounts, I don't know how he survives. It's like he is just surviving, not living."

Ron reached out to comfort her. She was struggling, but nobody ever seemed to notice. She was involved in all this too, but she never reacted or lashed out. She never turned her back on them or gave up as Ron had done. Part of him believed that Hermione was the bravest and loyalist out of the three of them. She had never received help, never come close to giving up. Harry always had someone looking out for him, but Hermione had no one. Her parents didn't even know anything was going on. "Hermione, you need to take a step back. You look exhausted, sleep here and we'll look after Harry. Your parents are right; he needs time. None of us thought we'd ever move on from Fred; we never will completely but we have come to cope somewhat. Nobody died in vain, and Harry will remember that soon. We were all fighting out there, not for Harry but for ourselves. When he realises that, he will start to remember who he is. You're right; he has been through so much because of Voldemort, he has seen things no one should ever have to see. Remove yourself from the situation for a day, rest and you'll feel a lot better, I promise."

Ron was right, but she couldn't abandon Harry. "I can't. I can't just forget about him; he needs me."

"He needs the Hermione Granger he fell for, the powerful young woman. She needs rest." Ron stood up, "I'll ask Dad if we can have a big meal. Maybe you both need some time away from each other; you need a break. Take my bed; I'll wake you up when dinner is ready." Ron smiled.

"Thank you. Look after Harry for me?"

"Of course."

Although Hermione felt slightly guilty leaving Harry with Ron, they both used to snap each other out of phases in the past. Hoping Ron would get through to Harry, Hermione fell asleep. It was incredible; she hadn't experienced undisturbed sleep for what felt like years - this was the first time in a long time she wasn't scared about closing her eyes.

Several hours later, Ron quietly opened the door. He had Harry by his side, "She needs some sleep; you do too. You would feel better if you rested." Ron whispered. Harry looked longingly at the sleeping Hermione. He hated himself for putting her through everything he had. Even though his subconscious could feel this way, he wasn't able to bring himself out of this trance. Maybe if he talked about it to someone. "Harry?" Ron called out, breaking Harry's thoughts.

"You're right." He whispered. "We both need rest. But I need to talk to both of you."

Hermione heard this and instantly woke up. She had programmed herself to wake up when she heard Harry talking as he rarely did that anymore.

"Hermione?" Harry noticed she had jolted awake. "Sorry for waking you up." Hermione didn't care; she felt refreshed just because she was hearing Harry's voice for the first time.

"Don't worry." Hermione croaked. "What do you want to talk about?" Hermione looked right at Harry with a reassuring look that calmed him.

Before he started talking, Ron walked over and sat on the bed. He looked at Hermione and smiled as she mouthed the words 'Thank you'.

"First I need to thank you both for everything you have done. You didn't sign up to leaving Hogwarts a year early and going on a hunt that could have resulted in your deaths. I couldn't have done it without either of you." Hermione looked at Harry in amazement; he hadn't said more than five words ever since Voldemort's demise, and now he was making a heartfelt speech. "Hermione, I need to thank you for a hundred times over. You took me in when I was a mess, unresponsive and impossible to talk to. You never lost your temper or lashed out when anyone else probably would have done. You've honestly been amazing. Every time I close my eyes, I see and hear the things we experienced last year. It makes me feel terrified again which is why I have trouble sleeping. Sometimes I feel like I am reliving it all again in my mind, the sounds and the sights are so realistic that I feel I've been transported back in time. I don't know how to explain it, but sometimes I want to rip my eyes out so I won't have to see it all over again. I feel like everyone's death is my fault for not killing Voldemort sooner, and when I start to feel like that, I think of every life I could have saved if I was a month or a year quicker."

"Harry, you can't think like that, it'll drive you mad." Hermione cried.

"I know I've been impossible these past few months." Harry walked over to Hermione to hug her. "I will get better with time, I promise."

Hermione kissed his hands, "I know you will. You're strong." She whispered.

"Well, this is awkward." Ron laughed. "I'll leave you to it."

"Don't be stupid, Ron. Come here!" Harry said as he brought his two best friends into a tight hug. "I still need you, Ron." He laughed.


Hermione breathed a sigh of relief. Harry was on the mend, becoming the Harry Potter she had grown up with. The Weasleys, Harry and Hermione sat down to a big meal. Ginny and Mrs Weasley had pulled out all the stops. Hermione looked around at the red-headed family sat at the table and couldn't help but remember the one they were missing. She gazed over at the twin who was now the only party of the Weasley Twin double act. George seemed to be getting better but deep down, Hermione suspected, he felt alone and lost.

"Can I make a quick toast?" Hermione asked, interrupting the silence that had seemed to invade the room. Nobody spoke, their faces just showed expressions of willingness and longing for something to make this more 'homely' and 'Weasley like'. "As we sit around this table today, I can't help but notice that this family is one short. Fred was a pain; he was a handful, and he would always distract me from my homework." Hermione laughed, the others around the table did too. "Because of that, and because of his cheeky humour and wit, he will be greatly missed. He didn't die in vain, no one did. And his death will mean something by the survivors living a full and happy life." This bit was directed mainly at Harry. "And remember, only those who are forgotten are truly gone. We will always have the fond memories of Fred, keep those close, and we'll never need to say a proper farewell. To Fred and everyone else who lost their life fighting for the right!" Hermione's voice cracked.

"To Fred and everyone else!" They all called while raising their goblets in the air.

"That was beautiful," Harry whispered while squeezing her hand with his.

"Thank you." She smiled back. Her toast seemed to have worked; everyone began talking about the future, not looking back at the past.

"So, Harry, Hermione, have you thought about what you're going to do now?" Mrs Weasley asked cheerfully. "I've been trying to convince Ron that he needs to go back to Hogwarts and finish his NEWTs. You were so close, dear, might as well finish them now." She said to Ron.

"How many times have I told you, I don't want to go back to school. I want a job. Dad said he could help me get one in the Ministry." Ron moaned. "It would be so embarrassing going back and being in Ginny's classes."

"Why? Because you know I'm better than you?" Ginny laughed. Everyone else, except Ron, laughed too. Ron's cheeks were turning the colour of his hair.

"No. Because-because..." Ron didn't have time to give his reasons as Mrs Weasley brought the focus back to Harry and Hermione.

"You two will be going back to Hogwarts, right?" Mrs Weasley said somewhat forcefully.

"I haven't thought about it," Harry muttered. He had actually thought long and hard about it; he wanted to go back because he knew that Hermione wanted to, but he didn't know what it would be like without Snape and Dumbledore.

"I was going to go back," Hermione said. "But certain circumstances changed my mind."

"Me?" Harry asked bluntly.

"No, not just you," Hermione said weakly.

"Then what else?" He pressed.

"Let's not talk about this now," Hermione replied. This brought the awkwardness back into the room, and snippets of small talk accompanied the rest of the dinner.

*

"What was that about at dinner?" Harry moaned as Hermione, and he walked into the guestroom that the Weasley's had made up for them.

"It was nothing," Hermione replied.

"What other reasons do you have for not going back to Hogwarts?" Harry asked bluntly.

"I don't want to talk about this."

"So it is just me?" He grumbled.

"Yes. If you want to know the truth. I didn't want to leave you when you were in this state. I thought that it could send you over the edge."

"Oh, Hermione. Come here." He gestured for her to come over to him. "I don't ever want to stop you from doing what you want." She sat close to him as he wrapped his arms around her. She embraced his hug, happy that he was becoming Harry again.

"I don't want to leave you, though." Her head was resting on his shoulder. "I need you as much as you need me."

Harry thought about this; he didn't want Hermione not to go to Hogwarts, after all, she loved learning, loved spending hours upon hours in the library, learning more and more. "Let's go back to Hogwarts." Harry beamed.

"Really?!" Hermione lifted her head to look at Harry. "Why?"

Harry leant down and softly kissed her. "Because I love you and I love it there. We'll get Ron to come, and it will be just like old times."

Hermione couldn't keep the smile off of her face. She always dreamed of going back to Hogwarts and always wanted Harry and Ron to join her, but now it was coming true.

"Ron!" Harry called.

"What?" Ron replied as he stumbled into the scene. He clocked Harry and Hermione's compromising positioning and groaned, "Don't tell me, we're going back to Hogwarts?"

All Harry and Hermione could do was smile back at him.

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