Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling and her associates own everything having to do with Harry Potter. As much as I wish it, I'm not her or an associate. I simply have things pop in my head that have to be written out or I'd probably go crazy.
Summary: Harry has realized his feelings for Ginny, and now that the war is over, he should be able to pursue a relationship with her. But how will the rest of the Weasley family feel?
A/N: This idea started as a short one-shot, 5,000 words max, but I got a little carried away. Then I though, long one-shot? Then I still added more. Now, I've decided to make it a chaptered story. I'm planning on updating about once a week, but I may break and do it every few days, or get stuck/busy and skip a week. I'm aiming for once a week though.
"Ginny, I," Harry trailed off, unable to put to words what he wanted to say.
They were sitting by the lake at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ron and Hermione were in the owlery, sending letters to their parents for permission to stay in Hogsmeade for a few days following end of term. They had finished their N.E.W.T.s earlier that afternoon and had a week left. One week and their Hogwarts lives would be over.
Harry wasn't sure how he felt about that. For the past seven years, Hogwarts had been his home – his first that he could remember. It had also been the cause of great pain. He hadn't had any loved ones, or even friends, before learning of the wizarding world. However, since finding the people who meant so much to him, he had lost more than he ever thought possible as a child.
He knew that magic was an essential part of his life now. He would feel empty without it, but he sometimes wondered if he would have been better off had Hagrid never found him on that rock. Not that he didn't immensely care for all those who had become like family. He just didn't want to feel the pain anymore.
The losses were easier to bear when his friends were around, which was why Ron and Hermione were currently writing their parents for permission to stay with him for a few days. Harry smiled as he remembered Ron's words during their conversation following their last exam ever, Transfiguration.
"Ahh, it's great to be done, finally. No more homework, exams, detentions, or Slytherins!" Ron said with a dramatically relieved sigh.
Harry was quiet a moment and muttered, "No more friends, common room, or Quidditch."
Ron turned to him with a shocked face. "What do you mean no more friends? We'll see each other all the time. And don't even joke about no more Quidditch. If we have to convince Dumbledore or McGonagall to let us back in here once a week to play, we will. Plus, we can always go to the Burrow and play there. The clearing is smaller than the pitch here, but mum would love it if we came by that often." He paused, then in a more serious tone said, "It'll be alright, Harry. You'll see."
Harry only nodded. He didn't think he could speak without getting choked up by emotions, and that was embarrassing enough with Hermione, much less Ron.
Ron slapped him on the back in friendly reassurance and had an idea, "Hey, why don't we come and stay with you for a week or so after term? Me and Hermione? It would be great, just the three of us relaxing and having fun without anything to worry about." They didn't have to worry about Voldemort, having been defeated just over three weeks ago. Harry didn't want to think about that.
"Sure, it would be great to have you there. We could invite the twins and Ginny over some too." Harry liked the idea, but didn't want to push Ron into it. He had his own life to live, which he could do with less threats now. Sure, there were a few rogue Death Eaters here and there, but they were quickly being hunted and caught.
"Oy, Hermy! Come here a second!" Ron yelled across the common room to their other best friend.
Hermione came over with a scowl on her face. "Ronald Weasley, how many times do I have to tell you not to call me that!?"
Ron put on an innocently puzzled face and remarked, "Well, you let Grawp call you that. Why can't I?" he pouted pathetically. Harry couldn't hold in his snickers anymore, and even Hermione's face cracked. She looked away to hide it, but they both saw and grinned at each other. She needed to relax after the N.E.W.T.s.
"Honestly, Ron. Do you really want to be of the same intelligence and linguistic level as Grawp? I happen to know you have the ability to say my full name and expect you to do so." She grinned again, "Did I just sound like McGonagall?"
The boys nodded with mock-horrified looks. Harry asked, "Does this mean we have detention?" The three laughed themselves to the floor after that. It felt so good after the recent stresses. Between destroying Voldemort and preparing for exams, there had been a severe lack of laughter from the three Gryffindors, which many people had noticed. Others in the common room looked over at them and smiled, happy that their housemates were able to put their worries behind them for a time.
"Now, what did you need that required you to yell across the room?" Hermione asked.
Ron shook his head and looked at Harry then Hermione. "Well, I was thinking it would be fun to spend a week or so with Harry after end of term. What do you think?"
Hermione was thoughtful for a minute. She always tried to go over every detail and angle before giving an answer to important questions. She looked back up at them and smiled. "I think it's a brilliant idea, Ron. Harry, would you mind us intruding on your new place for a few days?"
Harry grinned, then wore a put out face. "Well, I suppose if I must." He smiled again and spoke in a quieter voice. "I'd really appreciate it, but I understand if you have other things to do." He didn't really expect his friends to spend more time with him when they could go home to their families. After all, they spent the whole school year together. Who was he to ask for more time than that?
"Don't be silly, Harry. I'd love to spend the week with you. It will be interesting to see Hogsmeade without the whole of third through seventh year students milling about. I'll just owl my parents and tell them. You better too, Ron. You don't want your mother to worry when you don't get on the train home," she lectured.
"I know, I know." Ron looked at Harry and must have noticed his anxious look. "Hey, don't worry, mate. It's not like mum's going to stop me from coming with you. Even if she said no, what can she do? I'm of age and done with school, now. I'll come over anyway."
Harry smiled a little sadly at them. "Even so, it might be better if you asked if you could come instead of just telling them that you are. I don't want to cause anymore problems in your family," Harry mumbled to his knees.
"Harry," Ron said warningly.
"I know, Percy wasn't my fault… but still, I was part of the reason…" Harry stopped, knowing he would get a lecture he really wasn't up for at the moment.
"You never were, and never will be a cause of problems in my family. Get that through your thick head, Potter," Ron said with a reassuring smile. "Whether I ask or tell, the result will be the same. I'm coming over, and that's that. You're stuck with me for a week. HA!"
Harry laughed. He felt bad that he always seemed to drag the mood down lately. He decided just to trust that his friends would do what was best for them and their families, and if that included visiting him, great. If not, well, he wouldn't think about that until it happened.
"It's a beautiful day out. Lets go outside," Hermione begged like a young child, causing Harry and Ron to laugh again. Harry wasn't stupid; he knew his friends were concerned about him. He could see the relief in their faces every time he laughed or even smiled a real smile.
Harry nodded, and they all made their way toward the portrait hole. Ginny was just coming in when they were leaving.
"Hey, Ginny, want to come outside with us?" asked Harry.
"Sure, just let me drop off my books. Is it fair to have homework assignments after exams are over?" she asked exasperated.
She went up the stairs to her dorm and Ron and Hermione turned to Harry. "We're going to go to the owlery first to send letters home about visiting you. Want to meet us by the lake?" asked Hermione.
"Alright," agreed Harry. He was nervous and unaccountably excited to spend a few minutes alone with Ginny. Naturally, he knew why that was, but he tried to squash it down.
He had realized sometime over the past few months that he cared for her in a different way than he did for Ron or Hermione. At first he thought it was like a pseudo-little sister thing, but he was forced to admit that wasn't the case when he saw her one evening staring sadly into the sunset after her last boyfriend broke up with her. He had such an overwhelming urge to go to her and tell her that she was beautiful and perfect and that anyone who would give her up was making the biggest mistake in the world. Instead, he had just called to her and told her to come in because it wasn't safe out after dark.
He had become the person she talked to about her failing relationships. He had heard somewhere that being put in the 'friend' position automatically put him out of the running for the 'boyfriend' position. He hoped that wasn't true, but he was too afraid to lose her friendship to risk it for more. She had moved past him years ago, and he just had to accept it. He could do that if it meant she was happy.
Ginny appeared before him with a wide smile. "Hello? Are you in there, Harry?" she asked with a giggle.
The giggle sent a blush to his pale cheeks. "Sorry, I just kind of drifted off, I guess. Ron and Hermione went to send some letters. They'll meet us by the lake when their done."
"Ok, let's go. We've been trapped in this place too long. I want to enjoy the sun again." Her smile caused Harry to smile as they walked along the corridors and secret passages down to the doors.
It seemed most of the school was taking advantage of the nice day and new feeling of security out on the grounds. Students were everywhere, throwing balls, playing chase games, or just lounging in the lush grass. They walked by observing the activity around them. Harry had a hard time letting his guard down and fully expected a Death Eater to jump out of the bushes any minute. A friendly hand on his shoulder gave him some comfort, and he tried to relax with a smile of appreciation. Ginny just smiled back as they sat in their old place by the lake.
Ginny put him at ease with a smile. He knew he was hooked, and he couldn't stand the thought of her being with someone else. Worse was the thought of her running away in distress if he told her how he felt. An inner voice told him to be honest with her; she deserved that much. She was a mature girl. She probably wouldn't spit in his face. But what would he do if she confirmed that she didn't like him anymore? What would he do if she did like him? He wasn't sure which would be worse. If she liked him too, then he'd have to worry about her brothers, something he did not want to face.
"Harry," she interrupted his thoughts, "Is anything wrong?"
He shook his head in the negative and shifted his stare to the water when he realized he had been looking at her the entire time. He had to tell her.
That brought him to this moment. He felt like a coward. Although, now that he was out of school, was he necessarily a Gryffindor anymore?
"Ginny, I'm really glad we became friends," he rushed out.
She smiled widely, apparently happy that nothing was wrong with him. "I am too, Harry. It's going to be so weird next year without you and Ron and Hermione. I can't believe I'll be in seventh year! Sometimes I still feel like a little kid, you know?"
He didn't know. How was a little kid supposed to feel? He'd never been a normal, carefree child, but he nodded anyway.
"Ron and Hermione are writing their parents about coming to my place with me after term for a few days or a week or so. Would you want to visit too? You wouldn't have to come for the whole time." He felt like an idiot. Why would she want to visit him? He was just her brother's best friend. She wouldn't want to give up part of her holiday to see him.
"That would be great, Harry! We'll have so much fun!" she exclaimed.
He looked at her in shock, and quickly collected himself. "Yeah, I hope your mum lets you come over… But it's ok if she doesn't. I won't be mad at her or anything. I –"
"Harry, it's ok," said Ginny. "I'll ask her if it'll make you feel better, but I'm coming over no matter what she says."
Harry smiled at that. "Thanks, but you can't go against your family just to visit your pathetic friend, you know."
"You're not pathetic. Ron is pathetic coming back to live at home when he should be moving out on his own. If I didn't think mum would hex me for moving out early, I'd probably be finding a place myself. I don't think I'll move back home after next year, or not for long at least."
Ron and Hermione sat next to them on the soft grass after their leisurely walk across the grounds.
"All set, mate. Oh, and I asked about Ginny too since you mentioned having her and the twins over at some point," Ron informed him.
Ginny thanked him and Harry nodded.
Harry lay down and allowed himself to doze in the presence of his best friends. He was safe with them and gave in to this minor luxury. He had been overtired since his last confrontation with Voldemort. He was only let out of the hospital wing on the day N.E.W.T.s started and hadn't been following Pomfrey's orders about proper rest.
He was semiconscious for almost a week following the battle. The next week was spent doing nothing but laying about in the infirmary and studying. Dumbledore had excused him from the exams this year, so he could study more and take them with next year's seventh years. Harry had declined the offer. He wanted to move on with his life, even though he wasn't sure how to go about doing that. Besides, he'd studied steadily before the fight with Voldemort. That combined with a week in the infirmary with nothing to do but revise was more than enough preparation. He was actually positive about his test results this year.
He dozed in and out while the slight breeze ruffled his fringe. This was the life he wanted. Just sitting around with friends, not having a care in the world. Well, that part wasn't completely true; he was worried about the un-apprehended Death Eaters and what he would do with his future. He had plenty of time to figure it out, though, and the Death Eaters would be caught. He just had to remember to think positively. He was also worried about Remus, but he didn't let himself think about that in the brightness of daylight. His nightmares were enough.
He was roused sometime later by Ron. "Hey, mate, we have to go in for supper in a few minutes. You feeling alright?" he asked only allowing a small amount of worry in his voice.
It annoyed Harry a bit, but he never said anything about it. It was amazing to him that his friends cared so much for him. And it wasn't without reason that they would worry about him. Since the being released from the hospital wing, he'd had two slightly scary episodes of extreme exhaustion. Madam Pomfrey had explained to him that it was a result of the mixture of curses and hexes, combined with his lethal injuries and only time and rest would cure it. So, she'd given him a potion to help in those cases and instructions to get as much rest as possible, which included about ten hours of sleep per night. Harry wondered if he'd ever slept that long, not counting prolonged unconsciousness in the infirmary.
"I'm alright, just stayed up too late studying for Transfiguration. Ugh, don't tell Madam Pomfrey I've been staying up late. She'll probably tie me down in the infirmary. No more exams so we can go to bed at a normal time, right?"
Ron nodded with a grin, "Right. Although, it seems a shame to waste the last week of school by going to bed early…"
Harry grinned, thinking about all the mischief they could get into now and not have to worry about getting expelled or too many detentions.
Hermione scowled. "Ron, don't encourage him. He's not supposed to tire himself. If you go gallivanting off in the middle of the night, Harry probably will end up back in the hospital wing!"
Harry tried to calm her before a fight started, "Hermione, it's alright. We were just joking anyway. I know I need to rest, alright? Don't worry, Hermy, I'll take care of myself."
"Why you little –" Hermione grumbled. "Why must you two continue to call me that ridiculous name?"
Ginny laughed. "It's all about reactions, Hermione."
"Yes, well. We should head to dinner."
The rest of the week went well for most everyone. The last few classes of the term were quite unproductive, but fun nonetheless. Many of the professors showed them spells good for everyday use. They even baked a cake in charms, using nothing but various spells. Flitwick even showed them a flavor charm, in case their home recipes didn't come out exactly correct.
Ron and Hermione both heard from their parents, who had no problems with the teens plans. Hermione's were a little apprehensive about having their daughter stay with two boys for an entire week, but she sent an owl back informing them that Ginny and Ron's older brothers would be around also. That seemed to ease some of their worry.
The leaving feast was an exciting event, as usual. Harry was a little nervous about going. He was sure Dumbledore would say something about Voldemort. How could he not? The monster was finally gone. But Harry really didn't want the spotlight again. It was just starting to die down from the actual event, and he didn't know if he could stand it again, even for a day.
Dumbledore rose from his seat amidst cheers and whistles with a bright smile. "Good evening students and staff. The end of another eventful year is upon us. Before we celebrate, let there be a moment of silence for those who have fallen, from life or from the light."
Harry immediately thought of Sirius, Remus, his parents, Cedric, and Peter Pettigrew. Other students had died in the war, but Cedric was always the first in his mind, being the first to have died at the hands of the enemy from his point of view. He knew there were others, Bertha Jorkins and the old muggle man, but he witnessed Cedric's death. It stood out in his mind like Sirius's and his parent's.
Harry had learned from Remus that Peter wasn't always the cruel man he had turned into. So, when thinking of the fallen, he gave a moment to the young Peter. The boy who had been killed by the darkness and turned into a servant of evil.
He didn't put much thought toward Remus. That wound was too fresh and raw to give a mere moment in the Great Hall. Likewise, he steered away from his parents and Sirius after only a short time. Remus's death was difficult to accept, because there was no body. No one ever found him. The Ministry said they were still searching, but Harry knew better. They weren't wasting their resources on a werewolf. The thought made him bitter and he veered off before he threw a fit in front of everyone.
Dumbledore continued, "Let us remember this time. It would not do to forget the darkness and what it can do. At the same time, we cannot live in fear of what may come or evil has already won. Live your lives to the fullest and enjoy the happy times. Now, let us take pleasure in the wonderful food and company here tonight. Tuck in!"
The four friends left with the rest of the students the next day on the carriages that would take them to Hogsmeade station. They waved goodbye to the other students and watch the Hogwart's Express for a long moment. Finally, when the train was completely gone from sight, they levitated their trunks and walked through the village. Harry had acquired a small cottage a few streets down from the main street where all the shops were. It had already been warded by Remus, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, and Tonks, so Harry knew it would be safe for him and his friends.
They had only seen a picture of the front, and Harry had only been inside once, which was a few months ago. He was excited to have his own place, but it made him slightly depressed that he didn't have a family home to go to when all was said and done. He was alone again. He took a deep breath and forced his emotions back under control. This cottage was supposed to be for him and Remus to share when Harry was finished with school.
He felt comforting arms around his shoulders from both sides – Ginny and Hermione. He tried to smile for them, but his mouth simply wouldn't obey, so he dropped his head again and opened the door.
The front door opened into a short hallway with the living room off to the right and the kitchen on the left. The bathroom and two bedrooms were at the end of the hall. It was a simple one floor house with all the necessities, but not much more than that. He liked it. He had heard rumors about himself that he would be buying Malfoy mansion or some other such ridiculous plans. He didn't want a huge house. If it was going to be just him, he would rather have a smaller empty space than a larger one.
He finally managed a smile when he entered the living room, where he saw a large bowl of lemon drops on one end table and a stack of chocolate frogs on the other. They all put their trunks away and sat down on the comfortable furniture in the living room. Harry didn't know where it came from, but suspected that Dumbledore must have picked it out from the rather amazing colors displayed.
"Great couch, Harry," said Ginny looking at said piece of furniture. It had a scene of a sunny day in a garden on it. The flowers moved in an unseen breeze and butterflies would make an occasional appearance. The other chairs around the room didn't have pictures on them, only brightly colored patterns. He guessed every color in existence was in this one room. It was an odd thought.
"I'm going to have to ask Dumbledore where he shops," Harry replied with an amused shake of the head.
"What are we having for lunch?" asked Ron.
Hermione didn't say anything for once, although she did roll her eyes behind his back. Harry chuckled and walked into the kitchen.
"I'm not sure if I have any food here or not. We might have to go out and buy some things for the next few days." No sooner had he finished his statement and there was a loud CRACK!
Harry had his wand out and poised to fire a curse before the others turned around. Ron was quickly ready for a fight also. He and Harry unconsciously stood in front of the girls, who both had their wands drawn as well.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief when he heard a squeaky voice from the hall. "Is Master Harry needing anything, sir?"
"Dobby," Harry said in exasperation. "What are you doing here?"
"Dobby is helping Master Harry getting settled in. Dobby only wants to help, Master Harry, sir," the small elf said apologetically. Ginny and Ron were trying not to laugh and Hermione looked torn.
"Er, thanks, Dobby. I was just wondering if I had any food in the house."
"Master Harry has good food. Dobby makes sure Master Harry's house is prepared, sir. Does Master Harry want Dobby to prepare lunch for him and his friends?" he asked eagerly.
"Well, I can probably make it myself… Does Professor Dumbledore know you're here?" Harry asked.
"Master Dumbledore gives Dobby two days off a week to help Master Harry," Dobby replied. Harry groaned quietly.
"Er, I'm not going to have much for you to do Dobby. Maybe you could use those days for making socks," Harry suggested lamely, although Dobby's eyes lit up at the mention of socks.
"Dobby wants to help, sir. Dobby can help Master Harry and still make socks," Dobby reassured Harry.
Harry was too tired to argue with an overly-helpful house elf, so he just accepted the help, but insisted that they would do the chores together. Dobby was a little uncertain of that, but nodded excitedly all the same.
After they were all well fed and the house was spotless, Dobby left and the other four laughed at his antics. Harry figured it would be nice to have someone stopping in twice a week once his friends went on with their summers.
They decided to walk around the village and find decorations for Harry's house. Even though it was well furnished, there wasn't much in the way of wall decorations.
They walked into a new shop on a side street off the main road. It was called 'Muggle Magic.' The store was full of muggle inventions that were spelled to work with magic instead of electricity. Harry was excited to see things like a toaster and blender among the items. He preferred cooking the muggle way, since that's what he had experience with, but he knew that it would be next to impossible to get electricity in the all wizarding village. He bought the kitchen items along with three lamps (two for the living room and one for his bedroom) and a television. He had never had the opportunity to watch much tv when he was younger, because he wasn't allowed, and he wanted to see if it was as great as his cousin and old classmates thought. He added a VCR upon Hermione's suggestion and they picked out a few videos from the small selection. He shrunk the items and pocketed them as they left the store.
"Anyone up for a butterbeer?" he asked. They all agreed and headed to the Three Broomsticks to see Madam Rosmerta.
It was an odd sight to see the pub without students seated all over. Harry immediately decided he liked it better this way. They had their pick of tables and the service would be quick.
"Good afternoon to you all. It's good to see my favorite customer again, Mr. Potter," she winked at him and he blushed.
"That was an accident. I didn't mean to buy a round for everyone in here… it just sort of happened," he stammered. His friends were all laughing out right at him and he blushed even more.
"Yes, well, tricking the new help into giving you firewhiskey must have been an accident too. Am I right?" she asked with an accusing eye.
This time both Harry and Run blushed. "Ah, yes, ma'am."
She smiled at them and chuckled. "The young are so easily embarrassed. So, what would you like today?"
Harry glanced at everyone and said, "Just four butterbeers today. By the way, how is Chad?" Harry asked after the help she had hired earlier that year.
"I'm afraid you frightened him off, Harry," she said sadly. Harry paled and started to apologize, but she stopped him. "I was joking, dear. He was hired on at Gringotts in Rome two weeks ago. I haven't found a replacement yet."
"You haven't?" asked Harry interestedly.
"No. Why, are you interested?" she asked teasingly.
"Yeah, actually. What are the requirements?" he asked.
She was shocked for a moment, which pleased Harry, as not many could shock the barmaid. When she finally found herself, her tone was disbelieving. "Oh really, Mr. Potter, be serious."
"I am, ma'am. I need something to do, and I was hoping to get a job in town somewhere at least for the summer. I understand, though, if I'm too young or something," he said hurriedly. He didn't want to make her uncomfortable with his request.
"I tell you what, Mr. Potter. You come back in a week after thinking about it some more and we'll talk then. How's that?"
"Sure. Thank you."
She walked away but Harry could have sworn he heard her mutter, "Imagine, the Boy-Who-Lived working in a pub. Unbelievable, that boy."
"Harry, do you really want to work here?" asked Hermione curiously.
"Well, I hadn't really thought about it, but I think it would be fun. I need a job anyway, and I don't think I'd get bored working here. It wouldn't be permanent, but I need some time to think about where I want to go next, you know?"
"Well, I think it's brilliant. My best friend, a bartender," said Ron with pride.
"Honestly, Ron. After everything Harry's done and you are just going to be proud of him if he works here?" asked Hermione incredulously.
"No," Ron shook his head. "I'll be proud of him if he works here despite everything he's done. He'll finally get to be a normal working guy. Right, Harry?"
Harry nodded. "Right, Ron. Thanks," he said quietly. Sometimes Ron amazed him with his insight. Most people thought he was completely clueless about feelings, and they would be right in most cases. But Ron had come to know Harry almost as well as Harry knew himself. So many people had asked what he was going to do with his life now that Voldemort was dead. Would he go for politics and one day be the Minister of Magic? Would he play professional Quidditch? Those and many others were constantly asked around him. Ron had never assumed any of that. He did ask what Harry planned on doing, but didn't push it when Harry said he didn't know. He understood that Harry just wanted a quiet, normal life for a while. He had time to decide what he wanted to do, now. He didn't have to rush into anything.
"I was thinking of asking at Honeyduke's also. I just want to keep busy," he added. The thing he didn't want right now was too much time to think about what had happened, and what he had done. He had killed a person, granted that person was the embodiment of pure evil, but it was still a person. He hadn't come to terms with that yet either. He wondered if getting praised for it made it even harder than it could have been.
Madam Rosmerta returned with their mugs and they proceeded to talk about various inconsequential topics. Harry was rather quiet, but his friends pretended not to notice. They pulled him into conversations as much as they could without being too obnoxious about it. He was really glad they were there with him. He figured he would have just sat at home doing nothing all day otherwise.
Around six o'clock they decided to go back to Harry's house and have supper, as well as watch a couple of movies. Everyone helped prepare supper, which was a simple pasta with a cheesy sauce and garlic bread. Harry was having a great time. He was finally getting used to calling the place his house, and it felt good. He liked the fact that he was no one's burden anymore. He was told by plenty of people that he wasn't a burden at all, but he knew there were things that had to be done simply because he was Harry Potter that normally wouldn't be necessary. He knew that Dumbledore and the Ministry would continue to check in on him, but he didn't mind that. It wasn't something he needed. It was for their own peace of minds that they did that. In fact, he looked forward to visits from his ex-teachers and Tonks.
They watched A Princess Bride and Harry couldn't stop looking at Ginny. He wanted to tell her that he would climb the 'Cliffs of Insanity' for her, but he knew it sounded stupid in more ways than one. Still, he had an urge to tell her what he felt. He pushed his emotions aside in a well-practiced manner and turned his attention back to the movie, not noticing the small glance from a certain long-haired, red head in the room.
It was a good movie, and Harry was glad Hermione had encouraged him to get it. He couldn't wait to watch more videos, but didn't want to see them all in one night. They spent a while afterward talking about their favorite parts of the movie, and Ron and Ginny asked dozens of questions about movies in general. Hermione told them about the many styles and qualities of films, while Harry sat in quiet thought. He couldn't help thinking about how much better this would be if he could share it with Remus… It had taken him a long time to 'wake up' from Sirius's death, and he didn't want to do that to his friends again, but this time he had no adult to lean on. Remus had gotten him through that time. Where was he supposed to turn now? He was an adult, so was he supposed to just be ok with everything that had happened?
"Hey, Harry, your life could be a movie!" Ron said with amusement.
Harry forced a smile and nodded. "It wouldn't surprise me, but if they got the facts wrong I'd be forced to curse them out of business." They laughed, then he cleared his throat. He needed to be alone.
"If you guys don't mind, I'm going to go to bed. You can stay up as late as you want. I'm just feeling a little out of it from moving and all that. See you in the morning." He got up and went to his bedroom, which he was sharing with Ron for the week, and got ready for bed.
He wasn't really sleepy, but he was feeling down and didn't want to drag the others down with him. He took out his photo album and looked at a picture of his parents at the end of their seventh year. Remus and Sirius were on either side of them and they were all grinning and laughing. They were so happy then, before everything was turned upside down by the traitor and Voldemort. He was angry with himself that Voldemort's actions still had such a large impact on him. The monster was dead, he should be moving on with his life, not longing for the past he never knew.
The door opened and he quickly scrubbed his face on his sleeve, hoping whoever it was couldn't tell that he'd had tears running down moments before.
"Harry?" Ginny's voice asked tentatively.
Harry tensed. She was the last person he wanted to see right after he'd been crying. He felt like such an idiot. He didn't move or say anything, hoping she'd get the hint and go away. She didn't.
She sat next to him and looked at the picture. She put an arm around his shoulder in a friendly gesture and just sat with him for a few minutes.
"At least their together again," said Harry, trying to sound normal and failing.
Ginny nodded. "Yeah, but they miss you. You'll see them again someday. Hopefully, not for a long time, but someday you will all be together and happy."
Harry didn't say anything. What could he say to that? If he didn't believe it, the future looked even more bleak, but if he did, he almost wanted to die right then. He didn't really want to leave everyone else, but he just wanted to see his parents, Sirius, and Remus again. If nothing else, then just to ask for advice on girls. That sounded stupid and shallow to him, but he wanted them to be there with him for everyday things. Even as great as Sirius and Remus were to him, he almost only ever saw them if something was wrong. He wanted a normal family. The worst feeling he'd ever had was the realization that he would never have that. It wasn't something he could study for or work hard towards. It was simply an impossibility. He felt tears threatening again and turned his head away from Ginny. She rubbed his shoulder soothingly.
"I don't know how to do this," he whispered brokenly.
"Do what?" she asked.
Silence. He wondered what she was thinking, but he didn't really want to know. He just wanted to be alone now. He almost regretted having his friends over. He knew he was going to break down sometime, and he would have rather done it by himself so he didn't embarrass himself.
Again, he smothered the burning emotions within, although it took more effort this time. Each time he needed to push them down, the harder they fought to gain control again. He won this time.
He smiled at Ginny and gave her a half hug. "Thanks. I'm going to bed for real, now. You guys can watch another movie if you want. I just want to get some sleep."
She smiled back. "Alright, Harry. We'll see you in the morning. Sweet dreams."
He lay down and closed his eyes, but sleep didn't come for many hours. In fact, he was awake long after he heard Ron's snores from across the room. He finally fell asleep around two in the morning, but kept waking from unknown dreams throughout the night.