Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter in any way, shape or form. He belongs to JK Rowling, Warner Bros and various other corporations. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Written in the second person, since I've always had trouble getting inside Ginny's head and thought I'd kill myself. There's implied Harry/Ginny, I guess, but there is absolutely no fluff here. There is angst. Angst is always good.
On Sunday morning, you visit him in the hospital wing. It's downcast outside, and the rain pelting against the windows of the old castle makes the atmosphere even more dreary. You wonder if he notices these kinds of things despite the two weeks earlier, in which his life had taken a turn for the worse.
He'd come face to face with Lord Voldemort once again, and he'd used his bare hands to drive Gryffindor's sword through his belly, having managed to disarm his nemesis.
He'd killed the one entity who'd cursed his life for the past seventeen years. Such a pity it had taken so long.
But he's smiling as you sit down next to his bed and offer him a bar of chocolate. He's grinning at you, and his friends who came along. And you grin back, because you're hardly going to look upset when he seems so delighted.
You're only granted five minutes to speak with him, though Ron and Hermione do most of the talking. Harry doesn't speak at all. He merely nods, smiles, looks out the window on occasion. You wonder whether he still thinks Voldemort could still be out there. You know he doesn't. He wouldn't be smiling if he thought it possible.
Hermione hugs him before you leave, and you can see Ron's not sure whether he should do the same. They're friends either way. Friends can hug. Friends are supposed to hug. Harry doesn't mind. He just keeps smiling.
You have exams for the rest of the week, and Madam Pomfrey isn't too keen on letting you into the hospital wing. Apparently she's caught Ron and Hermione sneaking in at night under an invisibility cloak, and isn't too happy about it. You don't get a chance to see Harry on Monday, nor Tuesday.
When Wednesday rolls around, you anxiously wait outside the hospital wing well before breakfast. It doesn't matter whether you'll be allowed in--it's the thought that counts. Surprisingly enough, Madame Pomfrey allows you inside. She just seems glad that Ron and Hermione aren't by your side. You've got Harry's photo album in your hands, and you gingerly tuck it under his pillow as you sit down next to a groggy Harry. Apparently he's just woken up, and Madame Pomfrey is heading off to collect his toast and eggs.
"Do you want to talk?" you ask, but he doesn't reply.
He just keeps smiling, and you wonder whether that smile is the same one he greets everyone with, or whether it's meant for only you. You take his hand in yours and sit next to him on his bed, laying your head on his shoulder.
"It's over now," you whisper in his ear. "At least I think it is."
He doesn't confirm or deny that sinking feeling in your stomach that this isn't the end. That everything that was the by-product of Voldemort's reign has been eradicated.
"You can talk to me, you know," you continue. But before anything else can be said, Madame Pomfrey arrives with his breakfast, and begins to lecture you about the importance of a good meal to start the day on. You merely nod, ignoring her words. You can't seem to focus on anything she says as she sets the tray down on the bedside table.
Harry doesn't seem to hear her either, though you wonder whether his ignorance is caused by the years of repeatedly spending nights in the hospital wing. Had he spent one year at Hogwarts without ending up in the same old chamber? He watches the nurse for a moment, before turning his attention to your face.
It feels like old times. He won't stop smiling.
You spend the rest of the week concentrating on your exams, knowing that you've got to at least get average grades. So what if you've survived a near apocalypse, you've still got school in the morning. You've got one more year to go, you may as well make this one count.
Friday night arrives and you're finally free. No more school. No more worries. Just you and the rest of your house enjoying a celebration well earned. Ron begs you to ask Colin whether you can borrow his camera and with much hesitation, he agrees. Both you and your brother then make your way down to the hospital wing where Neville, Luna and Hermione are already waiting for you, laughing and enjoying sweets as they camp around Harry's bed. You think back to your fourth year and the adventure the six of you had partaken in.
You hadn't even thought about the future. Perhaps it was because there was always that constant reminder lingering deep in the back of your mind that there might not be a future. That, at any given time, it could all be over for any of you. The minute alliances were made with Harry Potter was the very minute a person's future had been signed away.
To know Harry would mean you became a part of him.
Madame Pomfrey's glares at the six of you. Obviously she's not thrilled that you're keeping her patient awake so late at night. Ron reminds her that everyone of you are in either their 6th year or above and therefore have later curfews. This only seems to irritate her more.
Before she can order you all out of the infirmary, though, you all seat yourselves on Harry's bed, assuring her that if she takes a picture of you all together, you'll promise to not put up a fight as you leave. A muscle in her forehead seems to be throbbing, but she compromises and agrees. All she wants is for her patient to rest and he can't possibly do that with his friends around.
Ron and Hermione seat themselves on either side of Harry, and Neville and Luna stand next to them on either side. You're unsure as to where your place is, and decide to just seat yourself in front of Ron. He doesn't seem to mind, and merely rests his chin on your shoulder as he beams at the camera.
After the shot is taken, you and your friends stand and start to say your goodbyes. You hug Harry, telling him you'll visit him again soon, before being ushered out by an impatient Madame Pomfrey. You watch him over your shoulder, as do Ron and Hermione, before stepping out into the corridor. You wonder for a moment whether he's upset that he missed taking his final exam, but you push the thought from your mind as you see his face.
The old Harry wouldn't have minded. Apparently this one doesn't mind either.
He just keeps smiling.
You leave Hogwarts with the news that he's been sent to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. You honestly had no idea that his injuries were so serious, but there's nothing that can be done. The Dursley's don't want him back, not now that he has nowhere to go after the summer. He can't stay at Hogwarts all his life, and he's hardly in any condition to care for himself.
Everyday you wonder whether to owl Professor Dumbledore and ask whether there's any other place for Harry apart from that institute, but you know that he would never have sent one of his most valued pupils there without good cause.
You keep telling yourself that his condition will improve, given time, though you know it's a lie. You visit him every Sunday, and you see for yourself that he's still the same as you remember him that day in the hospital wing.
You know the names of his nurses off by heart now, and they know yours in return. Ten years and you're still coming back, sometimes with members of your family, Hermione, Neville or Luna, but more commonly, on your own. You sit next to Harry on his bed, lean your head on his shoulder and ask him how he is today.
You sometimes imagine he'll actually reply, and you dream that the first word he'll say in a decades time will be your name.
But he never replies. He hasn't spoken at all since that fateful day in his seventh year when he freed himself from the clutches of Lord Voldemort.
Perhaps he feels that he doesn't need words anymore. That's a lie as well, you tell yourself. Of course he needs words. Of course he wants to tell the world how glad he is to no longer be a hunted man.
But he doesn't speak to you, Ginny. Nor anybody else.
He just keeps smiling.