Disclaimer: I don't own 'em!

Summary: Harry discovers that there's a silver lining in every cloud, but why does he keep getting sick?

Thanks for all the lovely reviews!

I hope this ties up all the loose ends!

Growing Pains, by Shedoc

0o0o0o0o0o0

Hedwig refused to get in her cage. The grip she had on his shoulder was almost painful and her agitated hoots were starting to wear on his ear.

"Look Hedwig, Pigwidgeon is in his cage," Ron said encouragingly, holding up the battered cage with the small owl in it. Pig hooted wildly and flapped his wings about. Harry stroked Hedwig gently, trying to ignore the grins from Seamus and Dean as they watched his owl defy him.

"Sure, he can battle the teachers to become Hogwarts Champion, but can he get an owl in its cage? I think not!" Dean teased and Harry pointed a finger at him.

"Shut it," he was grinning though, and Ron was unsuccessfully muffling a smirk behind Pig's cage, "Alright, Hedwig, what will it take to get you in there?"

Hedwig folded her wings and looked away from him stubbornly. Harry sighed. Everything else was packed, in fact the rest of his dorm were just lounging around watching Hedwig give him grief. They were due to go down to the coaches in thirty minutes time and this was not what Harry had wanted to be doing. Rather than push things into a huge argument between them, Harry left Hedwig alone for the time being, deciding to make another attempt just before they headed to the coaches. He sat on Ron's rumpled bed with a shrug, and Hedwig hopped nimbly down to sit on his knee, gazing up at him with dark eyes. He tickled her under the wings gently and she ruffled her feathers at him. She'd been frantic when he got out of the hospital wing three days ago, and could barely be persuaded not to attend class with him.

"Harry," Seamus and Dean sat opposite on his empty bed, their faces wearing identical expressions of trepidation, "We…"

"Spit it out then," Ron rolled his eyes when Seamus stopped talking and fidgeted uncomfortably. Neville drifted over to lean on Ron's dresser, and Harry had the idea that their friend knew what this was about.

"We just wanted to say that we're sorry," Dean blurted and stopped when Seamus elbowed him, "Well we are! You're not saying anything!"

"Idiot!" Seamus hissed back, his face going red, "D'you want him to think we're pitying him?"

"Gentlemen!" Harry sounded so much like McGonagal that they both sat up in surprise, "If you would be so kind as to get to the point?"

"That's creepy, Harry," Neville laughed from where he was leaning, "You do a great McGonagal."

"After all the times she's said that to Ron and I," Harry laughed, and the others joined in. Harry hated tense atmospheres and hoped that whatever Dean and Seamus were fussing over would stay unremarked.

"What those two are trying to say, Harry, is that we all think you handled the … Muggles you grew up with really well," Neville continued, and Harry wondered what words his friend had deleted from his description of the Dursley's.

"Yeah, all things considered you did a great job of raising yourself," Ron chimed in, and Harry gave him a look that promised payback at a later date. The other boys were making agreeing noises though and he stroked Hedwig lightly, wondering what to say. In the end a single word answer sounded best.

"Thanks," he grinned a little shyly. Seamus nodded and got up to check his trunk one more time. This broke the tableau and Harry was relieved that the attention was off him for a moment.

He wondered how long Seamus and Dean had been talking about this, and was relieved that they didn't ask questions about some of the things the Daily Prophet had printed. Harry was planning to actually start a new business when he was of age - a daily newspaper of his own, one that focussed on accuracy and truth in its reports, and one that wasn't open to political manipulation. He wasn't sure it would be possible, but he wanted to look into it. With the connections from his bookstore, Jot and Tittle, he would be able to find out more about the publishing and licensing laws that governed a paper at least. He and Ron would be going over the Jot and Tittle's business papers during the summer hols, and Harry was planning to get Ron in on the second phase of testing the new Cleansweep Quidditch brooms. The fact that the Chudley Cannons had agreed to test the brooms at their level of competition was not something Harry had divulged yet, and he was looking forward to seeing the look on Ron's face.

"We'd better get going," Neville collected Trevor and his trunk and headed for the door. Harry looked down at his stubborn owl.

"Please?" he asked nicely. She hopped back onto his shoulder and dug her talons into his robes defiantly. Harry sighed, shrunk her cage and floated his trunk towards the door along with Ron's, leaving the redhead to bring Pigwidgeon. Ron snickered as he followed Harry down the stairs and Harry made a mental note to remind Ron that revenge could be sweet.

0o0o0o0o0o0

Hermione and Ron spent the trip to the station discussing what they'd do once they were of age to do magic. Ron was planning to start practicing for Auror training and Hermione wanted to start learning household spells to show her parents. They'd never seen their daughter do magic before and she wanted to show them how useful it could be. Harry thought that she was also a bit excited to be able to show off what she had been learning for the last six years. At least Ron's parents had experience with magic and understood what his report cards meant.

Hedwig was still firmly attached to his shoulder, and was picking his hair over, making it stand up even more that before. Harry let her, it was a small price to pay to keep his beloved friend happy, and it wasn't as if his hair normally lay flat and neat. He hoped that she would behave herself at the Weasley's, because Molly definitely didn't approve of 'rude' owls, and Harry didn't want to get caught between them.

The carriages pulled up at the station and Harry flung the door open, stepping down and then floating everyone's luggage out. As he was an emancipated minor, the restrictions on magic no longer applied, and he didn't mind saving his friends from hauling awkward trunks about.

Hedwig hooted sharply in his ear and he twisted his head to look at her. She was tense, her head swivelling back and forth as she surveyed the small station and the teeming students. Something made the hair on the back of his neck stand up, and he shrugged his owl into the sky, the floating trunks rising above head height as he tried to spot what was wrong with the familiar scene.

"Cruciatus!" a man roared and a swathe of third years fell screaming to the ground. Harry caught the ripple of the spell moving through the air and tracked it back to its origin, sending the trunks he was still levitating careening through the air to smash into the source. The third years stopped screaming and convulsing, and one of the trunks caught the invisibility cloak the Death Eater had been hiding under, revealing the grey robes and white mask to the rest of the students.

"Everyone back on the coaches!" Harry yelled, hoping that the thestrals would wait long enough to get the majority of the students to safety. Spells started raining on the massed students from all sides and he moved forward, targeting the rooftops and trees as best as he could.

From the corner of his eye, Harry could see that the majority of the Slytherins were pushing the younger students onto the coaches as quickly as possible. Most of his year, the seventh years and anyone who'd originally been in the DA had their wands out and were casting wildly about, hoping to gain enough time for the younger students to get away.

"Hermione!" Harry yelled as she took a stunner to the back and went down hard. He fought his way to her and crouched, trying to shield them both and drag her upright.

"Harry!" Ginny called and reached their sides. She took over their defence and Harry scooped Hermione up, backing over to a coach and wheeling to shove the unconscious girl inside. Several first years reached out to make her comfortable and Harry nodded at them in thanks. Then he grabbed Ginny's arm and pushed her in too, overriding her protests with an order to defend the carriage as it headed for the castle. The door slammed and the thestral pulling it broke into a canter, getting out of the line of fire.

Ron was duelling fiercely with a Death Eater, and Harry sent a reductor curse his way, watching as Ron whirled aside and let the spell hit his opponent hard, forewarned by the friendship and love he shared with Harry. The Death Eater went flying and Ron moved on, not even pausing for breath. That was the last that Harry had time to see, as the battle sucked him into it.

It was chaos, but Harry used it to his advantage. The station house was damaged and the rubble made handy projectiles. The air was rent with the screams and yells of the injured and the fighters as the students of Hogwarts battled the forces of the Dark Lord. For many, this was their first taste of battle, and it would also be their last. Harry swirled though fight after fight, flowing around spells and curses as if he were made of wind and water, blasting through opposition like fire and tracking the progress of the battle with the steadiness of a rock.

"Potter!"

The single voice cut through the battle as if the noise did not exist and Harry heard several of his classmates scream with horror as Voldemort himself stalked through the fighters as if they weren't there. Harry dispatched the Death Eater he was duelling with a simple punch to the nose and turned to face the person he hated most in his life. Magic was coursing through him in powerful waves, and for once his wand was entirely obedient, giving him none of the temperamental casting that usually occurred after a bout of his 'illness'.

"Voldemort," Harry's voice was cold enough to freeze, and he moved to balance himself on the balls of his feet. Voldemort was trying to catch his eye, and after a moment Harry realised the Dark Lord was trying the Legilimency spell on him. He scowled in defiance and shored up his mental barriers.

"I've made the mistake of duelling you before Potter," Voldemort hissed, the red eyes glowing insanely, "But not today. Today you die. But first…"

The foul being turned slightly and raised his wand. Harry followed the path the wand was tracing and his heart stopped when he realised that Ron would be on the receiving end of whatever the Dark Lord cast.

"Avada…"

Harry was already moving, throwing himself forward desperately as Ron turned from the silver handed Death Eater he had just bound to a tree, some sixth sense warning him that he was in danger. There was horror on Ron's face and Harry willed himself to move faster, to get there in time.

"…Kedavra!"

The hated green light flowed from Voldemort's wand almost lazily and Harry took that one last step, intercepting it with his outstretched hand, wanting nothing more than to stop it, wishing that his hand would be enough to absorb the spell, to protect the man he loved. Ron screamed - an agony filled sound that made Harry's heart bleed in sympathy - and he screwed his eyes shut, not wanting to see those life filled eyes dull and glaze over.

Silence.

The battle stopped, as if a switch had been thrown.

Harry's body was in revolt, magic crackling around him in a visible aura. An aura that was mainly golden except around his left hand… where it was a foul green.

"What?" the roar shook the very ground they were standing on, and Harry opened his eyes. Voldemort was… shaking.

The energy in his left had was rapidly becoming too agonising to hold, and instinct prompted Harry to throw it, to draw back his hand and pitch the foul, evil thing as far away from him as he could. He flung it with a wild cry and the green flew forward, engulfing the now cowering Dark Lord in front of him, crackling and consuming him in a cruel green fire that burned coldly.

Darkness surged over the self styled Dark Lord, a deep slimy green aura that became marbled with the lighter green of the Killing Curse. The veins swelled and spread over the foul creatures aura, engulfing it bit by bit as the golden light from Harry ignited it. Voldemort screamed, a nerve-scraping note that made all around him shudder in helpless sympathy as his body was engulfed piece-by-piece until there was nothing left but the fading notes of that soul wrenching sound.

Death Eaters Disapparated left and right as the students gazed at Harry in awe. The golden energy surrounding him flared brightly for a moment, then seemed to explode, lancing out to touch the huddled and broken bodies on the ground, forming a nimbus around each one that was slowly absorbed.

Harry turned unsteadily towards where Ron had stood, and sobbed once at the sight of his lover standing beside Peter Pettigrew, who was still bound to his tree. Ron was unharmed, and Harry managed one step towards him before he slumped to the ground like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

0o0o0o0o0o0

Harry woke the first time in the hospital wing, and could hear people shouting all around him while he was jostled unpleasantly. He thought that he could hear Hermione and Ginny in amongst all the chaos, and Ron's hands fastened around his, tugging at something he was clutching. Harry let go whatever it was, mainly because he knew that it was safe in his Ron's hands.

The second time he woke he was in St Mungo's and something had flashed. There was yelling again, and he didn't recognise any of the voices, which made him rather anxious. Ron wasn't there, Harry would have known in a heartbeat if his boyfriend was in the room and he wanted Ron's touch more than anything. It wasn't too restful in this stressful environment with so many people yelling and he slid back into the darkness, fretting that Ron had been hurt and he hadn't noticed.

The third time Harry woke he was home. The sounds and smells of the Burrow were unmistakable, and he smiled before he even tried to open his eyes, taking a deep breath and relishing the fact that he could hear Mrs Weasley yelling at the twins downstairs and Hedwig hooting from his bed post.

"Sleeping beauty awakens," an amused voice murmured and Harry's eyes shot open in surprise.

"Charlie!" he gasped, "What are you doing here?"

"Keeping an eye on you for Ron," Charlie grinned and leaned over to hug him. Harry hugged back, sensing that Charlie - which meant the rest of the Weasley's - had been worried. Hedwig fluttered down to sit on his blankets and he rubbed her head affectionately.

"Hello," he told her, "Thanks for the warning back there."

"She attacked a couple of Death Eaters, or so I was told," Charlie also reached out to pet the snow white owl, "Lestrange almost lost an eye."

"Well done," Harry praised her and she hooted proudly before launching herself from his blankets and out the open window. Charlie leaned over and rang a small bell that was sitting on the bedside table and Harry realised he was in Percy's room again.

"How are you feeling?" Charlie helped Harry sit up comfortably, and Harry took stock. It felt like someone had tied heavy weights to his limbs, and there was a dull nagging ache in his left hand.

"Not too bad," he didn't want to complain, seeing as he should be dead by all accounts, "I'm hungry."

The door opened as he said that and Ginny squealed, running forward to throw herself on the bed and wrap Harry in an enormous and enthusiastic hug. The rest of the household reacted to the sudden noise, and it sounded like a herd of Hippogriff's was stampeding for Harry's room. He wrapped his arms around Ginny in surprise before Charlie prised her off and caught his breath in time to be hugged by Molly Weasley. Charlie had Ginny on his lap, both of them grinning as Molly eased back and Arthur took her place, hugging him too. When Arthur stepped back Fred and George reached out and petted him like he was some kind of favourite animal, and then Ron was there, climbing onto the bed and cuddling Harry close.

"Are you alright?" Harry squirmed, trying to check Ron over while Ron tried to hold him still.

"I'm fine you lunatic!" Ron scowled, "Calm down! I'm not the one who caught the Killing Curse with his bare hands!"

Harry looked down at his left hand in surprise, the final events of the battle flooding back. The hand was slightly withered, like an apple left in the sun for too long, and on the palm and back of his hand there was a lightening bolt that matched the scar on his forehead. The entire family was staring at it with him, and Harry frowned. Not another scar to be famous for!

"How do you feel, dear?" Molly asked. Charlie spoke up before Harry could, and Harry grinned at the freckled redhead.

"He's hungry!"

Molly was out of the door in a heartbeat and the twins followed, laughing and promising to come back and see him as soon as they'd called Bill, who'd been summoned to work for an emergency.

"You've all been waiting for me?" Harry asked, his cheeks flushing a little in embarrassment. Surely they had more important things to do than wait for him to wake up from a nap. When he muttered something to that effect in Ron's ear his lover snorted and hauled Harry closer.

"You've been unconscious for three weeks mate," Ron replied in a low voice, "The Healers weren't sure if… when you'd wake up. Mum and Dad insisted that you come here after that reporter got into your hospital room with a camera."

"I remember a flash," Harry confirmed, "And lots of shouting."

"Do you remember giving me your wand?" Ron asked curiously, "I swear your eyes opened for a moment in the hospital wing at school, but no one else saw it."

"Is that what I gave you? I know that you were pulling on something," Harry smiled crookedly, "I thought that whatever you wanted would be safe with you and let go."

"The teachers were all freaking out because they thought that you might attack someone before you regained control. Your magic kept throwing protective shields around us, even though you were unconscious. Professor Dumbledore had already tried to disarm you and almost got thrown through a wall, you see," Ginny sniffed and Charlie rubbed her back to calm her temper down, "Hermione and I were trying to tell them that you were safe, and Ron just stormed up to the bed and took your wand from your hand."

Ron grinned at Harry and pulled his wand out of his pocket. Harry took the familiar object and examined it for damage before sticking it under his pillows. He made a mental note to thank Ron later in private, and then frowned.

"Three weeks?" he exclaimed and everyone laughed at him. It was kindly sound though Harry pretended to scowl at them for effect. No wonder he was hungry.

"Professor Snape has been coming every day with potions for you," Ron mumbled, reluctant gratitude lacing his voice, "The slimy git saved your life."

"He got into a huge row with Healer Reynolds though," Charlie grinned in remembrance, "The Healer hexed him."

Harry gaped at them and settled more firmly against Ron as the Weasley's caught him up on the news of the Wizarding world. It never occurred to him that it was odd for the entire family to camp out in his room, though he couldn't fail to notice how tightly Ron was holding him and the tenseness of the body he was snuggled up to. Harry laid his head on Ron's shoulder and let his adopted family talk, asking questions now and then to prove he was listening.

He had a feeling that he and Ron had quite a 'debriefing' coming up.

0o0o0o0o0o0

"That's mental," Harry tossed the newspaper back onto the kitchen table, "I'd be a rotten Minister for Magic."

"I don't know, we'd get a lot more funding for Quidditch," Ron pretended to take the suggestion seriously and Harry snorted. He'd been allowed out of bed for a week and though his magical energy was still quite low he felt a lot better.

"Harry, dear, the Headmaster is coming in an hour," Molly reminded him and Harry sighed, heading upstairs to clean up and get dressed. He and Ron had gotten into the habit of either staying in bed together all day - reading or sleeping for the most part - or they would make a nest of blankets and cushions out in the garden and Harry would rest there.

He still felt as if there were weights attached to his bones, though that feeling had lessened somewhat, and the more he slept the better he felt. He hadn't even considered attempting magic at the moment, Healer Reynolds had warned him that his energy was far too depressed and any attempt to cast a spell while he was still recovering would not only make his convalescence longer but could put him back in his coma. Knowing how stressed Ron and his family were, Harry didn't even bother carrying his wand with him.

On the plus side healer Reynolds had sat down with Harry and discussed his periodic bouts of illness with him. The Healer had a theory that the illness was actually tied in with puberty. His body was growing quickly at the moment, and his magic was also surging as a result. Reynolds had explained that the magical strength of a Wizard was often determined during puberty, and that sometimes Witches or Wizards went through one bout of illness as their magical strength surged and their body fought to accommodate it. The fact that Harry had been suffering from it at periodic intervals indicated that he was a lot more powerful than people had first thought. Harry had taken the time to ask all the questions he'd been worrying over, appreciating the Healers honesty with him. At least he knew where his future now lay, and what he could expect from his magic in years to come. Reynolds thought that the illness wouldn't return again, or at least not for a couple of years. Harry was relieved to hear it and had shared that piece of news with the Weasley's immediately.

He was munching on the biscuit that Molly insisted he eat while he waited when his visitors arrived. Aside from Professor Dumbledore there was a very subdued Minister Fudge, Remus Lupin, Healer Reynolds, Aurors Kingsley and Tonks, Professors Snape and McGonagal, Madam Bones, Madam Pomfrey, and several people Harry recognised as being a part of the Wizengamot, though he couldn't recall their names. The Burrow, which had always seemed cosily full of Weasley's, suddenly became suffocating overcrowded, and he got up from the table.

"Not in here, outside," he muttered and Ron gave him an understanding grin, heading for the garden with Harry's hand in his. Harry was stopped by Professor McGonagal and Madam Pomfrey, both of whom hugged him hard, and Remus, who Harry hugged back gladly. Molly conjured a paisley patterned swinging seat, complete with canopy and violently clashing lime cushions and Harry joined Ron and his adopted mother on it while their guests conjured chairs of their own.

"You're looking better, Potter," Snape was sprawled incongruously in a green beanbag chair, and Harry bit the inside of his lip to keep from laughing.

"I'm feeling much better, thanks sir," he replied in a suspiciously calm voice, "Ron told me that you brought potions when I was unconscious. Thank you."

Snape inclined his head with a sneer and Harry let the subject drop. Fudge was fidgeting on his leather armchair, and before anyone else could speak he took a deep breath and launched into what was sure to be a long speech.

"Well, Mr Potter, once again the Wizarding world owes…"

"Minister!" McGonagal snapped the word out, and everyone straightened up like they'd been caught playing games in the back of her class, "We agreed not to tax Harry's strength with pointless speeches."

"I think you'll find, Minerva, that I was not making a speech, but about to ask a question," Fudge bristled and Professor McGonagal raised a quelling eyebrow at him. Healer Reynolds cleared his throat and the Minister subsided, sulking. Arthur Weasley popped in under the willow tree and walked up the garden, greeting their guests as he reached them. Molly moved up a bit and Arthur squeezed into the swing seat with them, everyone crowded together comfortably, arms around each other for balance.

"Harry," Dumbledore said quietly, "The purpose of requesting this meeting is to ask you what precisely happened on the last day of term."

Harry nodded and looked down at the grass for a moment, marshalling his thoughts. This wasn't going to be easy to explain, not because he was afraid but because a lot of his actions had been driven by instinct. Hedwig returned from her morning flight and fluttered down to perch on the edge of the canopy, hooting happily at finding him outside.

"Well, I guess you know about the initial attack," he began slowly, thinking ahead, "The Slytherins got the younger students to the coaches while Hufflepuff defended them, and Ravenclaw and Gryffindor attacked the Death Eaters. It was funny, the houses just split into action like that, without anyone planning it."

Ron's arm tightened around his shoulders in remembrance. The redhead had caught Peter Pettigrew, who had cleared Sirius' name reluctantly. Harry had read all about it in the back issues of the paper that Molly had saved for him. That battle with his former pet had been difficult for Ron, who'd had to cast some serious spells to defeat the cunning and deceitful Wizard.

"When Voldemort appeared, things were about even still. We'd lost some people, but so had they," Harry continued, "He said that he was just going to kill me, but I guess he wanted to make sure that I was really distracted first, because he cast the Killing Curse at Ron. I heard him scream and threw myself forward to stop it."

"But how did you know that you could?" Madam Pomfrey asked, "It makes no sense, Mr Potter."

"During the summer hols after Sirius died and the Headmaster told me about the prophecy linking me to Voldemort, I decided to study Arithmancy," Harry looked up at her, "You see, I decided in the first three days that I was going to make some changes so Voldemort could never catch me out like he had in fifth year again. The battle at the Ministry showed me that using the Unforgivable curses made me feel ill, and I didn't want to… well… sink to his level. I know that sounds arrogant, but you can't get rid of evil by becoming it, and I felt that would happen if I started using Unforgivables."

"What has Arithmancy got to do with it?" Professor Snape asked, and Harry glanced at him. He alone might understand this concept better than the others, because he had once walked a darker path.

"If you're going to fight dark with light, you need first to understand it. For the past year I've been trying with Ron and Hermione's help to break down the Arithmancy behind Avada Kedavra, so I could design a counter spell."

The adults around him exclaimed in surprise, and Ron pulled his wand out to summon Harry's blue leather book. Harry let his lover pass it over to the Headmaster, who flipped through the pages with an avid look on his face.

"I figured out enough about the spell to know that feeling and intent goes a long way with this particular casting, so I was trying to formulate the counter feelings and intent," Harry explained in a quiet voice, "When he cast that spell though… I didn't want Ron to die… and I guess my motives were pure enough because I stopped the spell with my hand."

The withered hand in his lap flexed slowly. Harry had a feeling that it wouldn't get much better, though he was determined to learn to cope with it as best as possible. Professor McGonagal straightened from where she had been peering at his work and got up to hug him again, much to his embarrassment.

"My magic surged out of control, and my instincts took over. I just wanted it all to stop, no more fighting, no more hurting. The magic took over, though I knew that I had to focus on what I wanted and why I wanted it. I don't think he's dead, just locked away where he can't hurt anyone ever again," Harry took a deep breath and leaned into Ron's shoulder, resting their heads together. He was tired again, and grateful that the adults around him were focussed on his Arithmancy book now that the tale was told, rather than peppering him with countless questions.

"Which is why, when the Dark Lord was gone, you were able to cast a powerful Healing charm on those who had fallen. You saved a lot of lives, young man," Reynolds gave him a twitch of the lips that Harry took as a smile, "That's quite a talent."

"Well," Fudge harrumphed after a moment, "I guess that our concerns can be laid to rest."

"I'm not evil," Harry confirmed, "I'm not the new Voldemort."

Fudge had the grace to be embarrassed, even though he'd been hinting at that in the press where the Wizarding world could all see it. Ron tucked Harry closer and glared at the Minister with impunity, as did his parents. Harry closed his eyes and let the Weasley's take charge, luxuriating in the knowledge that he finally had someone to do that for him when he was feeling low.

0o0o0o0o0o0

Ron was grinning at him with that particularly wet look he got when Harry had drooled in his sleep, and Harry wiped his chin reflexively. Sure enough, his hand came away wet and he blushed, wiping his face properly and smacking at Ron lightly when he laughed.

"Sure, make fun of me when I sleep," Harry mumbled and hitched himself closer. They were in the tree house, allowed to break the holiday rule because Ginny had gone to visit Luna Lovegood, and the rest of the Weasley's were at work.

Ron and Harry had taken advantage of the privacy by stripping down to their underwear and achieving a tangled sprawl on the cushions. Ron chuckled and messed up already messy hair affectionately. Harry grinned into the side of Ron's neck and sighed in contentment. He judged that Ron's mood was as good as it would get, and brought up something he'd been thinking about for a while.

"Hey Ron, would you be mad if I didn't go into Auror training with you?"

There was a moment of thinking silence, though the body Harry was curled against didn't tense or pull away. When Ron spoke his voice was curious, lazy and still content. He reminded Harry of Crookshanks dozing in the sun, though Harry wasn't stupid enough to mention it.

"What would you like to do instead?"

"You said that a member of your family became a Healer because he could do wandless magic. Mine's been coming back slowly, and when I asked Healer Reynolds about the course work I'd need to do he said that what I was already taking for NEWTs would suffice."

"Mmm, that's true. Healers get specialty training, so as long as you'd covered the broader topics and had high enough marks…" Ron mused, "Mum would be dead proud, and it might be handy to be the live-in of a Healer, especially while I'm going through Auror training."

"You're not my live-in," Harry murmured, relieved that the response had been so favourable. He never wanted to be in a situation where he lost control of his magic like that ever again. He was not an evil-minded person, but the thought that he might lose control and hurt innocent people was terrifying.

"You're my everything," he lifted up to look at Ron solemnly. The look he got in return was the best reward anyone could ever give him.

The End