Disclaimer: HP is, surprise surprise, not mine.

I suppose this is a companion piece of sorts to Light. On the other hand, this could stand alone easily. Shrugs. Either way...

oo00oo00oo00oo00oo

He's in the infirmary again. You'd think that after a while, I'd stop panicking every time he winds up in Madam Pomfrey's care. But...well, this is Harry. When he's in the hospital wing, it's rarely because he's got the flu or a cold.

When Harry's in the infirmary, it's because he's badly injured...even dying, sometimes.

And every time, Ron and I are there as well, at his side - whether or not we're hurt as well.

Of course, we're at his side even when he's not flat out on his back, fighting just to remain alive. Ever since first year, Ron and I have been there. We made a vow, you see, after our fourth year, while we were at Grimmauld. Harry was still at the Dursleys, and it was just the two of us - me and Ron. Oh, we weren't alone, but even if we're surrounded by friends and family, without Harry we're still incomplete, somehow.

We've spent so much of our lives watching over him, helping him, supporting him...worrying over him, crying for him, fearing for him... When he isn't there, I feel so...empty. Like I don't have a purpose in life without him.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Harry, but not like that. It's just...well, he's my best friend, and the closest thing I have to a brother. And more than that - he was my first friend. Well, him and Ron both, I suppose, but I love Ron in a way entirely different from how I love Harry.

But anyway, we were alone - two of the Trio - when we made our vow. Ron was flipping idly through a Quidditch magazine as I read yet another article slandering Harry and Headmaster Dumbledore.

"I don't see why you bother with the Prophet," Ron finally said, glaring at the newspaper in question. "All that stuff they've printed about Harry..."

I set the Prophet down. "We should know what people are saying about him," I pointed out.

"What's it matter?" Ron snapped, flushing angrily. "We already know what people are saying - that's not going to change between now and when Harry gets here."

He was right, of course. It didn't matter if I knew what people were saying, and their opinions weren't about to change any time soon. "I hate this," I admitted. "Harry's already got enough to deal with - he doesn't need the Prophet on his case as well."

Ron shrugged, slouching in his seat. "There's nothing more we can do," he said pragmatically, staring at his magazine as if it held the answers to the Universe. "Other than what we've been doing, that is."

I looked at him curiously. "What do you mean?"

He scratched awkwardly at the nape of his neck, not quite meeting my eyes. "Well, you know. Being there for him and all that."

"Come hell or high water," I said humorlessly.

Ron finally met my gaze, and there was an intensity in his eyes that startled me. "Exactly," he said, nodding. "That's what Harry needs, you know. Someone who'll be there no matter what. Hell or high water."

And that was our vow, one that we've always kept. We have been there for him, through hell and heaven and everything in between.

He's finally done it, you know. Defeated Voldemort, that is. And now he's lying so very pale in that bed, so frail and so strong.

I wonder, as Ron slides an arm around my waist and pulls me tighter against his side, if Harry will need us anymore, now that Voldemort is gone.

Harry sighs a little in his sleep, a lost, quiet sound that answers my question as words never could.

Harry will always need us, just as we'll always need him. And no matter what - through hell and high water - we'll be there. Because without Harry...without Harry, Ron and I are nothing. Without Harry, we have no purpose.

And frankly, neither of us would have it any other way.