A/N: Because I have no self control and because I love you guys, I'm posting the first chapter of my new Harmony story now. Be warned: there is NO, I repeat, NO definitive update schedule right now as I start summer classes on Monday and I don't know how busy my schedule will be.
Good luck to everyone studying for finals and Congratulations to the Class of 2016! Here's to a great summer!
Harry woke up the morning of May 3rd with a pounding in his head, his body screaming in pain, and still utterly exhausted. If it were up to him, he'd still be asleep but his body seemed to have other ideas and insisted that he wake up. He groaned and opened his eyes to his dorm room. It had only been a year since he had last been in there but it felt much longer than that; it felt like decades, almost.
Sitting up and stretching out his sore limbs, he looked around the room. Ron, Seamus, and Dean were all still fast asleep while Neville was nowhere to be found. Harry shrugged, not thinking much about it.
Getting out of bed was a struggle, considering how sore he was, but he forced himself to move and get into the shower. The second he stepped in, he sighed in relief as the hot water ran over his sore muscles and injured body. He watched as the water washed the dirt, smoke, and dried blood off his body and down the drain. As he watched, he laughed as the symbolism behind the washing away of the previous day meant: a cleaning of the past, washing away all your troubles, a fresh start. He chuckled to himself as he thought what Hermione would think of that. "How Freudian," she'd probably say.
When the water began to run clear, Harry finished up his shower then stepped out, wrapping a towel around himself. He realized that he had no clean clothes to change into and frankly, dreaded the idea of changing back into his burned, smelly clothes from before but didn't have much of a choice otherwise.
He was surprised to find, however, when he walked back into the dorm that an elf had laid out clothes for him and was currently doing the same for Ron. When the elf saw him, he stopped and looked at Harry, unsure what to do. Harry simply nodded in thanks and the little elf smiled and returned the nod, finished laying out Ron's clothes, then disappeared with a 'pop.'
Harry threw on the fresh clothes that the elf had laid out for him (noticing that his and Ron's beat up clothes were now gone), grabbed his wand, and walked downstairs to find the common room empty except for one person.
Hermione was looking out the window, her arms wrapped around herself, a small smile on her face. She turned when she heard footsteps and smiled at Harry. "Hey."
"Hey," he smiled. He joined her at the window to see what she was looking at. Ginny and Neville were wandering the grounds, talking, and holding hands. Neville said something that made Ginny laugh and he smiled at her before placing a soft kiss on her lips. When Ginny wrapped her arms around Neville's neck, deepening the kiss, Hermione and Harry turned away to give the couple some privacy. Hermione looked at Harry, expecting him to be upset, but instead he had a smile on his face. "You're not upset?" she asked.
"About Neville and Ginny?" he asked. He shook his head. "Nah; I adore Ginny but I don't think it would have worked out in the end. She and Neville are good for each other. I'm happy for them." She smiled and nodded in understanding. "How about you and Ron?" Harry asked. "How are things in that department?"
She shook her head. "Not going. We talked last night after you went to bed. We agreed that we're better off as friends."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
She nodded. "Really; we're just too different. Opposites may attract for a while but, I think, after some time we would have started to drive one another crazy. It's better we just nip it in the bud while we can before either one of us got hurt."
"Ron was okay with that?" he asked.
"It was his idea," she said, smiling at Harry's surprised expression. "I know; but he can be perceptive and thoughtful at times."
Harry chuckled at that. They stood in silence for a moment before both of them threw their arms around each other and held one another in a tight embrace. Both had tears streaming down their faces and were shaking but only held on tighter. "Is it really over?" Hermione asked, her voice cracking.
Harry nodded and pulled back to look at her, smiling. "Yeah, it is."
She returned his smile and wiped a few tears away from his face. "Now what?" she asked.
Harry laughed and shook his head. "I have no idea."
She chuckled and sniffed, looking at her watch. "Breakfast isn't for another thirty minutes. Want to take a walk?"
Harry nodded and linked his arm with hers as they walked out of the common room and around the castle. As they walked, they talked. "How do you feel, Harry?" Hermione asked.
Harry thought about it for a moment before answering. "Honestly, I'm not sure. I feel lighter; like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, but I also feel like I should be relieved."
"But you're not…" Hermione said.
He nodded. "I- I don't feel anything. I just… I feel numb."
She nodded and squeezed his hand. "That's understandable, Harry. You've had so much weighing you down for as long as you could remember and, all of a sudden, all of it's gone. It's a lot to take in; I'd honestly be worried if you had a clear understanding of what you were feeling right now. The fact that you're numb is completely normal. Give it time. You'll either feel everything at once or begin to feel it all, piece by piece. It's a part of adjusting to everything that's happened and only after you begin to adjust, you'll begin to heal."
Harry smirked at her. "What book did you read that out of?"
She chuckled and shook her head. "My dad was in the military before he met my mum. When I was little, he used to tell me stories about the missions he and his mates would go on and how one of them would always end up in some sort of trouble. It wasn't until I got older that I realized just how serious those situations were. When I asked my dad how he coped with everything he had seen after he retired, he told me that it took him a long time to heal and, for a time, he had to see a therapist because it was so hard for him to adjust to civilian life. He used to struggle with nightmares a lot but eventually, time healed a lot of his wounds; just like it will heal yours and mine and everyone else's."
He gave her a small smile and squeezed her arm. "What are you going to do about your parents, anyway?"
She sighed. "First chance I get, I'm heading out to Australia to go get them and bring them home. I just hope they won't be angry with me for what I did."
"I'm sure they'll understand, Hermione," Harry reassured her.
"I hope you're right, Harry," she said. As they reached the main entrance, they spotted Kingsley and McGonagall talking by the entrance. The two adults waved them over and the young pair walked to the new Minister of Magic and Headmistress, respectively.
"Good morning, Mr. Potter, Miss Granger," McGonagall said. "I trust you slept well."
They both nodded. "Better than I've slept in a while," Hermione answered and Harry nodded in agreement.
Kingsley smiled at that. "I'm glad to hear that. I wanted to speak with you two about something, if you have a moment?"
Hermione and Harry glanced to each other before nodding. "You're more than welcome to my office, if you'd like, Minister," McGonagall said.
Kingsley shook his head. "That won't be necessary until later, Minerva; thank you, though." He looked back to Harry and Hermione. "I wanted to ask you two if you had thought about what you were going to do now that the war is over. You're more than welcome to return to Hogwarts and retake your seventh year; however, if you've had your fill of education, you can sit your NEWTs at the Ministry and I will be more than happy to offer you a position in any department of your choice. It's the least we can do for you after all that you've done for us and the world. This offer is also for Mr. Weasley, of course, but I will have to tell him this in due time as I see that he is not here."
Harry looked to Hermione and saw that she was biting her lip- a nervous habit she had- and looked back to Kingsley, speaking for the both of them. "Would you mind if we thought about your offer Kingsley? It's quite a lot to take in."
Kingsley smiled and nodded. "Of course. Let me know whenever you've made your decision. The offer is indefinite."
"Thank you, Kingsley," Harry said and Hermione nodded her thanks as well. McGonagall clapped her hands together and smiled. "Well, now that that's established, I believe breakfast has just been served. You are more than welcome to join your classmates in the dining hall if you'd like or, if you'd prefer somewhere a little more quiet, you may dine in the kitchens. After breakfast and Mr. Weasley has joined us, I'd like the three of you to meet me in my office. There is a lot that needs to be discussed."
"Yes, Professor," Hermione said. "Thank you; both of you."
Kingsley and McGonagall nodded to the pair and wandered into the dining hall, leaving Harry and Hermione by the entrance. Hermione sighed and looked at Harry. "Want to eat in the kitchens?"
He nodded and they walked to the kitchens in a comfortable silence. The elves smiled at them when they arrived and fussed over getting them anything they wanted for breakfast. Harry knew that Hermione must have been beyond exhausted since she didn't even bother to try to talk the elves out of catering to her every whim.
They were halfway through breakfast when Ron walked into the kitchens. "G'morning," he yawned, sitting down next to Harry. An elf placed a plate of food in front of Ron with a glass of pumpkin juice next to it and immediately Ron perked up and began to eat. Harry was pleased that things didn't seem to be tense between Hermione and Ron; when he glanced at Hermione, he smiled when he saw her shoulders sag in relief at that fact as well.
"Are many people awake?" Hermione asked.
Ron nodded then swallowed. "There's quite a few people up in the dining hall and a small amount of people are wandering the halls and grounds." He took another bite of eggs before speaking again, this time with his mouth full. "Did meifer Mmonamall or Minksey salk to you?"
Hermione grimaced and handed Ron a napkin while Harry bit back a laugh. "I'm sorry, was that English?"
Ron rolled his eyes and swallowed, using the napkin Hermione gave him to clean his face. "I said did either McGonagall or Kingsley talk to you?" They nodded. "Have you decided what you're going to do?" he asked.
Hermione shrugged. "I can't think about that right now; I need to get my parents back. After that, then I'll think about my future."
Ron nodded in understanding and looked to Harry who shrugged. "I have no damn clue what I'm going to do."
Ron started to laugh. "Neither do I." The trio burst into hysterical laughter, startling the elves and leaving the small creatures to question whether or not it had been a good idea to feed their guests so much food in one sitting.
P.S. Well, there's the first chapter. Hope you liked it!
Fair warning, there will be some time jumps in this story (only forward, no back and forth stuff) but I will put a little note at the beginning of each chapter so you guys can keep track of where we are in the story.
A Pinterest board for this story will be posted soon so that you can see Facecasts of characters and other things that might pop up in the story later. Link is on my profile.