…‘That wand’s more
trouble than it’s worth,’ said Harry, ‘And quite honestly,’ he turned away from
the painted portraits, thinking now only of the four-poster bed lying waiting
for him in Gryffindor tower, and wondering whether Kreacher might bring him a
sandwich there, ‘I’ve had enough trouble for a lifetime.’
As soon as they left Dumbledore’s
office, the exertions of the past day caught up with him. It seemed impossible
that only this morning he’d been at Shell Cottage…
He was so tired he
hardly knew how he got to Gryffindor tower. The fat lady was elsewhere, but the
portrait hole was swinging open in any case. He wondered what had happened, and
then decided that he was too tired to care. He parted company from Ron and
Hermione (who had, for some impenetrable reason had elected to stay downstairs
a while) and staggered up the spiral stairs, collapsing onto his bed at the top
without undressing. He knew he’d been gone all year, but it was still his bed.
He was still a Gryffindor, after all. Harry took off his glasses without
bothering to open his eyes and placed them on his bedside table. Indistinct
noises came up the stairs until he shut the door with his wand. There were some
things he didn’t want to know. After a while, Ron came up and also collapsed.
‘Well,’ Ron said. ‘We
‘Yeah,’ said Harry,
weariness washing over him. ‘We won.’ And as unconsciousness took him, the only
emotion he felt was that of tired joy. The joy of success.
* * *
Harry woke slowly –
with small bits of his dream merging into reality. When he fully awoke, he saw
that he’d been asleep for a long time: The shadows were short and the dormitory
was deserted. It must be nearly noon. He got up and dressed on automatic, then
walked down the stairs to the common room, which, as he had suspected, was
almost empty. Hermione and Ron weren’t there. He felt drained: not physically,
but emotionally. And when you think about
it, it gets worse he berated himself silently. So don’t think about it!
But he couldn’t stop
thinking about it. He saw, through the medium of memory, Voldemort trying to
kill him for the third time, using the Killing Curse for the third time, saw
him fail, for the third time… he saw Voldemort watch as the green light, yet
again turned on him… saw him fall under the terrible weight of it…
And just as he was
beginning to think he should throw himself out the window, and was staring at
it, he suddenly found himself staring instead into a pair of beautiful, brown
‘Wake up!’ yelled a
voice in his ear, and he turned from Ginny, the owner of the eyes, and saw Ron.
‘You’ve been asleep
for hours, now you’re awake, and going comatose! Come on, you need food.’
Harry almost agreed. Now he came to notice it, his stomach was growling
so loudly he thought they could hear it down in the Great
Hall. But Ginny was right here.
‘I’ll come down and
meet you in a bit, ok?’
Ron surveyed him, Hermione surveyed Ginny, and then both nodded. Harry
and Ginny watched them leave.
Harry looked back at Ginny.
Ginny looked back at Harry.
Harry cast around for something to say and hit on the events of last
night. But now he came to it, there was only one thing he thought Ginny would
want to discuss about it.
‘I was there when
Fred… you know…’
He looked up at Ginny, and saw tears pouring down her cheeks.
‘Yeah,’ she whispered,
‘Ah, Gin…’ he really
didn’t like seeing her cry. He got up from his chair and held her until her
tears subsided, then sat down again, pulling her down with him.
‘Yeah,’ she repeated.
‘Percy went after the Rookwood, the guy who did it, you know.’
‘Yeah, he did,’ said
Harry, remembering Percy’s charge. ‘Did he catch him?’
Ginny smiled a bit. ‘Yes, he did. He got
him. Stunned him, and he says he wished he’d done more, but he couldn’t,
because Macnair was after him. He got Macnair, too.’
Harry smiled at this. Percy, the fussy, boring Head
Boy interested in cauldron bottoms had floored at least two Death Eaters.
‘Did he get any
others?’ Harry wondered aloud.
‘Yeah, he got everyone
in that group.’
‘Yeah, wow. I don’t
even know where he learnt half the curses he used.’
‘Huh. What were the
‘Well, you saw that
one he used on the Minister, right?’ Ginny got up off his knee and sat on the
arm of his chair.
‘Lucky you, I didn’t.
But he used another one on Macnair that made him stick his leg right up until
it touched his ear, and another one that hung a guy upside down by his ankle…’
‘Yeah, I know that
‘Ha, yes, Ron told me
you used it on him once.’
Harry was having fun, they were chatting easily, but…
His stomach rumbled again, loud enough for Ginny to hear it.
She looked at him in amusement. ‘You’re
Harry winced from the
hunger pains. ‘Yeah. But the Ministry’ll be waiting for me down there, and I
don’t want to face them. So will the Prophet.
And a thousand other people. And I don’t want to see any of them.’ He looked at
Ginny beseechingly. ‘Reckon you could get enough for two and meet me back up
Ginny smiled again. ‘Sure.’
* * *
Ten minutes later, Ginny came back up with a basketful of food.
‘Ron and Hermione are
sitting very close together’ she
said, grinning, as she set it down.
‘And you were right –
Kingsley was down there, and so were a couple of people from the Prophet; Luna’s dad was there, McGonagall,
the Malfoys, all my family… about half the wizarding world was waiting for you
to show up.’
After a superb lunch, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny adjourned to the
grounds. Someone had cleared the bodies away, and even the grass was green
again… in the patches where
it could still grow; there were many where it never would again.
It was a beautiful
sunny day, the sky was a clear blue and the heat was unrelenting, as if the
day’s weather were trying to make people forget what had happened last night.
They all sat down next
to the lake. Harry noticed that Hermione and Ron were sitting very close
Ginny was looking at
Out of the corner of
his eye, he saw Ron take Hermione’s hand, but he just kept looking at Ginny,
drinking her in with his eyes.
‘Oi, Harry, me and
Hermione are going inside, ok?’ called Ron, breaking into his thoughts. Hermione must’ve whispered to him, thought
Harry. Ron could never have been accused of being tactful.
‘Ok, bye!’ he called
to their retreating figures, and then it was just him and Ginny.
They sat together,
looking out over the lake. Harry tried to think of something to say, but still,
he could only settle on last night.
So that’s what they
talked about. Harry recounted his story, and Ginny recounted hers. Tears were
shed, when Harry reached Fred’s death, when he remembered seeing Remus and Dora
stretched out together, eternally at peace…
‘And that means you’re
godfather now, doesn’t it?’ said Ginny. Harry started. He had forgotten.
‘Yeah, I am! I‘d
forgotten he asked…’
They concluded their stories, and sat in silence.
Harry reached out for her hand, and found it. He held it tight.
‘You missed me this
Ginny leant into him. ‘More
than anything on God’s good earth, Harry Potter.’