Whoops, forgot all about this first part. Well, here you go:
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. No, honest. Straight up. I know it's hard to believe. I'm still getting over the shock myself … Hmm, seriously though, I don't own him or the HP world or the characters – only my little plot. I am making no money from this, either. In fact I am spending money on internet dial-up. So, *Let's move it along*… enjoy. ~no more 3x5s~ Shezzly
Harry woke up on a spongy mattress in Ron Weasley's room, and remembered.
He remembered the darkness. He remembered Voldemort's fiery eyes. He remembered the skeletal body, the reptilian skin. He remembered the pain of Crucio, the loss of Imperio. He remembered reeling from a dozen other curses, ones he'd never heard of, and then the terrible, green light of his Avada Kedavra.
He remembered and remembered and remembered, in the sudden awareness of what had passed the previous term that came to him every morning.
He remembered Tonks falling, Lupin attempting to follow, but blocked on all sides by Death Eaters.
He remembered Lupin's anguish as he died, the way he called out names, as though in apology: "Tonks! Harry! Sirius! Tonks!"
He remembered Ron standing in front of a wounded Hermione, brandishing his wand, with a look on his face that Harry had never seen before – a steadfastness, a fury – and Hermione's tears.
And he remembered Dumbledore, struck down at the last, and now lying in a hospital bed at St Mungo's, placid and thin, a paper-frail old man.
It all swam through his head in the space of a few seconds, but a few seconds was enough. He preferred sleep – he never dreamed anymore, with the potions Madame Pomfrey had given him – because it was in his waking hours that he couldn't shut out his memories, or his depression, or his fear.
Harry sat upright and pushed his covers away. Ron was still asleep in his bed, mutteringly gently, his hair sticking up in all directions. He envied Ron – while he had certainly been affected by the events preceding this summer, he had an uncanny knack for looking beyond his bad memories and straight to the good. He thought about Lupin and Tonks, even Sirius, as the people they had been, and the good things they'd done together – Harry tried to, but always ended up remembering their deaths, and his own inability to do anything to stop them.
Besides, Ron had Hermione to take his mind off things. They'd been together since everything came to a head, and while in some respects they were the same old Ron and Mione – still fighting about the most ridiculous things – in other ways they were different. They were calmer, he supposed, and happier. Ron looked strangely content. Plus they were always sneaking off to snog – maybe that was it.
Harry sighed, considered going back to sleep, and then decided against it. When he stood, the floor creaked, and Ron sat up with a start.
"I don't wanna," he mumbled, eyes still half-closed. Then he opened them and saw Harry, who was half-smiling at him.
"Oh. Morning, Harry," Ron said, starting a yawn. "Jeez, you're up ea-a-a-a-r-ly."
"Only just past dawn," Ron went on, looking out the window and scraping a hand through his hair. He lay down again. "Go back to bed, you prat."
"I'm right," Harry said. He was looking for his jeans.
Ron watched him for a while, as though uncertain what to say, and then managed a tired: "Alright, then. I'm sleeping. 'Night."
Harry didn't say anything. He hated the occasional awkwardness between them. He hated that Ron was always choosing his words carefully so as not to upset him. And he didn't like being treated as though he had some kind of illness.
Everybody does the same, he thought, angry now, as he pulled his jeans on. It was true. Everybody tiptoed around him, except for Fred and George – who he didn't think knew how to tiptoe – and the practical Ginny Weasley, who spoke to him just as though nothing had happened.
No. Not as though nothing had happened. As though something had happened, but he was still the same person despite it.
He liked that about Ginny. She was so – dependable.
Harry headed downstairs. It was very quiet in the Weasley house in the mornings these days. Even Mrs Weasley slept in, and most people just fetched their own breakfast whenever they liked.
It was a far cry from the Dursley's, where he was lucky to even get breakfast. Harry thanked Merlin that Professor McGonagall (Acting Headmistress) had suggested he go home with Ron for the summer. He was glad – he hadn't wanted to ask, actually. But when he'd told Ron, he'd just looked surprised and said: "Course you're coming home with us. What do you think we are?"
The kitchen was still quite dark – the day was going to be overcast, he thought, and the sun was only just rising. Harry made straight for the counter, where some of last night's dinner was sitting on a serving dish, wrapped in an anti-bacterial charm. He spooned some of the food – chicken, potatoes, spotted dick – onto a small plate, and then used his wand to heat it. He was about to take it outside when a voice made him jump
It took him a few moments before he saw Ginny. She was sitting at the end of the kitchen table, a half-eaten bowl of cereal in front of her. He didn't know why he hadn't noticed her before – he hadn't been paying attention, he supposed.
"Morning, Ginny." He rejected the eating outside idea and went to sit beside her.
"Not too bad," he said honestly, digging in.
"No bad dreams?"
He looked at her sharply. She looked right back. It wasn't one of the concerned, full-of-pity questions that frustrated him so much. It was just a question.
"No," he said, still a little wary. "Madame Pomfrey gave me some dreamless sleep potion, so …"
He trailed off. Ginny nodded and went back to her breakfast. He did the same, but found himself watching her out of the corner of his eye. She'd cut her hair – it was shoulder length, now – and it fell about her face in soft waves. Her nose had more freckles across it than usual, now that it was summer, but it was oddly – endearing.
He quickly focussed on his breakfast. Ginny was endearing overall, he thought. That was just the way she was.
They finished their meals in silence. He was glad not to
have to talk. When they were done, Ginny took their dishes to the sink and
waved her wand at them. They promptly washed and dried themselves, and then put
Ginny smiled at him. He managed a smile back.
"What are you going to do today?" she asked.
Harry thought. He'd been at the Burrow two weeks so far, and had done a lot of wandering in the countryside. He'd also spent some time in Ron's room, reading old Chudley Cannons annuals, and played some half-hearted quidditch with Fred and George. He saw Ron and Hermione less than usual – they were constantly disappearing, or when they were around, spoke mostly to each other. Harry knew that they had had seven years of pretending they didn't fancy one another, and that there was – well, a lot of catching up to do. And he did want to be alone quite often, so it worked out reasonably OK.
Not that it didn't irk him, just a bit.
He started – he'd forgotten about her question.
"I don't know," he said. "Might go for a walk."
"We could go flying, if you wanted," she suggested. She sounded offhand, but she was facing the sink again, so he couldn't see her face.
"Mm. If you want."
He thought about it. Flying sounded fantastic. Still –
"Is your mum alright with you going off?" he asked uncertainly.
She turned to face him, half-smiling. "Mum's fine. She knows I'm OK. Besides, I won't be on my own – you'll be there."
"Right," he agreed. "Well, I'll go get my broom."
"Mine's out in the shed. I'll meet you there in ten minutes?"
She went out the kitchen door, and Harry took the stairs two at a time. He'd almost forgotten how good flying was – not just quidditch, but flying. He was suddenly itching to get up in the sky.
In the corridor outside Ron's room, he banged directly into someone coming out of the bathroom. It was Hermione, wrapped in a dressing-gown. Her hair was wet.
"Ow," she said irritably, and then looked up – Harry had gotten taller these last few years – and realised it was him.
"Oh. Good morning, Harry."
"Morning," he said, and opened the door to Ron's room. She followed him.
"Where are you going in such a hurry?" she asked.
"Me and Ginny are going flying."
Ron was struggling awake again. "Whozat? Whozere?" he was saying wildly. Hermione moved to sit on the end of his bed and poked him while Harry looked for his broom maintenance kit.
"Hey," she said. "It's me."
He opened his eyes properly, and then grinned. "Hermione. You're on my bed. You hussy."
She slapped his arm lightly, and then looked at him with meaningful eyes. "Hey – Harry's going flying with Ginny."
"Really?" He looked pleased.
"Yeah," Harry said, clipping the ends of his broom, very business-like.
"Well, good," Ron said. "Excellent."
Hermione whispered something in his ear and he nodded.
"What's up with you two?" Harry said, a bit puzzled, and still not looking at them. He assumed it was some boyfriend-girlfriend thing.
"Nothing," Ron said, trying to keep the smile off his face. "It's just good that you're – you know, getting out and all."
"Yes, Harry," Hermione said. "It's good to see you yourself."
He packed up his broom kit. "I am myself," he said.
"I know – I mean, we know," said Hermione hastily. "Just you've been a bit down lately."
"I wonder why," Harry muttered, taking hold of his broom.
Hermione looked at the floor, and Ron looked at her. Neither of them knew what to say. Harry felt a little guilty, but then pushed it away. They didn't understand – it's not that they didn't want to, they just couldn't. He sighed.
"I'll see you when I get back," he said, and left.
Ron and Hermione sat where they were for a little while, and then Hermione looked up, tears in her eyes.
"Hey," Ron said gently, and pulled her to him. She sniffed into his pyjama top.
"I hate it when he's like that," Hermione said.
"I don't know what to say to him."
She looked up into his face. "But Ginny'll be good for him."
Ron shrugged. "Here's hoping. And maybe they'll end up – you know. That would be better for him, I think."
"You can't force those things."
"I don't mean forcing, I mean it might just – happen."
"A lot of things might just happen. I don't think Ginny even likes Harry that way anymore."
"Hermione," Ron said, lying back on his pillow and pulling
her with him. "Don't argue with me, because I'll never win that way."
She laughed and snuggled up beside him, his arm around her. She knew it was a bit silly, but she wanted to see Ginny and Harry together too. It would be almost like a fairy-tale, the four of them.
"What are you thinking about?" Ron asked softly.
"Harry and Ginny. What are you thinking about?"
"I'm not sure you want to know."
She laughed and slapped him again.